Not enough tissue for reconstruction

Hello all 

I had a mastectomy during COVID which meant no reconstruction. I’ve since seen the plastic surgery team who say I don’t have enough thigh or abdomen tissue for flap reconstruction, and I don’t want to use shoulder muscle as I know that can compromise strength and I absolutely love swimming. 

Although it would be ideal to still have two breasts, it seems unlikely that I will ever have that again without compromises I’m not willing to accept. Therefore, what I want to happen is that I just have my other breast removed so at least I am the same on both sides. I absolutely hate piddling around with my fake breast on the beach and on river banks. The surgery team told me sometimes women have persuaded them to remove a healthy breast, but that they haven’t always been happy.

I see that this question of healthy breast removal has come up a few times so sorry if I’m repeating, but I genuinely am nervous about making this decision. Has anyone else been in this position? Has anyone gone down this road and been left with regrets? As it seems like reconstruction will be completely off the table for me if I get my other breast removed, so I want to make sure I’ve really thought it through properly. 


Hi - just wanted to say I had the same issue when faced with options for a reconstruction. My only option was the LD one or the back / shoulder muscle. I went ahead with a bilateral recon on both sides. I have experienced no loss of strength at all. I regularly walk and train 3 strong dogs, swim, ski and horse ride. I’ve also had no issues doing the housework - ie. pushing a vacuum around or carrying it upstairs. I was 34 at the time and I’m a size 10 and petite (5 foot 2). Xx

Not quite the same boat, but I’m expecting bilateral mastectomy in January and I always felt I wanted the reconstruction at the same time. The general options I was told were using back muscle, abdominal fat, or implants. I’ve refused point blank on the back muscle - I’m happy to be keeping some kind of shape, but to me it’s not worth the risks of cutting up muscle I’m still using! It’s a nice thought to lose the tummy flab but almost certainly a no-go due to past surgery. So, we’re going the implants route. My consultant seems quite happy with this, not least because it’s a smaller op with no secondary wound site. Yes, there are downsides, but aren’t there always?

I’ll have another conversation about it all in December to make sure I’m still happy with this approach, but thought I’d give my story. Slightly wondered why no one had mentioned implants yet.