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My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Jaffacakes ignore recovery period of surgery and chemo. Your gonna have your boobs for life and chemo lasts a few months. Dig deep and choose the best long term option. No regrets. I had chemo then double MX with implants recon and slnb. Its pretty rubbish either way around I reckon but it does end. Good luck with your decision.
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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Chrisalex, I've had the dressings removed with good healing. I'm back on the 12th for my results. Trying to stay positive! x
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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Sandy
Not sure if you're still thinking about this or whether London is too far for you, but I just had a consultation with a plastics surgeon from St Thomas', and they do the strattice reconstruction. (In fact he said he introduced it to this country). Thinking of it for myself but they definitely liked the idea of the DIEP better for me. I'm not sure I can bear the length of the recovery, however, as I have to have chemo afterwards. Susan
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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Looby

 

I hope that the results are good for you and that the dressings are removed.  Not sure what mamoplastic involves but I assume it is some sort of reduction.

 

Regards Chris

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Chrisalex, I had a teraputic mammoplastic on 19th Nov and I am going tomorrow to hopefully have the dressing removed.x
,
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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hello ladies

 

Yes, I agree that this site is amazing.  I too had right mx with strattice and expander in September last year.  Undortunately it was not "pumped up" wuth saline until October this year so the initial results were not good.  Because I am a small frame I developed about 4 inches of lumps that were first diagnosed as fat necrosis but eventually told that the it is the stitches which are prominent (it looks like I have about 4 nipples under my skin but not in the correct place).  My surgeon has mentioned injecting fat from my body but is not prepared to do it for several years.

 

4 weeks ago I had a mastoplexi on my left breast to get some symetry and the results are looking pretty good.  Has anyone else had this op?

 

I would love to have the expander replaced with silicone at some point in the future but am now concerned that as the good breast has been operated on, would my breasts look even if the implant were changed.  If anyone has had implants exchanged are the breast the same size?

 

Regards Chris

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Sandy, I had a double mx using this method in October but unfortunately my hospital was Wolverhampton in the West Midlands which isn't much use to you. Results are great if you're a small frame, I didn't want an expander and opted for immediate implant with strattice and have a comfortable B B+ cup. Good luck with your search, I'm sure someone will come along shortly who is closer to your location. Tracy XXX
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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Help! Can anyone tell me of a hospital in the southeast that does implant and strattice reconstruction? My local hospital is Salisbury, but unfortunately they don't use strattice, and as I'm very slim am worried about how the implant will look/sit on my bony chest! Many thanks ladies. Sandy

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Helloooo. I am not up to speed with the abreviations yet! Last Wed, I had a Mastectomy, (1 breast) with an implant & strattice. I have just got home from hosp, 5 days later & no drains. Now though.....the wait for the results on the lymph nodes & breast they removed. (I had 2 cancerous lumps on the breast) and 3 lumps in the LN. I had 4 nodes removed. Please god.........no more. xx

The strattice was also a first for my surgeon, and I trusted him with my life!

I guess I have only just taken my first tentative steps on my cancer journey.

Love to all you lovely ladies x x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Ciaobella

I also had double mx with strattice recon as I had a re-occurance of DCIS in June 2010. I had expander implants and then had these replaced with silicone only ones in June this year. The silicone ones are so much better, but they don't feel different. They look a little different because on my cancerous side I have some dips from the mx which the implant can't quite fill. I have been offered Lipo filling (Fat injection) but don't think I will go ahead with that - like you I am now just deciding about the tattooing. I also had a clear SNB and have had no further treatment but did have radiotheraphy first time around.

If you find out any info re tattoing please pass it on but I think my next step is to talk to the lady that my PS recommended that I see.

Louise x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi ladies: I had double skin-sparing mx with immediate strattice reconstruction with "definitive" silicone implants (no expanders) in February this year - surgeon pleased at last week's checkup. Just wondered if there is anyone else out there in the same situation - DCIS, SNB all clear and no further treatments, with same reconstruction. If so, does each implant feel different?!

