Reconstruction timing ??

ibd
ibd Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I will be undergoing a modified radical mastectomy of one breast in April and need to decide if I should have immediate reconstruction. I will have had four chemo treatments. The surgery will be followed by four more chemo treatments and radiation therapy. One of the surgeons I've seen recommends waiting for at least 10 months after radiation is complete so regeneration of healthy tissue can produce a better end result. Another surgeon feels it's better to reconstuct the breast immediately following mastectomy to avoid two separate major surguries, two hospital stays and the emotional trauma of living w/o one breast for a long period of time. I'm leaning toward immediate reconstruction. Please share your experience. Thank you!

Comments

  • marytres
    marytres Member Posts: 144
    Hi, I guess doctors are different, haven't found one with the same opinion. The first surgeon said that he would reconstruct right away during the mastectomy but another told me to wait, to save my skin first and then think about reconstructive surgery. Last month I asked my oncologist and he said to wait for the 5 year period to end. I'm a 3 year survivor so if I waited this much I can wait another 2 years. Get another opinion and it depends on each individual case. Good luck and God bless. Hugs, Marie
  • dep
    dep Member Posts: 17
    If I had to do it over I would have had reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy in my case. However, I didn't have radiation or chemo and I don't know if that would adversely affect the reconstructed breast as far as the best look. I think your plastic surgeon would know best. MaryAnn
  • banker
    banker Member Posts: 317 Member
    I had a modified radical mastectomy in 1998 followed by 6 mo of chemo. No Radiation. I yr later Tram Flap reconstruction. All went well and I had no complications. Looking back now I would have done both at the same time because I was layed up twice with the 2 major surgeries. In your case the question is "radiation" it does toughen the skin a bid. I would talk more with the plastic surgeon. Also I would think it would depend on what type of reconstruction you are having. Hope this helps, if you have more questions just ask. Emmi.
  • Chanel
    Chanel Member Posts: 4
    Hello,I am a breast cancer survivor.Five years ago I underwent a bilateral mastectomy.I am happy
    that I waited one year after my mastectomy to have
    reconstruction.Being a OB/GYN nurse for many years
    and seeing many breast cancer patients,I felt that it was better emotionally and physically for
    me to wait on my reconstruction.The reconstruction
    I had was in two stages.The first stage was tissue
    expansion which took almost one year.It does not always take that long it was just my choice to stretch it out.The second stage was the removal of
    the tissue expanders and to replace them with the
    permanent breast implants(saline).I am very happy
    with the results.Although it was painful it was very much worth it.Breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal decision and you have to make
    sure that you are doing it for yourself and nobody
    else.I thank God for these past five years and constantly pray for many more.I wish everyone the
    very best.Please feel free to talk to me anytime.
    [email protected]
  • mamou
    mamou Member Posts: 15
    Chanel said:

    Hello,I am a breast cancer survivor.Five years ago I underwent a bilateral mastectomy.I am happy
    that I waited one year after my mastectomy to have
    reconstruction.Being a OB/GYN nurse for many years
    and seeing many breast cancer patients,I felt that it was better emotionally and physically for
    me to wait on my reconstruction.The reconstruction
    I had was in two stages.The first stage was tissue
    expansion which took almost one year.It does not always take that long it was just my choice to stretch it out.The second stage was the removal of
    the tissue expanders and to replace them with the
    permanent breast implants(saline).I am very happy
    with the results.Although it was painful it was very much worth it.Breast reconstruction surgery is a very personal decision and you have to make
    sure that you are doing it for yourself and nobody
    else.I thank God for these past five years and constantly pray for many more.I wish everyone the
    very best.Please feel free to talk to me anytime.
    [email protected]

    I couldn't have reconstruction at the time of surgery because I also had a hysterectomy. My Chemo will be over in two months. My husband and I have had several conversations on this subject and we've decided that reconstruction won't be in our future. I'm happy with myself and that's all that matters being true to yourself.

    My .02.
    Julie
  • rizzo15
    rizzo15 Member Posts: 153 Member
    I am having the modified radical mastectomy in less than a week. My surgeon said he definitely does not recommend immediate reconstruction surgery. Primarily because of the size of the tumor before it was treated with 4 rounds of chemo. I will be doing radiation and 2 more rounds of chemo after surgery. Since they are 99% sure that at least one lymph node is positive (due to it being swollen before my first chemo), they know I will have a fair amount of radiation under the arm, and that also influences their recommendation. My chemo therapy oncologist and surgeon are both in agreement on this and they have worked together for 20+ years, so I'm taking their recommendation. I guess this is just taking a decision on blind faith, but I know they have treated hundreds and hundreds of women with Stage IIIa and they have a good idea of what might happen going down the alternative path. Most probably recommendations of this type are as individual as the women being treated. May be right for some people and may be wrong for others...depending on how they see your entire medical situation.
  • Deanna502
    Deanna502 Member Posts: 3
    I had a mastectomy last June and my oncologist told me not to worry about the reconstruction at that time. He wanted me to focus on getting well. Some people react to chemo and others may react to the radiation. I am undergoing my radiation now and have had a few small burns (feels like a sunburn) under my arm. I can now understand why my oncologist has told me to wait on the reconstruction.
  • DDenning
    DDenning Member Posts: 3
    I had a modified radical mastectomy in August 2002. I asked the surgeon about doing reconstructive surgery. He said he used to do it during surgery, but that if you need chemo, the reconstruction gets in the way. I also asked a friend of mine who is an RN about it and she said the same thing; however, I lost my left breast and have one remaining. I do not know if the size of the breast matters or not, but I am a D cup and having one breast is horrible, I wish I could of had both breast removed, it would have felt so much better. I have a prosthesis for the left breast, it is heavy and it is in no way the same as having a breast. You have to make the choice regarding whether or not you have the reconstruction at the same time. I did read a book about a lady who had breast cancer and decided to have the reconstruction at the same time as her mastectomy and the plastic surgeon did her reconstruction in stages while she was having her chemo. Check with the plastic surgeon and see what he/she thinks. Remember, the ultimate decision is yours and only yours. I will tell you this much, even though the surgeon did a good job on me, whenever I look in a mirror, I see a horrible scar looking back at me. I feel like humpty dumpty, no matter what, all the kings horses and all the kings men can never put me back together again.
    No matter what your decision I wish you the best of luck and I will be praying for you.