Reconstruction with implants .......upsides and downsides please ??

I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time … Had the lump removed and it’s turned out to be in lymph nodes … I have spent weeks in trauma as I couldn’t get any kind of prognosis . Today they have told me I will need a lymph node exclusion and have offered me a mastectomy so I don’t have the constant worry of ‘it coming back’ … So no actual medical requirement …On the basis that I have spent weeks thinking I can’t beat this I actually feel better! However even though I am being super brave with everyone and saying I will have mastectomy as I couldn’t face this again ,I am terrified if I have it done I have all the issues that this involves, but if I don’t and it comes back again I just won’t cope, Rock and a hard place! In my head I say it’s the sensible thing to do but I want to make an informed decision … So if I have lymph node exclusion , mastectomy and recon using implants …what can I expect ? What will I look like? How bad will the surgery be? I am worried that I could hate the ‘final look’ and my mental state will be worse than it has been! I don’t want to hang about as it’s in my lymph nodes so feel I need to make a decision very soon so I can get onto chemo … I know I should be grateful that my prognosis was better than expected but this still scares me so much! I want some honest real life info not some leaflet from the doctor!

Hi has mx with immediate implant recon with strattice in February 14. I will give you the ups and downs of mine but remember everyone’s road is different.
I look the same as before with my clothes on.
My new foob is much higher and perky.

Be prepared for swelling for quite a while
Pain - was quite painful for quite a while - longer than I expected. Though I have read on here women who have sailed through without so much as a paracetimol!
Not being able to drive for 6 weeks. And still uncomfortable 4 months on when I change into 5th gear!
For me the worst thing is that I have a large dent above the recon where tissue removed, and rippling and the implant edges are palpable. I do not have a lot of flesh on my upper body and am having to have lipofil end august.
It feels like your face after dental treatment, numb. And feels colder.

Even though there are more downs than ups I would still do it again, am hoping the lipofil, nipple sharing recon and uplift on saggy boob will make a big difference.

My advice - take as much pain relief as you need, be kind to yourself you will be fatigued, there is an emotional response to losing a boob, be prepared not to be able to Hoover, pull washing from machine, lift heavy things, for a while. I worked from home from 4 wks post op and went back full time 7 weeks post op, was sore with extra activity but it’s doable, depending on your job. If you want any other info pm me, good luck

Bali, I can really understand your feelings as I went through similar things myself about my second breast cancer. I had a mastectomy a week ago and 4 lymph nodes taken, will find out results next Tuesday. I wasn’t planning having reconstruction, but was told I could have it at any time from about 9 months to years if I choose. I’m hoping to have my other breast removed eventually, as it’s small - 4 ‘slices’ taken in 4 different cancer ops, so really small and a bad shape, and as the new cancer was lobular cancer and doesn’t necessarily show on mammograms (mine didn’t - the pesky thing was hiding!). Of course I might change my mind on having the second mx or about reconstruction.


The op was fine, I was fine, and the wound isn’t bad, just sore when doing things like the early exercises, forgetting about it when having hugs etc. My husband and I looked at it a couple of hours after the op and it didn’t seem too horrible, and I quickly got used to it. Of course, in these things age must be a consideration - I’m nearly 70, but still consider myself reasonabnle looking and I’m pretty active - not in a sporty sort of way, just very busy in and out of our home, gardening, on committees for this and that. A younger woman might feel very different about it all or maybe see it as a challenge to get back to normal. I feel like me just as I did before the op, my husband still seems to find me attractive, though he was always a breast man who also likes bottoms. Is this too much info?


What impressed me while in hospital was a couple of the ladies I got talking to from the next ward. One offered to show me her new boob and it looked amazing, perfect and will get a nipple later - and her other side was lifted so she had a matching pair; she was delighted and called them her ‘pert pair’. She had lost her hair while having chemo, but the forst thing I noticed about her when she passes our open side ward was her lon beautiful hair - she said it had grown back much better and more lustrous than her original hair.


The second woman then offered to show me hers - she’d had a replacement for one which had leaked, and had also had a nipple put in place and a toatoo for her aereola. She was in a lot of pain on coming back from theatre, but within an hour she was happy to show me her new shape and ‘extras’.


What helped me a lot, apart from taking control of some things I could - diet, cleaning the house and washing all the clothes I came across plus a blitz on the garden, was talking to somebody on the BCC helpline. She was very calm as well as knowledgeble and able to voice some of the thoughts I’d had, but in a way that helped me to really acknowledge to myself that yes I did want that mastectomy, whatever offer the surgeon made for WLE. Once I’d made that decision that I was content with I  became very composed and calm, despite all the fears about the op, anaesthetic etc. Maybe you could try ringing the helpline.


gentle hugs, Jo

Thanks all it’s really good to get real life feedback! No leaflet tells all does it! … It’s a no brainer that I have to do this after going through it all twice , but I am just 'acting ’ brave! It seems stupid to worry what you look like when your life is threatened, but I still am! It’s 2 things we generally love our boobs and hair both going at the same time … Thanks for the support girls I will probably be back for more very soon … Wish me luck !