Another useful website is optionsforbreastreconstruction.com, which goes into a bit more detail as to how the ops are carried out.
My story is that I chose immediate implant recon with bilateral mx - reasons
* least complex surgery- though at least 2 ops are needed as the initial expander implants are eventually replaced with permanent silicone ones.
* Chances of a good end result for smaller breast sizes (I was 34B).
* Chance of a good match for bilateral
* If it went wrong potential to have a tissue recon later
I'm 3 months post op now and living with the expanders - pretty uncomfortable. I see the surgeon in January to talk about the 2nd op.
Hope you get the info you need to make your decision
Ladies, thank you so much for your feedback. This is all extremely helpful and has given me something to think about. Thanks for taking the time to reply xx
Ok, you've had 2 LD experiences...so here we go with a DIEP!
I think if you've got fuller breasts, then this seems to be a good technique, as it means a larger breast can be constructed without the need for an implant. I was a DD originally and the new breast is a D - so very little change in size. The overall appearance of the new breast has a similar soft and gently 'droopy' shape to its partner (which was reduced to a D cup at the same time as the mastectomy and recon.
The recovery period is slightly longer than with the LD and, because the DIEP involves microsurgery, it needs highly intensive management for the first 48 hours post op. I was then on a general ward for around 6 more days. However, I flew off to France just under a month after the op and was able to walk a couple of miles by then. 3 months after the op, I did a 12 mile sponsored walk.
Some people are worried about the abdominal scar, but I haven't found any problems - mine does go hip to hip, but it's fairly low down and when I wore bikini bottoms in the summer, it wasn't visible.
I did have a couple of minor wound infections, but nothing major and I wouldn't say I was ever in extreme pain....just discomfort for the first 3 weeks and then a bit of stiffness and sensitivity. It's now 6 months since the op and the scars are healing well - had nipple reconstruction and tattooed areola in the summer and I'm thrilled with the result. Have slightly smaller breasts than I did originally, but they're lovely! When I was staying with friends recently, Stu gave me a hug and told me I had amazing tits (he's gay and could get away with it!) I cried!! But, yes, I do feel amazing and strangely rejuvenated.
Anyway, good luck with your decision and do yell if you need any more advice or further gruesome details!
I have had bi lat LD recon and I am very happy with the cosmetic result. You wouldn't know I had had anything done while in a bra and hopefully after nipples are done I wont look too different out of one either.
Good luck in your decision.
I has an mastectomy and LD flap reconstruction 5 weeks ago. I have an eliptical shaped scar, as I had previously had a lumpectomy, with quite a bit of scarring. I am still quite uncomfortable. The back muscle contracts frequently which feels weird, but apparently botox may be a solution to this. In a decent bra, I look relatively 'normal', although the picture isn't pretty without a bra! I don't feel I can wear tight fitting T shirts any more, as the contracting boob may be apparent to others, but I am wearing fairly close fitting clothes. The muscle lump under my arm takes a bit of getting used to as well, but maybe this will reduce a little in time...hopefully. I also have a large numb area right down my back, where the muscle has been removed. I hadn't realised that the muscle extends so far down your back. I am not sure how they detached it, as all the scarring is under my bra. I don't think I fully appreciated what a big operation it was.
Best of luck with whatever you decide.
I had an LD reconstruction in May after a mastectomy 2 1/2 yrs ago. I am lucky (in a way) that I have smallish breasts - B cup and my surgeon managed to do the recon without an implant. I was in theatre for about 6 hours and came round wearing a bra type support that looked like something my Gran might have worn. This is to reduce bruising and support your new boob. I was a bit stiff but did not have much pain as the Nurses were very quick to ensure I had pain killers when I needed them. I had two drains at the side one for front and back which were not too uncomfortable, these were removed after 5 days before I went home. I have an elipticle shaped scar over my new breast but if you are having reconstruction at the time of your mastectomy you should only have a scar under your breast. I also have a scar across one side of my back under my bra which is a bit stiff at the moment but I am told by my BCN that the more I stretch it the better. I have had a bit of trouble with seroma (fluid) but this will settle eventually. Four months on I can honestly say that I am glad I had it done even though at times it has been a bit painful - at least I can now stuff 2 boobs in a bra again and believe me thats really something after wearing a prothesis . As with all big ops you will have a few up and down days but believe me it is worth it. I found it very helpful to look on the Internet for all the info I could get before I made my decision as to which type of recon to go for. Good luck in November. Best Wishes for a speedy recovery. Jaxdar x
I have no personal experience to share, but there are sessions run by bcc dealing with reconstruction, which depending on where you live, may be useful. I've pasted the link.
I am approaching the end of my chemo and am due for a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction early November. I have to meet with my surgeon in a week to tell him which kind of reconstruction I have opted for. I have read the Reconstruction booklet cover to cover numerous times and seen the photos, but just can't seem to get my head around it.
I would really appreciate if any of you had some post op stories of your own and could share your thoughts. I'm lucky that I have been offered most options, and personally, I am not squeamish about extent of surgery or the length of time I have to be under anaesthetic. I am a bit worried about additional scarring in other places as with the flap type ops, but am just wondering if the visual results are better at the end. Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that the cosmetic result is very important to me. The last thing I want is to spiral into depression because of low self-esteem.
Thanks for any advice or experiences you could share.
Hugs go to all of you..