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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

  • emily april Profile

    how painfull is a double mastectomy with tissue expanders

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 7 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Welcome Pink Sister, to our site! I had one side done with expander. I experienced a lot of pressure. Felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest the first 24 hours. Pain meds helped, but only needed the first two days. Prop your arms up with pillows when sitting and laying down. Recovery...

      more

      Welcome Pink Sister, to our site! I had one side done with expander. I experienced a lot of pressure. Felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest the first 24 hours. Pain meds helped, but only needed the first two days. Prop your arms up with pillows when sitting and laying down. Recovery was much quicker than I expected. If you have a lymph node disection, you may have some tingling around the site. Wishing you a smooth surgery and recovery. Keep the questions coming. We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Wendy DeLong Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Emily
      I did one side at a time with My mast. I did do the expanders. The expanders go under the muscle. You can expect to be really sore with muscle pain for few days. But mostly when raising up from playing position. Lots girls sleep in recliner few nights. Also you may have arm pain if they...

      more

      Emily
      I did one side at a time with My mast. I did do the expanders. The expanders go under the muscle. You can expect to be really sore with muscle pain for few days. But mostly when raising up from playing position. Lots girls sleep in recliner few nights. Also you may have arm pain if they take lymphnodes. But this is all very doable! It's only a shirt Time period and then you'll be fine. Take your pain meds after the surgery if they help! You will have drains too hanging from or near incision sites. You can pin these to an old shirt or they do make Camis with pockets to hold drain bulbs. Check the hme store at your hospital. Or ask nurse navigator. Mine was sent home with me. Keep drains still and close to you for minimal irritation at the site. Some of these drains may hang around couple weeks. You'll need a string or lanyard to pin drains to while you shower. And.... I hope you have someone to help you at home some. You will need some tlc! Good luck! You will be fine! Prayers!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    An X-ray of the shoulder due to the pain incidentally shows metallic surgical clips left inside after reconstruction surgery , any one has this problem. What needs to be done ? So worry. Thks

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • cindy stephenson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would suspect they are tying off the mammary artery. Normal

      Comment
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      The lady that did my mammogram explained to me that they put the clips in if they have a wide gap between tissue in the breast after removing the tumor...as in my case. I do have clips and they show up on my mammogram.

      Comment
  • kate eshleman Profile

    I had my drains removed Friday and understood some fluid under my mastectomy scars would be typical, but I actually look like I have small breasts again and it is uncomfortable. Is this typical?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Kate I had fluid build up post bilateral mastectomies my surgeon would manually drain the fluid with a syringe every other day for two weeks after my surgeries. I noticed the more I did with my arms the faster the bluish would build up. Also needed to sleep ony back propped up with pillows or in...

      more

      Kate I had fluid build up post bilateral mastectomies my surgeon would manually drain the fluid with a syringe every other day for two weeks after my surgeries. I noticed the more I did with my arms the faster the bluish would build up. Also needed to sleep ony back propped up with pillows or in a lazy boy recliner laying flat or on my side would also cause fluid buildup. In time the fluid build up will stop and reabsorb. Most important is if the areas is red and warm to touch or if you have a fever go to the emergency room as that could be a sign of infection take care

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Hi I had fluid build up for a year after surgery. I still have a little but nowhere near as much as the first year. It is fairly typical. I always showed my oncologist and surgeon anything that bothered me, just to be safe. Not sure what can be done although I did have lymphatic drainage...

      more

      Hi I had fluid build up for a year after surgery. I still have a little but nowhere near as much as the first year. It is fairly typical. I always showed my oncologist and surgeon anything that bothered me, just to be safe. Not sure what can be done although I did have lymphatic drainage treatments done by a licensed person.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone else had this problem? I had a bilateral mastectomy w/ expanders on the 17th. 5 days later I had another because the incision wasn't closing properly. I'm facing another because there is a small spot that is not closing!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Lisa Taylor Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I will be praying for you and your family! God Bless

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Sometimes when you have radiation prior to reconstruction there is a problem with the incision healing due to the radiated dead skin cells. A skin graft maybe required. Talk to your plastic surgeon and ask what your options are. Take care

      Comment

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