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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

  • gabby ksendzovsky Profile

    My grandma is diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and is have surgery next week. Should I be worried about it even if the doctors aren't?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 3 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Gabby, how loving of you to be so concerned about your grandma. Although there are many factors that figure into a breast cancer diagnosis, it would be unusual for a stage 1
      breast cancer to be something to be highly concerned about. If her doctor's are not ringing their hands with worry, I...

      more

      Gabby, how loving of you to be so concerned about your grandma. Although there are many factors that figure into a breast cancer diagnosis, it would be unusual for a stage 1
      breast cancer to be something to be highly concerned about. If her doctor's are not ringing their hands with worry, I would follow their lead. They see breast cancer all the time, and a stage 1 with no mention of aggressive cells, you need to follow their lead and relax a bit. Your grandma will get the care she needs to cure this. This is a very early stage breast cancer that was found in plenty of time so you will have your grandma with you for a long, long, time. I don't know what type of breast cancer this is or what course of treatment will be followed but I know she will have the pleasure of her grandaughter with her along the way. Please try not to worry. Breast cancer treatment has advanced so much, and so many of us have been saved because of it... especially the women whose disease was diagnosed at Stage 1. Big hugs to you, your grandma must be a very special lady and is lucky to have you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Joanne Uppendahl Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Gabby, your love for your your grandmother really stands out! It'll be so
      important to her as she goes through the treatment and recovery. As others
      have written, Stage 1 is so early and normally responds really well to treatment.
      I think she will likely be 'as good as new' - and how...

      more

      Gabby, your love for your your grandmother really stands out! It'll be so
      important to her as she goes through the treatment and recovery. As others
      have written, Stage 1 is so early and normally responds really well to treatment.
      I think she will likely be 'as good as new' - and how fortunate that her diagnosis
      came at such an early stage! I had a stage 2, and I'm a grandmother, and the
      love of my daughter and granddaughter made a huge difference as I went
      through surgery and radiation. I finished radiation a year ago and am feeling
      fine and so grateful that mine was caught early. Everyone is different and
      I don't know what type of cancer she has - there are various kinds of cells -
      but it does sound like she should do very well! In some ways, it's harder to
      be the loved one than the patient, so I hope this helps. My very best wishes
      to you and your grandmother!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My mother had bilateral mastectomy last week and has had fevers ever since. Her white blood cell count is at 47? Is that bad? Going in for her 3rd surgery today.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am sorry but do not know what is normal for blood counts but if she is running a fever, that does not sound good to me. This is something she needs to talk to her surgeon about asap. It also sounds like she may need to be on some kind of antibiotic.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending...

      more

      A normal white blood cell count is around 10,000. I assume your mom's is 47,000. With a high white cell count and a fever it sounds like your mom has an infection going on. (I was a nurse in a former life.) She needs to reach out to her doctors ASAP.
      If she can't reach them, and depending on how bad she feels, you might want to consider going to the ER at a hospital with which her doctor is affiliated. Be sure she wears a mask (you can get one at a drug store). She probably needs to have blood work and other tests to figure out what's going on.
      Keep us posted, and please continue to ask any questions you might have.

      2 comments
  • Babe B Profile

    After a mastectomy, how long till the drip tubes come off and when can I drive my vehicle?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 3 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I just ha my mastectomy on Oct. 24th. I had my follow up visit a couple of days ago. My doc removed the steri strips and said I would be able to have my drains removed when sack one produced less than 24ml of fluid in a 24 hr period. So ll have to wait a little longer. Normally it can be anywhere...

      more

      I just ha my mastectomy on Oct. 24th. I had my follow up visit a couple of days ago. My doc removed the steri strips and said I would be able to have my drains removed when sack one produced less than 24ml of fluid in a 24 hr period. So ll have to wait a little longer. Normally it can be anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the amount of fluids produced. I was told I couldn't drive for two weeks.

      Comment
    • Natasha Nunnally Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had my surgery bilateral mastectomy on 10/21. I still have my drains in and I'm able to drive occasionally depending on how I'm feeling that day. Although its never that far from home. Everyone heals differently and everyone goes through a different range of emotions. So really I think it...

      more

      I had my surgery bilateral mastectomy on 10/21. I still have my drains in and I'm able to drive occasionally depending on how I'm feeling that day. Although its never that far from home. Everyone heals differently and everyone goes through a different range of emotions. So really I think it depends on the person.

      Comment
  • emily april Profile

    how painfull is a double mastectomy with tissue expanders

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 2 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

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