Help with reconstruction and other questions

Hi guys Im 43, single , had lumpectomy on the 22nd July and the invasive cancer has been cleared with clean margins. However they found widespread dcis with no clear margins from the addtional tissue they took aswell. So I have to have mastectomy. Im guessing I have no choice here. Consutant suggested DIEP as I want the best look I can as very self concious since I am single etc too. So been left with the decision which I toy with everyday and research every day. Ive seen the plastic surgeon and he is happy to do the DIEP. I actually think Id be happy with implant if I could have the other ok boob reconstructed with inplant too so at least they are the same shape, ie more false I think. They have never mentioned another implant in good side or taking doing a double mastectomy for fear of the future. Do NHS ever do this? My Mum had cancer at 51 and her aunt (her mums sister) and also cousin, daughter of this aunt, but they had it in their 60s so I have no bigger risk…hmmm? Anyone help with any of my issues here. My Mum is worried about the huge DIEP op and recovery obs and so am I but prepared to go through with it if I get the best look I can.

Hi, sorry to hear what you’re going through. Can’t help about Diep but I had to have mx because of widespread DCIS and chose to have an implant with acellular mesh so the whole thing was done in one op, I didn’t want the other breast doing to match but the surgeon told me it was an option. Had to take it very easy for first 3-4 wks, went back to work on a phased return after 8.5 wks. Still get some discomfort in the fake boob 6 months on but not much (apparently this goes on for about a year!) not as strong in the left arm as I was as have to be careful of chest muscles when exercising still. The cosmetic result in a bra or bikini is good, without my natural one flops (I’m 51!) there is no sensation in it at all though,completely numb! Hope this is of some help, ask the surgeon to go through all the options with you. Good luck with your decision, Nicola x

Hi terrischnauzer - I had recon with an expander-implant in February, and I’m due to have it replaced with a permanent silicon one in the next few months, and to have a small implant put in the ‘good’ side. I’d heard some ladies have an augmentation as part of their reconstruction, and I thought that would be a pleasant ‘bonus’ from this whole horrible experience. I asked the plastic surgeon if he could do that, and got the impression that it’s a completely normal thing to do, to get the breasts as closely matched as possible (so, yes, a bit ‘implanty’ on both sides lol).  Mines still a work in progress, but I’ve got to say it’s looking pretty good so far. The anatomical implants a lot of surgeons use are a pretty natural shape - it’s never going to look like the original breast was, but it’s fine I think.  The downsides - if you have an expander like I did, it takes a number of trips to the clinic to get it ‘filled’ - the whole process seems so slow! And also implants don’t last forever - my surgeon says they need to be changed every ten years or so. I’ve got to say though, recovery from the surgery was a breeze, and cosmetically I should get a pretty decent result.  Hope that helps a bit. Good luck to you whatever you decide! Xx

I have just had mastectomy axillary node clearance plus immediate reconstruction with DIEP. I was discharged yesterday so if I can help in anyway please ask xx

Glad to hear about the running as I’m a runner too had my op on Tuesday so was hoping to get back running in 8-12 weeks

Hi Terri I feel your pain with regard to making the right choice for a secondary op. I had a lumpectomy on 22nd June with clear results but have since got a positive result for the BRCA2 gene due to my family history so have had to make the agonising decision to go through preventative surgery which I will be doing tomorrow!!

 

Following very graphic discussions with the plastic surgeon I have finally opted for the dermal sling implants double reconstruction as the thought of putting myself through the DIEP surgery actually frightened the life out of me, even though I went to the meeting with my mind set on this as I didn’t fancy having implants. But when you weigh up all the recovery time and possible issues that could occur and where I am in my life right now, I’m 55 with 3 daughters, 1 currently pregnant, 1 going to university next week and the other next year I didn’t feel I could be out of action for the length of time it might take to get back to my current healthy point - much to my families relief, although they would have supported my decision either way.

 

What I’m trying to say is do what is right for you at whatever stage your life is in at the moment and don’t be persuaded by the surgeon etc to do something you’re not comfortable with because at the end of the day we are the ones who have to look in the mirror everyday.

 

Very best of luck to you, Suzie xx

Hi - I had right mastectomy with immediate DIEP reconstruction at the end of June.   I was in hospital for 5 days.  The first few days back at home were uncomfortable and sleeping was a bit difficult (sat slightly upright with a pillow under my knees was best) but by the end of the week I was standing straight (without the ‘DIEP hunch’!) and could do a slow 1 mile walk.  After three weeks I was up to walking 4 miles.  There was a ‘pulling’ sensation in the groin but this lessened in time.  I could drive short distances after 4 weeks.   My abdomen scar is massive (42cm - measured it when I was bored!) but with twice daily massaging with bio oil it has improved a lot and I hope will fade in time.  It’s hidden most of the time anyway - and I am thrilled with my flat tummy.  My new boob is still a work in progress.  It was rock hard at first but has gradually softened up (I am still a bit bruised).  It is a long recovery time, but hopefully after December there will be no more surgery necessary (I’m scheduled for a lift on the left side and to create a nipple shape).  A friend of mine had an implant (with mesh? I think) and her recovery time was actually a lot longer than mine, she experienced a lot of ‘pulling’ and soreness in her chest, so you can never take for granted the recovery times you are given.  Everyone’s recovery is different so this is just how mine went!  I hope this helps - if you have any questions about the DIEP process feel free to ask.

Hi ladies my experience is similar to Greenleaf’s. I had single mx and immediate implant last September. I had a problem with drains and fluid build up which had to be syringed off several times. The wound took ages to heal and got infected during chemo so had to have the implant removed.

My surgeon discussed all the options and risks at the beginning but like others I did not want the long recovery time of diep or ld flap, and possible muscle weakness as I already have a bad back. After one infection I was nervous about more ops, but went for a tissue expander after chemo.

I had the expander in may and because of rads starting in July I ended up having the complete fill in one sitting about 5 weeks after the op, just 5 days before rads started!

It’s been fine. I’m just a B cup so small which I think helps. It looks fine in clothes but mismatched perky and Droopy without! I have a cleavage and can wear v neck tops. At the moment my pec muscle is very big and needs to settle down so it does add to lopsidedness.

I plan to have the implant replaced with tear drop shaped silicon one and an uplift in the good side which has been offered all along.

From what I’ve seen, diep and ld give a much more natural result if you can face the surgery.

Good luck with your decision, its a tough one. X

Hi ladies, I’ve just turned 45 and after having a mastectomy (left sided) in June 2013, I was very keen on reconstruction. It’s a personal choice, I know but I hated being cyclops boob!! I’m quite slim so the only option for me really was implants.  Once treatment had finished, I had a prophylactic mastectomy on the other side and expanders put in both in June 2014.  Went back to work after 4 weeks. I was expanded every 3 weeks after that (around 60ml a time).  It didn’t hurt but looked quite odd.  I was fully expanded by September 2014. Unfortunately, due to waiting lists etc in my area I have only just (beginning of sept) had the expanders swapped out for implants.  The implants, although slightly more in volume than the expanders, look smaller because of the shape (I’ve had teardrop implants).  Nearly 4 weeks post op and they are looking good and quite natural.  To look at me now with a vest top or low cut top, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they weren’t my own! I have had a lot of compliments already!!! In hindsight, I may have gone for the slightly bigger implant again as I had gotten used to the bigger projection I had with the expanders, but on the whole, I’m very pleased with the result.  I’m due to go back to work in just over a week, so about a month for full recovery. (I do quite a physical job though!!).  Hope that helps. X