• I'm having a double mastectomy. As far as reconstruction, can I hear some good outcome experiences and which procedure was chosen?

    Asked by lassie345 on Saturday, January 19, 2013

    I'm having a double mastectomy. As far as reconstruction, can I hear some good outcome experiences and which procedure was chosen?

    I may not even have choices due to my insurance. I don't know yet.

    19 Answers from the Community

    19 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      I chose no reconstruction, and I'm delighted with my flat chest. I do, however, miss my nipples. It's a very personal decision! For me, skipping recon was definitely the right choice.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Suzie's Avatar

      I chose implant using an expander. The expander was placed under the muscle. My doctor told me everyone is a little different. I have gone through the expansion process. I have not had the exchange because the doctor has now recommended radiation. The injections weren't bad at all, just a pinch from the needle. After the injection I did take pain meds for a few days a few days because I did have the muscle spasms which I had read about. It was pretty uncomfortable for a few days each time. I chose this reconstruction because I wanted the least complicated surgery. I know it's a difficult decision. My doctor spent a lot of time explaining the different options and has always been so patient with me. That has helped me a lot.

      almost 8 years ago
    • debsweb18's Avatar

      I had a single mastectomy. I chose silicone implants. My doctor did not use expanders. The implant was immediately inserted under the muscles during the mastectomy. I had radiation, then a lift on the other side. Radiation can shrink the implant and several months after the lift, I replaced the original implant for symmetry. Recently I had the lifted side relifted and fat grafted from my belly to the implant side to round it out a bit. I haven't seen much difference in this last surgery, so I know I'm done. I have no regrets except that I wish from the beginning that it would have been a construction in progress. I think it's a lot harder to achieve symmetry from a unilateral vs. a bilateral. I never expected to look perfect, but I think I look a lot better than before BC (at least with a bra on and not too bad with out one on!). Like Suzie, I chose the implant because it wasn't as invasive as the flaps surgery.

      I also had nipple reconstruction. Since it's now in the wrong place because of the subsequent surgeries, I could have done without that one and just had the 3D nipple tattoo. I can have it fixed, but don't' want to mess with it anymore. The tattoo is my next and final step and I'm done! I started all of this almost 2 years ago.

      BTW- I had a few doctors and a physical therapist say my PS did a great job.

      almost 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had bilat with expanders then a year later silicone implants...I'm pleased with the results...in clothes I look like a small chested woman.....I really wasn't presented with many options and I was scared on the more invasive procedures....if I was to do it over again, I would still probably do the same type of recon....I had chemo and rads after bilat....rads does make recon more difficult.....i had my fills while I was going through chemo....as I am small, I only had 3 fills.....then after chemo rads....PS waits 6 months after finishing rads to do the exchange.....I had my expanders for 12 1/2 months....I don't have any of the "finishing touches"....

      over 7 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      My reconstruction is scheduled for February 15th. I am having the tissue expanders with Allodern (sterile skin) to act as pockets for the expanders behind the muscle. Because my breasts were large my own skin is thin, my age too for that matter. I will also have liposuction from my back to my breasts to make them look more natural. He will not take from stomach because of age! I will have silicone implants and tattooed nipples when completed around 3-4 months from the start. He tells me I will be a size c-d, not the double d I was before mastectomy last June. My surgical and medical oncologists recommended I wait til chemo was complete before reconstruction because of the risk of infection! My PS agreed with them. I finished chemo on November 8th, but my blood counts were too low for surgery then! Surgery is scheduled but will depend on my counts on February 7th. I am anxious but others I know that have had this surgery say it is completely worth iy! Go with feels right for you and the recommends of your medical team! Good luck - I will be thinking about you.

      over 7 years ago
    • PrettyToes' Avatar

      I have chosen not to have any reconstruction. My husband agrees. I have heard of so many complications,infections, redo surgeries, as well as chronic pain, that I have chosen not to go that route. Then I already knew that, which my breast surgeon confirmed. Also have read many disasters on this forum. However, I also know several women with no problems, including my cousin. So it is definitely a personal decision. I have chosen to get prosthesis from "Radiant Impressions". Wishing you the best!!! Be sure to ask lots of questions of your surgeon.

      over 7 years ago
    • Pottts30's Avatar

      I had reconstruction over 20 years ago. I chose to have saline implants. The procedure was a success but sometimes I wonder if the flap would have been better. good luck with whatever you chose!

      over 7 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      My plastic surgeon said his patients had the best results using tissue expanders placed immediately following the mastectomy. In my confused state of mind--trying to digest the news that, yes, I really did have breast cancer--I took his advice and went with immediate reconstruction using expanders (I really didn't know what that meant, although he had me watch a video and sent me home with some pamphlets). He and my breast surgeon coordinated their schedules and soon I was on the table in their hands. Capable, skilled hands, thankfully. A year later (without incident, thankfully again), my treatment and reconstruction is complete and I am very pleased. My breasts are symmetrical and smaller than before (most thankfully of all!). Good luck whatever direction you ultimately choose.

