Recon or not

Hi ladies.

I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer and need a mastectomy. I’ve been given the choice of a recon at the same time or to wait around a year. Waiting means I’ll be flat chested on one side for a year but having it done at the same time will mean 1 surgery as opposed to 2 however radiotherapy can damage an implant.

Does anyone have experience of either and what pros and cons have you got?

Cassie x

My surgeon said you really shouldn’t have implant recon before radio.  I had DIEP (tummy flap) recon followed by radio.  There is still some risk of damage but much less - mine seems fine at the moment. It got a bit “sunburned” by the radio but recovered in a few weeks. I didn’t want to go through more major surgery in a year’s time so opted for immediate recon.  But if you prefer implant recon i think you’ll have to wait. Best wishes. 

Hi Cassie, it’s such a big decision and when you have so much else to take in. I would suggest it depends if you’re having chemo after surgery as DIEP or another flap reconstruction have a long recovery time and implant is quicker.

I had an immediate implant before chemo and rads because I didn’t want to be flat on one side. I had some complications but was happy with my choice as I was an active 47 year old at the time with kids aged 9 and 12.

Roll on three years and I’m now having a DIEP (today!) because the implant side is unnatural, doesn’t move and is smaller than my real one because I’ve put on weight. At the time of my mastectomy I definitely wouldn’t have been able to undergo this surgery, as it was it was about 6 weeks before I could start chemo.

The diagnosis and options put you in emotional turmoil, I hope you find some answers on the forum, it really does help to talk to others. I recently went to a Keeping Abreast meeting at my hospital which was really useful to share experiences with other ladies, and to see their results.

Good luck with your treatment, hope you find the right course of action for you. X

Hi Cassie - very sorry to hear your news. I had chemo followed in May this year by a mastectomy and immediate recon with implant, then radiotherapy. My implant is “pre-pectoral”, meaning it sits on top of the muscle and is supported in a sort of mesh thing (think ADM is the name). I was told there is less risk of the radio causing issues than if the implant goes under the muscle. Happy to answer any more questions you may have. All the very best to you for your treatment and decision making.

Evie x