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Reconstruction vs. Protheses

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

Hi everyone


My mom recently found out she has breast cancer. She has decided on having the mastectomy but is really torn on doing reconstuctive surgery or having a prothesis bra. Some peope have said reconstuction is the way to go and she will never regret it but others say it was extremely painful. She is not sure about the bra because she loves the beach and would want to wear bathing suits.


My question is how did any of you decide what route you took. What helped you make your decision. Are you happy with your decision. Is there anything you would change. What was/is the proccess like with what you chose. She has a week to make her decision so any insite would be very helpful. 


Thank you!

Posts: 27
Joined: Dec 2010

I had a double masectemy on July 25th of this year and am in the process of reconstruction and I am glad that I went with that. I dont think it is too painful. The masectomy was and still is but is starting to feel a little better The dr. says it's phantom pain like the breasts are still there . shooting pain in a nipple that is gone! Go figure ! But everybody has thier own opinion . I'm just greatful that the cancer is gone.

 I wish her the best in whatever she chooses to do.


coco2008's picture
Posts: 420
Joined: May 2013

I haven't had my mastectomy yet. It's scheduled for 9/27.

I chose bilateral mastectomy over radiation after chemo because it would cause less potential damage to my essential organs (heart, lungs, etc).  I chose to have reconstruction so I would not be reminded of cancer every time I dress or shower.

There are many on this site that were open about their mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries that helped me make my decision, and will be signing on to share with you.

My prayers are with you and your mom as she makes the decision that is right for her. Please keep us updated and let her know we are here to listen, share experience and offer emotional support and prayer when needed.

God bless


Chinda's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2013

At first I want to have my both breasts mastectomy and have my breasts recontruction later. Then my Boss requested me to contact other Dr. for second opinion. Then I finally dicision to have two surgeries( breasts mastectomy and breasts reconstrution)  done on the same day. I am scheduled to have both surgeries done on Sep. 11th, 2013.

Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

For me, as with basically all IBCers (Inflammatory Breast Cancer), recon was not an option at time of MX - have to wait a year at least.   At first, I thought I'd do recon after a year but changed my mind for many reasons.  Part of the reasons were all the horror stories I 'heard'.  There was nothing that I want to do that I couldn't and there is always a potential for problems with any surgery.  I had also developed LE (lymphedema) during that time which was/is handleable and did not want to potentially make it harder to handle.  Also last - but not least - Hubby did not want me to.  While I was making my decision, he never told me to or not to but gave me insight to make my decision myself.  When I made it, he then told me that while he would have supported me in my decision no matter which, he really did not want me to go through any unnecessary surgery and all the potential SE.

Sure she can go to the beach and wear swimsuits.  I have a problem finding mast. swimsuits that fit - basically they only go down to 8 and I need a 4.  I have found some in 'regular' stores that work great.  Some I've had to sew the pocket in but this year I found some that had padding in them that had a slit to pull the padding out through so I just pull it out and slide my pros in.  I've also found several cute, 'regular', relatively inexpensive, bras set up the same way. 

I don't know how 'young' your Mom is - I'm 67 years young.  I'm very active - have/ride horses, bicycle, mow/garden, boat, fish (just started flyfishing a bit over a year ago), among a lot of other 'things' so I'm not about to take a chance on doing something that might jeopardize any of that.

She can always choose recon later IF she chooses.  It does NOT HAVE to be done at time of MX - it can be done years later.

Winyan - The Power Within


(Oct will be 4 yrs post OP.)

mamolady's picture
Posts: 796
Joined: May 2011

I had a bilateral mastectomy and wasn't going to have recon. I tried different prosthetics but couldn't get any that were comfortable. I didn't like the radical side, it was concave. I was able to find shirts that masked the fact that there were no boobs but I still felt self concious. I finally decided to have recon a year later.

Everyone is different, she can always decide to have recon but she can't undo it.

All the best,


Posts: 94
Joined: May 2013

I had a bilateral mastectomy on 5-15-13 with expanders put in immediately. the expanders are full now and as soon as I finish my chemo, (hopefully by the end of Nov.) I will have the expanders out and will have the implants put in. I have had no pain and so far am happy with mine. If given the option, I would do the same again. Good Luck!


punkinpie's picture
Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2012

I had a lt side mastectomy. My surgeon advised that I could do reconstruction, but the radiation therapy might make the implant  hard. I would have to have another surgery to replace the implant. My skin is "fused" together from radiation. My surgeon said we can look at recon after two years, but I've decided not to. I  wear my prosthesis when at work or in public. More often than not, I go without it. My new norm. I think it is different for each of us.

