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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

  • laura tracey Profile

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

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 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
  • Megan Smith Profile

    Before surgery, should I have a PET scan or MRI? My general surgeon says that they are unreliable.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Cheri Robertson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I have extremely dense breast tissue so before the surgery I just had in 1-20 they had me get an MRI with dye contrast which confirmed the lumpectomy surgery was needed. For me it was essential because nothing for me was seen on any previous testing method.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      No scan or testing method we have is going to be 100% accurate. For instance, my mammogram & ultrasound missed reading my tumor. Despite the imperfections I can't imagine a physician would treat cancer without doing a PET, CT scan, or MRI first. I would suggest seeing a physician that specializes...

      more

      No scan or testing method we have is going to be 100% accurate. For instance, my mammogram & ultrasound missed reading my tumor. Despite the imperfections I can't imagine a physician would treat cancer without doing a PET, CT scan, or MRI first. I would suggest seeing a physician that specializes in breast cancer. It might be a good idea to get a second opinion. Your life could depend on it!

      Comment
  • janet levy Profile

    I have developed an infection in one breast while having expanders in. I am seven weeks out from surgery and can't believe that I could get an infection now. I must have three solid weeks of antibiotic infusions. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since
    almost 4 years 2 answers
    • Lydia Bujanda Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am in the same boat..............had uni mastectomy on May 24th and infection arose on June 23rd. I couldn't believe it, thought I was doing well. Doc ended up replacing my expander and now I am 2 wks out of that surgery and also on IV antibiotics at home which I hope will end tomorrow and I...

      more

      I am in the same boat..............had uni mastectomy on May 24th and infection arose on June 23rd. I couldn't believe it, thought I was doing well. Doc ended up replacing my expander and now I am 2 wks out of that surgery and also on IV antibiotics at home which I hope will end tomorrow and I still have a drain in so not a happy camper right now. Keep the faith sister as our journey continues..............prayers to you and everyone here! =)

      Comment
    • Allison Mullen Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      Did your infections come back after the antibiotics?

      1 comment
  • Jennifer Edgarton Profile

    Anyone get second opinions after lumpectomy's

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 3 years 3 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      If you have questions start with your doctor if you aren't satisfied tell him/her you are going to seek more information and then seek until you are confident with your choices. This journey is hard enough without unresolved question nagging you.

      Comment
    • kim c Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I did. I was unsure about chemo since my oncotype score was 27. After discussion with second doc, I decided not to have chemo. First doc then said I made the right choice.

      Comment

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