      over 7 years ago
    • Jaimebrie's Avatar

      Hi lassie345,
      I had a bilateral mastectomy and bilateral DIEP Flap reconstruction. I am so very happy with my results. I have a fabulous plastic surgeon, and I had no problems after the surgery. It is a huge surgery but so worth it. I have absolutely no regrets. The results are amazing. SInce it is my tissue, I will never reject it, and having a tummy tuck is a wonderful added benefit!! I also had bilateral nipple reconstruction and areola tatooing which also came out fantastic and I am extremely happy with all my results. Prayers and lots of good luck to you.

      over 7 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had a bilat in February with immediate reconstruction with saline gel implants. I am happy with my results. I have minimal scarring and they are pretty symmetrical. You can read about my whole experience at my blog.

      over 7 years ago
    • Baldredhead's Avatar

      Hello, Lassie!
      I am one of "the reconstructed ones", with a single mastectomyh. They moved a muscle from my back to my front to make a pocket for the silicone sac that would become my breast - At the same time, a small piece of skin was taken from my back to add to the front so that I when I was stretched the shape would be more natural. Sounds pretty ominous, but actually it wasn't too bad - and my insurance paid to not only have all of this done, but to "even up" the other side as well! I woke from surgery and couldn't move my arm for about 10 hours, but now I actually have full range of motion and do pushups, play piano, etc.....

      It's all pretty overwhelming right now, I know, but please hang in there - There is life and vigor and joy on the other side -

      over 7 years ago
    • LeslieR's Avatar

      I had a bilateral and I went along with what seems to be the norm... the tissue expanders. I had a really rough time with these "foreign bodies" in my chest. The right side had to come out a week after surgery due to infection, the left side was "babied" along for about a month before it also had to be removed. I went for about 6 months flat chested... I stuffed my bras, used the fake boobies, I was very self conscious as my shirts just didn't fit right. I found it to be a real chore wearing the fake boobies to work... very hot and uncomfortable. I had a successful second reconstruction surgery last October using my own tissue from my hip and buttocks. I am scheduled for the second stage of the surgery in August (nipples and sculpting the areas of donation). So far I am just as pleased as I think I could be! Very natural looking as it is my own tissue. The Center for Restoritive Breast Surgery in New Orleans is WONDERFUL!!!!

      over 7 years ago
    • mamakas' Avatar

      I chose to have implants. They look pretty natural. I wont have to have mamograms anymore so thats a plus.I healed pretty quickly and back to work. will still have a few more more follow up procedures, but nothing too invasive.

      over 7 years ago
    • savingrace's Avatar

      I chose to have reconstruction 5 years after I had my mastectomy. I had the tranflap procedure done and have been completely satisfied. The doctor used the tissue in my stomach and tunneled up to form my NEW breast. After about 4 - 6 months I went back and they form my nipple. That was using the tissue in the breast area and as my doctor said "made something out of nothing". So neat. Then a few months later they tattoed the color on. The new one was close enough for me to the old one that I needed nothing done to enhance the old one. Do some research on the different types of procedures and ask a lot of questions.

      over 7 years ago
    • nonnie917's Avatar

      Like Jaimebrea, I too had a double mastectomy with TRAM flap reconstruction. I am due for my final phase of the reconstruction process Feb. 4 and I am getting excited to get it done. I have a great PS and he will make sure that everything comes out right and even. That includes my tummy tuck. He has to find my belly button because for some reason it has disappeared. So the tummy tuck is going to be better than originally expected. I want to be a size C cup and he said if I am not happy with the outcome that he would implant small silicone implants to get my cup size. So I am really happy with what has been done so far and am looking forward to the final outcome of the reconstruction. If that helps you at all?

      over 7 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I had the expander thing with a latissimus dorsi thing. I hate the way my back has dimpled from the muscle loss, plus I have way worst posture than I ever did before. I'm ordering an orthotic for posture correction!

      Diep seem to be great if you get an experienced surgeon, have enough stomach fat for what you need, and are strong enough physically to cope with a weak stomach (part of your abs are taken with the fat).

      over 7 years ago
    • Benge's Avatar

      So sorry you have breast cancer as well. I had a double mastectomy Dec.5 and had expanders put in at the same time. I chose that because I know I would have been self conscious without breasts. It's a personal decision though. I'm almost at the end off my fills and it's nice to see breasts again although they are hard right now. I had no infections, but I heard that smokers have a huge chance of infections. I have to wait 2 -3 months after my last fill before they do the exchange to implants. The reason for the wait is that they will look more natural. I went back to work a month after surgery, but had to take it easy still. My body sure let me know if I did too much!! Good luck with your choices!! I prayed a lot and had great support through my church!! When I finally came to the decision what to do, it felt right!!

      over 7 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      Thank you for sharing your question and encouraging other WhatNexters to do the same. I hope all is well.

      Your question reminded me of some content we have on reconstruction experiences.




      It also reminded me to let WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, including a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      about 7 years ago
    • DebbieI's Avatar

      I chose bilat with expanders put in even though cancer was only on left side. I had fills while going through chemo, and then 33 radiation treatments. A little over 2 months after radiation ended, I had my expanders exchanged to silicone implants. I found my lump March 28, 2014 so its been not quite one year for everything.

      over 5 years ago

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