breast reconstruction

irishmum055
irishmum055 Member Posts: 19
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
would love to hear from some one who has had reconstruction as i am thinking of going for it
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Comments

  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    not yet
    I have not done it yet, but I have scheduled bilateral reconstruction with the DIEP procedure in June. I chose reconstruction with my own tissue over implants because: a) I have lived with expanders for almost a year and still feel an awareness of having "foreign" matter inside, b)implants have to be redone after some years (I have read anywhere from 1-10). It is a quicker, easier surgery with quicker recovery, but if it has to be redone, is that such a plus? I chose DIEP over TRAM because I am having it done bilaterally and DIEP uses no muscle. It will be a 12-hour surgery with a long recovery, but once it's done it will be done, and it will be my own body tissue...should feel more natural (I hope). It is not easy to find a surgeon who can and will do the surgery, and you have to check to see what your insurance will cover, etc, etc. It is a very personal decision and you have to do what you feel you can live with.

    Best wishes to you, seof
  • 1517
    1517 Member Posts: 15
    Am also thinking of having reconstruction but my surgeon wants to do the lattimus dorsi flap
    since I had such a terrible infection with the expander. I have been trying to talk to others who have had this surgery but can't seem to find anyone -- sure hope you have better luck with answers than I did.
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    in the midst of recon surgery
    Hello Irishmum,

    I had a lumpectomy in 97 and a mastectomy in 2007, it took me two years to decide to have the reconstruction. I had my initial surgery on February 27th and go in for my second check up on next Thursday.

    I have chosen to have the silicone implant put in rather than the Tram flap (tissue removed from abdomen) or Latissimus Dorsi flap (muscles removed from back of shoulder) procedures. My reasons are that the implant is good for 15 to 20 years in most cases and it is much less intrusive to my body. Each of us is different and will have to choose the procedure fit for each of our unique situations.

    I had the expander put in on Feb. 27th and I have done fine so far. It is a process that takes months to finish. For me I just wanted a more natural look and was tired of dealing with the prothesis.

    In the blog section of my personal page here I have posted a more indepth description of the recon. procedure I am having done with pages from a brochure that depicts the process.

    My best to you as you decide if reconstruction is for you.
  • Joycelouise
    Joycelouise Member Posts: 482
    I don't have time to type
    I don't have time to type much now, but I am three months into a reconstruction after radiation with an expander. I was too skinny for using my own tissue. I can answer any questions you have and would love to. I also want to tell you that you can research personal experiences on Susan Love Cancer site. Try googling it, or googling breast reconstruction. The brave women there allowed themselves to be photographed and discuss their experience. The lovely thing about the photographs is that you can tell they are a gift of love. The women are smiling, giving of themselves and not just some clinical mug shot look.
    When you look at recon's on the web, please remember that in some cases they were done at the time of mas. In those cases, flesh patches were moved from elsewhere and the coloring is markedly different as a result of the transported skin being more tan. So the pictures look a little dissappointing. But tans, like scars, fade.
    Ask me anything. And best wishes for a good decision (whatever it is) and an easy time of it! Love, Joyce
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    Hi Irish. I had a
    Hi Irish. I had a mastectomy in June 2007 and had my tram flap reconstruction on 2/4/08. I had too much muscle removed so my choices were the tram or the lassitimus dorsi. Because I didn't want an obvious scar on my back I went with the tram. Yes, it was a longer recuperation time, but if you've had a c-section, it is almost the same. I felt worse from the abdominal pain they I did in the breast area. I now have a new girl, and a very flat tummy. You can private message me here or respond to this post if you have further questions, I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Hugs, Lii
  • GreeneyedGirl
    GreeneyedGirl Member Posts: 1,077

    Hi Irish. I had a
    Hi Irish. I had a mastectomy in June 2007 and had my tram flap reconstruction on 2/4/08. I had too much muscle removed so my choices were the tram or the lassitimus dorsi. Because I didn't want an obvious scar on my back I went with the tram. Yes, it was a longer recuperation time, but if you've had a c-section, it is almost the same. I felt worse from the abdominal pain they I did in the breast area. I now have a new girl, and a very flat tummy. You can private message me here or respond to this post if you have further questions, I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Hugs, Lii

