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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

  • Sherry Barger Profile

    Has anyone ever had DIEP microsurgery? I have read everything about it and wanted to know any personal experiences.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sherry Barger Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thank you Casey

      Comment
    • Casey Chernes Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi, yes I just had the surgery on July 7th.. Mine was a little complicated because my left breast didn't take like the right one so I was in surgery for 20 hours...and I will have to have an implant inserted on my left side... The recovery is tough with the drains but I should be getting them out...

      more

      Hi, yes I just had the surgery on July 7th.. Mine was a little complicated because my left breast didn't take like the right one so I was in surgery for 20 hours...and I will have to have an implant inserted on my left side... The recovery is tough with the drains but I should be getting them out next week! And then I will get my expander to start reconstruction on my left breast. This doesn't happen to everyone so I just wanted to tell u my experience...one good thing I will tell u is I has a "mini" tummy tuck with the surgery... I would say more than mini because my belly looks great and super flat!! So I'm happy one food thing came out of this!! Hope I helped..

      Comment
  • 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
    almost 8 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
  • Josephine Mannarino Profile

    I am 70 years old and diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and 1 lymp node involvement. Will my treatment be agressive?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Josephine, I, too, had the same diagnosis. Each and every woman's breast cancer treatment depends on the type of breast cancer, the woman's age, stage, aggressiveness of the cells, surgery chosen, and the woman desires. Some women would choose to have every bit of treatment available to...

      more

      Hi Josephine, I, too, had the same diagnosis. Each and every woman's breast cancer treatment depends on the type of breast cancer, the woman's age, stage, aggressiveness of the cells, surgery chosen, and the woman desires. Some women would choose to have every bit of treatment available to her even if the odds of benefit are very small. My treatment, because of all the above factors was not, what I would call particularly aggressive. I had a mastectomy, 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 5 years of hormone therapy. I have very close and watchful appointments with my oncologist, an annual mammogram, and an annual MRI. I was diagnosed at 59 with invasive ductal carcinoma and one microscopic involvment of a lymph node. I can't really say how aggressive your treatment will be because there are several pieces of the diagnostic puzzle missing. It sounds like your breast cancer was caught at an early stage. If you have questions about your treatment plan... do not hesitate to get a second opinion. You will be ok, and come through this all in fine shape. Hang in there Josephine.... we, on this board are always here for each other. Blessings to you and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Your doctors will decide your treatment plan. God Bless you on your journey.

      Comment
  • Lori Nau Profile

    I'm 4 weeks post op from a double mastectomy and 1st stage of reconstruction. I'm still so tired and just can't seem to get my energy back. Has anyone felt the same and any suggestions to improve my energy level?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Lisa Taylor Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I agree with Cindy rest when your body tells you it's tired and walking does help!

      Comment
    • cindy stephenson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had lumpectomy and was very tired. I would sleep 14 hours. If is a major surgery. Rest when u need to but try and walk and get alittle exercise. It really does help with the fatigue.

      Comment

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