• Are you happy with your reconstruction surgery?

    Asked by cbutinski on Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Are you happy with your reconstruction surgery?

    I had a bilateral masectomy with expanders, I had an infection that removed one of my expanders so I had to have only one filled, then the other was put back in and filled this was an extra expense that we didn't have and three extra surgeries, since I was a large chested woman and chose not to be that large mainly because we couldn't afford it and the doctor said I would never be that large I have a lot of skin on the side of my chest and one practically in my armpit.

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I am very happy that I did not have reconstruction surgery.

      about 4 years ago
    • Damaris' Avatar

      Well, at the beginning I wasn't, it seemed to me that maybe wasn't worth all the discomfort, and I realized that it will never look the same at all. But now I feel more at ease and i like having my belly practically flat, it has been a long time since I've seen it this way( I did the DIEP Flap type) so I'm staring to feel good about myself again. Another thing that helps is the love and support of my husband, for him I'm the same person he fell in love with.

      about 4 years ago
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar

      I had a very similar experience to you. I had a bilateral mastectomy, and had expanders put in. One of my excisions wasn't healing, so they took out one of the expanders, and I immediately started healing. I then had chemo, and after the chemo was completed, I had the expander put back in, and the reconstruction process. I had two surgeries, as after the first implants were put in, i felt they were not large enough to even make a difference from having just the expanders in me. They gave me further expansion, and larger implants, and it's been six years, and I'm thrilled with the outcome. Best of luck to you.

      about 4 years ago
    • ruthieq's Avatar

      I am assuming you do not have insurance, because if you do have insurance they should cover all aspects of reconstruction whether there were complications or not, needing expanders removed and replaced or not. That isby law that they should cover this for you (of course the co-pays and deductibles do add up). Besides that the surgeon should make good on his/her surgery and if there is a complication they should not be charging for a whole new deal... If they are that's someone I wouldn't recommend to anyone else. I too am glad I chose not to have reconstruction. Many work out well, but many do not especially if you are not finished with treatment. I think they should not do reconstruction until treatment is completed, and if rads are involved they recommend no recon until 2 yrs post.

      about 4 years ago
    • LeslieR's Avatar

      I, too, had a bi with expanders. Two days after I left the hospital, I had staph in the right side and had to go back to the hospital to have it removed. The left side never did fully heal either and about a month of babying the area, I had to have that one removed as well. The left expander was removed in the dr's office (ouch). I cried when he removed it but I wasn't sad or in pain, I was relieved that it was finally out of my body! It's been almost a year now. I've let my body fully heal and have done my research on "fake vs real". I am scheduled to have the gap flap (using my hip and bottocks tissue) in 3 weeks and am feeling really confident that this time all will be fine.

      about 4 years ago
    • cbutinski's Avatar

      I did have insurance, I was recieving chemo so that was a weekly copay, I had a breast surgeon, and a plastic surgeon all requiring a copay ( except the plastic surgeon but only for 90 days after surgery, I was only being filled 60cc's a week that's 6 weeks just for an A to B cup and I was a DDD plus before, plus after my chemo each three weeks I have my nuelasta, and my medicine for three days, and of course medication for pain and infection, let me also remind you that I am home from work during this time and I am running out of paid time off quickly, need I go on..

      about 4 years ago
    • cbutinski's Avatar

      I should of done what you did and just had them both removed when I had the infection and waited, I was given the option of doing the flap by taking it out of my back but the recovery would take longer and I didn't have tons of time I ended up using up a lot of time when I had to go back for the infection and to remove more lymphnode, when I did finally go back I still had two drains. I wish I could get the flap done.

      about 4 years ago
    • RMR's Avatar

      I had a similar experience as you did. I was diagnosed April 2011 had bilateral mastectomy with expanders May 2011. Had infection in left breast around June 2011 and had to have the expander removed. Started chemo in july and finished in Sept 2011. Had left expander put in in Oct 2011. I was also pretty large before BC and chose to go a bit smaller. I had a lot of extra skin and since my expanders were already at a B cup I did not need to many fills to get to the C cup I ended up with. My Implants were put in Feb 2012. Left side did not heal well and skin was not holding up well so I had some surgery to fix that (with an implant sling for extra support) in May 2012. I just had what should be my last reconstructive surgery, nipple reconstruction (to which I added a tummy tuck) on Aug 20th. Its been a long process and I am tired with having surgeries about every three months. However, I feel like I have done everything to put myself back together - better than before. My response to BC was F*** U**** you are not going to beat me, I am coming out of this better than before.

