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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 4 - Breast Reconstruction

Following a mastectomy, you have options to help you become comfortable with the changes in your body. They are all options, with benefits to each approach. What is best for you and your body may not be what is best for another woman.

If you are considering breast reconstruction, you should speak with your medical team before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on.

Reconstruction Methods
There are a few of options for breast reconstruction, and which one you use will depend on your age, body type, and treatment plan.

Implants
One possibility is to have breast implants. The breast is filled with silicone sacs of saline or silicone gel.

TRAM Flap, Latissimus Flap, or Gluteal Flap
An alternative solution is to use tissue the surgeon removes from another part of your body, like the belly (TRAM), back (latissimus), or buttocks (gluteal). The surgeon sculpts this tissue into the shape of your breast.

Surgical Summary
In addition to reconstructing the breast, the surgeon can add a nipple, change the shape or size of the reconstructed breast, and operate on the opposite breast as well for a better match. The plastic surgeon will be able to discuss with you the benefits and risks of each procedure, and help you decide what will make you feel the most natural.

Alternative to Breast Reconstruction
One alternative to breast reconstruction is a removable prosthetic breast that is worn in the bra. This will preserve the shape and look of the breast without the surgical procedures.

Summary
Whether you undergo breast reconstruction, wear a prosthetic breast, or choose to embrace the changes you have experienced, you should make a decision that is right for you. The goal is to prevent the discomfort of change, while enabling you to accept what has occurred and continue on with your life.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    My mom sched for bilateral mastectomy this wk. expander will be put in. Unclear if implant or diep flap is at same time. me and my aunt her for 1st wk. Aunt only 2nd wk. anyone have home health aide referrals for chicago area/orland park?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 5 years 2 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a double mastectomy with expanders in March. I needed help for the 1st 2 weeks after that I was good. My mom came for 2 weeks & I felt bad that I didn't need her help but it was nice to have company. Once u get the drains removed which takes a week it gets a little easier. I had a lot of...

      more

      I had a double mastectomy with expanders in March. I needed help for the 1st 2 weeks after that I was good. My mom came for 2 weeks & I felt bad that I didn't need her help but it was nice to have company. Once u get the drains removed which takes a week it gets a little easier. I had a lot of pain the 1st 3 days but it was bearable. Couldn't sleep laying flat had to sit propped on pillows & put them under your arms for elevation. These tips the ladies on this site gave me & they were right. My nurse taught me great excercises to stretch muscle over expander. Prayers

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      From my understanding if she is having expanders put in the implant or flap surgery will be later as the expanders make the area large enough for whatever type of reconstruction she is having.

      Comment
  • sylvia clark Profile

    Should I be worried about how long I have to wait to start chemo? I had a double mastectomy two months ago and discovered a heart condition on the way to chemo. Since I've had open heart surgery and will take 4-5 weeks to recover.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Dear Sylvia,
      You have had MORE than your share of seeing doctors! I wouldn't worry about the lag time between your heart surgery and chemo. They had to take care of this heart condition first as it probably had priority over everything else. Thankfully, your oncologist has to order these...

      more

      Dear Sylvia,
      You have had MORE than your share of seeing doctors! I wouldn't worry about the lag time between your heart surgery and chemo. They had to take care of this heart condition first as it probably had priority over everything else. Thankfully, your oncologist has to order these pre-chemo tests of your heart because chemo can occasionally effect your heart. So glad it is taken care of. Not knowing anything about your breast cancer, I am just taking a guess with my following bla-bla..... Your cancer was, basically, removed with the double mastectomy. The chemotherapy, goes in and cleans up cancer cells that may be left behind. Your team of doctor's probably felt the heart condition had precedent over the start of your chemotherapy. Sylvia, you need to talk to your oncologist's office about your question. You need peace of mind while you are healing from your heart surgery. Hang in there, healing hugs from all of us. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Rest and get well your will need your strenght for chemo.

      Comment
  • Isabelle McCoy Profile

    I have been diagnosed with Estorgen Receptor positive breast cancer...had lumpectomy

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Isabelle, Like Marianne, I am also sorry you joined our club. Where are you in your treatment other than having a lumpectomy? I read your bio and it said you had a large tumor, so have had surgery and have found it is estrogen +. I was also ER+ PR+ Her2-
      My internist said to me at one...

      more

      Isabelle, Like Marianne, I am also sorry you joined our club. Where are you in your treatment other than having a lumpectomy? I read your bio and it said you had a large tumor, so have had surgery and have found it is estrogen +. I was also ER+ PR+ Her2-
      My internist said to me at one point...."At least you have the good kind of breast cancer."
      Meaning it is hormone sensitive. I also see in your bio, you are living the life you are supposed to yet you still got breast cancer. One thing about this disease, it seems to not play favorites and can strike anyone. I never smoked, or drank alcohol, have no family members with breast cancer, live on a farm and work hard every day.... breast cancer at 59. You have a lot of sisters here... lots of women going through treatment, a few fossils like me, 5 years post treatment and cancer free. Please keep in touch with us. We are here to help anyone going through treatment. So sorry you joined the party.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Pat Lawrence Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2005

      Hi Isabelle I also had ER breast cancer. Had lumpectomy radiotherapy tamoxifen for 3 years and aromasin for 2 years. Have now been clear for 7 years altogether. Found it really helpful talking to others that had been and are going through it. Only they can understand !!! Hope all goes well with...

      more

      Hi Isabelle I also had ER breast cancer. Had lumpectomy radiotherapy tamoxifen for 3 years and aromasin for 2 years. Have now been clear for 7 years altogether. Found it really helpful talking to others that had been and are going through it. Only they can understand !!! Hope all goes well with you.

      Comment
  • kinya trotman Profile

    I am having a double mastectomy with immediate DIEP flap reconstruction. Does anyone have experience with recovery time and pain management involved?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was in the hospital 5 days also, the drains at the breast area were removed before I left the hospital. The two drains at the tummy area were removed about 2-3 weeks later. I think the drains vary from person to person on how long they need to be in. I had very minor pain in breast area,...

      more

      I was in the hospital 5 days also, the drains at the breast area were removed before I left the hospital. The two drains at the tummy area were removed about 2-3 weeks later. I think the drains vary from person to person on how long they need to be in. I had very minor pain in breast area, tummy was a little worse, mostly tightness but tolerable with the Q ball or Q-pump when in hospital and pain meds which I used for about a week when I got home. My nurses called me the poster child for the DIEP flap because I had not much pain and very little use of pain medication

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I didn't the pain was that bad. I was 5 days in the hospital. About 4 weeks I was doing everyday things. 7 weeks after the surgery I went on vacation. I had a little extra trouble with fluid and had to to have a drain put back in but I don't think that was a DIEP thing.

      Comment

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