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Happy reconstruction stories

lynn1950's picture
lynn1950
Posts: 2573
Joined: Jun 2008

We hear so many unhappy reconstruction stories. I am thinking of having reconstruction next summer and need to hear some happy stories! Please share. Thanks. Lynn

Clementine_P's picture
Clementine_P
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Lynn,

I had a bilateral mastectomy with expanders and really can say that I am happy with the results. After my chemo, I had the exchange surgery which was such an easy surgery. I was out of the hospital before lunch the same day of the surgery. I had silicone implants and they are comfortable, don't ripple and look pretty good (if I do say so myself!). I will have to get an MRI every 2 years or so, but all things considered that isn't a big deal to me and I see my PS once a year just for a checkup. My first one year appointment is coming up next month.

If you decide to go with reconstruction, I hope it goes smoothly and that you are equally as happy with your results as well. If you have any specific questions, I am happy to help.

All the Best,
Clementine

lynn1950's picture
lynn1950
Posts: 2573
Joined: Jun 2008

Thanks for your replies! I am thinking I want a DIEP, but really don't know all the pros and cons of all the different kinds of reconstruction.

I've heard that you have to have silicone replaced after 10 years? Why do you need an MRI...to make sure that no cancer is growing underneath the implants? If you need an MRI for that, do you need an MRI for any reconstruction?

I do plan to shop around. I am thinking of having my surgery in Seattle (I have a sister who lives in Tacoma). I'm not sure how to shop around from so far away (10 hour drive). The city I live nearest to is Boise. I'm not sure I trust anyone in Boise to bilaterally boob me up! There just isn't the volume that a big city has.

I have time to research, as I don't plan on doing anything until next June.

Thanks again, xoxoxo Lynn

Clementine_P's picture
Clementine_P
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Lynn,

I believe the MRI is needed for those of us with silicone implants because if the implant ruptures, it can't necessarily be detected without an MRI. With saline implants, if the implant ruptures, it would deflate so you would know right away. While I don't particularly want to get an MRI, I sort of look at it as another check to make sure that my cancer has not returned. I do think that you need to have either silicone or saline implants replaced every 10-15 years. They apparently have a life and so when they get close to the end of their life, need to be replaced.

Best,
Clementine

debsweb18
Posts: 190
Joined: Jun 2012

I asked my MO on Monday how often I'll an MRI for my implants (I haven't had one yet). He said I'll have an ultrasound every other year to check for leaks. Although MRIs are better at detecting leaks, he said ultrasounds aren't as hard on the breasts (or what's left there). I've heard silicone implants can last from 3-20 years. You never know!

Deb

47ronin
Posts: 16
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks for suggestion this topic. I had a bilateral on 3/4 of this year and had wanted to do a Diep flap, but chemo took a lot out of me, and I'm not sure I could handle a long surgery. I'm scheduled to do silicone implants exchange for the tissue expanders that I have now on 10/31. I can't wait, because this and the hair loss have really depressed me more than I expected.

Clementine_P's picture
Clementine_P
Posts: 367
Joined: Feb 2011

47ronin,

I can tell you that the exchange surgery was really easy. I was tired for about a week but that was it. Immediately I felt more comfortable with the implants in verses the expanders. I did my exchange about 4 weeks after my last chemo session so that should say a lot about how easy the surgery was. Getting the exchange done did a lot for my self image. It really gave me a boost.

Good luck on the 31st! No scary costumes necessary. Ha ha ha.

Best, Clementine

mamolady's picture
mamolady
Posts: 795
Joined: May 2011

Lynn,
I had the tram flap just 4 weeks ago. So far I am happy with the results. I still can't have coffee, but I heard not all docs expect that. The surgery was 13 hours(I had bilateral mastectomy). The recovery was more than I expected but still not bad. I will have to have a touch up in 6 months just to even out a little bit. I think all recon takes more than one surgery so that isn't bad.
If you have the opportunity to shop around for the PS, do that. I was able to see work from different doctors because of my job. That is how I decided on the doctor that did my surgery.
Good Luck!
Cindy

lynn1950's picture
lynn1950
Posts: 2573
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi Cindy. 13 hours! How long was your recovery? How did you choose a tram flap rather than a DIEP? I am glad to hear that you are happy with the results. Remind me where you live? Thanks for posting. xoxoxo Lynn

lintx's picture
lintx
Posts: 456
Joined: Sep 2012

My Diep flap was done May 15. I was in surgery 8 1/2 hrs. First hour was the bilateral though. I chose the Diep because stomach muscles aren't involved, and you get a tummy tuck! My recovery was fine. By the third week, I was out and about and walking 4 mi in the mornings again. The tubes were the hardest part. I had them for 2 weeks. Then on Aug 28th was the revision surgery. It was outpatient and only 2 hrs to nip, tuck and add nipples. No recovery time needed. Every woman is different, but I would do it again. Tattoos are next in November. It was great to be able to get everything done so fast. Good luck in your decision. Hugs, Linda

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3983
Joined: Oct 2009

You are right--you usually only hear about reconstruction gone wrong.

But, I had a pedicled TRAM in 1988 with no problem at all. The recovery, due to the nature of that surgery, did take time (~6 weeks). My PS warned me of all the possible complications (such as hernia, etc.), but I never had any of them.

Then, in about 1995, I had a second mastectomy with SGAP free flap. The free flap was great--much easier recovery.

The second breast is prettier ;-), but that is probably because that breast didn't have a large tumor. The second breast was removed preventively after 2 sisters went on to get breast cancer too.

Anyway, I am always happy that I had the procedures done. The breasts are very comfortable because they are my own tissue and it is nice to have something to fill a swimsuit, because, living in the hellish hot South, the water is the place to be in the summer. I did my homework and used the PS who "invented" the free flap surgery.

lynn1950's picture
lynn1950
Posts: 2573
Joined: Jun 2008

Thanks to all of you. You are helping to build my courage for this! xoxoxox Lynn

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