      I agree with one of the existing posts. If you have insurance it should cover the reconstructive surgeries. The only think not covered would be the "cosmetic stuff", like my tummy tuck (which I knew about in advance and saved up for), I think I am supposed to pay something for the implant sling, but have not been billed yet. My PS agreed ahead of time to work with my insurance (which I think he is regretting). One of the things I learned through this process is that revisionary surguer is not uncommon. As far as your extra skin is concerned, perhaps talk to your PS - maybe he or she can use that extra skin for reconstruction. I do not see how the size of your reconstructed breast would change the cost. Is just choosing the size of the implant right? So talk to your PS - try and get the size you want. Your PS should be able to take care of the extra skin at implant surgery too. If you are not getting satisfaction from your current PS, perhaps its time for a second opinion and a change in surgeons? You have been through XXX and deserve to have the best possible reconstruction so that you can also say F** U** to BC and come our of this on top!!

      Hang in there - good luck to you.

      Here's to survivorship.

      about 4 years ago
    • mariet615's Avatar

      I wish I had never begun reconstruction--I had a quack of a plastic surgeon who did a terrible job of it, and had to go through an additional 6 surgeries to correct what he did. No one asked if I wanted reconstruction--I was told, as a 'young' cancer patient (49 at the time) that it was part of the procedure. Now, 3 years and 10 surgeries later, the right implant is constricted with scar tissue, so that it feels squeezed, and both feel as if the nerves are on fire. I wish someone had been honest with me about the possible difficulties, but the surgeons I dealt with kept saying "well, it's different for everybody". It stinks. I would have them removed, but that's 'elective', which means my insurance won't pay for it.

      about 4 years ago
    • jenniferk's Avatar

      I had bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction April 2010. My body just kept making fluid and my drains were in for a month. I was ok with everything right after surgery but expanders kept causing problems. Right after reconstruction my breasts were large enough. My plastic told me that my chest wall muscle was very thick. Since my muscle was so thick he was able to expand me with 75cc during surgery. My surgeon (not plastic surgeon)was shocked at how large I was right after surgery. These new breasts were fine for awhile. They did not sag or flop even if I did jumping jacks. Then the expanders started to get wrinkles in them. Plastic said the only fix was to increase the fluid in them to smooth out the wrinkle. Every week we had to add more fluid to the expanders. My firm breast were now so large that they were hanging down to my waist in a support bra. My plastic surgeon thought he had a sense of humor and actually started calling me Dolly Parton. Then the real problems started. My breast started to grow without fluid being put in and I was running a fever. My plastic was in Houston and I was in Oklahoma. I called him daily for a week and his office finally returned my call. Receptionist told me he would definately call that day because he was leaving for a 2 week vacation. Never got the call. I found a great plastic surgeon in Oklahoma. Saw him Tuesday afternoon and had both expanders removed Wednesday morning do to infection. He couldnt believe how huge the expanders were. He said they were so large that my muscle that had started at 3/4 in thick had been stretched to being paper thin. He said it was so thin that the expanders were about to tear through and you could see through it. It was great to have the expanders out. They were so uncomfortable. I actually hated them. I could see that I had lumps there to take the place of a breast but they were hard as a rock and had no feeling. I didnt feel like they were me. Wish I would have never had reconstruction. I just go flat now. I figure I've spent a good deal of my life in a bra and now I don't need one. Its great not having your bra dig in to your back fat and causing rolls. They are still there but not wearing a bra helps to hide them.

      about 4 years ago

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