I couldn't believe how quickly I recovered from my LD reconstruction in June. Nobody can tell the difference which breast was operated on and I can and do wear the low cut and cleavage revealing tops/dresses. No complications apart from a little seroma which was syringed a couple of times and that was the end of that. Going back in about 3 weeks for a nipple recon. Am back to full health exercising etc and suffer a little tightness across the scar, but thats a small price to pay! Good luck to you...hope your road is as smooth as mine was.
I'm not sure exactly what size my new boob is, but probably between an A and B (maybe a bit nearer a B)at the moment, but I suspect it will still reduce a bit. The second day after my op it was really swollen and the surgeon recommended I put on a sports type bra to compress it. Fortunately I had bought something in advance. I went for the only front fastening bra I could get in M & S as I knew from previous WLE and lymph node removal that it's easier and less painful to get on a front fastener. (Also front fastening nighties are a must). The bra I got is a zip-up sports bra and I got size 36B (usually would have 34AA. Even this was a little tight at first, but did the job of compression. I had 3 of them to allow time for washing. I continued to wear the bras for the week in hospital and a bit when I got home, but at that point the surgeon said I could leave it off if I wanted and I found it made my pain worse, particularly at night, as it was digging in a bit at the back where my drains were. I actually really like the size of my new boob and it would be nice if the original one matched, but I don't think I could face my good side being messed around with at the moment. I'm seeing my surgeon in about 10 days for a check-up so am interested to ask him if he would expect my recon to shrink any more and also see what he recommends. Don't really know about Lipofill so I will ask him. The only time I had decent sized boobs before was during breast feeding when I was a lovely B cup! I naively thought the fact that I breastfed my two children for 2 and 3 years respectively would prevent me from ever getting breast cancer! X
I too am a AA. I'm hoing to get lipofil in my good side after the LD flap is done. My PS has said to wait 6 months till the swelling has gone down and for everything to settle, and then consider it. The other possibility is an implant in my good side. My recon is scheduled for Feb 24.
What did you need to take into hospital with you for support after the operation? I have read that a sports bra is a good idea but they don't come in AA! Maybe an A? Is that what my recon will be do you think? (It's what I'm hoping for! Used to be an A before three children, would be lovely to go back to that again).
Glad to hear my post made you feel more positive. It's two weeks since my original post and I can honestly say that I am physically even better than when I wrote it. My strength is starting to come back. Obviously I am still conscious of it - when changing gears in the car for example, my arm does feel quite weak and my boob twitches - but have noticed I am striding out again when walking and doing heavier jobs without thinking too much about it. My reconstructed boob is still bigger than my original size (which is a pathetic AA!) but as I said before, it is a great shape and feel. My biggest problem at the moment is the fact that I still find wearing a bra uncomfortable and although I don't really need the support I don't like not having the shape that a bra gives. I suppose it's still early days, even 11 weeks on. The physio told me last week that if I was opened up now I would see that lots of changes are still taking place in the tissues and I still have lots of internal healing to do. Am sitting here gradually burning up - thanks Tamoxifen! Good luck for your op Anne and remember to be very patient. I hope you will have plenty of support and help afterwards.
Oops, just realised you've been here already.
Bumped for Anne
Just to let you know it is now a month today since I came out of hospital after my mastectomy, LD reconstruction and lymp node removal and I feel great.
The cording has almost but not quite gone now. I can reach to the top of the doors and going back to work on 1st feb hopefully.
My scar is healing nicely around my breast and I don't mind not having a nipple. The scar ony back is neat and tidy and I have gone on my exercise bike and have started walking briskly again.
My real worry is my chemotherapy which starts on Friday 29th January. Having read all about the side affects I have been crying, fearful of getting an infection .i' m going to get a wig as I have been told that I will lose my hair and my 20 year old daughter is finding it all hard and won't talk about it.
I have very slight lymphodema and may have to have more fluid drained which painless.
Good luck and have a good week everyone.
I have just read your post and am feeling so much more positive now. I think I have scared myself so much with morbid thoughts regarding the pain. For some reason I thought my active life was over. Will keep you posted om my progress.
