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

  • marianne  hayes Profile

    should I delay my bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction at the same time or have a 2-stage op? I'm so confused. I have a stage II from biop 18mm lump in the upper outside quadrant of my left breast.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I...

      more

      Hi Marianne. That's a very tough decision. You mentioned...should you delay having your bilateral mastectomy to have reconstruction. I'm just curious about the delay question. I didn't have the option for immediate reconstruction due to my late stage of cancer, it being in my chest wall, etc. I am almost finished with radiation and I will have reconstruction when I'm healed from that. I have heard both good and bad arguments both ways. I know when choosing expanders then implants, there's the chance of capsular contracture when doing radiation. Thats the negative. The positive is that when you wake from surgery...you will have something there. Another thing to consider is the fact that if you choose to wait...your skin tightens a good bit during radiation and your skin in the radiated area may not be enough to do the expanders & implants. But then of course you can choose another such as DIEP flap (which they'll do a mini tummy tuck as well) or another type. I am going to be visiting plastic surgeons soon Best wishes in whatever you decide. :)

      Comment
    • Wendy DeLong Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. ...

      more

      I am a stage 2A dx'd on 12/8/11. My tumor was 1.5 cm in left breast. I had left side mastectomy with expander insertion on Jan 9. For me the mastectomy was the first step in treatment. Starting the reconstruction at the same time was an option for me and I opted for it. I'm glad I did it. Not because I still feel like I have a breast because this expander is a good ways from what I am thinking my perm implant will eventually look like...... But because I feel like its one less thing to do later. I am ER PR and HER -. My sentinal node did show some cancer while the remaining 12 were clean. My mastectomy biopsy found only precancerous cells in the area that surrounded the original tumor and nothing else in the whole breast. Last week I finished my 4th A/C which was my last. I start 12 weeks of Taxol on April 12 and then I will do 5 years of the hormone pill as well. Once I'm done the end if June with Taxol, ( if all goes well), I plan to do right side mastectomy with expander as soon as I am well enough. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I'm a go getter.... But this AC gives me a run!! But I just take my "medicine" because I have to. I have a loving supportive family and lots of friends praying for me. I am excited about starting the next step of my treatment as it puts me one step closer to being done.!! All your posts are an Inspiration to me. I wish you all the best! Love and prayers- :)

      Comment
  • 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 5 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
    over 3 years 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

    How come when I was diagnosed my Dr. couldn't tell the stage of cancer and said only after surgery I would know, but a friend has just been diagnosed today with no surgery just a biopsy at Stage 2?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Morning A' It all depends on how much tissue was Removed during the biopsy. The type of biopsy done. And the other factor being the surgeon wants to have a complete pathology final report before giving you your staging diagnosis. The doctor I worked for was very thorough and had the tissue...

      more

      Morning A' It all depends on how much tissue was Removed during the biopsy. The type of biopsy done. And the other factor being the surgeon wants to have a complete pathology final report before giving you your staging diagnosis. The doctor I worked for was very thorough and had the tissue evaluated by two pathologist before giving a patient a cancer staging diagnosis. She felt it was devastating enough for the patent to hear they had cancer and wanted to be as accurate as possible with treatment options after surgery

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Morning A,

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

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

Footer 3

Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

spread the word