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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

  • Joellen Wolfson Profile

    Does a satisfactory breast reconstruction depend on what type of treatment you have after surgery? I have read that radiation tends to shrink and also harden the breast tissue.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Joellen. Yes radiation tends to shrink the tissue. So it can effect what type if reconstruction you have done. When I had my mastectomy I wasn't a candidate for immediate reconstruction due to my stage, etc. Now I'm finished with radiation and doing research on my options for surgery. My skin...

      more

      Hi Joellen. Yes radiation tends to shrink the tissue. So it can effect what type if reconstruction you have done. When I had my mastectomy I wasn't a candidate for immediate reconstruction due to my stage, etc. Now I'm finished with radiation and doing research on my options for surgery. My skin on the radiated side is not hard but it is tighter than the other side. I have made appts to visit plastic surgeons. I may not have enough skin to do the expanders with implants option. But there are several other types that give great results!! I am looking at DIEP flap reconstruction now. The do a mini tummy tuck & take fat from your tummy to form breasts. I've seen pics & it looks great!!!! Plus a flat tummy to boot! There's a few other options as well. Go to breastreconstruction.org. You can see real photos there. Best wishes to you, Diana. :)

      Comment
  • Surf  Momma Profile

    Do implants feel better than expanders?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes, they do. But I would advice to go with a small breast size for the implants! 400 ml, maximum! Other way it will be a big discomfort for a VERY long time!!

      Comment
    • M Aycock Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      ??? Did not have reconstruction--want to make sure I make it to the 5 yr mark before I go to the trouble. I had St 2b Grade III no node involvement. Triple negative bc

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Breast lumps on both breasts, sized 3cm, 2.8 0.8 & 0.5 on the ultrasound. I also have a family history of breast cancer - my dad's Aunt. It increases my risk that it's breast cancer. What should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Lori A Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You should go to your doctor immediately. Early detection makes a big difference.

      Comment
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I found the tumor in my left breast 2 years ago, at 42 y.o. Same week I did the ultrasound - we jump the step of mammogram because it was clear where the thing was. With the ultrasound we found 2 more tumors, and the confirmation of being a mass. One more week I had the biopsy. Then surgery - I...

      more

      I found the tumor in my left breast 2 years ago, at 42 y.o. Same week I did the ultrasound - we jump the step of mammogram because it was clear where the thing was. With the ultrasound we found 2 more tumors, and the confirmation of being a mass. One more week I had the biopsy. Then surgery - I opt for double mastectomy because I had a high risk over 60% to have in the other breast in the future. Best thing I did because in the biopsy post surgery, they did find a tinny tumor on my right breast, still not detectable by any test.
      Started chemo 1 month after surgery. Then had the genetic test done, and I'm BRCA 2 positive - high risk for ovarian cancer. As soon as I finished the chemo, I had a surgery to remove the ovaries. Then did reconstruction, and now I am healthy, happy and with really little risk of reincidence! Easy? No, it was a trip to hell, painful, scary, I still have neuropathy, joint pains and chemo brain. But I wouldn't change any of the steps I took because I'm alive and happy, very happy!!!! My conclusion and answer for you: don't waste time. As soon as you can have the alien removed from your body, better chances for everything to be all right!!

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Had lumpectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy a year ago, followed by radiation. Recently developed a tight pulling sensation in my arm, especially inside my elbow, but nothing visible. Does this sound like a mild case of cording? Should I get it checked?

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 5 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Yes, it could be. Always best to check so if it is,you can start treatment and get you comfortable again. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes. Tight and heavy are signs of chording. Get back to your arm exercises.
      Mine flares up once in a great while. Massage from the fingers up through the armpit.

      Comment

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