Further surgery following reconstruction

Hi - I was diagnosed in June last year following a routine mammogram. I had a mx and ld reconstrucion in July - 2 very small tumours total 14 mm. My oncologist advised chemo would not be particularly beneficial so on letrozole for the next 5 years. Prior to the surgery, I felt that if I could get through the mx and reconstruction then uplift and nipple reconstrucion would be manageable. I’ve an appointment next month to discuss the further surgery and although I was up for it initially I’m now wondering if I want to put myself through another op etc. My good side is slightly bigger and droopier than my new boob. I’m reasonably happy with the way I look and with clothes on I don’t think the difference is noticable unless you know! My Plasic Surgeon mentioned that any tissue removed during the uplift would be sent to pathology so if there was anything going on in my good side it would be flagged up. - another reason to consider the surgery? Really can’t make up my mind whether to go for it or not! Anyone any similar experiences to share?

Again, this could be a post that doesn’t make it on to the active topic list unless someone has answered (an annoying blip I have just noticed in the forum) … I’m sure there must be dozens who start new threads and never get an answer so leave the forum. I’ve only noticed this today. I enter the forum by clicking on ‘community’ on the BCC site. This shows latest topics being discussed but I’ve now found that ‘active topics’ and ‘latest posts’ in the left hand column that have threads that have no responses and that I’ve never seen when i click on the ‘community’ tab at the top.
I’be posting this so it gets a higher profile and somebody may see and be able to answer you.

i have had mx and reconstruction on my right side and am leaving it about 6 months before my nipple reconstruction ( my consulant has advsed this ) to let my breast recover and also for me to recover … I need a break from surgery !
i have a pretty good match with the left side and as time changes the left one … Ie i know it will sag then i will get an uplift then.
It all depends on the individual I guess. I am 42 and I do want my breast to look good both clothed and unclothed.
Is your consultant rushing you ? You should really take your time.
best wishes

c x

Hi Maise Mae,

Briefly, I had mx and immediate LD recon (no implant) in Feb 2011; after waiting for skin to recover from rads, as required by PS, in November 2011 I was put on a waiting list for symmetery surgery. I have finally crawled my way to the top of the list, and will be having a reduction and uplift on 21 Feb 2013, so two full years on from mx. Because I was told the wait time was 3-4 months, which became 6-8, then 8-10, I had reached the point of giving up and thinking I wouldn’t bother when I was offered this date. I am now feeling very positive, even quite excited, about the procedure as I am two cup sizes different between the two sides. To be honest, I am not sure I will bother with nipple recon or tattooing because I was told that would be ‘at least six months’ after the symmetry surgery, and I’m fed up with a seemingly endless process. Who knows, though, that I won’t feel differently after the symmetry job… and the nipple recon is ‘just’ an hour’s outpatient appointment under local anaesthetic…

Why don’t you see the consultant, ask them realistically how long the waiting lists are and what is involved before making up your mind. There is no requirement for you to say ‘yes’ if you don’t want to, but it would be a more informed decision than otherwise. You could even say ‘yes’ and then decline if you change your mind.

For the record, I am now just fifty and life-long single so this is purely and simply about making me feel good about me. To be symmetrical would be kinder to my back, and I feel would make me more confident, as I am quite conscious of my lop-sidedness even fully clothed.

Whatever you decide, I wish you health and happiness.

I had my diep stage 2 last Wednesday and I’m really gald I did it. I’ve had many ups and downs in the psychological over the six months between the big first diep surgery and now, the second one of nipple reconstruction and scar revision. I was small breasted to start with so my left diep breast was overfilled (as they need to be) and necessitated my wearing a chicken fillet prosthesis worn on the right cup pf my healthy breast to balance the look under clothing. I personally did not want to stop at this almost circle of my flattend tummy button sewn to the front of my snubed left diep breast. This was not good enough for me and fell short of the expertise of my very highly skilled plastic surgeon. Diep was sold to me as the gold standard of breast reconstruction. I’ve wanted my body back to what it was and for my breast to match as closely as possible, without having a prophylactic mastectomy on my right breast (I am not BRCA 1 or 2, my left breast was comprised - filled primarily with DCIS with two very small tumors of microinvasion).