    Lat flap girl
    Anything you want to know about the latissimus flap procedure I am your girl. Had the surgery in Oct 08 and am fully expanded. Was going to have the saline implant put in the end of april, but with spring sports and my son graduating i am scheduled the first week of june. I had no problems with the flap, healing very nicely. Was out of "commission" I call it vacation for 6 weeks, I was up and around after 3, my surgeon is old school in that he likes you to rest and lift nothing heavier than a dinner plate. I was pampered, waited on and watched lots of great movies all from the comforts of my bed-spoiling myself with new pj's and slippers.
    Melanie
  • 1517
    1517 Member Posts: 15

    Lat flap girl
    Anything you want to know about the latissimus flap procedure I am your girl. Had the surgery in Oct 08 and am fully expanded. Was going to have the saline implant put in the end of april, but with spring sports and my son graduating i am scheduled the first week of june. I had no problems with the flap, healing very nicely. Was out of "commission" I call it vacation for 6 weeks, I was up and around after 3, my surgeon is old school in that he likes you to rest and lift nothing heavier than a dinner plate. I was pampered, waited on and watched lots of great movies all from the comforts of my bed-spoiling myself with new pj's and slippers.
    Melanie

    lat flap
    Greeneyed Girl,
    Thanks for responding. How long after you had the surgery that you could have had the implant in? Is that another surgery? Do you have to have an expander? What about drainage tubes? Pain -- ok exclude that -- I already know about that!! LOL I really don't care about how the back looks just about the recovery time in being able to go back to work. If I think of anything else I'll write.
    Thanks,
    Sharon
  • Joycelouise
    Joycelouise Member Posts: 482
    1517 said:

    lat flap
    Greeneyed Girl,
    Thanks for responding. How long after you had the surgery that you could have had the implant in? Is that another surgery? Do you have to have an expander? What about drainage tubes? Pain -- ok exclude that -- I already know about that!! LOL I really don't care about how the back looks just about the recovery time in being able to go back to work. If I think of anything else I'll write.
    Thanks,
    Sharon

    I am going to guess, since
    I am going to guess, since you didn't mention it that you did not have radiation. That can affect your choices and procedures and I can write more about it if it pertains. Are you doing a flap procedure?
    love, Joyce
  • ohilly
    ohilly Member Posts: 441
    I am very happy with my reconstruction: I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate lat flap reconstruction. They had to put implants and then used the lattisimus dorsi muscle. My surgeon was able to do this in one step (only one operation) as opposed to the traditional method of putting expanders.

    Whatever you do, my own opinion is to get something you can do in one step. I could not bear going through so many surgeries myself.

    Write if you have any other questions,

    Ohilly
  • GreeneyedGirl
    GreeneyedGirl Member Posts: 1,077
    ohilly said:

    I am very happy with my reconstruction: I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate lat flap reconstruction. They had to put implants and then used the lattisimus dorsi muscle. My surgeon was able to do this in one step (only one operation) as opposed to the traditional method of putting expanders.

    Whatever you do, my own opinion is to get something you can do in one step. I could not bear going through so many surgeries myself.

    Write if you have any other questions,

    Ohilly

    Lat questions
    Sharon~ to answer your questions-Originally after my mastectomy I had an expander put in to attempt to stretch a radiated muscle, I was so afraid of the lat flap surgery. I wanted to try the least invasive way possible. It was not successful, so my option was the lat flap which my surgeon originally suggested. To get the volume needed, we did an expander with the flap and within 2 mo I was/am fully expanded. Dr likes to wait 6 mo between surgeries to heal. I had 2 drainage tubes (love/hate) one for the breast and one for the back. I hate having them removed, they do their job alright, but when they removed the back one it appeared to be about 6 feet in--or at least it just kept coming.....I was numb and still am along the incision line, so didn't feel it, but it felt like a long one. I really have had no pain, tho i took pain meds just to stay on top of it. Didn't feel the expansions till the very last one, and that was just a dull ache. Nothing major. Thats my story and i am sticking to it.
    Glad to help, and I am glad i had the surgery.
    Melanie
  • Joycelouise
    Joycelouise Member Posts: 482

