Wife unhappy with reconstruction.

Hello all. My wife suffered from breast cancer a few years ago and had her left breast removed (full mastectomy but in stages) and lymph nodes from that side removed. She takes Tamoxifen and has been in remission since the beginning of 2007, fingers crossed.

She has had her left breast rebuilt, but is far from happy with the permanent implant. It has always been too high even since the saline bag was put in to expand the skin, as the NHS took too long to fill it and it never dropped correctly. So the permanent implant put in after this was always high, and has now moved even higher. Her surgeon has advised her after an ultrasound that the only solution is a smaller implant, which would of course make it mismatched to her right breast. She also has a tattoo and a nipple built up from the skin.

Now her right one is another matter entirely. She had reduction surgery with this, but was very unlucky as some of the skin in the lower half of the breast died from poor circulation, which we were told was common in reconstruction. The skin (agonisingly) had to be removed, and several months of amazing honey dressings healed the wound. However, the lower half of the breast is quite badly disfigured, with deep scar tissue according to the doctors.

They originally proposed to operate in two stages to remove the scar tissue, but are now only offering tattoo’s to hide the marks.

My wife is far from happy, and feels that she is being fobbed off by the NHS. She still feels young at 47, but the doctors said come back in a year to discuss the treatment. Of course there is no way we are waiting this long.

Do you think she is receiving the best treatment here? What sort of treatment would private patients expect, that are being treated by the same surgeons?

Hi Sims,

After reading your post could I suggest that either yourself or your wife phone the helpline here and have a chat with one of the breast care nurses, I’m sure they’ll be able to support your wife with this.
The helpline is open Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 9-2, calls are free, 0808 800 6000.

Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator