What to expect from recon?

I had a lumpectomy, chemo and rads 4 years ago and have recently been told I’m BRCA1. I have chosen to have a bilateral mastectomy (which is happening on 12th Sept) and recon later, using implants. At first I really wanted to use tissue from my back/abdomen to avoid the implants but was told I wasn’t suitable. I also had primary colon cancer 3 years ago and have huge scarring on my stomach as a result.

I’ve also been told I’ll need a skin graft on my right side where I had rads, as the skin won’t be suitable for recon. Has anyone else had this?

I’m starting to get really scared about the whole thing and what I’m going to look like afterwards. I hate the fact that I have to wait at least 6 months for recon, but the plastic surgeon who’s doing me has a fantastic reputation in my area and I do trust him. I just want to end up with the best cosmetic result possible, but all I can think about is that i’m going to end up like Frankenstein’s monster.

It doesn’t help that I’m very large breasted (36G).

Also I’m self employed - I work as a freelance editor, so all in front of the computer - and I can’t afford to take much time off. How soon after the mastectomies do you think I’ll be able to write and use a keyboard?

Any advice much appreciated


Hi Liz

Have you had a recurrence of the bc back? Otherwise why can’t he do an immediate recon? I haven’t had the same problems but they are the first things I thought when reading your post. They can save far more breast skin if it is immediate but they don’t always like to if invasive bc is found and rads is likely. As far as being able to work, as it is only using the keyboard I would think in a couple of weeks you would be able to work but you will tire more easily so for very much more shorter lengths of time than you do now. Doesn’t your surgeon do recons from the bottom or is it because you can not do a longer op that an implant has been chosen?
Ask them more questions.

No, I haven’t had a recurrence. He said delayed recon would give me a much better result and that because my breasts are so large I would be left with loose skin if I had an immediate recon. Not sure what you mean about recons from the bottom.


From the bottom is an IGAP flap I believe - suggest you take a look at the CancerBackup site and read the recon details there on all the options. BC Care also do a good booklet.