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

  • anonymous Profile

    Here's my question...I just turned 33, found out last night that I will have a bilateral and chemo can anyone help me out on what to expect as far as the chemo and reconstruction or any other helpful information?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 2 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous, I know we are all so sorry to hear at such a young age, you have breast cancer. Every woman's breast cancer is different on a cellular level. There are many factors and findings that go into the decision how your treatment will go. It depends on what type of breast cancer you have,...

      more

      Anonymous, I know we are all so sorry to hear at such a young age, you have breast cancer. Every woman's breast cancer is different on a cellular level. There are many factors and findings that go into the decision how your treatment will go. It depends on what type of breast cancer you have, the stage, the grade, and your age. You are in limbo right now because you are still being tested. Once your team have your treatment schedule set, your life will settle down. I can tell you, where you are right now is lousy. We really don't know what your treatment will be. As far as chemotherapy, everybody handles it differently. Some people it is tough, other people, like myself, it was relatively easy. They have very good druges to keep you from getting nauseated. You WILL lose your hair. That is a --for sure--. It starts to drop out at about 2 weeks after your first treatment. I did not have reconstruction but usually if you have a mastectomy and you are going to have reconstruction, they place tissue expanders to make a pocket for implants. There are other types of reconstruction and that will be discussed with you depending on your specific circumstance.
      A suggestion for you while you are going through this diagnosis phase, take a spouse, relative and good friend to take notes and listen to what is being said. I did not remember a third of what was said. Thankfully, my husband and best friend came along to help me through this tough time. You have got to be your own best advocate. You have got to speak up, ask questions, and make sure you are getting the correct medication. Every woman's treatment will be different because it is not individualized for each woman. It is a long journey, but you will come out the other side a much stronger woman. Breast cancer treatment ain't for wimps! Hang in there.... you WILL make it!
      Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
    • sandra hayley Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a mastectomy and chemo in 2006, had breast cancer again in 2011, had surgery and radiation. Think positive! You can beat this! I also found out I have the brca2 gene(breast cancer gene) I am now 41 and trying to stay positive and eat healthy and...

      more

      I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a mastectomy and chemo in 2006, had breast cancer again in 2011, had surgery and radiation. Think positive! You can beat this! I also found out I have the brca2 gene(breast cancer gene) I am now 41 and trying to stay positive and eat healthy and exercise regularly.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    If I have a invasive tubular carcinoma tumor that is 4cm, how long should I wait before surgery removal? (my doctors say they cannot do it for two weeks...I am concerned it will grow or spread elsewhere )

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 3 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I can totally understand your concern. From what I've read....invasive tubular carcinoma tends to be low grade which means it is a slower growing cancer & two weeks is a reasonable time period to wait. I had to have chemo prior to my surgery due to my stage of cancer. I will have my mastectomy...

      more

      I can totally understand your concern. From what I've read....invasive tubular carcinoma tends to be low grade which means it is a slower growing cancer & two weeks is a reasonable time period to wait. I had to have chemo prior to my surgery due to my stage of cancer. I will have my mastectomy this coming Monday. That will be a period of four weeks between my last chemo and date of surgery. Here's a link that might help. http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/rare_idc/tubular/. Good luck with your surgery. :)

      Diana

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am going to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Can anyone give me advice for what to bring to the hospital and what types of bras are best after surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Ask your surgeons nurse what they prefer you to wear as far as bras some surgeons have reconstruction bras and some want you to wear sports bras with a front opening

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Good morning, I was told to wear a underwire bra that morning. They did put it on me over my dressing and under the ace wrap. I was to wear underwire bras to help form your new breast with the implant in the healing process. Make sure you also take a loose fitting button down blouse. It'll be...

      more

      Good morning, I was told to wear a underwire bra that morning. They did put it on me over my dressing and under the ace wrap. I was to wear underwire bras to help form your new breast with the implant in the healing process. Make sure you also take a loose fitting button down blouse. It'll be hard to raise your arms to get a Tshirt on for a while so stock up on button down blouses. You may have drains in so they will safety pin it to the inside of the blouse so light denim or something similar that no one can see the drains is good. Also loose fitting pants for me my swelling from the surgery went all the way down to my coccyx I had taken jeans and couldn't button them. In the car for the ride home have a bucket or basin and towel I was nauseous from the anesthesia and pain meds.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    4 AC Treatments, Taxol/Herceptin for 3 months and then 6 months of Herceptin....one year of chemo in total no surgery...is that possible?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It sounds like you may not feel comfortable about your treatment???? I would get a second opinion if I were you. Having no surgery does sound a little strange.

      Comment
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would think you would need some type of surgery, weather it be a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Maybe they can tell through clean margins, that the biopsy got all of the cancer cells, and the chemo is being used as a precautionary measure? I'd you ask your oncologist why there would be no surgery?

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

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