    Lat questions
    Sharon~ to answer your questions-Originally after my mastectomy I had an expander put in to attempt to stretch a radiated muscle, I was so afraid of the lat flap surgery. I wanted to try the least invasive way possible. It was not successful, so my option was the lat flap which my surgeon originally suggested. To get the volume needed, we did an expander with the flap and within 2 mo I was/am fully expanded. Dr likes to wait 6 mo between surgeries to heal. I had 2 drainage tubes (love/hate) one for the breast and one for the back. I hate having them removed, they do their job alright, but when they removed the back one it appeared to be about 6 feet in--or at least it just kept coming.....I was numb and still am along the incision line, so didn't feel it, but it felt like a long one. I really have had no pain, tho i took pain meds just to stay on top of it. Didn't feel the expansions till the very last one, and that was just a dull ache. Nothing major. Thats my story and i am sticking to it.
    Glad to help, and I am glad i had the surgery.
    Melanie

    Hi Melanie! I have an
    Hi Melanie! I have an expander now and despite having a hard breast that looks like it was put on by someone playing pin the tail on the donkey (way too high) it seems to be going well. It will be at least four months of fills till I am fully ridiculous looking with this expansion and I get closer to a more natural implant. But I was wondering, how did your expander not be successful? I also had rads.
    I am so glad that all worked out for you. love, Joyce
  • irishmum055
    irishmum055 Member Posts: 19
    1517 said:

    Am also thinking of having reconstruction but my surgeon wants to do the lattimus dorsi flap
    since I had such a terrible infection with the expander. I have been trying to talk to others who have had this surgery but can't seem to find anyone -- sure hope you have better luck with answers than I did.

    no luck in answers so far
    just like u i have been trying to find some one who would have had the dorsi flap because that is what i would be having done but what i am afraid of is its been 17 years since iv had my breast removed and im wondering if it would cause problems after so many year after surgry u know the mites sayings about cancer coming back if u open the site up again its lovely to have people to talk with that has been through the same illness thank u
  • dbs1673
    dbs1673 Member Posts: 203

    Hi Melanie! I have an
    Hi Melanie! I have an expander now and despite having a hard breast that looks like it was put on by someone playing pin the tail on the donkey (way too high) it seems to be going well. It will be at least four months of fills till I am fully ridiculous looking with this expansion and I get closer to a more natural implant. But I was wondering, how did your expander not be successful? I also had rads.
    I am so glad that all worked out for you. love, Joyce

    count me in
    Hi ladies! I had a double mas with expanders put in at the same time as the surgery. Didn't think I was going to need radiation but turned out otherwise. I didn't have any bad effects from the radiation. I did need to be fully expanded before the radiation began so the fills were weekly but very "full" each time. I am small built so a 34 B didn't take all that much. I finished radiation in the first week of October and am happy and anxious to say that I will be getting my implants on April 9th.....jelly eggs in my Easter Basket as I say. I can't say the expanders are painful but they have been extremely uncomfotable due to their hardness. While I'm soooo ready to shed my "Wonder Women" I am not looking forward to being opened up again. Wish the initial incisions could have been like ziplock baggies or something. I keep hearing that this next surgery isn't nearly as bad so I'm keeping that thought. Like Joyce, ask away...
  • GreeneyedGirl
    GreeneyedGirl Member Posts: 1,077
    dbs1673 said:

    count me in
    Hi ladies! I had a double mas with expanders put in at the same time as the surgery. Didn't think I was going to need radiation but turned out otherwise. I didn't have any bad effects from the radiation. I did need to be fully expanded before the radiation began so the fills were weekly but very "full" each time. I am small built so a 34 B didn't take all that much. I finished radiation in the first week of October and am happy and anxious to say that I will be getting my implants on April 9th.....jelly eggs in my Easter Basket as I say. I can't say the expanders are painful but they have been extremely uncomfotable due to their hardness. While I'm soooo ready to shed my "Wonder Women" I am not looking forward to being opened up again. Wish the initial incisions could have been like ziplock baggies or something. I keep hearing that this next surgery isn't nearly as bad so I'm keeping that thought. Like Joyce, ask away...

