About to undergo Mastectomy

Hi I have been told that I am to have a full mastectomy and have the opportunity to have a full reconstruction at the same time. I am not sure whether to go for the implant or for the LD or a Tram. Is there anyone than can help and advise me on this, as I am due to see my BC on Monday 18.7.11. to findout the results of the pathology report and discuss my surgery options. The operation may well take place in Leciester but may also happen in Northampton, so if there is anyone who has personnal experience of either hospital and surgeon that would be most helpful also. Full of loads of questions my mind is like a rollercoaster. Please help to slow me down and redirect me.

Good morning diddy59

Firstly, welcome to the forums, I’m sure you find them a great source of information and support.

Whilst you’re waiting for ‘real life’ experiences of reconstruction, I thought you might find it helpful to read our factsheet on the subject so I’ve given the link below. This resource can be either downloaded from the site or ordered.

breastcancercare.org.uk/upload/pdf/bcc_reconstruction_v4_FINAL.pdf

I do hope this is a useful read.

Best wishes

Louise
Facilitator

Hi Diddy,

I’ve only just staffers looking into this myself, so can’t offer much advice I’m afraid, but I’m sure there will be people along soon to do that. I just wanted to say that I went on a BCC forum a couple of weeks ago and there was a seminar on reconstruction and the results were AMAZING. I’d been so worried about it, but not anymore. There were also ladies there who’d had reconstructive surgery who were really happy with the results - enough to let us have a look and a feel! When you meet the surgeon they will be able to examine you and let you know what would be best for you as it will depend on what size you want to achieve and if you have enough tissue to do it. I, personally, am looking for a free tummy tuck at the same time! The surgeon should also have lots of photos to show you which will hopefully put your mind at ease slightly over the whole thing.

X

Hi Diddy, I’ve a friend who originally chose implants but they were buckled by the rads and she’s just them removed and a DIEP recon instead [similar to TRAM]. They now look far more natural than the implants and she wishes she’d had the DIEP in the first place. BB

Hi Diddy

I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction last year (Sept 10) and elected for an implant (expander). The surgeon said I had insufficient fat on my back for a dflap, but that my tummy is an option for the future. She said that they wouldn’t do the tummy until I’d finished treatment; cancer had metastasised to my lymph nodes. Ask your surgeon to explain what they feel your best option is.

I ended up having chemo and radiotherapy and will see my surgeon in Oct to review how my breast/implant has settled after all the treatment. So far, it seems to be settling down well. It doesn’t feel or look very natural as it doesn’t droop like the other one!

My specialist breast care nurse went through all the reconstruction options with me and there is a v good booklet on all the options. It is a Macmillan booklet ‘Understanding Breast Reconstruction’; the table is on pages 34 & 35. Additionally there is a Breast Cancer Care booklet called Breast Reconstruction. I took in to account the length of surgery and likely recovery time. It is a very personal decision to make with so many variables. I just knew that I didn’t want to wake up from surgery without some form of reconstruction.

I wish you the very best of luck for all your treatment and in making your decision. Take care. Puff

Hi Diddy I am 5 weeks post op I had stage 3 cancer into my lyphm nodes and seepage into some blood vessels.
I was offered different options.but my surgeons said that they prefer to do diep flap
I had full mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time.the surgery went on for some 10-11hours of which I of course remember nothing and I woke with no pain at all except sore throat and head from length of time on the table as it were
They were a small price to pay as the surgeons had a problem getting good blood supply to the flap of skin that was from my stomach onto my breast but kept trying and succeeded
I then spent 3 days under a hot blowing blanket to keep good blood supply to the transferred skin and a further 4 days on the ward I felt no pain
I was stiff at first but 5weeks on the physio has said I can massage the tight little scars under my arms and this will stretch them and start to release my arm enabling me to lift it higher .I only started massage yesterday and was amazed at the difference in movement already
So I guess what I’m saying is 8I am very pleased with the outcome and to have a breast already in place when you have low moments is lovely
It kis not the same size and shape as my good breast but in a bra and clothes only I can tell and as the months go on I am told it will soften and drop.after all my coming treatments of chemotherapy starting in 10 days then radio then herceptin I will be able to have my good breast lifted and I cam already see that it will match nicely
I hope some of this cn help you please feel free to ask me any questions about my experience if it helps
Nancy

