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

  • Morgan Moser Profile

    I'm having sentinel node surgery on Tuesday and then chemo. (because the lump is 4.5cm) Are there any other options?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Morgan, I had a tumor about 3.5 cm and they knew I had positive nodes through biopsy. I started with chemo (my choice) and then did surgery. The rationale was, as Sharon suggested, to see if the tumor would shrink, thus giving me another option outside of mastectomy. In the end, I had a total...

      more

      Morgan, I had a tumor about 3.5 cm and they knew I had positive nodes through biopsy. I started with chemo (my choice) and then did surgery. The rationale was, as Sharon suggested, to see if the tumor would shrink, thus giving me another option outside of mastectomy. In the end, I had a total response to the chemo. Translation=the tumor was completely gone and the nodes tested clean. I then had breast conservation surgery (area of tissue was removed and the rest was 'rearranged,' if you will, to reshape the breast) and had 14 nodes removed. It seems odd that they would go ahead and remove nodes, which was probably the mor painful part of any surgery for me, BEFORE the chemo. As usual, I agree with Sharon! You might want to call tomorrow and tell them you'd like some more information, rationale, and the chance to get a second opinion. Good luck!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Morgan,
      My advice is a second opinion. So as I understand your surgery, they are just taking out the sentinel nodes and not the lumpectomy or mastectomy until a later date? I wish I had a treatment to suggest but only being a fellow breast cancer survivor I don't know. The only other...

      more

      Morgan,
      My advice is a second opinion. So as I understand your surgery, they are just taking out the sentinel nodes and not the lumpectomy or mastectomy until a later date? I wish I had a treatment to suggest but only being a fellow breast cancer survivor I don't know. The only other treatment I have heard of is to have a course of chemo treatment before having surgery to see if your tumor will shrink. Of course, they are looking for cell in your sentinel nodes. I ended up having cells in one of my 5 sentinel nodes but it didn't change my treatment plan. I was slated for chemo. anyway. It just changed my stage from 2A to 2B. Morgan, if you aren't settled with your treatment, tell your doctor. You need to chew this over with your surgeon a bit more. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Stella Ng Profile

    I’ve received silicon reconstruction surgery in May. I’m planning to travel on a flight that’s approx 24hrs long. Is it safe to travel next month? Will I be at risk with the implants? Please give me your suggestions on how to prepare for my trip. Thanks

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2010
    about 3 years 2 answers
    • teresa clark Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had the same situation a couple if months ago. I conferred with my doctor and they said it shouldn't be any different than pre-implant and they were right. Have a great trip!

      1 comment
    • T H Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Hi Stella, I am a former flight attendant of 18 years. I myself and many of my coworkers had breast silicone or saline cosmetic breast augmentation. Most of us took 3 weeks before we could return to flying. Now remember its not about the pressure the cabin is pressurized . It is more of a...

      more

      Hi Stella, I am a former flight attendant of 18 years. I myself and many of my coworkers had breast silicone or saline cosmetic breast augmentation. Most of us took 3 weeks before we could return to flying. Now remember its not about the pressure the cabin is pressurized . It is more of a concern lifting and pulling your bags during travel. In my 18 years and my fellow flight attendants still out there with 25 years. I have never known anyone to have a rupture during any normal traveling . Where lose fitting clothes as our bodies tend to swell on flights. And drink lots of water. I had my tissue expander put in and flew 10 days later on a 7 hour flight w/approval from my PS. Get the ok from your PS ... Hope your trip is relaxing and safe. Hugs Tena

      1 comment
  • laura tracey Profile

    is it normal to keep having reconstuctive surgery after bil.mast

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 4 years 2 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      My plastic surgeon told me reconstruction is a marathon, not a sprint! There are many steps to the process and it can take a while. Mine was a 9 month process. However, it was worth it in the end. 9 years later, I am still satisfied with the results. It isnt perfect or the same but became a...

      more

      My plastic surgeon told me reconstruction is a marathon, not a sprint! There are many steps to the process and it can take a while. Mine was a 9 month process. However, it was worth it in the end. 9 years later, I am still satisfied with the results. It isnt perfect or the same but became a "new normal". Good luck to you and keep the questions coming! Take care.

      Comment
    • melissa perlman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      What does keep having surgery mean? After bil mast, so far, I've had the implants, then nipple reconstruction 3 months later. In 2 weeks will be nipple tattoo. That's it, unless complications arise.

      Comment
  • Donna Gray Profile

    Are there specialty stores that can fit me properly? My PS wants me to wear a underwire bra after my implants were placed. I am a D cup and can't find one to fit right. Had a bi-mastectomy.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 4 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I heard Lady Grace is fabulous , but don't know if it's a chain. In in Boston

      Comment
    • Jan Jones Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Try "bra fitting specialist" on google or yp.com. Or mastectomy supplies in your city or zip code. Or ask a nurse on your ps'office. Good luck.... Jan

      1 comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

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

Footer 2

Inspire hope by becoming an advocate for breast cancer prevention.

spread the word