loading... close

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

  • lonnie everline Profile

    When having reconstruction, what is better tram flap or silicone?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 3 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Did anyone have only one side reconstructed? That's my deal...I have an expander on the right and the left had nothing at all done. The plastic surgeon told me he'd lift the left and possibly do a small implant for symmetry purposes but they're already the same size so I'm not sure that will...

      more

      Did anyone have only one side reconstructed? That's my deal...I have an expander on the right and the left had nothing at all done. The plastic surgeon told me he'd lift the left and possibly do a small implant for symmetry purposes but they're already the same size so I'm not sure that will happen. Just looking for thoughts on how one-sided reconstruction looks in terms of symmetry.

      Comment
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I had both! There wasn't enough skin/fat/etc. to make a decent breast from the TRAM flap, so I had a silicone implant underneath. It was all done at the same time. I haven't had any problems and It looks quite natural. They made a nipple from other skin (mine was from my thigh), and tattooed...

      more

      I had both! There wasn't enough skin/fat/etc. to make a decent breast from the TRAM flap, so I had a silicone implant underneath. It was all done at the same time. I haven't had any problems and It looks quite natural. They made a nipple from other skin (mine was from my thigh), and tattooed on the aerola. (The tattoo didn't hurt because the area was numb anyway.)
      Not to make light of it, but after four kids it also was nice to get a tummy tuck out of the deal.
      Best of luck to you!

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    First, thanks to God for my successful operation. Secondly, thanks to all of you awesome women for your prayers and support. The operation went smoothly and the "on Q-painball" helped a lot. I still have it in my auxillary area.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 3 years 3 answers
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      So glad everything went well

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Oh Jayme,

      SO happy to hear from you and the surgery went well! This is one huge hurdle toward beating this disease. We are always here for you and again so happy to read your post. Healing hugs and prayers, take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Karen G Profile

    My seroma opened up my breast incison. Healing from inside out. Anyone else?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    about 2 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Kimberley Duke Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I had a seroma as well which ended up draining copious fluid. I then started chemo because we could not wait any longer. Ended up very sick after my first round and was hospitalized for 6 days. Breast continued to drain and then the one spot that was not healing from day one finally opened up...

      more

      I had a seroma as well which ended up draining copious fluid. I then started chemo because we could not wait any longer. Ended up very sick after my first round and was hospitalized for 6 days. Breast continued to drain and then the one spot that was not healing from day one finally opened up and expander was visible had to have immediate surgery to remove expander. Not enough tissue to close wound, so had to pack wound for 2-3 weeks then was just doing wet to dry dressing for several more months. Wound took 5 months to completely heal, and ended up with a huge scar on my chest. I then did the DIEP flap surgery

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi Karen I had a seroma the dr drained it had 300cc it came back dr put a drained tube in and it became infected. I had to have surgery & have my expander removed. Was on antibiotics for three weeks. I am now flat on one side. yes your right it's always something. Prayers to you IJ

      1 comment
  • Surf  Momma Profile

    How long does it take to be comfortable after a mastectomy? Are implants comfortable? Expanders sure aren't!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 4 years 2 answers
    • Nicole Bernard Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I'm 27 years old and had a bilateral mastectomy as well. I just had my expanders replaced with silicone gel implants on September 1 and immediately felt relief while sleeping. I too am side/stomach sleeper and the expanders filled to capacity were rock solid large softballs sitting on my chest...

      more

      I'm 27 years old and had a bilateral mastectomy as well. I just had my expanders replaced with silicone gel implants on September 1 and immediately felt relief while sleeping. I too am side/stomach sleeper and the expanders filled to capacity were rock solid large softballs sitting on my chest making it impossible for me to get a good nights sleep. I just recently tried sleeping on my stomach (while wearing a compression bra) and felt very comfortable. When I'm able to go without the compression bra, I think I may be slightly nervous but know it's a world of difference then the expanders. It's funny, someone recently said they heard that when someone has an augmentation their breasts are slightly firmer... my response is I wouldn't know. I can only compare the implants to the expanders and "knocking on wood" nothing can be that hard. The implants feel real to me in comparison, that's for sure!

      Comment
    • rosa ramentol Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      After my mastectomy it felt like I was wearing an iron bra. It took me about 2 months after the surgery to sleep comfortably. I don't have my implants in yet but I don't find my expanders too uncomfortable.

      4 comments

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