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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

    The surgeon said he removed 25 lymph nodes and 10 were cancerous. Does this mean it has probably spread elsewhere? Are these numbers normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 3 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      As Sharon said...every woman is different. I had 15 lymph nodes removed and 13 of those were cancerous. It doesn't necessarily mean that your cancer has traveled past the lymph nodes. Your dr. May want to do more testing to make sure. I had chemo before my surgery. Then had to have more...

      more

      As Sharon said...every woman is different. I had 15 lymph nodes removed and 13 of those were cancerous. It doesn't necessarily mean that your cancer has traveled past the lymph nodes. Your dr. May want to do more testing to make sure. I had chemo before my surgery. Then had to have more afterwards. When they found the positive nodes...some of them were "extranodal" meaning the cancer had broken outside some of the lymph nodes. That was the reason I needed more chemo. I'm going through radiation now. I'm also happy to say that my last PET scan showed no cancer!! Voice your concerns with our Dr. Yes, let us know how you are. Prayers to you. :)

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It means it has spread from the original tumor. Your doctor will probably want additional testing of the type of tumor and the aggressiveness of the cells. I had 5 sentinal lymph nodes removed and one was positive for cancer. I hope you keep us posted as your treatment continues. We, on this...

      more

      It means it has spread from the original tumor. Your doctor will probably want additional testing of the type of tumor and the aggressiveness of the cells. I had 5 sentinal lymph nodes removed and one was positive for cancer. I hope you keep us posted as your treatment continues. We, on this board, want to support every woman who is going through this journey. All of our stories are different but we all care for each other.
      Take care, Sharon

      4 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    My surgeon is hesitating to do a breast reduction because of my LCIS. I have horribly large, pendulous, physically and mentally painful, deformed breasts; I'm more than desperate for this surgery. Has anyone had the same situation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    over 2 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Dear A. Without anymore info other than.LCIS. For me , I wouldn't be thinking reduction as much as mastectomy. Get another surgeon that's looking at the whole picture. :-( Jo

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would suggest having a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction that way you would get great breasts made the size you like and no need for further mammograms.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My 2nd surgery will be mastectomy (due to too much DCIS) No lymph node issues! Researching reconstruction-expander in R. breast, saline implants in both. Pain? Recovery? Advice? Will do chemo after surgery then implants. The journey continues.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    about 2 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Jamie Moore-Holmes Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had tissue sparing bilateral mastectomy Sept. 2011, 5 rounds of chemo, April 2012 I had my reconstruction with memory gel implants. For me the bilateral was very painful, however....pain meds were used more freely. Reconstruction was very painful and pain meds were not sufficient. I am heading...

      more

      I had tissue sparing bilateral mastectomy Sept. 2011, 5 rounds of chemo, April 2012 I had my reconstruction with memory gel implants. For me the bilateral was very painful, however....pain meds were used more freely. Reconstruction was very painful and pain meds were not sufficient. I am heading back into surgery in 2 weeks to have the right implant/breast worked on due to scar tissue. Nipple construction the end of Feb. one day at a time. I feel more like "Me" everyday. Jamie

      Comment
    • Paula Svincek Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I aslo had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I concur with Jo Steinberg. Because a lot of the nerves are affected, it's not extremely painful (drugs certainly helped). Let the anesthesiolist know before surgery that you want something so you won't throw up. I had expanders at the time...

      more

      I aslo had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I concur with Jo Steinberg. Because a lot of the nerves are affected, it's not extremely painful (drugs certainly helped). Let the anesthesiolist know before surgery that you want something so you won't throw up. I had expanders at the time of surgery, they were put under the muscle. I opted for silicone implants because I thought they looked more natural. Fortunately I didn not have to have radiation.

      Comment
  • Rafi Togoo Profile

    How helpful is surgery for patients with stage 4 breast cancer with bone mets? - With chemotherapy and herceptin, the patient has shown significant response.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Lisa Yurus Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My mom was just diagnosed with Stage 4 breast with mets to bone. She is going to have a mastectomy after 5 cycles of taxotere/carboplatin/herceptin. This is what her oncologist is recommending. He is one of the best in Florida.

      Comment
    • Rafi Togoo Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Waiting for a response

      Comment

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