Mastectomy alone or Mastectomy and Reconstruction


I am due to have a mastectomy and LD reconstruction in January and still wonder have I made the right choice!

Should I have just opted for mastectomy and limited my surgery and recovery?

Will the extra surgery and recovery be worth it in the end?

I had a mastectomy and lymph node removal in 2006 and at the time i could not make the descision about reconstruction and reduction on the other breast all in the same operation. However, i really think that i should have had it all done at the same time. I would recommend to any one to have it all done together if you can as it will save you from a battering from your own emotions. Plus you would not have to face a second surgery for the reconstruction as i am now contemplating.
To me the loss of a breast was far worse than grief and it was totaly unexpected as i really did not think that i would be too bothered about the resulting affects of a mastectomy. To me the emotional pain has been far worse than any post op pain so if i was ever told that i had cancer in the remaining breast i would have absolutely no hesitation of having reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy. my best wishes to any one facing this dilema.

Hi dianes45,

Thankyou for your reply. Your comments support my own thoughts and the emotions I have felt at having to lose a breast. Even when cancer is involved it is surprising, if not amazing, to find yourself considering your appearance! Your recommendation is encouraging.

hi Jay tab
im 8 weeks post op from masectomy with immediate reconstruction ld flap. Im so glad that i went a head with it as i think like this i went to sleep with 2 boobies and woke up with 2 minus the nipple but that is no problem for me ,i think it made me feel better. i knew i couldnt face not having a reconstruction that was my personal feelings. i did have some risks of ruining the recon if needed radio or delaying if i needed any chemo and got an infection etc but i still wanted to go a head which was a slightly hard desicion but luckly the out come was none invasious i had all dcis wide spread high grade and snb lymph were all clear these are my opinons and every body is different bxut my apperance did come in to it, may be my age 26, but what ever any bodys age from 26 -100 etc we all like to look and feel ok selfish may be if it was life or death obviously i wouldnt have it done but confident wise has help me feel some what normal lol
i have prob rambled on and on hope it some what makes sense been up since 6 with little one feeling very tired hehe
all the best take care kimx

oh jay tab
for got to say i think it will be worth it in the end thats my opinon it just makes you feel so like you what ever you decide make sure you are happy with what you yourself decides as i always say do go with your gut instinct and what ever you decide never regret it.
lots of love kimx

hi Kim,

Great to hear from you with a positive view. You did not ramble on at all I think patients have lots to say about this illness! It is my gut instinct driving me to have the reconstruction but I am very scared of the op and post op recovery. I have heard so many risks and in my fearful state imagine that they could all happen to me. I need to focus on being positive and look for the good elements, e.g. no cancer and smaller boobs! Hope your recovery is going very well and you get stronger and fitter every day. Thanks again and Merry Christmas.

I had a mastectomy and recon in July and I have never for one minute regreted my decision.Without my bra my boobs look different as one is perkier than the other! However with my bra on ,no-one would ever know and that to me is very important.My wardrobe has remained the same and I am hoping to get into underwired bras soon.
The op is big and you will be weak after but the “pain” was more a sort of muscular discomfort that the sharp severe pain I expected.
For me ,getting it all done in one op was important.
However,this is your decision and only you can decide.Many ladies have no recon and are very happy.
Good luck
Merry Christmas!

I had an ‘extensive’ WLE, surgeon took away a bit more than a quarter of my breast, including nipple and areola, but has made a wonderful job of pulling me back together, with a really beautiful shape, nipple etc to be done later, once healing is done.He also reduced and lifted my ‘good’ side, to balance things up, giving me, in effect, the boobs of an 18 year old…hubby is particularly delighted with them, and really, so am i! One month post-op, things do still hurt a bit, but I absolutely did not,COULD not, wake up without my boob, so for me, mastectomy was not something i wanted to contemplate.That said, if i had to go through it again, so long as i could have an immediate recon, it would be something i could do. For you, this is a truly personal decision,but i think having everything done in one go has to be a very good option, if you are offered it.Good luck xx

Hi girls - just to add my twopennyworth to what the others have said - I had a Mx with immediate tram flap recon in august and I don’t regret it at all - it was a traumatic experience but now 4 1/2 months on I look fine (sadly he couldn’t do anything about the bags under my eyes!) I wear bathing suits, vest tops whatever and even in the skimpiest bra no-one could see any difference. It takes a long while to get over this operation - I was told this before but didn’t really appreciate what it actually meant but now I am getting back to full fitness and will regretfully return to work in Feb. (I was lucky and was entitled to 6 months off so I just took it). I still have a bit of trouble getting comfortable in bed but that is the worst problem. Good luck in January - I am sure it will work out well.

