Hi newbie here! Question about mastectomy vs immediate recon - and fear of pain!!

  • 4 replies
  • 16 subscribers
  • 629 views

Hi all. I got diagnosed 10 days ago with 2 lumps in my right breast and need a mastectomy. Still in shock but now need to consider if I want a recon or not and whether to have an immediate one or delayed or none at all. So confusing and the idea of any surgery is terrifying as have never had anything at all like this (at least having 2 kids I knew the pain would be over in a day or so!)

Any advice gratefully received please - thank you all x

  • Hi , I am sorry you find yourself on this journey. The shock is real and there is so much information to absorb in so little time! This is a great community to talk about your concerns or vent to people who have gone or are going through the same. It’s a whirlwind of emotions!!! The under 50’s forum is not too active, so you may find more answers if you pop your question in the main breast cancer forum. I am due for a mastectomy next week, so I cannot comment on the procedure yet. However, I have discussed this with my surgeon in detail and I have decided to opt for reconstruction. I felt this was best for me. As I have thin skin, it will be decided during the surgery whether it would be safer to opt for expander first and have implants at a later stage or whether they can proceed with direct implants. I did not qualify for DIEP reconstructions, but there are plenty of options these days if you were to opt for reconstruction. It will be implants over the muscle in my case, less recovery time (or so I was told). I will be signed off for 4 weeks. You can read my story in my profile. Please feel free to DM me if you’d like to talk more. Big Hugs. 

  • Thank you so much for your answer and best of luck for your mastectomy. I've been told I can have a DIEP recon but still not sure if I want such an op when I only have small boobs hence the hesitation. Will pop over to the other forum as suggested, thanks for the tip. 

    Wishing you a speedy recovery next week x

  • Hello, I was confirmed BRCA 2 carrier end 2019 and Scheduled for risk reducing bilateral mastectomies & reconstruction. Unfortunately it kept being postponed due to Covid\hospital delays and didn’t happen til March 2022! Long story short, 5 months later found lump in my left axilla lymph node positive cancer . Turns out breast lump I’d found in November 2021 was cancer after all but missed and not dealt with properly.  I have just finished chemo and about to start radiotherapy.

    Point is, I had bilateral mastectomies & immediate recon (and now cancer treatment). I would recommend the op & recon at same time as gets all ops over & done with. Otherwise you have mastectomy, have to recover then have recon and recovery time once again, more operation risks and ‘time out’ of ‘normal’ life.

    I opted for rebuild using my own body tissue (taken from my inner thighs as not enough tissue on my stomach) & preserved nipples. I didn’t want to have implants as would require further op 10-15 years down the line.  However, my twin chose implants immediately after the op with not preserving her nipples.

    her operation & recovery was much shorter than mine as less complicated and only one ‘trauma’ site, where as I had 3 ‘trauma’ sites.  But, she has probably got to have another op to replace implants in 15 years time. When she’s going to be that much older (we’re 48 at the mo) and I think it takes more to recover the older you are.

    Took me about 5 months to completely recover (I had a couple complications - Seroma in my leg, one nipple was touch & go but survived in the end). I didn’t really have any pain in my chest (only slight pain that you’d expect). The worst pain was in my legs and it was difficult to walk for the first month. I am still slightly stiff in my thighs but I think that is because I haven’t got back to fitness due to recent chemo. I am pretty much numb in my chest area, some feeling has come back slightly, bit very minimal.

    hopefully your consultant has gone through all the different options with you so you can make an informed choice.

    sorry for long reply, but I hope it helps you a bit.

    best wishes and good luck on your journey.

    KaenSlight smile

    1. Kaen thank you very much for your reply! I posted this 2 months ago and had my immediate DIEP recon and SMX 4.5 weeks ago actually and slowly recovering. I had the same thought process as you, wanted to get it all done at once in the end. Best of luck with your cancer treatment x