Looks like nipple reconstruction will be 3D tattoo - any info on those? - and also they mentioned some possible problem with tattoo/hair dye which I'm trying to research.

Thanks for any info...

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Thanks for that, its all really interesting. I am slowly realising that its really important to expect an implant and not a breast and all that entails, but I'm glad that yours looks good. I still don't think I want a huge tummy operation.

I am in Cornwall and my surgeon is really keen on all the latest stuff. Apparently the fat transfer has been done in Italy for a while but not here. there is a theoretical risk that stem cells will cause cancer cells to grow (there's always a downside isnt there?) but they have looked at this and not found that to be the case.

naomi

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi nem , that injection sounds interesting, where are you having it done?
I am now 3 months down the line and the shape is pretty good, particularly in clothes. it isn't bad out of clothes but I can tell where the edge of the implant is as I have fairly thin skin. Don't think it is noticeable to anyone else looking. I have started to get a slight rippling effect in the arm pit side of boob but if I keep upright and shoulders back , it's fine. It is more when I lean forward (tbh real boob don't look so great when I do that either:)) The rippling would bother me more if it was in my cleavage but that bits fine.I also have a bit of a dip at the top of the boob which I am guessing your extra fat might help prevent.
When you refer to a foreign object I ssume you meanthe implant not the Strattice? You don't really notice the Strattice but I have been a bit surprised at the general feel of having an implant and it has made me occaisionally think maybe I should have risked the Diep( I say risk as they couldn't be sure of what size they could get). I know that's silly because it was the right decision for me at the time, but unfortunately this thing is long term not just "at the time". Ia m getting used to it gradually and often forget it is there and generally have no pain at all yet.
Good luck.

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Thanks for the detailed info. I am due to have a strattice operation in January so please keep updating how you are all getting on. (dont spare us the bad stuff, its good to know it all!). i am a bit worried about how it will feel to have a foreign object on my chest.

Claire2010, I have had chemo and rads and I have been offered the strattice operation. There are a few caveats - I have been told the risk of capsular contracture is high and they often need to do further operations to make adjustments and they also said the diep often looks and feels more natural. I do not want any other part of my body risked or touched so I'm going for it. They will want to wait at least a year.I finished rads last November.

My surgeon is going to inject the site with stem cell enriched fat from my thighs beforehand as he says it helps with the skin regeneration. (this is very new). I asked him if he could take extra fat and chuck it away and he said, I'll take as much as you like! So maybe there is a tiny upside to all this horrid stuff.

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi all of you ladies who have had strattice,

I have been having a lot of problems with my tissue expander which looks as if it might burst through the skin in one place and it has been filling quite unevenly. I am slim with bony chest and small boobs.

At one point, a few weeks ago, the surgeon mentioned the possibility of strattice as a last resort but that he would have to apply for funding. Since then nothing more has been said. As I have only been expanded by 160ml I don't want him to stop at that or it wouldn't have been worth the trouble.

I understand it is very expensive for the cash-strapped NHS but I think it might solve my problem if I manage to get it.

My Hospital is in Portsmouth, anyone else around here?

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi

Interested in this thread and particularly in the suggestion that strattice could be instead of LD.

Do any of you know whether strattice instead of LD would be suitable for delayed recon after rads? I had bilateral immediate recon with expanders but, before the expanders could be exchanged, I had a recurrence which meant that the implant was removed entirely (to allow as much skin as poss to be removed).

I am now ok with nothing at all for the time being, but looking to the future I really am not so keen on an LD (or DIEP or any other own tissue recon etc) but I am no longer a candidate for implant only due to the rads. Were any of your strattice recons delayed after rads?

Debz - for what it's worth I found the new tumour myself very clearly pushing up the skin above the implant. I don't really feel as if my implant is bolted on - not part of me but have got used to it. If you are over inflated it can feel quite bulky.

Claire2010

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Gel.Was told she took me down in size by 100mls which I was quite happy with.

