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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

  • kim sosa Profile

    Just finished 4 cycles of AC now starting my last 4 cycles of Taxol. What should I expect? AC was easy for me no real side effects hoping for the same on my end of chemo with taxol. Half way done then surgery & reconstruction! yayyyyy

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • maria aiello Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I hope I have the same luck as u ladies!!! You give me hope. Had 1st round of a/c today. SE were limited to headache heartburn and dry mouth. Did any of you girls lose facial hair???

      Comment
    • Bonnie Irwin Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I've only had one dose of Taxol. It was easier. But for me, for about three days nonstop, I had bad menstral-like cramps. I could not find much relief. When this was done, it was replaced with joint pain. Tomorrow will be a week past the Taxol.

      Comment
  • Karen Milburn Profile

    do my last taxol treatment 2/27 - have surgeon appt on 2/17 to see what tests she may want to do before surgery and get my options. Heard surgery is usually 4 weeks after chemo. Will she want to know the type of surgery I want before I leave the appt?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    9 months 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      My surgeon asked me lots of questions. She indicated due to the size of the areas involved right next to each other she didn't know if she would be comfortable doing a lumpectomy, getting clean margins, and leaving me much breast tissue since I'm quite small. I had already decided before seeing...

      more

      My surgeon asked me lots of questions. She indicated due to the size of the areas involved right next to each other she didn't know if she would be comfortable doing a lumpectomy, getting clean margins, and leaving me much breast tissue since I'm quite small. I had already decided before seeing her I was going to do a mastectomy without any reconstruction. I found out later in reading her report I would have been very disfigured with a lumpectomy and to top it off the pathologist found a 3rd cancer in addition to the 2 we knew about. She was going to talk with the Radiologists and find out where the 3rd area was in relation to the other 2 that were next to each other and I kept forgetting to ask her before I moved. I feel I made the decision that was right for me and haven't regretted it. I don't know if she'll want to know what type of surgery you want before leaving your appointment or if she will give you more than one option and give you some time to think about it and not right on the spot.

      Comment
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Betti had a good explanation for a mastectomy... With neoadjuvant chemo I hope your cancer is gone or shrunk enough to have a lumpectomy... I had lumpectomy and node dissection... it healed beautifully... My surgeon was amazing she only made one scar for both. I had no problems- pain...

      more

      Betti had a good explanation for a mastectomy... With neoadjuvant chemo I hope your cancer is gone or shrunk enough to have a lumpectomy... I had lumpectomy and node dissection... it healed beautifully... My surgeon was amazing she only made one scar for both. I had no problems- pain was easy- ice and Tylenol and recovery was fast.. U did have to have second surgery for margins... But that was right after and not bad.... I am happy and feel healthy to have kept my breasts. The other time to have a mastectomy is if you can get out of radiation.... I had to have everything... So why choose to cut breast off when reoccurrence rate is the same for either mastectomy or lumpectomy. There is new thought that having breasts helps heart health... There are part of body, who knows how it is all related.... Whatever you choose be happy in your choice....

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does IBC reoccur in the back, after surgery and radiation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I think recurrance can happen in a variety of areas of the body. One can't say where it would happen if it did. If you are having continueing discomfort, or something out of the norm. contact your oncologist asap. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • teresa skaff Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      From everything I have read it occurs in the brain, bones, lungs, and liver. Other areas are not too common with ibc, but of course like all cancers it can spread anywhere. I have ibc.

      Comment
  • Susan Green Profile

    Has anyone had the dye for mapping out the lymph nodes before surgery had this done without a local anesthesia?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 3 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I must have been born with non-functioning nerves.... I, too, had the mapping done and don't remember it being anything other than a bit of stinging but tolerable.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had it done without anything - it was horrible. I remember my surgeon saying "it will feel like a bee sting" and she gave me the injection. I sat straight up and ( I can take pain) and had tears running down my cheeks and said 'oh my goodness' "NO"!!! She said 'what's wrong' I said that wasn't...

      more

      I had it done without anything - it was horrible. I remember my surgeon saying "it will feel like a bee sting" and she gave me the injection. I sat straight up and ( I can take pain) and had tears running down my cheeks and said 'oh my goodness' "NO"!!! She said 'what's wrong' I said that wasn't a dang bee sting it was a swarm or hornets and she said "GREAT ; that means it hasn't moved out of the lymph nodes"! That was true it hadn't but it was the worse feeling ever!!! I know what your talking about.

      Comment

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