@angela1234 - thank you for your very kind words, much appreciated. I really do wish you well with your decision. Evie xx
@Evie-S Hi Edie, what can I say to appreciate your generous advice. I always wanted an implant. Definitely a No to DEIP Flap as I’m scared of the big op. I will carefully think about it. Thanks so much.
Making a decision on reconstruction or not, and what type is very confusing. We’ve never had to do anything like it before, and your surgeon and family seem to be gently pulling you in different directions.
When you hear the advice, how do you instinctively feel? Do you lean towards having some sort of reconstruction or do you think you would be happy being flat? Have you seen any photos of the various options to give you an idea? It’s such a personal decision, there is “no one size fits all” here unfortunately.
Let’s have a chat about the various options.
No reconstruction: I haven’t looked, but I believe there are various Facebook groups for those who choose no reconstruction. You might want to contact them, or I’m sure there are chats on this forum too for those who didn’t go for a reconstruction. Let me know if you need any help searching. They will be able to help explain why they chose that option. You would be given a prosthesis to wear in your bra if you wanted that. I’m sure your husband and Mother are wanting the shortest simplest operation and recovery for you - which is of course natural and understandable - but it’s important that you explore whether it’s right for you too.
Reconstruction: I knew I wanted a reconstruction, and I knew I wanted the shortest recovery - in the end only my particular implant was suitable for me, so my choice was implant or staying flat.
Implant: Your surgeon sounds as if he is trying to talk you out of having an implant. I’m not medically trained so I don’t want to try to give any medical advice to you, but I would like to share my own experience and the advice I have been given and read on here, so I’ll use the numbering/comments you used:
1) cold and numb - it is correct that I don’t have much feeling in my implant, but it’s certainly not cold. It was slightly strange at first not having much feeling in that breast, but very quickly I stopped noticing and now I hardly notice that at all.
2) harder after radiotherapy - yes that is the advice I have heard and read, but not everyone suffers from that - @nickeyg123 and I didn’t (touch wood).
3) non matching - mine don’t match, but they are close enough and you would never know under clothes. I’m quite small chested, and my implant is more round, and slightly bigger than my real one. I use a foam breast form over my real one to even things out. It really depends on your priorities. Some people want a much closer match, so a tissue recon would be for them.
4) replacement - I would encourage you to get a second opinion on the advice of “2-5 years replacement” as I have never been told that or read that on here. I’ve had mine about 5.5 years and I think I was told that it should last about 10-15 years, possibly longer. I think I’ve also read similar on this forum. Of course not all last so long, some harden or have to be replaced or removed for other reasons, but I really don’t think people would have implants if they knew they would face an operation every 2 years.
Diep - I wasn’t offered this option so didn’t explore it in as much detail. I do know it has a longer operation and recovery time, but both of these are probably worth it in the long run if that is the option that you think is best for you.
Conclusion - I have tried very hard to be neutral on the options, but re-reading I probably sound as if I am pushing you towards the implant option! I do apologise if I have. I am more than happy to chat as much as you like about the options, until you start to get a feeling for what will suit you best. Sometimes just writing things down can help, so please do come back and chat more or ask any more questions.
Hope your weekend is good so far. Just want to give you an update regarding me meeting with a plastic surgeon yesterday which makes me so indecisive now.
He can do both DIEP Flap and implant, but he said implant will cause me troubles as (1) you will feel cold and numb, (2) it has higher possibility to become harder with radiotherapy, (3) It’s hard to find exactly the same size and shape of implant as my other breast, (4) All the implants will be either removed or replaced between 2-5 years time, I’m just delaying the flap procedure.
Both my husband and mum strongly advise me to choose nothing Abe go flat. But I don’t want to miss the opportunity as it’s not possible to do implant again in the future if I delay it.
What should I do.
Great. Thank you so much for your valuable advice. Bless you
Hi lovely ,
just seen your post . I had mastectomy with implant re construction with radiotherapy after , and they were fine with it . But they do say that there is a ‘possibility ‘ the implant can change shape due to radiotherapy . Everyone is different . I had 15 sessions of radiotherapy after and mine was absolutely fine . Mine didn’t change . Good luck with whatever you decide to do. X
@angela1234 - I understand your reluctance about the DIEP as I felt the same, but you are doing the right thing getting as much info about all the options, including staying flat, before you make a decision. Do ask your surgeon if they have photos of the options too, mine did. Ask others on here too. And talk to your surgeon about the “pre-pectoral implant” with the Braxon sling that I had, as that might also be an option for you.