sandra4611's picture
Posts: 121
Joined: Sep 2013

I was diagnosed last month and am 10 days post-op. Your mother is fortunate that she has a little time to decide. There is a lot of info online and she can make herself crazy trying to read it all. I had three days to get educated before I met with the surgeon, oncologist, & radiologist and decided to read only info from Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and Susan G Komen websites. My cancer was caught early and was only on one side but I decided on a double mastectomy. I can't imagine choosing to have a lumpectomy & radiation when a mastectomy reduces reoccurrance down to 2% and no radiation would be needed. Also couldn't imagine worrying about when or if cancer would strike the other breast. For me, the double mastectomy was the way to peace of mind. I'm 64. Perhaps my decision might have been different if I'd been younger and more body conscious. My breasts nourished three children and brought me much pleasure for a lot of years, but it was time for them to go. Bye-bye, good riddance.

I chose immediate reconstruction with implants. If I would have had to have radiation, that wouldn't have been an option.

It has not been really painful...have only taken tylenol. The drains (4 of them) are an inconvenience but it is temporary.


Chinda's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2013

I just find out that I have my right breast cancer on Aug.16th, 2013. My Dr. sent me to have MRI on Aug. 29th, 2013 for both of my breasts. My Dr. told me that my left breats has mulitple cysts. I will have my both of breasts mastectomy and breasts recontruction on Sep. 11th, 2013. I don't want to worry about the chance that the cancer might return back later so I am willing to have both of breasts mastectomy. My Dr. will check my lymhp nodes during the surgery to make sure that the cancer does not spread there. My Dr. told me that I will need to stay home for 6 weeks. My Dr. also said I will be able to go to restroom by myself and feed myself and do simple thing the next day after surgery.

alaskanjan's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2012

  I am 65 and had breast bx in late July.  It was positive for DCIS, I had a lumpectomy.  Pathology came back with an additional foci of comedo necrosis in duct next to one that was known.  That bumped my staging to intermediate.  I was convinced that I would have adequate margins to avoid radiation but that was not to be.  1 mm margins would call for radiation.  I consulted with another surgeon in another community and was told I needed at least 5mm margins and that could be done but I would still need rads.  Since I am so opposed to radiation, I am seeing a plastic surgeon to see about having mastectomy with reconstruction.  Now pretty sure that is the way I would go but need to consider having bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction to insure that I would never have to be concerned about having breast cancer again.  I think the possibility of ca in other side is 50/50 with my diagnosis so might want to do it all at once.  Any insight from one that has been there would be so appreciated.  Like so many, I never once thought I would have to deal with this.  I think I am over the anger about it but it has taken a month to get here...to the action stage.  My heart goes out to all who have to deal with this and make the hard decisions.

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

It is a good idea to seek input from both sides in a decision like this.  I have copied your questions and pasted them here so that I remember to answer them:

How did any of you decide what route you took?  I had options presented to me when I was told that I had cancer.  I could have just the mastectomy; I could have the mastectomy and reconstruction done at the same time; I could have the mastectomy and do reconstruction later, if I so chose.

What helped you make your decision?  (1) I did not want the extra time for recovery; (2) I have heard of women who have encountered problems before/during/after reconstruction with the process and what is used to make it happen; (3) I was not sure what would happen to all of that should I develop problems again in that area -- would this extra pain and discomfort at the outset have been worth it.  Probably my age is a factor, as I am in my late 50s. 

Are you happy with your decision?  So far I am.  I have a very supportive husband.  He knows that I just wanted to be done with all of this as soon as I could.  (As it was, it took me about ten months to go from initial tests and diagnosis to surgery to chemo to radiation.  I finished the end of last September.) 

Is there anything you would change?  Not yet

What was/is the proccess like with what you chose?  I had the information for a fitter for prosthetics.  I called for an appointment/fitting.  My surgeon wrote me scripts because my insurance would cover the cost.  (I guess some cover 80%; mine apparently covered all -- the prosthetics and two bras.)  I went for the measuring and selection of what I wanted.  When the items came in, I went back for another appointment so that I could try everything on and be sure it was a good fit.  I don't always wear the items.  A lot of that depends on what I am wearing for the day, where I will be, and with whom I will be.  My odd sense of humor is such that I refer to the devices as "my bosom buddies" or as "the girls." 

I am not much of a swimmer, and so that did not enter into my decision.  If I really felt I needed a swim, I would just do like I did in the past -- go over to the neighbors' pool when they were not out at it, using it.  At this point, I would wear a t-shirt over maybe my old swimming top or maybe a sport bra I have OR nothing extra under. 

Hope this helps.  I see not too many, if any, have responded who chose not to go with prosthetics.

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