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hello captaininvincible. What sort of implant have you got, saline and gel or just gel? I was originally an A cup and had initially thought I would have an implant put in the other one and go up a couple of sizes but I have now decided to wait and see if this one settles down and feels ok. Also I am concerned about how they can see tumours around the implants.

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Debz,
Don't know about the "bolted on" feeling but it definitely felt huge for quite a while even though in a bra it didn't necessarily look it. I had mine done on the 5th July so am a few weeks on from you. It started to feel a lot better around 9-10 weeks. I think there was still swelling up till then. I tend to forget about it now during the day when in a bra (unless I knock it or it aches) but can't stand the feel of it when in bed and it just sits there, or, now that it has loosened up a bit it it is uncomfy to lie on my side for a while. Gone back to wearing a bra in bed. I had hope I might be back running by now but if I try I can feel a horrible sensation of the implant moving around and possibly rubbing against my ribs. I almost wish it did feel bolted on. You can see the outline of the implant now which is a real shame as before I guess the swelling covered it. It is a lot softer now and moves and has dropped a bit too.

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hello, I had skin sparing mx with strattice and implant on 24th August(6 weeks ago). Can anyone tell me if the implant ever feels like it is part of you or if it continues to feel like something that is bolted on. I didn't know anyone with implants but wish I had researched how they felt before having it done

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi everyone
It seems this type of surgery is taking off quickly now. I had double skin sparing mastectomy with strattice mesh done on 2nd July (4 weeks ago) and couldnt find much info before I went in. But had total faith in my surgeon as this was my 2nd go with breast cancer had lumpectomy and radiotherapy 8years ago. I was a double d previously and my surgeon has said I will be again so don't be put off when the literature says it's for smaller sizes. I was in hospital for 3 days although to be honest I felt fine and was pestering to come out the morning after. I had drains in for 10 days and had to empty them myself every morning. It wasn't difficult other than I'm a bit squeamish. I did find a really good solution with my drains though as the hospital gave me bags to carry them round. I found if I wore a tshirt and pinned the drain bags to the top they moved with me all the time and I could hide the with a baggy shirt or Cardigan and because the were on the side of my top I had plenty of play with the tubes and didn't pull them. In fact one of my nurses said she would recommend this to future ladies. I've had one session of inflating done so far and it wasn't painful just mildly uncomfortable. Mild pain killers were recommended for a couple of nights. And will be going back every 2 weeks for further fills. My worst bit is the boredom. Unfortunately I own and work with horses which is a physical job and I'm just not ready or confident enough yet to go back to riding as I don't want anything to fail because of my previous radiotherapy. But as I feel better every day I'm hoping I would be up to it soon. Hope everything continues to go well with you all and if anyone has any questions or just needs a bit of reassurance please get in touch. Good luck to all you special brave women xx

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Gosh I think you ladies are amazing. To have this surgery done whilst going through chemo/ radio takes some doing I should think. You have given me hope that my reconstruction in March will go well. I am keeping my nipples which I hope is the right decision, my specialist is fine with it. So heres to better boobies I hope.

Best wishes

Hannah x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi, yeah i think so, my expanders have saline in, and it sits quite high, its very round and very over inflated, so to stretch the skin alot. I think that the silicon one will be more of a tear drop shape, and much softer. I also have a port that needs to come out.]
I saw my surgeon yesterday, he wants to see me again in 3 months, to arrange the changeover op. He wants me to be 100% recovered from the chemo and well in myself. Only finished chemo last week.
Sharon x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Sharon

Is that because the silicone one should be more comfortable?

Thx

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi thanks for the replies girls, i feel like i am armed with enough info now, for my appt with the plastic surgeon tomorrow.
Crystal, i am having my implant which is a saline one, replaced with a silicone one, after i have had radiotherapy.
Sharon x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Ladies

I think that this site is absolutely fantastic, and it has given me so much useful information, that I just had to document my operation and it is great to know that it is useful to you all.