It is a very personal decision, everyone feels differently about what to do and has different priorities. Mine doesn’t match the other one, but I’m used to it and I’m happy with my decision.
You might want to give the nurses on here a call to see if they can offer some additional advice on the various risks.
And if you think of any questions at all that I can help with please don’t hesitate to ask. I know I found the whole process daunting. Evie xx
@Evie-S Thank you so much for the quick response. Really appreciated. Understood the risks of the implant getting harder with RT. I am so reluctant to consider the DIEP flap option. I may just end up of having the breast removed without any reconstructions. I am going to meet a plastic surgeon this Friday and discuss the options. Thanks so much.
@angela1234 - from my experience, surgeons seem to be reluctant to do implants if the person needs radiotherapy afterwards as there is a higher risk of “capsular contracture”, which as I understand it means the implant can go hard. This might be a question to discuss with your own surgeon to see what they think of your particular case.
I had an implant on top of the muscle, rather than underneath it, and it sits in some sort of mesh sling (Braxon I think it’s called), and I was told by my surgeon that this combination is supposed to help reduce the risk. Touch wood mine seems ok so far, and I had it done in summer 2017.
I’m really glad you tagged me and asked the question, it’s so good to have as much information as possible before you have your reconstruction. I’m very happy to help try to answer any other questions if that might help. I wish you all the very best for the operation and your recovery. Big hugs, Evie xx
@Evie-S Hi Evie, can I please ask a question? I am going to have a mastectomy with immediate implant. Is there any complications if I have to do radiotherapy after the surgery?
4 weeks post surgery this Fri and other than a strange sensation in arm as had removal lymphnodes i wouldnt have throught id been in surgery all has gone well. I am doing alittle more now but stopping when body tells me. I have i think my last appointment with BN tomorrow then oncologyist Mon 9am to find out about chemo.
As im 32yrs old i went for implant as young if older i may just had masectomy, since had bloods results back and i will have to had surgery the other side. It does feel strange but its just getting used to it all area obs numb.
Hope all goes well for you
Hi @C0109 - I know you addressed your question to @mel1989 , but I just wanted to welcome you to the forum as I see it’s your first post. If I can help with any questions about my experience with an implant I’m happy to chat with you further. I’m glad you have reached out on here to get first hand advice to try to help you with your decision. I wish you all the very best with what every decision you reach. Evie xx
How are you feeling Mel? I am going to have a mastectomy and trying to decide between implants and diep. Diep would be delayed following a mastectomy so wondered if they would give me an implant as a temporary measure. I could then keep it if it feels ok?
Hi thanks for message,
Had 1st check up yesterday all well thank you drains be out Fri so hard reling on hubby as well as 2 young children im so independant usually. Althou listening to body and resting as much as can hubby back to work Fri.
I went in for a mastectomy plus implant recon, and full lymph node removal 2 weeks ago. I had 2 drains in also ( which are now removed ) , and now just recovering . How are you holding up ? Any questions please ask
Thanks Evie that’s good to know! Xx
You are very welcome Sarah. Do keep in mind when reading forum chats that you will probably read more stories about problems than success stories - not a criticism of forums, but that is their very nature, people tend to come on when they have a question or problem, rather than to report a success story. Best wishes, Evie xx
That’s great to hear Evie as some of the posts I have read are a bit daunting. So to feel like myself is the aim. Thank you for all the advice and support!
Hi Sarah - thank you for your kind words, I had my operation about 4.5 years ago and I can honestly say I really am hardly aware of my implant. Mine feels a bit different to the real one, but not alien - and I hope you will find the same. There is very little feeling in the implant, and it’s firmer - so to begin with it felt a bit odd when someone hugged me, but I got used to that quickly. I can exercise just as I did before, and sleep on it too. For me it was the right decision. Evie xx
Thanks Evie hopefully it has settled down now and it feels more comfortable. I guess everyone is so different that the sizing can work differently. Big thing for me is I hope it won’t feel too alien in my body and I will get used to it.
@SL255 - my surgeon spent ages taking measurements so I was also very surprised that it ended up larger. To begin with it was quite a bit bigger but some of that was swelling etc from the surgery. However, even now it is a bit bigger. I did consider having the implant taken out and a smaller one put in but again decided I didn’t want more surgery.
Unfortunately I didn’t save the nipple, and at the time planned to go back for nipple recon. But you have probably guessed that I didn’t! All decisions are very personal, what is right for one person may not be for another - but asking around is the best way to work out what is best for you. So please do keep asking anything you think of and I’ll try to help if I can. Evie xx
Thanks Evie, really appreciate your post.
