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Breast reduction

11 REPLIES 11
Seabreeze
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Hi Teya,

 

You are welcome, pleased to help outline the considerations. It's such a personal decision and you are so early on, so I can imagine how it threw you if you weren't expecting yet another thing to think about!

 

Just to clarify, I ended up having 3 op's in all. Given they were reducing only one (the non bc side so long after initial lumpectomy), they were concerned about removing too much just in case many cells died due to the surgery (over the 6 months or so after surgery) and it ended up too small! So as a result, they were cautious, and as it turned out I didn't get shrinkage due to post op cells not surviving, so ended up reduced but still too big! Hence the second reduction op on the same breast! So 3 op's in all.

 

Yes - I wasn't sure whether your surgeon was proposing lumpectomy on bc side, with breast reduction other side to match, or, lumpectomy and reduction on bc side, with more significant reduction other side! 

 

Don't feel pressurised if you aren't sure enough to do it now. But getting it all out the way sounds positive rather than eeking it out! It was the miss balanced weight that really bugged me, more so than the visual aspect. I think it also helped me feel more confident again. My surgeon was very neat too.

 

All the best making your decision and talking it all through with your consultant.

 

Do contact me if you think I can help any further. 

 

Seabreeze

 

 

 

Teya
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Thank you Seabreeze for your swift and comprehensive reply!

 

the surgeon I think was suggesting breast reduction as part of lumpectomy so radiotherapy would not need to penetrate so much Breast tissue in the side with bc. However to be honest I was so unprepared for this discussion that it’s all a bit vague and I could be wrong. I have googled him since and his expertise is oncoplastic Breast surgery so that’s reassuring. 

You have given me plenty to think about and discuss when I see him and it does make sense to wait with the reduction on the unaffected side until later, although that is then 2 operations instead on one?

always good to know about other options, so again: thank you. 

And brilliant to hear you are doing so well!! 💕

Seabreeze
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Hi Teya,

 

I had lumpectomy on one side, tried this with a prosthesis (in case you are not aware they do make prosthesis to sit over a breast and make it appear larger, they are not all for women who have had a mastectomy). However my skin had a strange reaction to the prosthesis (the fitter at the hospital who has worked there for years said she'd never come across it before so the vast majority of women must be fine)!

 

In the end due to feeling lopsided and not being able to wear a prosthesis I decided to have a reduction of the larger side. Because I was having just one side reduced, the surgeon didn't want to risk removing too much (since apparently some women lose a bit more during the healing period). I left it 12 months to give things a good time to settle and was getting shoulder problems since I was still lopsided. So had round 2 reduction, which worked well re balance angle. I wasn't actually offered a reduction at the time of my lumpectomy, so a slightly different situation to you.

 

Considerations/things to ask the surgeon about to help you decide:

 

1 - Clearly the degree of lopsideness will depend on how big and where your lump is.

2 - By having surgery you do lose some sensation in your breast (to varying degrees), particularly for surgery near the nipple. Most reductions take the form of incisions around the nipple and down from the nipple or that with a curved line under your breast (my surgeon referred to this as lollipop or smiley face if it helps you get the picture). Any breast surgery, particularly  near the nipple can lead to some degree of loss of nipple sensitivity. So in that respect it's a balance of what is most important to you.   

3 - My understanding is that radiotherapy can cause some breast shrinkage. You might want to ask if this is the case and if you are likely to end up with a better result if the reduction is carried out at a later date, or if given the individual level of tissue die back which can happen, whether having both reduced at the same time, with the lumpectomy is most likely to give the best balance angle.

4 - Personal preference and depending upon level of lopsidedness - would you prefer to keep one breast intact and wear a prosthesis? The only thing is if for example the lump is just above the nipple, the lumpectomy may mean that breast is tightened up and the nipple may become a bit higher....which clearly increases the feeling of lopsidedness. 

5 - If you ask if you could see how you go, and consider a reduction in the future, check if the surgeon thinks there is any chance the NHS may change it's policy to doing this as part of the breast cancer package. Hopefully the policy will not change...I'm just aware of what future NHS budget pressures may be.....     

6 - I'm a bit mystified re your surgeons comment about less breast tissue during radiotherapy means less risk of damage to tissue. Yes re the bc side (but that side will be smaller after the lumpectomy), so is the surgeon referring to the non bc side? If so that side shouldn't get much zap anyway since all the radio will be directed at the bc side?

Or have I misunderstood, and is your surgeon talking about lumpectomy AND further reducing the size of the bc breast, which would make sense re less tissue damage to the zapped side.    

7 - When they do a lumpectomy, they remove the lump and a margin of tissue around the edge of it. They then test that tissue, to ensure the margin is clear of any bc. You usually get the results 2 weeks after the lumpectomy. If there are any signs of bc cells in the margin, they will want to remove more tissue. Hence you might want to ask if this would be likely to mean you'd need more surgery just on the bc side or also on the non bc side to balance. I guess the answer probably depends on how big the lump is?

8 - Clearly more to recover from but then it gets it out of the way with one op, only 1 lot of anesthetic.

 

Me - I'm pleased I had a reduction. It was definitely the right decision for me. The scars fade a lot and to me the physical discomfort of being so lopsided was unpleasant and caused shoulder problems. I got fed up of bras twisting round me and due to the extremely unusual prosthesis issue, I had no option but to try to disguise my shape under baggy tops. But this isn't the case for most women re prosthesis so the factors influencing your decision are slightly different to mine.   

 

Timing is a whole different question! 

 

I hope that helps. Do post again if you need clarity on anything above, or message me if you want to discuss more details.

 

All the best

Seabreeze (5 years on and doing ok - reduction 2.5 years after diagnosis/lumpectomy, further reduction op 3.5 years, now at 5 years no evidence of disease) 

      

Teya
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Hi just picked up this thread as trying to find out a bit more about this. 

