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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I'm 64, recently diagnosed w Stage 0 dcis in multiple areas, mastectomy is recommended. No radiation or chemo, so I'm ok with that. Just very concerned about what kind of reconstrution to choose. Any advice would be great.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      I chose at expander at the time of my mastectomy and then it was exchanged for saline implant. Silicones have a more natural feel... but if it leaks, you'll know right away with saline. I did not want the invasive surgery and recovery from a tram flap surgery from the stomach. The expander...

      more

      I chose at expander at the time of my mastectomy and then it was exchanged for saline implant. Silicones have a more natural feel... but if it leaks, you'll know right away with saline. I did not want the invasive surgery and recovery from a tram flap surgery from the stomach. The expander takes several visits to the plastic surgeon to do the "fills". Then an additional surgery for the implant exchange. I also had nipple reconstruction and tattoo. Since I only had a mastectomy on the left side, I had the a lift on the right. Insurance paid for that, too. It is not a perfect match, but overall I am pleased with the results. Check our reputable sites like these to learn more info....

      http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/breastreconstructionaftermastectomy/breast-reconstruction-after-mastectomy-toc

      http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/avon_foundation_breast_center/treatments_services/reconstructive_breast_surgery/options.html

      Your plastic surgeon will discuss options and both of you will select the best one for you. Wishing you a smooth surgery and recovery. Keep the questions coming, we care about you!

      Comment
    • Karen G Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I just had the DIEP surgery two weeks ago. I can tell you recovery is really hard. I wanted implants but wasn't a candidate due to radiation therapy. At least it is my own tissue that was used. I had a Mastectomy on my right side and my left side was reduced so it is more symmetrical.

      2 comments
  • jeany turkett Profile

    Has anyone chosen not to have reconstruction after a double mastectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 3 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Yes I chose to not have reconstruction. I have not regretted it at all. I have a wonderful pair of proths I where when I choose to. No one can tell. I had 42DD's before, which were uncomfortable in themselves. My "new proth." Girls are 42 C's and I love them. It is such a personal choice. ...

      more

      Yes I chose to not have reconstruction. I have not regretted it at all. I have a wonderful pair of proths I where when I choose to. No one can tell. I had 42DD's before, which were uncomfortable in themselves. My "new proth." Girls are 42 C's and I love them. It is such a personal choice. My doc said if I changed my mind down the road, I could get the reconstruction, but I am happy with my choice. Good luck with your journey.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Jeany,
      I had a single mastectomy and chose no reconstruction. I would choose the same if I had a double mastectomy. As Rita Jo says no one could tell you have "store-bought-ta-ta's"
      My prosthesis is silicone, and feels real. I was fitted at a specialty store so it matched my other breast. My...

      more

      Jeany,
      I had a single mastectomy and chose no reconstruction. I would choose the same if I had a double mastectomy. As Rita Jo says no one could tell you have "store-bought-ta-ta's"
      My prosthesis is silicone, and feels real. I was fitted at a specialty store so it matched my other breast. My husband says "It hugs just like my other breast."
      I just did not want any more surgery and certainly didn't want the months of pain of expanders. You can always have reconstruction done in the future if you choose. If you are on the fence, I would go with the prosthetics and see how you do. I am completely happy with my decision. Whatever you choose, good luck to you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Angela Blabaum Profile

    Has any one every had both a tram and a LD reconstruction. Have a tram since 95 now dr is suggesting LD because of thinning skin

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 1 answer
    • Angela Blabaum Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      91 & 93 2 diff types cancer, lump & rad both 95 3rd type, did bilateral mast and tram reconst., few months later added impants & Chemo . I've always had problems with the 'permanent' stitches. About 2007 had implants replaced, one had capsulized. I've noticed one side has become increasing...

      more

      91 & 93 2 diff types cancer, lump & rad both 95 3rd type, did bilateral mast and tram reconst., few months later added impants & Chemo . I've always had problems with the 'permanent' stitches. About 2007 had implants replaced, one had capsulized. I've noticed one side has become increasing thin & you can really see all the ripples in the saline. I finally went to see a plastic surgeon . He says I'm very close to and erosion & opening of the skin over the implant. Says I either need to totally remove the implant ) or do the LD flap for new skin. Has anyone else ever had both of these reconstructions done?

      1 comment
  • teri  fisher Profile

    I had my silicone implants put in over a month ago. Lately I have notticed the tops of my breast seem rippled. Anyone else experience this ? Is this normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 2 answers
    • teri  fisher Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Andre,I see my surgeon next week and they did do fat around the silicone when they put them in. What revisions did you have to have?

      1 comment
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Teri I think it is normal more for saline rather than silicone but yes. Your just dropping & not so swollen. You can call your PS & tell them. After 2 months with my saline implants, I had surgery for revisions & nipples. He put fat around to help hide imperfections. Prayers to you.

      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