• I am having a bilateral masectomy on 8/17. I am not sure if I should have an implant reconstruction or a flap reconstruction.

    Asked by Denise916 on Saturday, July 7, 2012

    I am having a bilateral masectomy on 8/17. I am not sure if I should have an implant reconstruction or a flap reconstruction.

    I would like to hear from woman who have had silicone breast implants and woman who have had lat flaps with implants. What was your experience with the surgury, complications, and satisfaction with results.

    Thank you.

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I had a bilateral masectomy with immediate reconstruction on 2/3. I did a TON of research and luckily my plastic surgeon is a friend I have known for 35 years. I was a large DD before my masectomy and wanted to make sure I would be a full B or small C after my surgery. I was told I did not have enough of my own fat to make me new breasts that I would be happy with. In addition it is a LONG surgery if you do it at the same time. I did not want to leave the hospital with no breasts, and there aren't a lot of surgeons near where I live that do it all at once.
      My implants are gel based, called Nutrelle. They still feel foreign to me but they look great and very natural. I write about my whole expreience on my blog: nancebeth.blogspot.com
      I have posted pictures of my breasts and written about everything. It may help you to read it.
      Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I had a bilateral masectomy with immediate reconstruction on 2/3. I did a TON of research and luckily my plastic surgeon is a friend I have known for 35 years. I was a large DD before my masectomy and wanted to make sure I would be a full B or small C after my surgery. I was told I did not have enough of my own fat to make me new breasts that I would be happy with. In addition it is a LONG surgery if you do it at the same time. I did not want to leave the hospital with no breasts, and there aren't a lot of surgeons near where I live that do it all at once.
      My implants are gel based, called Nutrelle. They still feel foreign to me but they look great and very natural. I write about my whole expreience on my blog: nancebeth.blogspot.com
      I have posted pictures of my breasts and written about everything. It may help you to read it.
      Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • GetMyLifeBack's Avatar
      GetMyLifeBack

      I had bilateral mastectomy in December of 2010. I had expanders placed at first and they slowly filled them up with saline solution until they got to a size I liked and after healing for a few months they were replaced with silicone implants. I like the look for the most part but since there isn't much fat there, you can see the ripples. My surgeon said he could fix them but they don't bother me that much and I really wanted to be done with the whole process. I miss being able to FEEL my boobs. I have some feeling coming back but it is none of the erotic feeling. I can feel pain, it itches and for a long time I couldn't feel myself when I scratched the itch. I am not sure if you do a flap reconstruction if the loss of sensation is the same. My recovery was pretty quick from both surgeries although the first one definitely hurt a lot. Either way, getting a wedge pillow helps for comfort. Also, I pretty much lived in the camisole with the pockets for the drains I had in for the first week. That was the best thing ever! I do not regret my choices, but I definitely miss my left nipple. I didn't do the reconstruction of the nipple because it would be hard to match my right one. If you can do a skin sparing mastectomy I would definitely go for that.

      over 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      Sorry my answer posted twice. I wanted to correct my response, too. My implants are Natrelle not Nutrelle. And I also have not gotten the feeling back in my breasts yet either. They itch like crazy but I can't feel when I scratch them. I use Sarna lotion which helps a lot but sometimes I just sort of smack them lightly where the itch is and that kinda works, too. I had a skin sparing masectomy but not nipple sparing. I have gotten used to not having nipples and have not yet decided if I will even bother getting them reconstructed. As the answer above says, since there is no fat and very little tissue I can see the ripples in my implant as well. My surgeon can fix it but not sure I want to bother with another surgery...not now anyway.

      over 4 years ago
    • bbailey248's Avatar
      bbailey248

      I was diagnosed in May/2009 followed with a bilateral mastectomy in June/2009. My nipples could not be saved in that the duct had ruptured. Expanders were inserted and injected with saline for the following six months. The difference between the two surgeries (my understanding is) that with the flap you get a tummy tuck AND breast implants. I was advised that there is a lot more stiches and the recovery is more tedious and a little longer. I was very interested in the Flap surgery but chose to do sit ups for my 'mature' waistline instead. I only know of two women in my bunch of survivors (aged 40+) that have done the flap surgery. One is tickled pink (in her 40's) and the others comments aren't worth putting to pen (in her early 50's).......she's somewhat of a drama queen. Anyway.....The first day of the initial surgery was uncomfortable in that my upper body was wrapped so tightly (understandably). The drains (which will be needed in either case) were just part of the program and will be necessary until the fluid output reaches a minimal amount - determined by your doctor. The camisole that I purchased from a referred to agency cost me $70 out of pocket. This was the portion that the insurance didnt' cover. I would recommend referencing the TLC catalog (http://www.tlcdirect.org/depts/MastectomyProducts.html) at this wetsite (or google TLC Cancer Catalog) for different products. I had my expanders for six months followed by surgery with silicone implants. I wanted saline implants because of my concerns with silicone. It was explained to me by my surgeon (who is an incredible plastic surgeon and spends a month out of each year traveling with Doctors Without Borders) that with total reconstruction, saline implants were not advised because of rippling (not much fat to sustain the shape with saline) and that silicone would need to be used. I underwent chemo the month after surgery. I'm getting ahead of myself and going into future territory. If you want to correspond off the public grid you can contact me @: [email redacted] - I chat with women that have just been diagnosed and volunteer at 'Links For Life' (a non-profit) which provides wigs, support, reference material etc. for women of Breast Cancer. Good luck on your surgery and hang in there kid. All will be well.

      over 4 years ago
    • Valentinegirl's Avatar
      Valentinegirl

      I had a single mastectomy and reconstruction via a tram flap on May 24th. I did some research on my options, and decided on this procedure, as I did not want a foreign object in my body. The idea of reconstruction with my own flesh seemed more natural. All in all, I am glad that I chose this procedure; however, it has been a long recovery, and I had significant abdominal pain in the beginning of my recovery. (I had very little pain in my breast area). I began chemo a month after my surgery, which has likely slowed my surgical recovery. The benefits of this type of reconstruction have been that my body has not had to deal with a foreign objected (which may have been rejected), and from a cosmetic perspective, I have a flat tummy for the first time since giving birth. The procedure was safe, albeit a longer surgery, and again, the recuperation time has been longer than if I had had an implant. Every woman has her own choice to make based on what's best for her. I hope that you can find an option with which you are comfortable. Good luck!!

      over 4 years ago
    • grt42btexan's Avatar
      grt42btexan

      I had a double mastectomy and DIEP reconstruction six months ago. Although it has been a tough journey, I do not regret choosing this option at all. I love that I woke up from my surgery with somewhat normal looking breasts. I love that I feel them. I love that I did get a nice flat looking tummy. I love that I never have to worry about doing more surgery in case of leakage or rupture. I feel like I got rid of the cancer in my surgery and got back to just me nothing foreign in my body. I hope you do lots of research and please get many opinions. My first plastic surgeon did not think I had enough stomach fat to make two breasts and only offered implants the Lat. procedure. I left feeling very hopeless. I am only in my forties and didn't want to be physically limitted the rest of my life. My second plastic surgeon gave me such hope that I would be happy at the end of this horrible nightmare. It is a hard long surgery and the recovery is harder no doubt. But I am so glad I did it.

      over 4 years ago

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