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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone here had oncoplasty? I went for a 2nd opinion regarding Mastectomy and was offered this option pending results of PET scan & BRCA test.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Christina Archambault Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      I had the BRCA test

      Comment
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      That is a big decision with many factors to be considered! For me, waiting for the results of the BRACA test was the worst as it was really a game changer for me if positive! It was negative thankfully. Let us know how it turns out and what you decide!

      Comment
  • Kristine Fonseca Profile

    Has anyone had DIEP (using belly fat) breast reconstruction that can share their story of the surgery and recovery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 8 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • dorothy harder Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I havent had my reconstruction yet but I was thinking about this procedure. Because its all your own tissue. I just am hesitant cuz it seems you are getting so chopped up. But in the long run you'll have less infections or complications--so I'm told.

      7 comments
    • Erin Ely Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My Mom had a double mastectomy with a DIEP flap repair on Feb 1st. It was a 10 hour surgery in all. She spent one night in ICU and the three nights on the regular floor. She has had very little pain, the six drains bothered her more than anything. She does fatigue easily but she is getting...

      more

      My Mom had a double mastectomy with a DIEP flap repair on Feb 1st. It was a 10 hour surgery in all. She spent one night in ICU and the three nights on the regular floor. She has had very little pain, the six drains bothered her more than anything. She does fatigue easily but she is getting stronger everyday. They did not have to use any muscle for the flap so she maintains her abdominal strength. Also, she has no lymphadema due to only two nodes removed during the sentinel node biopsy. At her fist post op visit, five of the six drains were removed. I encourage women to consider this surgery if given the option. Yes, the surgery is long, but she will look amazing and be cancer free when all is said and done. I am Han RN and have been very pleased with her healing and progress. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me.

      5 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer, one died and one had a mastectomy and is still alive! I am 47, am having pain, swelling and itching but feel no lumps! I have scheduled a mammogram but I am freaking out! Does this sound like it could be cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous,
      I absolutely know the fear you are having but you need to go and get a mammogram now mostly for your own peace of mind. Have you had a mammogram in the past? Anytime you have itching, swelling, pain, anywhere in your body it needs to be checked! Try not to think your grandmothers...

      more

      Anonymous,
      I absolutely know the fear you are having but you need to go and get a mammogram now mostly for your own peace of mind. Have you had a mammogram in the past? Anytime you have itching, swelling, pain, anywhere in your body it needs to be checked! Try not to think your grandmothers fate will be yours. It is something to be aware of and to make your doctor aware also but it isn't something written in stone. Breast cancer is sneaky. It can hurt, swell, itch, have lumps, not have lumps, be a rash, invert nipples, have all sorts of weird things.... or it won't bother you at all. Put on those big girl panties and get a doctor's appointment. It is time to get those "girls" checked. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I have always heard that breast cancer is not painful. Mine was very small and had no symptoms but was found on a mammogram. Maybe you have an infection. Make an appt and get it checked. Keep us updated. Praying for great news.

      Comment
  • Lynn Rambo Profile

    I think I may have pulled out a post-mastectomy drain tube! Can't tell since it still appears connected. Any idea how to tell or potential dangers if I have?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Tammy Duran Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Call surgeon and go in. That is what they are there for. Good luck. I got mine out 3 weeks ago and still sore around it. God bless

      2 comments
    • joan jones Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Call and let them know -
      Let them make the decision if it can " wait" or you need to be seen ...

      Best wishes and deep breaths and >> wellness !!!

      Comment

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