Reconstruction and older ladies


Hi ladies,
I just happened to mention to a friend that i was considering reconstructive surgery and she remarked ‘do you think its worth it?’
Now, i don’t know whether she meant because of my age (56) or because of the fact that it is major surgery, but it got me thinking. Am i too old for recon? I don’t feel old – unless of course i look in the mirror, and realise my face has seen better days! Also will I recover slower and heal slower that a younger woman? I am plunged into insecurity again.
I would love to hear your views.
Rosie x

I don’t think there is an upper age limit for having a reconstruction if you want one. Personally though I rather agree with your friend and diagnosed at 54 (now 59) I never wanted a rceonstruction and have lived happily with one breast (now cancer thats another problem!).

I know lots of women your age or older who have been pleased with their recons, others less so, so do your researchh and decide whats right for you.

A good site which portrays not having reconstruction as a positive option is

best wishes


Hi there, I am 41 and was / am not bothered about a recon to be honest, was a D cup so it does notice but find the prosthetic no hassle personally.

As for if you should have one, why not, if you want it go for it. I guess if the cancer hadn’t have come back with me I would have probably gotten around to it, and had the other one perked up too :slight_smile: but it wasn’t something I would have worried about too much.


Hello Rosebud,

Yes, it’s definitely worth it! I am 57 and went for a year without one breast. I had my DIEP on 31st Oct 08 and am so pleased I ‘went for it’! Just as I am not too old for sex or to wear whichever clothes I like I now feel I have rejoined the real world and feel normal again. I have a cleavage and that is all I wanted. The DIEP gives a very natural result for the mature figure with the added bonus of a nice flat tummy.

The recovery was fine - as long as you are otherwise healthy there should be no problem. However, it is a huge operation - 12 hours for me and you need to be able to look after yourself properly for the first few weeks. My son got married on 27th December and I have just been viewing the pictures online of me in a beautiful low cut evening dress after 8 weeks, I can hardly believe it! I do feel that I can finally put this horrid Breast cancer behind me at last and start to live! I have even been thinking of a bikini for my hols!

Best wishes with whatever you decide but for me age just does not come into it!

Winnie X

Dear Rosie

If you want to have a reconstruction, please do not be put off by comments like ‘do you think it’s worth it?’ I’m assuming the person who said this has not had similar surgery? Personally, I don’t find comments like that helpful. I had my reconstruction at 50. I did not have to think about it, I just knew I wanted it done. However I did have lots of information about the procedure (hospital provided a video explaining different techniques). I did take a long time to heal, but that can happen to anyone, and I did not ever regret my decision. One lady I met, in her 60s, decided to have a reconstruction about 15 yrs after her mastectomy.
I have told my plastic surgeon and GP that I would be happy to show my reconstruction to any other woman who is considering having it done and would like to see how it might look. Maybe you could ask to see if anyone knows of someone who would be willing to do this for you?
Best wishes

Hi Rosie.

I had a reconstruction at the age of 56 two years after mastectomy. Of all the decision I have made in my life this was the best one. Go for it, its definately worth it. I recoverd really quickly and am having my other breast lifted and augmented to match my reconstructed breast.

Best wishes Lou

Hi Rosie

I had recon (DIEP) just over a year ago and have been thrilled with the results and everyday I thank the surgeon for giving me back the shape I had before BC, I’m 45 so just a little younger than you but age should not come into it, I had comments like “have you not been through enough” but I was determined and knew it was the best thing for me. Also after having mine I persuaded my mum to go for it she said she didnt want to be bothered at her age (69) but after seeing the difference it made to me she went ahead and had an expander, like me she has not looked back, it was liberating to dump the prothesis and put on a bra without having to fuss around getting the prothesis in the pocket. Its a very personal choice and you must do want is right for you. At the end of the day we all deserve the right to look how we want and if a surgeon can restore our boobs then I’m all for it.

Best Wishes


Hi Rosie

I really don’t think there’s an age limit and it frustrates me that anyone would put a cap on age. Harrumph! Ageism? I’m coming up for 55 and intend to have a DIEP flap as soon as I possibly can. Why? Because I want it! I want to look at myself and feel comfortable with what I see … sod all however to do with how society says I should look! This really is about me and my choices!

So if you want to go for it do so … this is entirely about you and how you feel you want to look!

Take care


Hi Rosie
I had my mastectomy and immediate LD reconstruction in August 2006, the week of my 60th birthday. Lovely present along with my bus pass!
I was offered the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy and had to wait a week or two longer for everything to be put in place. I asked if the wait would make any difference to the outcome but was told no, as if it had done I would have gone ahead without. I was given lots of information and also shown a video of the different types of reconstructions.
I took part in the TACT 2 trial and also had radiotherapy. I went back to work in July 2007 (admin in a school office). In November 2008 I had a tattoo for my nipple reconstruction and in December had the nipple done.
I was back for a check up today with the Plastic Surgeon at the hospital that I had the operation in and everything was fine and he discharged me. Another milestone (I did feel a bit emotional).
I still attend for my checkups at the breast clinic and with the oncologist. This week I also applied to do job share at work as I feel I am ready for some time to myself, although I don’t feel quite ready to fully retire yet. As they say age is only a number. Like you I don’t feel old - I was thinking about buying a mirror which eliminates the wrinkles (laughter lines) but unfortunately they seem to be very hard to come by and I refuse to spend a fortune on the creams advertised on the TV and in magazines by models and stars who are nearly airbrushed out of existence (rather spend the money on a couple of bottles of wine).
If you feel it is right for you, go for it! Ask all the questions until you feel comfortable with it, but please don’t let anyone put you off by saying is it worth it? just because of age! I find now I do not worry too much about what people think, I want to age disgracefully.
Hopefully, we both have a bit of living to do!
Love and take care

