Mastectomy and reconstruction advice please

Hi everyone 

I’ve rejoined this fantastic forum after a long absence. It’s 7 years since my right lumpectomy and radiotherapy, but I was found to have ductal calcifications on my last routine mammogram, and biopsy of these showed pre-cancerous cells. Everything’s moving very quickly - I had a CT scan today, MRI booked for tomorrow and back to the breast surgeon on Wednesday. I’ve been told due to previous radiotherapy I won’t be able to have more, so I’ll need a mastectomy this time, and I have to decide about reconstruction. I have bilateral implants already, done for cosmetic reasons 15 years ago. The right one was replaced following capsular contracture caused by the RT, but I’m confused about how much if any breast skin will be left after the mastectomy. I’ve read all I can, and I think I understand about the different types of flap reconstruction, but I want the reconstructed breast to look and hang as much like my left breast as possible, which has the implant in front of the muscle.

No mention has been made of chemotherapy. I was really lucky not to need it last time and hate the thought of having to go through it when I thought I was in the clear. I’d appreciate any help and advice from those who’ve been through it.

  • Hi

    I'm sorry to see that you're having to go through this all again.  I see you post has slipped to the 2nd page as it's not yet been answered.  I can't help with your query as I had lumpectomy, but I'm 'bumping' it back up.  If it doesn't get answered again, I'd recommend just copying and pasting your post and then renaming the title mastectomy and reconstruction advice - or something like that. I think the title is perhaps why your post isn't being read - as mostly people on here will not have gone through it twice - but there'll be a lot of ladies who've had mastectomies and reconstruction who'll not necessarily open your thread.

    I hope this helps a little,

    Best wishes, Lesley

  • Thanks for your advice Lesley. I’m finding the site more difficult to negotiate this time round, it seems to have changed a lot x

    Gillsw

  • Hi

    In the past 2 years I've had all the cancer treatments thrown at me and a DIEP reconstruction (see profile for details).

    I just wanted to reassure you (and am happy to send photos if you like, after all I think most of the UK has seen my boobs by now!) that if you have a flap reconstruction the surgeon will ensure that your boobs are as symmetrical with the other one as they can, I've only had the mx side done so far and will be having symmetry surgery (and other minor aesthetic type stuff) done in Sept all being well. If I were you I'd get some clarity over whether you'll be having a skin sparing mx, I couldn't as had inflammatory BC as that seems to be key to your decision making- I'm assuming that if you keep your breast skin you'll have another implant to match the other side?

    My DIEP breast is a lot more pert than the god given one (5 months post op) but I do understand that they 'settle', however as the stomach skin is a lot tougher/thicker than breast skin I don't think it will ever be as 'dangly' (!!) as the god-given one.  In a bra you'd not be able to tell they're different btw.  And I love my 'first time in my lifetime' flat stomach! 

    And I'll just add that chemo, for me was not too bad, like many I had quite an easy time of it, kept my appetite, wasn't sick, did lose hair & sense of taste but for me the losses were not a big issue.  You'll only know how you respond when you have it, I do hope, given fear of the unknown, you can avoid it again though.

    Good luck.

    Sam

    My secret? Being daft & staying positive.
  • Hi Yorkshire Defector. I'm interested to find out how the DIEP went in terms of the op itself and recovery time and pics if you wouldn't mind? How long ago did you have it and what was the scarring like. Sorry tell.me to butt out if in being too nosey. I had a ao gle.skin spewing mastectomy in Jan this year with immediate implant/expanded. Its I good shape and good match to other when dressed. Im due to have radiotherapy after my chemo finished in a few months and I know it can damage the implant. DiEP was suggested to me at the outset. Thank you for your post. I wish you all the best xx

  • Hello there

    I'll send you a freind request so we can figure out how to send pics (think I can via there but am a bit of a Luddite...we'll fathom something out!).  Never too nosey - I'm an open book!

    The op lasted 8 hours and was a delayed one, I had a blissful sleep whilst the professionals did their bit! I had it In Dec so am now 5 months post op, and feeling bl00dy marvellous. Scarring is fine, I'm not the sort of person who would be bothered by it anyway, I'll send you pics of various stages so you can see the development of scars.  I have a large one from hip to hip, one inside & around my new belly button and, as mine wasn't a skin saving mx, one around the edge of the new boob.  I massage them every day (as one is supposed to) which should be aiding healing, I use rosehip oil (as I like natural products) but I'm told its the massage action that's the important thing re healing.

    I wasn't offered immediate DIEP for the same reason as you, as I was due to have rads post mx.

    Sam X

    My secret? Being daft & staying positive.
  • Many thanks for all your info, and glad you were spared the worst of chemo, but all that you did suffer sounds pretty grim to me.I dont have a treatment plan yet - my consult yesterday was postponed because I need ultrasound of nodes on the other side following my MRI. They're waiting for all the info before they decide what to do. I've been assured it's very early DCIS so hopefully no great rush. Re:adding photos, below where I'm writing my reply to you is an insert arrow where you can put photos. Good luck with your continued progress.

    Gill

    Gillsw

  • Suspect MacMillan won't want pictures of my boobs in the public arena, on here, am always getting in trouble on social media for pics with nipples! 

    Good luck re the scan results/chemo/treatment news.

    Sam

    My secret? Being daft & staying positive.