When I went in last Wednesday for diep stage 2, I was pretty much at the end of my rope with this bulky, outsized nippleless left breast. I had quite a bit of stomach fat that for some reason, was under my armpit and I always had the sensation of having a small wadded up gym towl under my left arm. Before surgery, I was standing starkers with my PS scribbling and measuring on my left chest, what he was going to do, including circles for lipo of the scar revision. I did not need a lift as my small right breast is perkey and no droop. I let my PS know that I did not want a perfectly made headlight looking nipple like I had seen online at many sites. He could see that my healhty right nipple, sort of slightly looked towards my arm and the aerola was small as well. I was after as natural of a look that matched as possible and showed him the area of micro attached fat under my arm that I wanted removed - to also match my slimmer right side. He assured me that he would do his utmost to obtain the result that I desired.

The surgery was two hours long and I woke clear as a bell, no druggie hangover or anesthesia blues. It was a walk in the park compared to the first diep surgery - nothing like the first one. I’ll go in tommrow and see the nipple yet under all the brown surgical tape I can see the shape really does match my healthy right breast and I can put my arm all the way down, that wadded up towel sense under my left arm is gone. I can finally see physically, how talented my PS actually is. To say I’m thrilled with the results is an understatement.

I had read on a website for reconstruction that one of the most rewarding parts of breast reconstruction is having the nipple and areola created, that many woman think of it as the icing on the cake. Chances are, you have probably spent the last few months getting used to nipple-less or ‘Barbie’ breasts. Regardless of the type of reconstruction you have had, nipples will truly give you the look of a real breast. For many women (like myself), this is the final step after a long journey. Having gone through it, I have found that true for myself - end to this nightmare that none of us have wanted. My pain meds thus far have constited of occasional 400mg ibuprofen. I’m using arnica cream on the bruses from the lipo at the ends of my hip-to-hip incisional revision.

I also read most women feel an emotional boost after having nipple reconstruction, because the appearance of a real breast is now combined with the appearance of an actual nipple. For many, this is the time where you can truly get comfortable with the new you, and start to move forward. I can honestrly say this has been my expereince. I’m so glad I have completed reconstruction treatment. This has been the best decision forward for me.

All my best to everyone, in whatever you choose. LB, x

Thanks for your responses - they’re really helpful. I understood from my Breast Care Nurse that if I decide to go for it, surgery would probably be scheduled for 6-8 weeks after my next appointment - guess that’s why I’m feeling a bit rushed! I feel the longer I leave it the more reluctant I’d be to have the op. I’m a ‘young’ 62 year old and somedays wonder if I should just leave things as they are but other days think it would make me feel good to have symmetery. I’ve always been the indecisive type and this is no exception! I guess I need to find out more from my PS before making the decision.
My best wishes to everyone out there xx

What a great post, I am very pleased you are so happy with your recon. It’ s fab you are thrilled with the result after all you have been through. I am also looking for a very ‘natural’ look and wil be stressing this. I like that you have given an honest account too; that there have been some ups and downs along the way. It helps to know what I will be facing.
It is reassuring too for those of us awaiting the procedure. that the pain levels are copeable with as well.
Mine is scheduled for late August/September, all being well.
I am having the 1st of the consults with my lovely surgeon in April.


For me it was a real easy decision - as my goal with reconstruction was simply to look as good NAKED as possible. I wasn’t bothered about just looking good in a bra or clothed!
I was dx’d January 2012, had neoadjuvant chemo, followed by a prophylactic mx with the bc mx and immediate DIEP recon. I’m not BRACA, but part of the reasoning for my choosing the prophylactic mx was to get a good matched pair of ‘breasts’ as quickly as possible to enable me to draw the line and get on with my life!
My new ‘breasts’ look amazing - but they do need nipples to fulfill the looking good naked part of my quest. And part two can’t come quick enough! Afterall, I’ve done ‘the hard yards’.
It’a a very personal decision, but with waiting lists being as they are, I’d say get on the list whilst you make our mind up - you can always cancel should you decide against. (Obviously not leaving it until the last minute thus depriving someone else with the surgical slot)

Having just had a read through this thread, I wanted to wish Revcat all the best for her surgery on the 21st.
I’m sure many of you will agree that her posts are unfailingly sensitive, compassionate, supportive and full of common sense. So often when I read them, I think " I wish I could have found those words/expressed myself in that way".
Good luck Revcat, wishing you all the best for successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

Yep, I want to add my good wishes to Revcat - hope your surgery goes well! Sue x

My good wishes to Revcat also. Hope it went well yesterday.
I’m pretty sure that I will go for the reduction and uplift - I see my PS next week. It would be good to hear how you are progressing Revcat. All the very best to you xx