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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

  • Sarah Hailes Profile

    I'm status post bilateral mastectomies and in the process of chemotherapy. My cancer is stage two and had 10 lymph nodes removed. I have lymph edema. My question is that I really want to run in the future. Is that ever going to be possible???

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • celien thorne Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      After I recovered from mastectomy And a miscarriage i walked -jogged- 3 miles every day. Then I was able to run 3-5 miles for the countdown to my chemo even that very morning before I received chemo I ran , my mantra was "screw u cancer , not gonna stop me".... Now im almost 6 weeks out of...

      more

      After I recovered from mastectomy And a miscarriage i walked -jogged- 3 miles every day. Then I was able to run 3-5 miles for the countdown to my chemo even that very morning before I received chemo I ran , my mantra was "screw u cancer , not gonna stop me".... Now im almost 6 weeks out of chemo but still getting Herceptin I'm back to running 3 miles everymorning "slow but steady " .. And i do strength training exercises , eventually I hope to train for a triathlon I'm no athlete by any means im just not gonna b taken down by this crap not gonna stop me ! You will get your running stride again , one step , one boob , at a time ;-)

      3 comments
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes! You can do anything you work hard enough to do. We have cancer it doesn't have us. We have to be smart but we can do and be what want.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had a lumpectomy and 5 nodes removed. (all negative) I have pain in my shoulder joint when I swing my arm in any direction. Is that normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      You should go see your doctor about that. If the pain is in the shoulder joint itself it could be something unrelated to the surgery. A couple years ago my shoulder began to get uncomfortable and I figured it was muscle pain and did stretches . It got more painful when moving the arm like your...

      more

      You should go see your doctor about that. If the pain is in the shoulder joint itself it could be something unrelated to the surgery. A couple years ago my shoulder began to get uncomfortable and I figured it was muscle pain and did stretches . It got more painful when moving the arm like your saying . Ended up being what's called a frozen shoulder. It has to do with the tendons inside the shoulder joint and one cause can be due to hormonal Issues like menopause. I had to go to physical therapy to resolve it but it took a while. I'm not saying that's what it is but I know after my surgery it hurt to move the arm but I wouldn't say it was shoulder pain. More muscle pain. Good luck . Hope you get some answers.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thanks

      Comment
  • Rachelle W Profile

    What to expect after bilateral mastectomy? Would really like to hear others experience. My surgery is scheduled for 8/27.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2014
    over 2 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Mandana K. Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had bilateral mastectomy near 6 months ago,I myself wanted it,I had only one darn ,I was not uncomfortable with it.I had pain but it was tolerable,after 3-4 days I could walking alone.After one week I could going to bath (my husband helped me).I remember I went to Bone Scan Center and CT Scan...

      more

      I had bilateral mastectomy near 6 months ago,I myself wanted it,I had only one darn ,I was not uncomfortable with it.I had pain but it was tolerable,after 3-4 days I could walking alone.After one week I could going to bath (my husband helped me).I remember I went to Bone Scan Center and CT Scan after 2 weeks but at that time I walked slowly and I could not elevate my shoulders.After one months I was OK.I myself went for chemotherapy .It is not so bad u can tolerate ,but someone should help u for near 2 weeks.Take care

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The reconstruction is what made it so painful. Stayed in hospital overnight & my hospital was awesome. I had 1 drain on each side & hospital gave me 2 new bras that held them. They were in for a week or until the fluid drains to 5cc for...

      more

      I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The reconstruction is what made it so painful. Stayed in hospital overnight & my hospital was awesome. I had 1 drain on each side & hospital gave me 2 new bras that held them. They were in for a week or until the fluid drains to 5cc for whole days time. It was painless to remove them. My husband cleaned & measured fluids. Nurse taught great excercises to stretch muscles which helped tremendously. I used pain Meds for 1 week. It was tough looking in mirror @ first but after a few days I embraced my new look & kept it moving. My husbands encouragement & kindness made it easy. I wasn't able to raise my arms so hubby had to bathe me, cook, clean & everything in between. Love him
      I was put on Tamoxifen & had no side effects. Once pain subsides & u adjust to your new look you'll be fine. PRAYERS TOO YOU

      7 comments
  • anonymous Profile

    My implants were very soft after exchange surgery. Now (2weeks later) they have gotten much firmer. Is that normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    about 4 years 2 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I had surgery last week and notice the same thing. I will ask the doctor when I go to have the drains out, hopefully later this week. Am interested in other's experiences with this.

      3 comments
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I've tried to comment twice, and won't post, so I'll try this. Thank you SO much for letting me know. Tuesday I will see my surgeon and ask for this It will be two weeks for me then too. Please let me know if this helps you. Lou

      Comment

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