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kruzin (@kruzin)

Mastectomy and breast reconstruction pros and cons?

Breast Cancer | Last Active: Nov 16 12:15pm | Replies (200)

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@cindylb

I opted not to do reconstruction and I'm happy with my decision. I got the prosthetic and still haven't worn that even…..I'm about 3 years out from the bi lateral mastectomy. Of course, I am now 60 years old and I didn't want the extra surgery. I also mistakenly believed that it would be harder to find cancer if it came back but that isn't true from what I now know. The upside of no reconstruction for me is that I don't have to wear a bra or shop for a bra. I was never a fan. I also found the pain from the bi lateral very manageable and the recovery and healing time was much quicker than I expected. The downside is that at first my chest appearance was lumpy (not in a good lump way) but scar revision surgery for my lymphedema made my chest wall much better looking under clothes (less lumpy). The other downside is that you have to revise what you wear slightly….V Necks are pretty much out or anything low cut and sometimes I feel like I look like a giant pear (small or top and ever growing toward the bottom). But, I am very comfortable and everyone says they can't really tell I don't have breasts. I don't wear tight tops….I'm more 'flowy' now.
It's a big decision but remember………..you don't have to do the reconstruction right away or at the same time as the mastectomy. You can take your time when you're not also thinking about breast cancer and do it later. I know women who have done all three – immediate reconstruction, reconstruction later and some no reconstruction.

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Replies to "I opted not to do reconstruction and I'm happy with my decision. I got the prosthetic..."

Thanks for replying any information right know is soooooo helpful especially from somebody that had been down this road. I'm thinking to take the time for my body to heal, and make the right decision on a doctor for reconstruction if I decide to. I'm in my early 50 so will see about what to do about having a double mastectomy, they say it doesn't (doctors words ping pong back and forth) spread to other breast, but like you said who wants to deal with this again! It's all about insurance also. Thank you again for your help.

My breast cancer was lobular (not ductal) and it was in both breasts at one time or other (why I decided to remove both), but ductal can be just in one breast and I believe commonly is. I think if I had one breast removed I might have opted for reconstruction because it might be more comfortable to have symmetry between breasts. And yes, insurance and cost is also a consideration, especially costs and coverage being what they are. Take care and reach out to people on this site, it has been very helpful for me in so many ways throughout my journey.

I also have invasive lobular, but it has not spread,but do don't want to worry again, I'm know reaching out to find as much information from people like you to learn as much as I can. So much is thrown at you in the beginning, and started chemotherapy first(and still am) so my treatment's first where strong, but there not now. So I feel I Can deal with my second fase easier about 4 more months till surgery, but time flies to fast so doing my homework! You also take care, and I really do appreciate, oh do you have any feeling in your area, nurse said you don't, and see never heard that?

My breast cancer was invasive ductal in the left breast. I chose double mastectomy with reconstruction with expanding implants. An MRI showed an area in the right breast they wanted to check prior to surgery. However I decided I had chosen double mastectomy and did not do additional testing. Blessed be to god I chose the double mastectomy. A second cancer (invasive lobular) was found in the right breast. Borders were wide and lymph nodes clear. No chemo or radiation needed. 6 months after surgery I had my second surgery to replace the expanding implants with regular implants. I am very pleased with the results. I have a possible final surgery where Oscar Manrique (my plastic surgeon) may perform liposuction to add my own fat around the implants (to add fullness). I did NOT do nipple saving. I believe 10-15 percent become necrotic. I chose NoT to take the chance of losing the reconstruction due to a possible nipple saving. I will be getting tattoos in the future. I feel blessed to have done my surgery at mayo. My surgeon, the nurses the care team and my plastic surgeon have been beyond wonderful!! My reconstruction simply looks like a breast lift would look (minus the nipples). I will be praying for you. So many decisions to make. Hugs.