I was diagnosed two weeks ago and had an appointment with the breast surgeon last Tuesday. My son is getting married next week so I have started hormone therapy and I have a second appointment on 30th. 

He has given me a choice: lumpectomy only or breast reduction with lumpectomy as I have bra size 38F.  He said this would help with the radiotherapy afterwards as less Breast tissue means less potential damage.

i did not expect this option ( I did ask whether it would be both breasts! 😂 yes, I won’t be left lopsided!)

what to do??

Does anyone else have experience with this?

i

Corrina
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Hi Gigii sorry to hear about your diagnosis.I remember being very shocked and frightened to find out I had cancer.   I cant really comment on what your surgeon is going to do however most of the surgeons are very experienced and will always think ahead as to how they can help you look the best possible after your surgery. Maybe you could phone your breast cancer nurse to have a chat about your concerns as Im sure she will be able to talk you through things and put your mind at rest a bit and answer any questions you have.. As for myself I was given a wide local incision to remove the lump. At the time I remember the Surgeon saying she could do a breast reduction on both breasts at that time if I wanted smaller breasts, however I did not want that done at the time as she said after the surgery it may not look too different, but she did say that they could do some correction surgery afterwards if needed.  I had surgery at the end of Jan 2016 followed by radiotherapy . The surgery and the treatment left me with one boob bigger than the other and also my nipples were not in line which I wasnt happy with as it looked very odd. They agreed I could have a breast reduction on my larger boob to make it more symetrical with my other one .also to move the position of the nipple so they would be more in line. Im still presently recovering from this surgery so not sure of the final outcome. I had been nervous about going ahead with the reduction as they point out all the things that can go wrong so I can understand why some people choose not to go through with it.  Please let me know how you get on and def give the breast cancer nurse a call as she will know about the details of your cancer so best to a tobe advise you. Take care Corrina xx

Gigii
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Only been on the site 5 mins - I’m still in denial - was diagnosed with stage 2 smallish ( feels enormous to me) Invasive ductal triple pos er8 pr8 her2 - lumpectomy op booked for 1/10 then -then, chemo, targeted hormone and radiotherapy my appointment with the surgeon ( he’s plastics and cancer) was so rushed, he said lumpectomy, which will leave a dip - couldn’t say how big ,and some small scars - but as an almost parting shot he could do a Brest reduction ticking the boob around - and balance the other in 3-4 months. I don’t get to see him again until the morning of the op. already in shock everything is surreal ( such an inadequate word) with the cancer diagnosis I’m at a loss, so confused, my cancer nurse just said he’s a plastics specialist and has done it loads of times - that’s not helping. I’m buxom always have been, never considered plastic surgery - not sure what I’m asking really - just dreadfully confused and now where to take it - sorry
Corrina
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Pleased to hear your results were clear! I'm doing ok still and my boob is starting to look more like my other one so that's a relief. Hoping your fully recovered soon xx
girly888
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Hi Corrina, a dissolving stitch poked out last night, half an inch long, I think that was the culprit!

So I was at a dressings appointment and there was a doctor there so I enquired about the results, she checked the computer and said it came back clear and I asked for a paper copy of the report - which you are entitled to - otherwise I suppose I would have asked the plastic surgeon when I see him in a few weeks. I think in this case I would have only heard back if something had been found in the removed tissue.

You sound like you are doing really well so hope you will continue like that. I am pretty much back to normal now but given that 2 weeks is recommended recovery for this kind of op, that would have been too soon for me.

best wishes, girly x

Corrina
Member

Re: Breast reduction

hi girly888 thanks for your rely .great you are pleased with results. Hoping I will be as pleased. Yes arnica is good I should get some as I'm still very bruised. My reduced boob is also a bit higher up but she has told me that this would drop after a while. Also as the other boob is fixed and won't change due to me having radiotherapy probs bet the other one is a bit higher up to start with as that one will drop with age anyway. How long after your surgery did you find out about the pathology report. ? I'm not seeing my surgeon till the 10 Oct so seems along time to wait. But hopefully it will be fineeded and assume they would get in touch before that if they found anything untoward going on. Sorry to hear you havnt healed up properly yet. Hope you heal up soon. I only had a lollipop scar not the anchor so shouldn't take as long to heal. Great to hear you are happy with your new boob shape though. Makes it all worthwhile. I was told to sleep on my back which I find difficult as always used to sleep on my side. A wk after surgery now and still feeling really tired at time but getting out for short walks and seeing friends.hoping you continue to do well. Please keep in touch and let me know how your doing
girly888
Member

Re: Breast reduction

forgot to say, I took arnica in the first few days after surgery.

girly888
Member

Re: Breast reduction

Hi Corrina, I had a reduction  6 weeks ago and still not quite healed as the dissolving stitches and some of the dressings have irritated my skin - so I have two tiny holes on the vertical of the anchor scar. 

Other than that I had very little pain, hardly any swelling, more sore than anything and was a bit difficult to find a comfy position to sleep but that eased off week by week. 

The pathology report was all clear - that was a relief.

Would say that my reduced boob shape looked great immediately after surgery and I'm really pleased with it although its a bit high up but I know it will drop over the next few months.

Hope you continue well,

 

girly x

Corrina
Member

Breast reduction

Just had a breast reduction one wk ago in one breast to make my breasts more symetrical after my surgery for breast cancer left me with one boob smaller than the other. Just had my wounds checked at hosp today. Not properly healed yet but no infection. Got new dreasing on. Boobs still looking very different at mo. Would like to hear from anyone else who has had a breast reduction recently and how long it takes for them to settle after the op 😀xx