Another reconstruction

Hi all just after other people's experience if possible, I had a mastectomy March 2015 with reconstruction with an implant straight away, I then went on to have radiotherapy unfortunately my skin has hardened round the implant from the radiotherapy and now my breast is rock hard and will continue to harden. My surgeon did warn me there was a slight chance this could happen. I have now been referred to a plastic surgeon who I went to see yesterday and she thinks the best option for me is to have the implant removed and the fat and tissue etc used from my stomach, she was very good and explained everything really well but I'm still a little scared and daunted by the op so I was hoping to hear from people on here who have been through the same op xxxx

14 Replies

  • Hey, I had the same op and radiotherapy and my implant has also gone hard. I'm hoping to just replace the implant as I don't want to have the stomach surgery as my tummy has done nothing wrong! 😊 I'm not due to see my surgeon for a couple of months but worth asking for a second opinion if you do not want to have the tummy op.x

  • I've had two opinions and they both are saying the same thing, they both said having another implant in it will just do the same again as it is my skin, tissues etc that are damaged from the radiotherapy. Thanks for replying it'll be interesting to see what your surgeon says to you x

  • I had a free tram reconstruction with far plus a bit of muscle from my abdomen used. It was a big op, but at the end of the day, I do have my own body tissue in my breast. My abdomen has healed pretty well.. They put in a mesh to support the muscle. As my plastic surgeon explained, our body has several redundancies that can be used effectively. If you have enough fat in your tummy area, nothing like using it to build a breast. Just make sure the surgeon is very experienced in microsurgery.

    One more thing, the new breast texture is likely to be a bit different from the old one. Mine is slightly harder... For now..8 weeks after surgery. But I'm hoping it'll settle down. I'm also undergoing radiotherapy at the moment.

    Good luck!

  • Thank you so much for replying it is so nice to hear someone's personal experience and it's reassuring to hear that you are healing well.My plastic surgeon is experienced and she showed me lots of pictures which was reassuring. I feel same as you with having my own tissue in my breast. Good luck with continuing healing and your radiotherapy.x

  • Hi there. A year ago i had a diep flap reconstruction which was to take tissue and skin from the abdomen and reintroduced at the breast. The operation was done at the same time as my mastectomy so the whole thing was a long day on the table which was more worrying for my family then me as I was out cold 😊. the diep flap is different to the Tram as it doesn't used the stomach muscle so I think the healing is quicker in the abdomen when the muscle is not used but you are still left with a scar from hip to hip although it's very low down so once it's healed it's easy enough to hide. I must now come back for another operation to remove sticky out bits at the sides of my hips called dog ears. I think most people have to have this and it's an out patient surgery. there is a lot of micro surgery on the breast and that's what takes the time and then you must be kept very warm for a few days to keep the blood vessels open so that they can knit well in their new home.. I found this very hard as I don't like too much heat but I had to lie under an inflated heated blanket most of the time for three or four days but you'll get through it and I am much happier now that I had this done than an implant because like supriya-s said you feel much better when you've used your own body ( plus the added bonus is flat tummy lol)

    You lose your nipple but that would be reconstructed at a later date. I haven't got mine yet I think September sometime.

    All in all I'm very happy with the shape and choice I made was the best one for me. Good luck with it all. Ask any questions if you are unsure or confused I'll try to answer. Xx grace

  • Hi Gracie66 thank you so much for that you've made me feel a lot happier, just wondered how you found the healing process was it very painful because obviously there are two parts of the body to heal that's the only thing I am really worried about xxx

  • the pain was zero.. for some reason a lot of nerve endings are numbed for a long time and still have not come back in a most areas for me... it's not a wierd feeling or uncomfortable, it's just what it is.. the healing on the abdomen was great.. with mine, as i said before no muscles cut, so while it is a large scar, it's not that deep so you are not as incapicated as you would be if you had other abdominal surgery such as cesarian where muscles are involved.... healing went along great, except for one area under the breast, which took an age, and i had to attend dressing clinic for a few weeks after i normally would have, but it was all good in the end, there is some scar tissue, there is some getting used to with the look of new boob but that is improving all of the time, and hopefully once they completely settle (i'm a year on now so patience is required here,) all will be marvellous..... i can dress and look compltely normal in a normal bra, so i'm very happy about that.

  • Thanks Grace for that I feel much happier now about having the op x

  • Hello Gracie.

    Thank you so much for the message you did two days ago for helenbess. There was so much information there about reconstruction.

    My only question is: how do you know that your surgeon is an excellent one? I've been trying to think how I can get to know and the answer eludes me. Any advice here would be so welcome.



  • Annie, i'm not sure how you'd go about finding that out, only to say that most of the plastic surgeons involved in breast recon after mastectomy or lumpectomy must be very experienced and capable or i would think they wouldnt be doing them for very long.. i was shocked when i heard how many of these ops the team get through in a month, and i take my hat off to them, they are marvellous wonderful people.

    I can understand you are putting yourself in the hands of these people to help you get through it and come out the other side as normal as possible. your breast care nurse would have an opinion on who is the best, and she might share that with you. Also, most of these guys have private clinics and do cosmetic stuff as well and you would be able to find their spiel online and possibly some patient comments?.

    Best of luck with it.

    xxx G

  • Hi, I had the same op (mastectomy with immediate implant) also in March 2015. This was then followed by lymph node clearance(1/21 found), chemo and radio + Tamoxifen as belt and braces treatment. I was warned that the radiotherapy may compromise the implant. I've had it looked at by my surgeon and the nurse practitioner and whilst the skin seems soft enough but still sore, I too find the plant itself very hard. However, I have been told that we need to reassess a next step 12 months after radiotherapy finishes to see if we redo. This means a wait until December but if I do, believe it would just be a case of exchanging the implants. I'd be very interested too how thing work for yourself and others as I play another waiting game

  • Good luck with your wait I hope you get the surgery you need

  • Hi I had my mascetomy in march this year. I also had a immediate reconstruction. I had the tissues and muscles from my back as I did not have enough on my stomach. I am pleased with the result. It does feel strange and tight. The swelling is going down so is starting to feel a lot better. My scar on my back has healed really well and the feeling in my back is now returning. My plastic surgeon said it can take up to 2 years to heal fully. I am hoping to have the nipple reconstructed and some liposuction to fill it out where it is a little flat underneath. I am really pleased. It was a long op but worth it.

  • Thank you for your positive reply when I posted on here the other day after just coming back from seeing my plastic surgeon, I must admit I was in two minds about having the op but it has been so nice to hear positive experiences. Good luck with your continuing healing

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