Can't decide -- go flat or immediate implant?

I survived invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 1, last year with a lumpectomy in my right breast followed by radiation.

Now I have invasive lobular carcinoma in my left breast and have opted for a double mastectomy. Mostly because I do not want to go through radiation again and I’m afraid of further tumors.

I qualify for immediate implants but I’m so torn. I’m afraid of complications and pain and general unhappiness with the implant feel/look. I think I’m okay with going flat.

I have basically made the decision to go ahead with the implants because it’s an easier procedure to recover from than if I go flat and later decide I really want reconstruction. But there is a nagging voice I can’t dismiss that is afraid of implants. By the way, I’m 57 and post-menopausal. I’m not young, but I’m not old either. 

I welcome all perspectives!

Hi MayberryMagpie,

It’s so difficult isn’t it when you don’t know what to expect and how can we when we are thrown into this situation as we all are. Anyway, I hope my experience will help in some way.

This coming August bank holiday will be the 5th anniversary of my single mastectomy due to a lobular cancer. Like you I was lucky enough to qualify for immediate reconstruction. I’d never had surgery before and I envisaged being in agony and immobile for weeks on end. I was terrified to say the least, especially about post-op complications and how it would all look and feel. I had a unilateral reconstruction on the right side (my dominant side). The operation itself only took a few hours and I was back on the ward eating dinner and texting friends five hours after going into surgery. I stayed in hospital two nights and was given excellent pain relief. I can honestly say I never experienced the agony I thought I would. I am sure it might be a little more challenging having both done at the same time but with help you should be able to manage. Two weeks after my op I attended our annual street party and nobody was any the wiser.

As for the results, well I always say I’d rather have the original but I have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It takes a little while to get used to and I don’t have much in the way of sensation, but I feel confident in all clothes and have no anxieties about “getting them out” in the changing rooms at the gym etc. I feel really lucky to have had such a good outcome and five years on am glad with the decision I made. 

Hope this is helpful. Let us know how you get on.

Ruth xx

I don’t know if you had surgery yet and sorry if this is after and you did the other thing. I had implants and had them out 14 years later. after explant i learned there was a rupture and silicone had leaked. Obviously I did not want to be flat but now I like it a lot better than I imagined and will not wear prosthetics. I want to show up as a healthy woman in case someone is facing this and afraid. Implants involve much pain and did not provide the “normal” the doctors promise. And yes you can explant. The sooner is better if you don’t like them as it involves a new incision to re-heal. Best luck. Best healing .Love