Sharon - On the side with the tumour I had skin sparing MX, but on the good side I had skin and nipple sparing, and I can honestly say that the good side looks great, the side without the nipple looks as good as it can without a nipple. I think that I will have the nipple reconstructed at some point - not sure how yet. FYI I am BRCA1.
Can youplese tell me why your expander is being changed to a permanent one, as i was lead to believe that I will keep my expanders?

Shenagh - wishing you the very very best luck with the op. For me the few days at home before the op were the hardest. My emotions were all over the place, however feeling so much better about it now the op is over!.

Annabelle - I had my operation in London, I live 30 miles outside, so had a rather long journey home after!. Glad to be of assistance.

xx Crystal

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi girlies
Crystal - thanks very much for the information, it has been so helpful knowing that others are going through the same, and we can share experiences with a new type of reconstruction. The info about the length of time your had your drains in is very useful as I have lymphodema in my breast which is being removed. Hopefully keeping the drain in longer can reduce the risk of seroma or more fluid buildup - fingers crossed!
Shenagh - Good luck with your procedure next week, keep us updated on your progress, if Crystals progress is anything to go by, it at least is not as daunting as first thought.
By the way, where in the country are you both, I am in South East Staffordshire and use Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield.
Cheers
Annabelle xx

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Sharon

I'm having a skin sparing and I think nipple sparing MX on both sides so I'm hoping that means I keep most of the skin and both nipples. Can update more after the op on Tuesday!

Still so grateful to Crystal for starting this thread!

Shenagh x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi crystal, i am due to have my expander implant changed to a permanent one, after i have had radiotherapy. I am also hoping my surgeon will agree to a risk reducing mastectomy on the other side, as i have extensive family history of breastcancer. I am waiting for the results from the braca gene test. But my mind is already made up, with or without a possitive test result, i want it done, at some point in the future. So rather than having a implant and uplift on the good side, i am hoping he will do it all at the same time. Anyway to cut a long story short what i was wondering, when you had the mastectomy on the good side, what do they actually remove. Do you keep the nipple and all the skin.

Sharon x

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Shenagh - I think if all goes well with the ealing, which it does seem to be so far that I will be off for around 6 weeks. I have an office job, so nothing physical. I am amazed with my results too, I have one nipple and that side looks fantastic, the other side, not so great, but it will do once they sort out a nipple at some point in the future.

Annabelle - great to hear someone else having it done soon. I was told no need to take a bra into hospital as the strapping would be so tight I could not wear a bra. True enough it wa like I was in a straight jacket, I was so tightly strapped up that in fact I have developed a few sores above and below the strapping. 10 days after the operation they removed the strapping and said to just wear a cotton soft spots bra. Mine is back opening, and I still need help to put it on. The thing is that the new boobs are so pert they just will not move. So in the house, which I am most of the time ( apart from hosp visits) I do not wear a bra, which is what my surgeon is in agreement with, I just wear a sports bra if gong out at the moment.

Lulu and all - I believe that the physical look of this operation give the same visual look as a LD flap, so personally I am pleased with my decision to go with this strattice - even at £1800 for each piece of strattice!.

I am now trying a few light exercises to try to improve my mobility, but I can asure you all that after over 2 weeks of carrying around drains, it feels fab to be able to move around a bit more.

thanks

Crystal

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Crystal

I've just looked at the link you provided too and think the results look amazing!

Have you been told how long you might expect to be off work?

Thank you again : )

Shenagh xx

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Hi Crystal
So pleased you are doing well with the strattice reconstruction. I have seen my plastic surgeon again and he has measured me with a full implant which will be a C cup (I am currently a D). He also said it is his first strattice operation although he has done around 100 reconstructions, and there will be a technician from the cell company in the theatre. As my surgeon is so good at reconstruction anyway, I dont have a worry that things will go wrong during the op, but of course I think they will monitor me closely afterwards. He also said if things dont work out, I can always go back to an immediate delayed recon then on to a LD flap recon.Obviously hope all is okay and your experience seems to have been good so far. I am sceduled for my op (only 1 side thankfully) for Friday 3rd Sept, so still very nervous but hey, at least I wont have breast cancer!!!
Please can you tell me whether you are still wearing your support bra as the bcn has suggested I get a cotton front fastening bra, or 2 to be going on with.
Thanks very much for your post,take care