Hi, I am new to all the abreviations. Does LD refer to Lattissimus Dorsi. I am due to have this in two weeks and I am terrified. Smallish breasts. A lovely lady at the hospital who was there for her dressings changed told the nurse I could have a look at her scars and have a chat. She certainly made me feel a little better. She lost her hair, my biggest dread, hope this doesn't make me sound vain. Hers has grown back and she said its in better condition than before.
Hi I had a modfied radical mastectomy, LD reconstruction and complete lymph node removal on 17th December 2009 and I was home on Christmas Eve 2009. Although I was on a drip for morphine and IV fluid drip and two drains it didn't bother me, infact I missed the drains when they removed them on Christmas eve as I had nothing to carry out with me.
I have now twice had the seroma drained at the hospital which was really easy.
My scar on my back is great, my right breast that had the back tissue moved to it is great also, although there was a leak from the front drain hole which I am managing myself.
When I was told that I would have to have a mastectomy in September 2009 I knew immediately that I did not want an implant but the dorsi flap after reading about it on the net.
It is now 2.5 weeks since my operation and although I can't use my right arm fully at the moment due to cording, I feel great in myself.
I am waiting to now see the oncologist to see if I need Chemo or radiotherapy or Tamoxifen or Herceptin. I had two cancer lymph nodes out of 21 and residual grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma 1cm plus a second tumour of 2cm of mixed invasive and in situ disease within the central part of the breast along with lymphovascular invasion. The tumour was ER 7/8, PR 7/8 and HER2 positive which I think is High Risk and after reading on the web also means that I am less likely to respond to treatment and more likely to have cancer coming back.
If you do have the LD reconstruction before you know it, you will be fealing if you are back to your old self. Two and a half weeks and I am corresonding to my friends by email and playing the piano while my husband does all the housework although I have put some washing on.
I had MX and immediate LD recon 8 weeks ago. I found it really tough deciding what option to go for. Originally I had SNB and WLE for a grade 2 invasive tumour and, as it was very small I really expected that to be the end of it apart from radiotherapy (and so did the surgeon). Unfortunately he found pre-cancer on several sides and I was advised to have a mastectomy. I was totally shocked and my first reaction was just to go ahead and not have any kind of reconstruction, but then over the next week I weighed up all the options and realised that I personally would feel quite low about not having anything there. My surgeon showed me lots of photos, and I also talked to several people who had had LD recon. I liked the look of the LD recons as they are more soft and natural looking and I couldn't face implants. I remember saying to my husband "I don't like ANY of the options" and he said, "well then you have to choose the least-worst option for you". Although I was frightened about the big op, I plumped for the LD. The week in hospital and first week home with drains still in were very hard. I felt really scared about the pains and stiffness in my back and wondered whether I'd ever be the same again. Once the drains were out I had a seroma drained twice, and at that stage I was only walking around the house and not doing much at all. But then from about week 5 things started to improve a great deal. I gradually managed to walk further and do more. Sharp pains I had in the back have now eased, especially since finding a wonderful physio who worked minutely on the area, making the muscle glide much more freely. The hospital physios were very nice, but actually just recommended exercises and didn't really "work" on me. I have improved gradually each week. Apart from lifting heavy things or pulling heavy things such as the iced-up freezer door, I can do most normal daily activities. Alot of the surface nerves on my back are numb and so my back does still feel "strange", but it is definitely getting better. Cosmetically I am delighted with the result. My new breast is a very natural shape and is soft and although slightly bigger, it is a good match for the other one. I am planning to get the nipple done in the coming months. My surgeon was Mr Kokan at Macclesfield and I would recommend him to anyone. He is a very polite, caring man with excellent bedside manner but also clearly very skilled at what he does. I have heard nothing but positive about him from other patients and also from the nurses. I was warned before this op that it can take over a year to feel "normal" again and so I think the key is to be patient and not to expect too much from yourself and realise that it is a long haul.
I had a bilateral mastectomy and double recon with LD back flaps and implants 10 weeks ago. I found the first few weeks quite difficult, -the pain wasn't too bad but I felt very uncomfortable and did not have the strength to do very much. After 6 weeks I could do most things in the house and I feel almost back to normal now.