Hi rosie
I was diagnosed in dec 05 had my treatment waited till i felt physically and mentgally ready then mar 08 had a free tram flap best thing ever got a flat tummy op lasted 10 hours but recovered very quickly could not believe no pain a little discomfort. Did get an infection but got over it now in oct i had a uplift and reduction of other boob once again no pain , unfortunatly im now getting over an abcess . But even after these problems it was the best thing i did ive got my shape back and a clevage Now got to decide if i want a nipple . But the best thing is every time i look in the mirror i dont see a reminder of having breast cancer my scars are fading its give me back my life. Go for it girl… i will be 57 in feb

Hi Rosie,
I was diagnosed 2 years ago, and can’t wait to have my reconsruction!! My consultant would not consider me for 2 years, and I will hopefully get it sorted in next few months. I am fed up with prosthesis, especially as I have 3 lovely young grandchildren, and it always seems to slip out of place when I pick them up! I don’t know whether to ‘shop’ around, as surgeon only does LD flaps, whereas I would like DIEP.
Will keep you posted! If it’s what you want (I do) go for it. Oh, by the way I am 53, but have never considered my age as being a barrier, just the poor prognosis.
With best wishes,

Hi Rosie,

I fully endorse the messages you seem to be getting from just about everyone here - the decision of whether to go for reconstruction is yours, and based entirely on what you feel, and NOT on your age!

If it helps to know others’ stories, I am 49, just completed chemo and having mastectomy next week to be followed by rads. I’m due to have a diep reconstruction about 6 months after that, when I’ll be 50. I’m looking forward to the reconstruction, and think I shall be very happy once it is done - but if in the six months being “one-boobed” things change and I decide to stay as I am, then that is what I shall do.

Perhaps your friend just spoke without thinking - something I’ve been guilty of in the past and lived to regret.

Best wishes,



Thanks ladies for all your comments, for and against. As usual the response is amazing. Its just good to know you can come on this site and discuss things with people in the same boat. Nobody really understands until theyve been through it themselves do they?
Best wishes,
Rosie x

I shall be 59 in a couple of weeks time, and had my mastectomy in March 2007, am still on Herceptin. I’ve been content (so far) with my prosthesis, don’t find a problem with slippage etc., I am a size 8 with a 32DD bra cup size, so I’m not sure where the surgeon would get any spare skin and meat from anyway! I also smoke.

Yes, I would like to have my shape back and a cleavage, but at what price? Will there be any feeling in the reconstructed breast or does it feel like a numb piece of flesh stuck on the front? And what about scarring? I have seen photos of the tummy tuck type and it leaves a very long scar across the stomach, and the possibility of hernia in the future if muscle is used apparently. The shoulder one can also lead to muscle weakness on that side, or so I have read, and as my mx was to my right breast and I am right handed, I wouldn’t fancy that either. I believe implants need replacing at some point, and can slip out of place too. And I’m not sure I fancy a bag of silicone or whatever in my chest.

These are the reasons for my thinking “is it worth it” - nothing to do with age, more to do with the extent of the surgery needed weighed against any gain from it.


Hi Rosie…tell your friend to take a hike!! (in the nicest sense of course!)…OF COURSE it is worth it, if you want it…I too am 56 and I was adamant i wanted two, good looking boobs at the end of all this.That’s my choice of course, just as yours is for you, but i would most definately say go for it!

Hi Rosie

I had my DIEP at the beginning of December 2008, almost seven years after my mastectomy. I was diagnosed at 42 years and had immediate Becker implant but the implant ruptured this year. Before I chose the DIEP reconstruction I went into it in detail and I met with a lady who had had the operation a year before. She was 72 years and pround of her new boob. She inspired me and the reconstruction was so good. She also made a good recovery. Quite frankly you are never too old!

Hi Rosie
You have had interesting and positive comments. Just thought I’d add my two penneth. I was 63 when had mx and knew from day one that I did not wish to live the rest of my days with one boob. I had to wait two years until treatment was ended but am delighted with my tram flap and new shape. At age 65 I am waiting for the other side to be lifted and augmented to match then hopefully I can put this awful experience behind me. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Hi ladies,
Just another quick question, all you ladies who had ld recon. Do you have any considerable weakness in your shoulder or arm?
I have’nt enough flesh for tummy one.
Thanks everyone,
Rosie x

Hi Rosie

Had LD 4 1/2 years ago, not experienced any weakness in either arm or shoulder. Feels just a little tight in back where scar is, but doesn’t cause pain or problems for me.

Age 56. Did the inflator skin stretching thing. Then implants - then nipple reconstruction - just had my tattooing done -well worth it.
Pert boobs and a clevage at my age - bring it on!!