Annabelle xxx

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

when i saw you were posting about your op Chrystal i thought ill need to let shenagh know if she hasnt seen it already.... but lo and behold she has LOL

im on the waiting list to have this done in about 6 months but my surgeon is still trying to sway me to LD as it has a better cosmetic effect than permacol which is strattices cheaper wee brother which takes longer to mesh... but i think overall id be happier to have the implant only recon at the present and if in years to come im not happy with it they will do an LD.... if they do an LD and im not happy then its more difficult to go back to implant only.

thanks for sharing

Lxx

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Shenagh

Glad to be of assistance.
One exta thing I should have said, do not worry about coming home with the drains. Initially I did worry, especially as there was no nurse coming out to check on them!.
All we needed to do on a daily basis (same time each day) was mark on the bottle how much fluid had drained in to the bottle. Three times my husband had to put a new bottle on, this was really easy, not messy as I imagined, so no worries there.

I wish you all the very best, and if I can help please let me know, as I too looked for information and found very little.
In fact 1 hour before I left home for the operation was when the hospital called me to say how about a strattice operation instead of the planned LD Flap!!! so I had very little time to research too!.
x
Crystal

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Re: My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

Crystal, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am due to have double MX with immediate reconstruction on Tuesday 24th using Permacol which I understand is a type of strattice. As it's such a new procedure I have struggled to find people to speak to who have had it, so reading about your experience has helped me a lot!

Shenagh xx

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My double mastectomy and strattice reconstruction operation

There have been various threads on here about strattice reconstruction.

Two weeks ago I underwent a bi lateral mastectomies followed by immediate strattice reconstruction on both sides. I thought that it would be useful to detail my experiences about this form of operation which I believe will be gradually being used in place of the LD Flap.
Strattice reconstruction is a relatively new procedure (and very expensive!), instead of using the LD flap to cover the bottom part of the implant it uses a form of tissue matrix to hold the bottom part of the implant in its place by a kind of internal ‘bra’. The pec muscle is still used to cover the top part of the implant.

http://www.lifecell.com/patients/369/

The advantages over the LD flap are mainly that your back muscles are not touched, the operation is quicker (about 4 hours for a double one), and the stay in hospital and the recovery after are much quicker.

I had my operation on the Monday evening, it took about 4 hours, which I believe is much quicker that a double LD Flap reconstruction would have been. I had four drains, two each side, one at the top of each breast and one at the bottom. Additionally, as the strattice needs to be stretched and against the skin, the implants were expanded quite a lot during surgery, and it was really comforting to wake up to breasts, smaller than before, may be A cup size, but so great to have them there initially. I cannot pretend that my stay in hospital was comfortable, I was in discomfort, and walking to the bathroom a huge deal, however even 12 hour after the operation I was up and slowly walking a few steps.
I was allowed ( and expected) to go home 2 days after the operation, which was much earlier than I imagined. I did have to go home with the four drains in place, as it is very very important that the fluid that is draining from the breast is at a very low level before they remove the drains, as they do not want the fluid forming a barrier between the strattice and your skin, as it is very important that they stay in contact. So for this reason they left some of the drains in for just over 2 weeks. This was really hard, being permanently attached to drains, it was such a relief when they were removed. The drains that stayed in the longest were the hardest and most painful to remove, as my tissue had ‘healed’ around them. In fact the removal of the fourth drain was the most painful part of the operation.

When the final drain was removed, the expanders were topped up again, it was amazing to see them filling up my breasts!.
All in all, this has been an amazing journey, I have total confidence in my surgeon, even though it is the first one that he has done!.

Fingers crossed that the long term recovery is good
Hope this is useful to someone.

Crystal