I am very pleased with how I look (even though the implants have not yet been inflated). I have a small cleavage and the 'breasts' look quite natural. All swelling has gone down and the scars are very neat. I still can't do some things - like open very heavy doors! but it is getting better all the time and I am not worried that I will be left disabled in any way (a big worry before the op)
The only thing I am finding it hard to cope with is the awful tight feeling under my arms and the muscles tightening whenever I move my shoulders back. I have been told by people who have had this op that it will get better over time (they are all delighted with their LD reconstruction)but they can't remember how long it took. Anyone able to remember when the discomfort started to get better??
Thank you all for your comments. I know the recon is the right decision for me.
When I was in hospital for my WLE & SNB the lady in the next bed had previously had a recon & was in for op to add nipple. She did show me her breast & it did look like a normal breast just without the nipple so although my BC nurse was great & showed me the pictures seeing a 'live' one has helped my when thinking about how it would look to be able to accept this.
Only two weeks to go before op (weather permiting) so will be able to let you know how it has all gone.
Using these forums def helps so again thank you for all your comments.
I had LD recon 10 years ago, started hoovering too early - but I was discharged within 5 days and took another 2-3 weeks to recover and have the stitches out. The overall look was great and was really impressed. I was so glad I had it done, but like others say, it is a very personal choice when so much is going on.
decision time is horrendous, I was all for mastectomy without reconn, until at clinic whilst making theatre time I just blurted out, that i wanted a reconn, dont know where it came from but soooo happy that it did.
surgeon was great , just said these are difficult decicions and not the first person to make decision at very last minute time , no regrets at all re op and recovery time.
I am seeing a surgeon on 1st February to discuss possible bilateral MX with immediate reconstruction using LD flap. Also really interested to find out about recovery process and time. Having just come back to work after nearly six months off, I am hoping the recovery period isn't too long?
Thanks, and good luck everyone
I have secondaries, but have the option of mastectomy with node clearance with or without recon. recon would be LD, but I am concerned about recovery times and how soon I would be back to 'normal'. I have two young children and last summer hols were wrecked by chemo. Don't want to risk wrecking this one too, especially as i don't know if it will be my last one with them, hoping it's not. Surgery would probably take place early Feb. How long has it taken others to recover to what they would consider normal?
I am seeing the surgeon on Thursday and have to make a deicsion by then, leaning towards no recon, but then I have second thoughts.
Only just seen your thread.
My daughter aged 33 had mastectomy with LD flap. She was so pleased with it, no pain at all which was a surprise .. just the drains were a nuisance and uncomfortable but not for long. She said that she never felt that she had lost a breast because the one with LD flap looked so good. The only sign of it was the white nipple. We always told her she could be a tassle dancer and no one would ever know!
She had it done late November and wore a lowish cut top on New Years Eve to show off that she still had two breasts.
She was told it was important to wear good support for a while afterwards though and bought two support bras through the hospital.
Hope this helps
Is the seroma similar to a post mastectomy one? I had to go and be drained a couple of times after my mastectomy.
Yes, very pleased with the reconstruction (November 2009), but the biggest problem has been the seroma. I have now read that this should be talked about now as a 'side effect' rather than a complication as it is so common (when recon is immediately after mx). I say this, not to put you off, but if I had known about it I would have been less upset and more ready to deal with it.
I had immediate LD recon on right side back in 2005. I am pretty active : heavy duty long distance walking (BIG heavy rucksacks etc), mucking about in mountains, fairly heavy work in house (furniture moving, decorating, sorting a car and so on and so on). Lots of exercise of one kind and another including rowing (old oar). Plus : am now (OK OK OK ... just ) 62. There's very little that I can't easily do now, having had the LD recon. Actually, I can't think of anything that I had wanted to do, but cannot. I suspect a lot has to do with getting as fit as possible before and after the surgery, and staying that way.
If you think wommen becomes less able from this op because it has "gone wrong" then you are surely barking up the wrong tree.
Good luck and I look forward to hearing that post surgery you can do everything that you could do before it. No one would like to hear that more than I would, truly.
I'm off to Leicester now so that I too can be "delighted".
I had reconstruction last June and I am absolutely delighted with the results. So pleased I went ahead and had it done. I had no problems afterwards and in December had nipple reconstruction. What a fantastic job they made of it - it's wonderful. I've just got the tattoo to go - can't wait.