Hi Diddy,
You haven’t mentioned why you need the mx- if it is a tumour or DCIS, I am guessing former. If it is DCIS don’t be rushed into anything you aren’t sure about. I have just had immediate recon mx with Strattice last week after 4-5 long and stressful months of researching the best option for me.I did worry by the way that I might have waited a bit too long ,3 months is usually max . I was originally booked in for a LD flap redcon in April only a few weeks after dx and I am so glad I didn’t go through with it as the more I learned the more I realised the risks I might (only might, mind you) be taking with impaired shoulder movement. I play a musical instrument for a living so felt I couldn’t risk that. It was originally thought I didn’t have enough fat for a Diep (tummy recon without any muscle taken) but then I was advised this would be the safest option on the career front. The surgeons I saw couldn’t be definitive enough for me about what size they might be able to get out of my tummy and I would have had to have done this op away from local hospital. I decided on it then panicked. My head was saying one thing but my gut was saying another. Eventually I decided on the implant with strattice as I had seen some very good results by the surgeon I was seeing, it was local(very good treatment), and it was only one area of my body to deal with healing. I might regret it in 10 years if I have to have the implant replaced and it does feel horrid (hard!) but I am only 11 day in and can honestly say it has gone amazingly well and looks probably better than it did before! Also I am incredibly well- even went to my son’s assembly 10 days after op (walked there and back). Tummy ops and Ld’s take a bit more getting over initially. Do your research, ask your questions, think of more questions and ask them ( more and more pop up after each appointment). Take good advice, but make sure it is measured advice eg the surgeon isn’t just offerin you that recon because it is the one she has always done and feels comfortable with. You have a right to have the recon you want and if the hospital doesn’t offer it then you have the right to be referred to one that does.
I think the one reason I haven’t collapsed into a wobbling wreck of emotional meltdown since the op ( I truly expected I would) is because I couldn’t have done anymore than I did in researching best options and I really understood everything by the time it came to the op, I had done all my stressing and crying before hand. Now I can get on with recovering. Have had the odd sob but nothing major.
Sorry about the essay, but it obviously all still quite raw in my mind.I hope you can come to a decision that you are happy with. Good luck on Monday

Hi Diddy
I have seen both the plastic surgeon at Northampton and Leicester.Wasn’t sure of which recon method to go with.Went to Leicester last week and haven’t got enough tissue for TRAM/DIEP and had already been told at Northampton I am not suitable for LD either so am back to Northampton in August to discuss implants/expanders.
At least there was no decision to make as the options got ruled out one by one.Good luck with whatever you decide.Think there is a support group you can get in touch with at Northampton and apparently the ladies there are very happy to chat through their experiences of reconstruction.
Tracy
x

Hi

I’m having my MX tomorrow and my pre op assessment today. I’ve been told by both surgeons I’ve seen that I should have only the implant recon tomorrow as a temporary measure because I’ll almost certainly need radiotherapy and this will damage the tissue so not good to have a full recon at this stage. But I’ve just read from a couple of you that you had full recon and then rads - so perhaps I should have the whole lot now?

Any ideas?

Thanks

Hi.Just had mastectomy with LD flap and no implant at end of june.Spent first 24 hours post op in high dependency unit then further 2 days in w ard then home!Stayed on painkillers for 7 days then decided to try without and had no probs.Got really good movement in my arm and shoulder and managing to do lots of light jobs but no hoovering which is no loss!Scar on back is healing well.Consultant managed to save nipple and that seems to be taking.have had some seroma but not unmanageable.Hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.Good luck with decision making. For me that was the hardest part but went with consultants recommendation and i have no regrets.

HI

I had my my MX on the 19th July and I didn’t have an immediate reconstruction because I’ll be having chemo and rads later in August. But I did have an implant and i have to say that the only problems I"m experiencing seem to come from that. There are odd twinges inside the breast from where the implant is pushing the muscle out - it’s very high in my breast so I’m not sure how much more it can be inflated anyway without me looking very odd! But the worst thing is the soreness around the port where they’ll later inflate it. This sits under your arm in your side, the whole area is very swollen and tender.

I’d rather have had the implant than not have had anything - but If I could have had an immediate recon straight away I would have done and I would certainly do that now if I had known that the implant would cause so much discomfort - as it’s only a temporary measure anyway.

Good luck with your decision and your op
x

Can I just add in addition to Princess, I decided on what I wanted partly by process of elimination, ie by deciding what I DIDN’T want. :slight_smile: