Flap Reconstruction

Has anyone had experience w/flap reconstruction surgery?

I had (double mastectomy) expanders, and implants. Implants got infected and were removed. My doctors said I cannot have expanders and implants again, but only flap type surgery.

What is the recuperation like for flap? What can/should I expect if I choose to do this?

On the other hand, how can I accept going flat?

8 Replies

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  • I had the tram flap done after my implant failed one was ok. I am now very very happy I had it done as I did not like the heaviness of the bra inserts.recovery for me was over six weeks but I got a infection in my stomach where the donor tissue was taken because I was run down and my immune was bad. If I have to do it all again I would because now I do like the results. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide I think it's women all of us are fine with or without breast Wishing you the best of health.

  • Hi SeeSwee6,

    I'm so sorry to read about your complications. I did not have implants or flaps but opted instead to go flat. It has been 10 years, and I'm still happy with my decision not to reconstruct. If this is an option you'd like to explore, there are some helpful websites, including breastfree.org and community.breastcancer.org/... (this is a thread on the breastcancer.org website), as well as a private facebook group called Flat & Fabulous.

    I'd also be happy to tell you more about my experience if you're interested.

  • After re-radiation and skin damage to my chest wall it was apparent I was not a candidate for reconstructive surgery. I was fine for awhile until a Seroma started oozing - for 14 months I went in and had it drained and then months of wound care w Hyperbaric treatment. Thankfully, after meeting several reconstructive surgeons, I decided to have latisimuss dorci flap surgery. The first few days were a little challenging, no lifting for awhile, good opportunity to receive help from family and friends. However, I am so grateful I had it done - I've gotten my life back.

    I had a unilateral mastectomy and am only a size B so I'm very comfortable wearing a prosthetic. No one can tell w most clothing. My advice is get recommendations for flap surgeons. it's amazing what they can also do with fat transfers to fill in some areas.

    Hope this helps.

  • Sorry to hear about your reconstruction troubles. If you live in the US you can call the SHARE helpline and speak to a reconstruction peer but I have asked the volunteers here to post a response to your post

  • I think I need to give myself more chance to heal (mentally). Maybe if I get tattoos, & lose some weight I'll feel better about my body image.

    I do have a very good surgeon who could do the surgery.

    Thanks!

  • I had the double mastectomy with expanders. Got infection so expanders came out a month later. I had to do my chemo and then had expanders put back in. I am almost done getting them filled. What was the reason you couldn't have expanders again? I wanted to use my belly but surgeon said he wouldn't reccomend it because I needed both sides done and there could be too many complications. If I didn't have a big belly I would have just went flat. Good luck.

  • Hi! I have not had a mastectomy, just a couple of "lumpectomies" but I have thought this thru for myself each time I've needed surgery and have been living with metastatic bc for just over 13 years. I've learned everything I can, gone to conferences and have talked to alot of women with bc. If I were in your shoes (to the best of my imagination!) I would also take my time with this huge decision. Some of the things I would ask my onc about would be if reconstructive surgery would make it harder in the future to find any reoccurrence, what is the recovery like, and how would future infections be handled. This is a big decision and very personal. I am large busted and did decide that if I were ever to have a mastectomy, I would push hard for a double. Other large busted women have told me that having just one breast removed can create balance issues. One advantage of having prosthetic breasts is that if you want to, you can get them in different sizes and wear a variety of styles of dresses, shirts, etc. A good solid husband or partner will support whatever decision you come to and pressure from them is their problem, and should not be yours! Good luck to you! I hope your choice becomes clear to you and that you have peace with it.

  • Thanks for your input. I think it's probably best for me to continue living flat, getting more used to it. I also think that if I get cool tattooing on my chest, it might make me feel better. At my age, I'm not sure it's worth going through all that surgery again.

    As for supportive men--none in my life. My friends & family support my decisions.

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