I had my surgery done at Leicester Royal Infirmary - Mr. Varma - a wonderful man!
I am with you road runner. I havenow read through a number of good & bad comments & I am aware there may be complications after surgery but hopefully these will not effect me & if they do I will deal with them.
As my op is before yours I will let you know how I get on.
Happy New year to everyone.
I am a sporty person, and discussed this with the PS. His view was that as long as I am not into rock climbing or similar then there will be no problem. I lknow that there are some people for whom this operation has gone wrong, and I sincerely hope that I will not be one of them, but it seems to me that this debate is being skewed by a few very vocal people who have had a bad experience. There are thousands of ladies out there delighted with the result.
I had already decided to proceed with mx. I just wanted to have a balance of positive & negative comments after reading one thread where there were quite a few negative ones.
I have discussed this fully with my BC nurse & my family. I know I would not be happy with just MX and that I would require reconstruction & would rather do this in one go.
I am a person who needs to know all the pros & cons before I undertake anything.
I have now read through a number of threads relating to this & feel more informed of what to expect good & bad & I know this is the right choice for me.
I am not particularly sporty so will not impact me there but do like walking which hopefully this will not effect too much.
I already have a date for my op 19th January so will let you know how I get on.
Does that mean that as long as you get some "positive comments" you'll proceed? There are other options and according to the NICE guideline you should be offered all options even if it means referring you to another hospital.
If you are at all an active person and do any type of sport whatsoever I'd encourage you to research this further.
Thank you all for your comments, I was getting quite nervous after reading one thread where some people have had problems post surgery.
I am feeling better re op but still coming to terms with loss of my 'real' breast.
I will let you know how I am getting on & will also read through the other thread.
I started a thread on the reconstructive surgery section called 'are you happy with your LD flap?'. You may like to take a look at that. I think that as long as you have an experienced plastic surgeon rather than a breast surgeon you should be OK. I am due to have an LD flap on Feb 24 with Mr Graham Offer in Leicester.
Really pleased with my LD reconstruction. I had a double mx with immediate reconstruction (LD flap on cancer breast and implant on the good breast). Good result, very symmetrical and with scars that are rapidly fading. Just waiting for a nipple now. It is certainly better than having a mx with no reconstruction. In fact under clothing my bust looks better than it did pre cancer.
Hi Susan, Well I have been totally happy with my mastectomy with LD construction. I had this done when I was 39 and in a few months time I will be 60 and it is still looking good!! So you cannot get a better recomendation than that. It still looks good, the scar lines have faded completely and the skin in smooth and it looks better than I thought it would be. When I was going through all that in 1989, my Breast Care Nurse put me in contact with another lady who had had the operation a few years earlier. She came to my house for coffee to talk to me about the procedure then kindly asked me if I would like to see the "new boob". I was a bit wary but when I saw the final result I was certain that this was the road I ws going down. For years I put my name forward for anyone who was going through the same worries I was about a mastectomy. It looks better than my "normal" one but I am quite happy how it is and when I wear a bra you would never know I had surgery. Yes I am still reminded when I get dresed/undressed etc but I am still here and for me that was the most important part. If I can answer any questions feel free to ask and send me a "private message" if you prefer. Love Val X
thanks for the links I have printed out & will read through these.
My BC nurse explained everything to me & although I am not 100% about the op I know I need to have this & I am coming to terms with it.
I am just concerned re what happens after the op as I have read some comments on this site about complications.
It would be nice to hear some positive comments, I am going to arrange to speak to someone who has had the op in the new year.
While you are waiting for replies I have put the link below to the area of the website where you can watch an animation of various reconstructions which you may find useful. I have also put the link to our publication on reconstruction.
Also, if you would like to talk to one of the breast care nurses here then please do phone the helpline.
Hope this helps. Kind regards,
Hi, I am due to have right mastectomy with LD reconstruction in 3 weeks, already had WLE & SNB in November.
I have been looking on the forums & there seems to be quite a few negative comments re this proceedure. I would really like to hear from anyone who has had a 'positive' experience as I am a little scared after reading some of the comments re what can happen after this operation.