I was curious as surprised that the implant turned out bigger. I thought it would always be slightly smaller - did you manage to save the nipple or have a nipple recon after? I wouldn’t like to have to go up a size but surgeon said it would be likely that it will be smaller.
Hi @SL255 - yes I did get a mesh with my implant. Mine is a “pre-pectoral” one, so sits on top of the muscle in a mesh sling, rather than underneath the muscle. My implant doesn’t exactly match my real one, it’s slightly bigger and more round, but I use a light foam breast form in my bra over the top of my real one and that seems to work for me. To begin with I didn’t like the mismatch and did explore options with my surgeon. He offered surgery on my real one to match them but at that time I didn’t want any more surgery, and to be honest I’m used to them now.
I’m really happy to answer any questions you have, anything at all. I think you said your surgery is in a couple of weeks - I wish you all the very best for your surgery and recovery. You will be given more info at the time, but do make sure you do the arm exercises they give you. Best way is little and often to make sure they don’t become a chore. Evie xx
just wondering did you get the mesh with your implant and how did you get on with the symmetry. Did you have to have any follow on procedures?
many Thanks for your help.
Well done Mel that’s great to hear and wishing you a very speedy recovery ❤️🩹!
It must be great to have the op behind you.
Take care and keep us posted about how you are getting on.
Just wanted to get in touch hope your well.
All went well with me althou i got to the hosp for 7am and was waiting untill 2.15 to go down as far as im awear all procedure went well when i come round the time was 6.15 🙈. No pain for me althou they have given me medication 10pm and 6am, 2 drains at mo possibly 1 being taken out today and then hoping to go home later today have to see.
Slept on and off as can imagine in hosp buzzers going off and i had 2 tubes on legs to prevent blood clots nice little massage but did make noise. Also sitting slightly up i think kept waking also as didnt want to slip down and cause more problems with fuild draining.
Manage to eat little, drank lots thou.
Once home i will let you know, wish you all the best
@mel1989 - I wish you all the best tomorrow for your op and recovery. I guess it’s a very personal decision about what to wear to go in/come out of hospital. I wore my usual daytime clothes, with button up shirt and cardigan and nothing to lift over my head. I stayed in for a few nights so I just packed a small bag with a few essentials including pjs. But if you are wanting to travel extra light, good idea to arrive already in your pjs! I’m sure others will also have advice to share. Evie xx
Of course as soon after tomorrow when i feel ready i will let you know how it went and how i am doing.
Just wondering what to wear into hosp so have less to carry as be in button up pjs, there gown during surgery i guess.
Wishing you the best for the surgery and hope all goes well. I will be going in for the same in a couple of weeks mx plus implant.
keep us posted as to how you get on
Take care xxx
@mel1989 I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate implant recon last January, and like Evie, I'm happy to answer any questions you have.
For me, the op itself wasn't too bad at all, but I'd already had a lumpectomy and reduction (I was 'too large' for implants at my original size) the previous year to compare it to. The main difference was needing drains, but they weren't as bad as I feared - just a bit awkward to carry around, although they did give me cotton bags that went over the shoulders. I'd said I'd rather stay in hospital while the drains were needed, so I was in for 4 nights. Do be prepared to have to sleep on your back for quite a while afterwards.
I'm happy with the resulting look, especially dressed - my best mate has joked she won't stand next to me in photos any more with my new perky look! It did take me a while to get used to how the implants aren't, well, firm round globes? They are only mostly-full of liquid, and that does move about as I do, so lying down sees things shift a bit. It doesn't hurt at all but I found this very weird to see for a while. I was offered lipofilling to help improve the overall look, so that might also be something you can consider down the line (mine was 9 month later), which has the added benefit of a little free liposuction from e.g. tummy or thighs 😉
Very best of luck with the op, and do reach out if/when you need to xx
@mel1989 - I had a mastectomy plus implant reconstruction about 4.5 years ago. I’m very happy to answer any questions if I can, both now or after the operation.
I wish you all the very best for the operation and the quickest possible recovery - and of course I hope your Covid test is negative so you can go ahead and get it over with. Sending hugs too, Evie xx
Due to have surgery on 7th, wondered if anyone on here has been through either the same or similar, masectomy & implant reconstruction?
Off for my covid test tomorrow and then all in isolation untill morning of surgery.
Need to sort my bag have been putting things in a pile making a start, as having reconstruction have said i prob be one of last to go down for surgery so will be along day Fri.