Mastectomy and reconstruction 6 years post cancer

Hi, I'm currently 39. I was diagnosed with BC aged 33 and went through lumpectomy, removal of one lymph node, radiotherapy and then 10 years tamoxifen treatment.

Fast forward to now ....after 18 months of waiting for a referral from the genomics clinic I am now able to have elective bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction.

I have been given the option to have either reconstruction using implants or I can opt for diep reconstruction.

My surgeon informs me that implants would be the simplest option, though I would be likely to suffer capsular contracture this way as I have received radiotherapy. The diep reconstruction would give the most natural result but is a much longer process with a longer recovery period.

Has anyone opted for implants after radiotherapy and had good results? Any advice either way?

Thank you for reading xx

  • Hello Mimms84

    I'm sorry to hear about all that you've been through but it sounds like you're in a positive mindset regarding your upcoming surgery. 

    I know that we have had ladies here on the forum who have had both implant and DIEP surgeries. Hopefully they will reply to share their experiences with you but in the meantime, you could use the forum search function at the top of the page to search for the terms implant and DIEP. You may find some previous posts that are of use in helping you make your decision. 

    If you'd like to chat with one of our nurses at any point you're welcome to call them on 0808 800 4040, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. 

    Sending my best wishes for your surgery and recovery. 
    Cancer Chat moderator 

  • Hello Mimms 84 , glad you are doing ok . I had bilateral mastectomies in September 22 and going in for implant reconstruction next Monday. I did not have radiotherapy,only chemotherapy. I opted for the silicone implants because recovery is quicker , I think it just depends on you . I am sure there will be a few comments on this forum regarding both options. Good luck xx

  • Hi Rumpelstiltskin,

    Thank you  for your reply, I really appreciate you sharing your experience.

    I'm a terrible decision maker but hoping hearing others experience can guide me.

    I hope your reconstruction goes well on Monday, I bet you can't wait to get through the final stage of surgery.

    In terms of mastectomy, might I ask if there's anything you would recommend in terms of aiding recovery? Anything you wish you had known?

    Many thanks xx

  • Hello Mimms 84 , the mastectomies were straight forward really . Didn’t have any pain , did my exercises ,which I think is really important . I had all my lymph nodes removed on my right side a few weeks later which was also ok. I think ,as long as you do what they tell you regarding not doing lifting or housework for a while and your exercises you will be fine . The sleeping on my back was not so great , but got used to it . Time flew really . Scars healed really fast too . I went flat for ages after and felt happy about it ,in the summer months I felt that clothes sat better with my prosthesis in ,so I wore them . They have been great and comfortable,but as I am having mega sweats sometimes,I do find them warm . I am going for the silicone because I feel I want to put things behind me now and ,living on a farm ,I can’t afford weeks of just sitting around .Good luck and always here to chat xxx

  • Thank you so much, that really puts my mind at ease. I know everyone reacts differently but it's always good to hear a positive journey.

    I totally understand you choosing the silicone implants and a shorter recovery. I think that is the direction I'm swaying to, I'm not good at not being active and I need to consider caring for my children.

    I'll be thinking of you on Monday. Wishing you luck and a quick recovery xxx

  • Thanks , I am sure it will be good xx