Hi Jay tab

I had a mastectomy and lymph node removal in april 2007 and regret not having immediate recon now, as I am now waiting to see plastic surgeon about recon but the idea of another op terrifies me. I would definatly have immediate recon should the cancer return in remaining breast. The emotional pain and the affects it has on your everyday life are not the easiest to deal with. Good luck in whatever you decide x x

Wow, thankyou to everyone who has taken the time to reply. I realise that this is a personal decision but it is really encouraging to hear that my decision has been a popular choice for lots of other ladies in this terrible position.

I really am expecting a traumatic time post op and struggling to be brave for both myself and my family but now I know (from your kind information) that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

This “situation” takes over my every thought at all times, night and day! So I often think of how time goes so fast and try and think that soon I will be beyond the op and getting better daily.

Kindest Regards to you lovely ladies.

Hi jay tab
Im in a simler sintuatation to u im going in hospital in jan for mastectomy and reconstruction l.d flap im not couping very well this is the 3rd op to same breast in just over a year and i had radium december last year and it hasnt worked.
This is my last option i have been told that this will clear it but dosnt stop the worry. Keep intouch would like to here how u get on
love angie

Hi Angie,

Glad you posted comments as I was about to contact you when I saw your message to me.

I too am not coping very well at all, was even very emotional at the hospital yesterday! Our cases our very similar, I have had 2 ops since October, a WLE and Breast Reduction. The January Mastectomy and reconstruction will be my last op - I sincerely hope and pray!

My initial dx was DCIS, but very large area, and when the reduction took place in an attempt to clear it all, I was found to have multi focus invasives within what was removed, but because they were not aware of this they cannot be sure there is no more and that is why Mastectomy is recommended. It appears I surprise my surgeon and pathologist as my results always show something they had not picked up or suspected!

The reason I had the reduction was so that if I should require the Mastectomy in the future the surgeon would be able to reconstruce a better matched boob if my remaining one was smaller. I was only interested in the LD option and that can be limited by size.

This is an extremely stressful and worrying time for us both and I find it very difficult to think about anything else at any time! One consolation is that time moves fast and soon we will be post op and recovering each day. I sincerely hope your op goes well and look forward to communicating with you again, particularly post op as we can probably give each other quite a lot of support. All the best to you for a happy and healthy 2009.


I too had immediate reconstruction because I was offered it by the Consultant at the time, and being a wimp knew I’d struggle to have more surgery in the future. For me, with hindsite, I’m not sure I’d do it again with the same surgeon. He may be a great general surgeon but as a reconstructive surgeon he’s cr*p.

I’m left with a mess. I still have to wear chicken fillets on that side. At one of my oncology check ups the nurse there asked me if I could honestly say I was happy. When I said no she directed me to the plastic surgery team at Charing Cross (I’m living just outside London). However one appointment there was enough. They can ‘put it right’ but its a major op taking muscle, veins etc from the stomach, 9 hours in surgery, at least 3 months recovery. No thanks.

I guess what I’m saying is I’d probably want it done at the same time again, but I’d make sure to find out the surgeon could do what he says he can. It never occured to me to ask for recommendations from previous patients, or a portfolio of pictures from his previous ops.

As long as you are happy with your surgeon then go ahead, recovery time is longer but I still think it’s worth it.

Good luck.

Love Caz xxx

Hi everyone,

To update - I had my mastectomy and LD recon on 12th January. The op was as expected recovery wise and I am glad I went ahead with this option.

Good luck and love and best wishes to everyone dealing with this illness.