The Great Implant Recon Debate

The Great Implant Recon Debate

The Great Implant Recon Debate Hi all
Well here I am again, still with the same questions…what is it with me?? I have just read the breast cancer care pdf file leaflet thingy on reconstruction and it cleary states in there that ; " tissue expansion is not suitable for women who have had radiotherapy as the skin then becomes less elastic " …Yet when I spoke to my surgeon and the bc nurse, even though I have had radiotherapy, they said that it is a possiblity with me. My remaining boob is relatively small, and the surgeon said that for my age it ‘hangs well and doesn’t droop’ - but the fact remains that I did have radiotherapy so I must have some damage and so must have less elasticity, so will an expander work? I am so confused with so many conflicting reports and feelings on this. I mean are they just humouring me because they know that I don’t want ‘big surgery’. Are they just letting me go along this route knowing that it will fail miserably and that I will have to eventually reconsider my options.
Even worse, to add to my confusion, I keep comparing myself with people on here who seem so well read on the whole breast cancer saga, and wonder if I have failed my body by not researching everything thoroughly before agreeing to go ahead with anything!! Up until now I have felt that not knowing everything was good for me, you know ‘ignorance is bliss’, but the further into the whole journey you get you can’t help but find out more and then retrospectively I find that I am questioning things.
Oh, I am so very sorry for sounding like a mad woman, but I suppose I feel very anxious about making this decision, I mean for over a year now I have felt that alot of decisions have been made for me…the illness’ fault completely and not my team, they are doing their best.
O.k moan over, but I really would like to hear from anyone, who like me has had the following;
Grade 2 invasis ductal carcinoma, [4cm] extensive DCIS and LCIS and on the sentinel node biopsy 1 out of four nodes affected.
Treatment; lumpectomy/wle followed by mastecomy, 6 X FEC and then 25 sessions of rads [only15 to scar/chest wall]
Fear anesthetics like the plague so want the least ‘procedure’ possible…hence the want for implant.
Hope someone out there has had all of the above and is now living happily with their post rads implant!!
All my best to you all,[and sorry to rant on]
Scarlet. XXX

I can only tell you of my experience with an implant after radiotherapy. I had a lumpectomy followed by 20 sessions of radiotherapy in 1986 when I was 38. A few years down the line I was asked if I would like an implant to fill out the dent the lumpectomy had left, I was thrilled. After having the implant I soon realised it hadn’t been a good idea, it went really hard and was quite painful, my skin looked bruised and sore, they then decided to tell me that it was because of the damage done to my skin by the radiotherapy. Why didn’t they tell me that could happen before?

Fast forward 20 years, I had a recurrence in November 2005, this time had to have mastectomy and all the damaged skin was removed. As having radiotherapy wasn’t an option again I had immediate LD reconstruction and things are now much better.

I don’t think it is wise to have an implant in skin that has had radiotherapy although others may have different experiences.

Like you I did’nt have much information of different proceedures especially first time round (no internet).

Hope things work out for you.

Take care.


My Experience Hi Scarlet,

I can understand why you are anxious. I too wanted the best results with the least time in the operating theatre. After 2 ops and due to remaining DCIS and small boobs also, my surgeon suggested a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy and implants and am delighted with the results. I had rads on the scar line after the implants and had no problems at all.

Speak to your drs again and tell them of your concerns. I got a lot of comfort from looking at the pictures of reconstructions carried out at the hospital. Maybe they could show you some and then you can judge how good they are yourself.

Best wishes

Jo x

Knowledge is power - but it’s uncomfortable I went to my GP today as I also have big decisions to make and am frightned and anxious. I bemoaned the fact that ‘I know too much to feel comfortable and wear myself out trying to find out every little thing when making decisions and I can’t just go with what I am told is best’ she said ‘Denial (or not finding out) looks braver and feels more comfortable but in the end perhaps isn’t the best strategy’ I found this really helpful. At the end of the day I don’t want to find out information after the event!

implant recon Hi Scarlet

We have chatted about this before.

I had a 4.5cm idc, had chemo first which worked brilliantly and the onc thought I would get away with a lumpectomy, however because I had small boobs 34b my surgeon thought a mastectomy with immediate recon using tissue expander and then implant only was my best option.

I’ve recently just had the nipple done (still need to have the tat done in 3 months time) but I am really pleased with the results, my surgeon did say that a better cosmetic result is achieved if you haven’t had rads and I only know about mine, in a bra you would never know and mine is softning all the time and does feel like part of me. Just lifted up my vest top and had a really good luck and can honestly say I am really pleased with result. I had 15 rads by the way.

For me bits being taken from elsewhere and longer surgery/anesthetic time just was not an option, we are all different, but this has worked really well for me.

Good luck
Love Lesley x

mast/recon Hi,
I am having a mast/recon. recon on same day using breast skin, & a skin graft.I am having the muscle taken from back, with an implant
I have had 15 sessions of radiotherapy & my plastic surgeon says that it makes the skin weaker & will not stretch and this is the reason why l am having it done this way.
Hope this helps and that you do what is best for you.
Best wishes Hazel

Skin stretching I had a double mastectomy - although one side was not affected.
Skin stretching with the inflaters was impared because of Radiotherapy to the upper part of my chest (not done on the breast area).
However the differerence betwen the radiotherapy treated side and non treated side since reconstuction is minimal, they just inflated one side more than the other to minimalise the differenence.