Radiation Effects on Breast Reconstruction

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 2/8/2005 11:00 AM (GMT -7)   
I am interested in weighing the pros and cons of radiating before reconstruction vs. radiating after. My doctor recommended reconstruction after the radiation, but the thought of not having immediate reconstruction is weighing on me pyshologically. Has any one else had to make this difficult decision? What was the outcome?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 700
   Posted 2/8/2005 11:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I had reconstruction done at the time of my mast. That way I didn't have to deal with the loss of my breast (at least in my mind, it was never really gone, just changed a bit) That was my choice and was easier for me. Lots of ladies here have had the mast and recon later. I did not have to have radiation. Good luck and I will keep you in my prayers

Sara Dearing
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 2/8/2005 12:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Have you found a plastic surgeon and talked with him/her about this? Immediate reconstruction takes a little more time to schedule because you have to have the surgeon and the plastic surgeon both available, unless the plastic surgeon will also do the mastectomy. It seems to me I have heard that radiation can make the skin less amenable to reconstruction. I guess I should read your other post about the diep flap before asking if you found a plastic surgeon or not. This type of reconstruction takes a very specialized plastic surgeon. Not all are trained to do this intricate surgery, I understand. WE had a young woman discuss this surgery recently and I believe she posts the website for her surgeon with information. You might do a search in the search box above and find those posts if they are still available and I think they probably are. Mary K.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 741
   Posted 2/8/2005 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I had my mastectomy at 30 and my daugther was only 20 months old, so I decided on delayed reconstruction. I didn't want to take longer to recover than was necessary. I had the mast, then radiation. I didn't have recon. until 1 1/2 years later. At the time of recon. I had prophylactic mast. on "healthy" breast and had them both reconstructed. I had to have a lat. flap on my bc side because there was no tissue. It wasn't an easy surgery, but I don't regret waiting. It really didn't bother me to not have the breast. I wore a prosthesis that actually stuck onto my skin, so it looked and felt pretty normal. Hope this helps.


PS- My daughter is also 6.... what fun they are!
Do not go gentle into that goodnight,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
~Dylan Thomas

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 2/9/2005 8:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all for sharing. This is so helpful. Take care.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 352
   Posted 3/5/2005 10:38 PM (GMT -7)   

I am just seeing this post and hoping you are still on the website BMarie.  I had a lumpectomy with chemo and rads done 5 1/2 years ago.  I am currently trying to get up the courage to have the reconstruction done.  The main reason I am being encouraged by my surgeon and the oncologist to have this done is because radiation did so much damage to my tissue.  They are recommending a complete mastectomy with reconstruction.

Please let me know what decision you have made and maybe we can be there for each other during the process.  I am 57 years old and if it weren't for the density of the BC breast and how nearly impossible it is to examine it and get a good mammo picture I wouldn't worry about reconstruction.

Good luck and God Bless,

Kitty M

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 3/8/2005 7:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Kitty M,

Sorry, I have been off line for a while. I have consulted with 4 plastic surgeons. Two locally, who only perform the TRAM and 2 who reconstruct with DIEP perforator flap. I am opting for delayed reconstruction with a skin sparing mastectomy and expander to be placed at the time of my unilateral mastectomy. They will expand pretty quickly as not to delay the radiation treatment. There are side effects as you know from radiation, but I am happy with my decision. I will have surgery on March 23. I am 37 years old.

Hope this helps. Be encouraged and know God's love prevails above all.

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