    In response~
    Joyce~ my first expander was not successful due to not enough volume-it didn't/couldn't get as big as the other side to match it. The flap added way more volume (tissue) so that is what i needed.
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510

    no luck in answers so far
    just like u i have been trying to find some one who would have had the dorsi flap because that is what i would be having done but what i am afraid of is its been 17 years since iv had my breast removed and im wondering if it would cause problems after so many year after surgry u know the mites sayings about cancer coming back if u open the site up again its lovely to have people to talk with that has been through the same illness thank u

    Hey Irish, you won't know
    Hey Irish, you won't know until you consult with the surgeon. He or She will best be able to advise you. Because they're bringing fresh skin (flap) and muscle I don't think you will have problems with the dorsi flap. Keep us posted. Hugs, Lili
  • 1517
    1517 Member Posts: 15

    Lat questions
    Sharon~ to answer your questions-Originally after my mastectomy I had an expander put in to attempt to stretch a radiated muscle, I was so afraid of the lat flap surgery. I wanted to try the least invasive way possible. It was not successful, so my option was the lat flap which my surgeon originally suggested. To get the volume needed, we did an expander with the flap and within 2 mo I was/am fully expanded. Dr likes to wait 6 mo between surgeries to heal. I had 2 drainage tubes (love/hate) one for the breast and one for the back. I hate having them removed, they do their job alright, but when they removed the back one it appeared to be about 6 feet in--or at least it just kept coming.....I was numb and still am along the incision line, so didn't feel it, but it felt like a long one. I really have had no pain, tho i took pain meds just to stay on top of it. Didn't feel the expansions till the very last one, and that was just a dull ache. Nothing major. Thats my story and i am sticking to it.
    Glad to help, and I am glad i had the surgery.
    Melanie

    Lat decision
    Melanie,
    Thanks so much for the input. It helped me know what to expect and the time frame I needed. (I manager a school cafeteria so a summer recovery is what I need) Just got information from Susan Komen Breast Center that they are having a symposium here in April and one keynote speaker is about new reconstruction surgeries that are being offered. I plan on going to that too so I'm FINALLY getting some answersafter months of trying.
    Thanks so much and I hope we can keep in touch.
    Sharon
  • GreeneyedGirl
    GreeneyedGirl Member Posts: 1,077
    1517 said:

    Lat decision
    Melanie,
    Thanks so much for the input. It helped me know what to expect and the time frame I needed. (I manager a school cafeteria so a summer recovery is what I need) Just got information from Susan Komen Breast Center that they are having a symposium here in April and one keynote speaker is about new reconstruction surgeries that are being offered. I plan on going to that too so I'm FINALLY getting some answersafter months of trying.
    Thanks so much and I hope we can keep in touch.
    Sharon

    I understand
    I too have received much help and info from the ladies here at csn. I am happy to be of some help. Glad you have some research to gather info in April and time to process the big decision-cause it is a big decision. My best to you-and yes, keep us all posted.
    M
  • gestexas
    gestexas Member Posts: 3

    no luck in answers so far
    just like u i have been trying to find some one who would have had the dorsi flap because that is what i would be having done but what i am afraid of is its been 17 years since iv had my breast removed and im wondering if it would cause problems after so many year after surgry u know the mites sayings about cancer coming back if u open the site up again its lovely to have people to talk with that has been through the same illness thank u

    diep
    Had first mastectomy in 1992. no reconstruction. 2nd skin saving mastectomy in 8/08 w/ double diep reconstruction. getting ready to do revisions in April. long time to recover, but now it was worth it. any question??? i will be happy to help.
  • irishmum055
    irishmum055 Member Posts: 19
    gestexas said:

    diep
    Had first mastectomy in 1992. no reconstruction. 2nd skin saving mastectomy in 8/08 w/ double diep reconstruction. getting ready to do revisions in April. long time to recover, but now it was worth it. any question??? i will be happy to help.

    it is great to hear that u
    it is great to hear that u have had reconstruction i had my operation in 1992 also but its now i am om a waiting list for reconstruction my surgon has told me that i would be having the doris tram in which she would be taking muscle ect from my back what type did u have done and when
  • ohilly
    ohilly Member Posts: 441
    Yes, I had immediate lat flap reconstruction: the type I had was where they took a muscle from my back and wrapped it around. They also saved the skin from my breast (called a skin-sparing mastectomy) and had to use an implant, too. They were able to do the main reconstruction in one operation (I did not have to have those expanders). Then I had to have two additional surgeries to make the nipples and do the tatooing.

    I am very satisfied with my reconstruction. My advice to you would be to find a procedure that can be done in one step and that you are satisfied with cosmetically. I feel like I had to go through a lot of surgeries.

    Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

    Ohilly