loading... close

My new rads onco mentioned that the rads could prevent reconstructive surgery. This may put me over the edge. Is this rare? How rare???

blair greiner Profile
Asked by

anonymous

Learning About Breast Cancer over 6 years
 
  • janet levy Profile
    anonymous
    Survivor since
    When I first went to see my plastic surgeon we did not know if I would need radiation. He told me my skin was thin and radiation might ruin the skin for reconstruction. He told me not to worry because he could take skin graphs from my back and continue with reconstruction. Fortunate
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • Diana Foster Payne Profile
    anonymous
    Stage 4 Patient
    Hi Blair, radiation won't exclude you from having reconstruction. But it could limit your choice of procedures. I had 33 radiation treatments. Radiation tends to tighten your skin but there are still procedures that can be performed. I am having the DIEP flap procedure. There's also the Latisumus Dorsi, and one new one I read about that involves fat transplant. I recommend consulting with at least 3 good plastic surgeons. Like Jan & Mary mentioned. You still have options!! Best wishes & hugs,
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • Erin Timlin Profile
    anonymous
    Survivor since 2011
    Blair, sounds like they gave you the worst case scenarios, which my rad onc did too. I had a right mastectomy with an expander done in May. I just finished rads on 7/27. Like the other women, I was told I needed to wait 6-9 months before final reconstruction could be done because the skin and tissue needs a long time to heal. Meanwhile, my radiation oncologist told me all sorts of possible side effects, like the skin could open and expose the expander/implant, etc. Yikes!! But she insisted that was very rare. They just need to tell you everything. Drink lots of water through radiation and use your creams/ointments to protect the skin. You should be just fine.
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
    anonymous
    Survivor since 2012
    I don't think that's right. After my first mastectomy they did an "immediate reconstruction" with an expander. It was there during my radiation treatments. The radiation actually deformed the expander/temporary implant. I later had it all re-done and it looks just fine. As long as your surgeon left enough skin behind for a reconstruction, I don't see any reason why you can't have it done after radiation. I suspect the radiologist was telling you the risk of scarring and possible tightening/deforming of the skin surrounding your mastectomy. There might be the occasional situation where the skin is so affected by the radiation that a reconstruction simply can't be done, but I've never heard of it. Good luck to you!
    over 6 years Flag
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      After re-reading the other answers, I should say that my eventual re-re-construction was a TRAM flap, where they basically do a tummy tuck and take the removed skin/fat/etc. to form a new breast, with an underlying implant.

      over 6 years Flag
  • Bonnie Irwin Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    I start my rads on the 13th. My plastic surgeon is waiting a few weeks after my radiation to do the TRAM flap.
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • Mary Chase Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    Blair, from what I have read it may change your options but I don't know that it precludes reconstruction. The radiation oncol. That I saw said that he didn't think that flap procedures could be used for those who have had bilateral mastectomies. I have found plenty of photos online that have shown reconstruction using flap procedure for bilateral mastectomies. Don't go by what your radiation expert says , ask the plastic surgeon. He is the expert on reconstruction. Take care!
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • jan bursky Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    I had 35 treatments of rads and was told to wait 6 months for reconstruction. Had diep flap and it looks beautiful. The other side has expander. I didn't have enough tissue for both. Good luck
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • blair greiner Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    Thanks so much! Yes I plan to ask my plastic surgeon. The rads onco said that the rads may alter the skin and may not be able to handle an implant :(
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • janet levy Profile
    anonymous
    Survivor since
    I didn't get to finish my message. I fortunately did not need radiation and am just waiting for surgery in October. Talk with your plastic surgeon and see what your options are. Best of luck.
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • kathy L Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    I have heard that radiation make s reconstruction more difficult to get the optimal results. I choose a double mastectomy for this reason.
    over 6 years Comment Flag
  • Crystal Jackson Profile
    anonymous
    Survivor since 2011
    They have to tell you about every possible side effect. The skin gets tight during radiation. You will have to wait several months after radiation before having reconstruction. I used Aquaphor 2-3 times a day during radiation. I also used Singular for the scar tissue (off label use). My radiation onclogist also talked to the plastic surgeon about his plans. Make sure everyone talks to each other to coordinate care. I had radiation in January of this year and just had my reconstruction. The plastic surgeon was very happy prior to and after the surgery. Good luck.
    about 6 years Comment Flag

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 1

An Early Detection Plan (EDP) significantly increases the chances of surviving breast cancer.

spread the word