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Breast reconstruction

(2 Posts)
weebarra Wed 01-Jun-16 13:32:55

I had breast cancer three years ago, in both breasts. I was 36, DD (DC3) was 8 weeks old.
I had a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, radiotherapy. I also had my ovaries removed because I'm brca +ve and there was a risk of ovarian cancer.
I met my surgeon today for my annual review. I need to think now about whether to have reconstruction or not.
For various reasons it's likely to be a LD flap reconstruction. Has anyone had one and can let me know how it went?
I know I'll need time off work for example but there are varying accounts of how much!
I'm really not sure whether I want it or not - there's no need to decide now, but some experiences would be useful.

Maudd Wed 01-Jun-16 17:59:33

I've had an LD reconstruction but it was 9 years ago now, so a lot of the detail's a bit hazy. I only had it on one side. I remember the operation itself was much easier than I expected. It took about 5 hours, but that included the mastectomy, which you've already had. The scars were small and neat, and there was very little pain afterwards. I recovered fairly quickly, had 5 days in hospital and doing normal things at home within a week or so. You'd be very tired for a few weeks though, and will need to do exercises to keep full range of movement in your arm, and definitely no lifting small children for a while! The effect does look good, very natural, and I'm pleased with it overall.

One problem is that I hate the "bulky" feeling in my armpit where they brought the muscle round from the back. I found it incredibly annoying at first, it's like having a rolled-up magazine under there permanently, and I couldn't bring my arm down against my side. They told me the feeling would disappear within a few months, but it's still there, just to a lesser extent, and I'm used to it now.

I haven't noticed any loss of strength in my back, but I do know of people who've refused this operation because they do a lot of skiing or rowing or tennis, so you would need to think about that if you enjoy those things. I find it a bit odd that when I sneeze or cough, my boob jumps because that muscle is round at the front now!

One more thing, I do get eczema on the reconstructed boob, which I think is from the radiotherapy, and of course that skin is now stretched and probably thin. It only started to happen after about 5 years, but it's there more or less permanently now.

Overall, the operation itself is ok, and I'm really glad I've had a reconstruction, but I wasn't given any choice other than the LD approach. If you have the option, then maybe consider some of the alternative abdominal operations before deciding.

Sorry, this is very long and a bit rambling, but hope some of it's helpful smile

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