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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

  • Dezeray Paris Profile

    Do you/did you ever get a weird itching feeling following a mastectomy? It has been 7 days since surgery. When I go to itch it I realize I have no feeling why is it itchy all the time?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    over 4 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Deborah Camacho Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I think it is from the nerves regenerating. Sometimes they feel like they are in the wrong place, too. I think that is our brain relearning.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Over a year since my mastectomy and I was reconstructed this past Feb and I still itch but feel numb when I scratch. It is the most ANNOYING feeling in the world!! Now I just try not to scratch since the numbness is worse than the itch. Someone also said apply a little ice which will take the...

      more

      Over a year since my mastectomy and I was reconstructed this past Feb and I still itch but feel numb when I scratch. It is the most ANNOYING feeling in the world!! Now I just try not to scratch since the numbness is worse than the itch. Someone also said apply a little ice which will take the itch away without having to attempt the scratch.

      Comment
  • Angela Blabaum Profile

    Has any one every had both a tram and a LD reconstruction. Have a tram since 95 now dr is suggesting LD because of thinning skin

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 4 years 1 answer
    • Angela Blabaum Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      91 & 93 2 diff types cancer, lump & rad both 95 3rd type, did bilateral mast and tram reconst., few months later added impants & Chemo . I've always had problems with the 'permanent' stitches. About 2007 had implants replaced, one had capsulized. I've noticed one side has become increasing...

      more

      91 & 93 2 diff types cancer, lump & rad both 95 3rd type, did bilateral mast and tram reconst., few months later added impants & Chemo . I've always had problems with the 'permanent' stitches. About 2007 had implants replaced, one had capsulized. I've noticed one side has become increasing thin & you can really see all the ripples in the saline. I finally went to see a plastic surgeon . He says I'm very close to and erosion & opening of the skin over the implant. Says I either need to totally remove the implant ) or do the LD flap for new skin. Has anyone else ever had both of these reconstructions done?

      1 comment
  • emily april Profile

    how painfull is a double mastectomy with tissue expanders

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 4 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Welcome Pink Sister, to our site! I had one side done with expander. I experienced a lot of pressure. Felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest the first 24 hours. Pain meds helped, but only needed the first two days. Prop your arms up with pillows when sitting and laying down. Recovery...

      more

      Welcome Pink Sister, to our site! I had one side done with expander. I experienced a lot of pressure. Felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest the first 24 hours. Pain meds helped, but only needed the first two days. Prop your arms up with pillows when sitting and laying down. Recovery was much quicker than I expected. If you have a lymph node disection, you may have some tingling around the site. Wishing you a smooth surgery and recovery. Keep the questions coming. We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Wendy DeLong Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Emily
      I did one side at a time with My mast. I did do the expanders. The expanders go under the muscle. You can expect to be really sore with muscle pain for few days. But mostly when raising up from playing position. Lots girls sleep in recliner few nights. Also you may have arm pain if they...

      more

      Emily
      I did one side at a time with My mast. I did do the expanders. The expanders go under the muscle. You can expect to be really sore with muscle pain for few days. But mostly when raising up from playing position. Lots girls sleep in recliner few nights. Also you may have arm pain if they take lymphnodes. But this is all very doable! It's only a shirt Time period and then you'll be fine. Take your pain meds after the surgery if they help! You will have drains too hanging from or near incision sites. You can pin these to an old shirt or they do make Camis with pockets to hold drain bulbs. Check the hme store at your hospital. Or ask nurse navigator. Mine was sent home with me. Keep drains still and close to you for minimal irritation at the site. Some of these drains may hang around couple weeks. You'll need a string or lanyard to pin drains to while you shower. And.... I hope you have someone to help you at home some. You will need some tlc! Good luck! You will be fine! Prayers!

      Comment
  • Joellen Wolfson Profile

    Does a satisfactory breast reconstruction depend on what type of treatment you have after surgery? I have read that radiation tends to shrink and also harden the breast tissue.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Joellen. Yes radiation tends to shrink the tissue. So it can effect what type if reconstruction you have done. When I had my mastectomy I wasn't a candidate for immediate reconstruction due to my stage, etc. Now I'm finished with radiation and doing research on my options for surgery. My skin...

      more

      Hi Joellen. Yes radiation tends to shrink the tissue. So it can effect what type if reconstruction you have done. When I had my mastectomy I wasn't a candidate for immediate reconstruction due to my stage, etc. Now I'm finished with radiation and doing research on my options for surgery. My skin on the radiated side is not hard but it is tighter than the other side. I have made appts to visit plastic surgeons. I may not have enough skin to do the expanders with implants option. But there are several other types that give great results!! I am looking at DIEP flap reconstruction now. The do a mini tummy tuck & take fat from your tummy to form breasts. I've seen pics & it looks great!!!! Plus a flat tummy to boot! There's a few other options as well. Go to breastreconstruction.org. You can see real photos there. Best wishes to you, Diana. :)

      Comment

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