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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

  • Bonnie Kuncl Profile

    I am a 63 year old warrior going on 10 years. (2 unrelated to breast cancer) My oncologist would like me to consider having a hysterectomy and my ovaries out. Any thoughts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Kathy M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My mother is a 20 year survivor who is 65 and had the brca test done. After it came back positive she was told to have her ovaries removed but not hysterectomy. Maybe ask your doctor to have the test and get a second opinion about the hysterectomy.

      Comment
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Have you had the BRCA bloodwork testing for a gene mutation? If that's positive, that is normally recommended.

      Comment
  • Diane Sakowski Profile

    5.6 cm. stage? Surgery in days. Scared

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Diane,
      I felt exactly the same as all the other wonderful women here. I was terrified and I think we all are but for a variety of reasons. I think most prevelent is fear of the unknown. Once you have your treatment plan laid out, you know where you are going. There are tons of stories of women...

      more

      Diane,
      I felt exactly the same as all the other wonderful women here. I was terrified and I think we all are but for a variety of reasons. I think most prevelent is fear of the unknown. Once you have your treatment plan laid out, you know where you are going. There are tons of stories of women having surgery, going through their treatments and coming out as a victorious survivor! You WILL make it through this journey and be a survivor just like we are. I can assure you, there are good endings to breast cancer. I am a 5 year survivor and just had another GOOD check-up this past Wednesday. I wish we could all get together and give you a little sack of our collective courage. For me, just as Rita said, the surgery.... in my case a mastectomy.... was NOT that bad! The chemo. again, was not that bad. As my oncologist told me...."This is NOT your mother or grandmother's chemotherapy." You stop people from telling you negative stories.... don't listen to them.
      Please remember, we are all here to help support everyone going through this journey. Positive thoughts only.... put on your pink warrior outfit.... and march with determination. Do not be afraid to ask questions of your team, they are there to help you. You WILL triumph as so many women have before you. God's blessings, Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      My tumor was 7.3 cm I am stage 3. Last year I had surgery, chemo, and radiation. Today the cancer is gone. I jave to be villigent about my check up but today No ca

      Comment
  • Kimberlee Andersin Profile

    I have one more session of taxamill left then I am scheduled for surgery in about 3 weeks. I will have a bilateral mastectomy. Any advice on questions to ask the plastic surgeon? I'm scared and don't know what to expect.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I did the DIEP flap. They used the skin and fat from the tummy. I lost no muscle( ab or lat). Nothing foreign in my body that needs to be exchanged for something else foreign. The healing isn't to bad I think the abdominal is the hardest part, for me. Think about it and do some research it might...

      more

      I did the DIEP flap. They used the skin and fat from the tummy. I lost no muscle( ab or lat). Nothing foreign in my body that needs to be exchanged for something else foreign. The healing isn't to bad I think the abdominal is the hardest part, for me. Think about it and do some research it might be right for you.

      6 comments
    • Linda Williams Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I just went through the same thing. As far as questions I can't be of much help as for what to expect I might be able to help some there. Keep in mind everyone is different but for me I have had very little pain my chest is still numb in mostly the center i had a spot in the center that wasn't...

      more

      I just went through the same thing. As far as questions I can't be of much help as for what to expect I might be able to help some there. Keep in mind everyone is different but for me I have had very little pain my chest is still numb in mostly the center i had a spot in the center that wasn't healing and he restitched it today without numbing it. I also had a centenal node removed so the back side of my arm to my elbow felt like it was bruised. A chill on my chest will give me a strange tingle. I have spacers in so it feels strange very tight. Your drains will be annoying but probably won't last long mine was in a week on the right side and two on the left. My pc wanted a total of 30 ml or less for the day for 3days before he took them out. One last thing since I'm having reconstruction my chest doesn't look pretty I have long scars across the center of both breast my first thought was well that's hideous!! BUT it won't stay that way it will be repaired when they do the implants. I also want you to know it is scarey I was scared to death but you will get through it, I have great drs that really do care about me and yours I'm sure care about you, you'll do great! I hope this is some help to you and please keep me posted.

      Comment
  • Erin Timlin Profile

    What kind of pain should I expect? I am having a right mastectomy with an expander on Wednesday. I have two little ones at home so I am wondering about recovery as well.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Thanks everyone. I am home and feeling great - so much better than I anticipated. I had nodes removed a month ago during breast conservation surgery which went great, but the extensive pathology revealed stage 0 DCIS so I had to go ahead with the mastectomy. At this point the pain isn't that bad....

      more

      Thanks everyone. I am home and feeling great - so much better than I anticipated. I had nodes removed a month ago during breast conservation surgery which went great, but the extensive pathology revealed stage 0 DCIS so I had to go ahead with the mastectomy. At this point the pain isn't that bad. Thanks for all your responses!

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I had a right mastectomy with expanders also. I had a difficult time with the expanders, they really hurt. I was out of commission for about 3 weeks, then I could drive, walk the dogs etc. Didntntake too much pain relievers

      Comment

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