Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MY Breast Reconstruction Options

I have been asked a Warning peeps...we're getting a little bit more graphic then I normally do on the blog. But I've had a few friends ask me to share more information then what I can in an email or message about my breast reconstruction options.

First off, so many people have asked me when my surgery date is...well it's Monday, December 9th. Nothing like kicking off my holiday celebrations recovering from a major surgery right? I will be having my surgery done at Huntsman Cancer Institute, which is part of the University of Utah Medical Service facilities and the best around. The two surgeons performing my surgeries (I made this plural because one surgeon starts my surgery and the other ends it) are two of the best in Utah. Dr. Neumeyer will be performing the actual mastectomy (removal of my breast tissue) and Dr. Agarwal is the Plastic Surgeon that will be doing my reconstruction and the doctor I will most likely see the most.

Second, many, many of you have asked about the reconstruction process... so the remainder of this post will address that topic.

Reconstruction Option 1: DIEP Flap sugery - Love the idea of replacing the fat from my abdomen into my breast...not like I need to keep it there. I also like the idea of having parts of me relocated so I don't have to have foriegn objects in my body. Another plus (or minus) is that the breast do get smaller with weight loss (or larger with weight gain)...unlike having implants. However, I quickly learned that I am not be able to do this because of being overweight. Who would have thought I'd have too much fat. One plus is I won't have two surgical sites (abdomen and breasts). I understand that heavy girls like me also a harder time with recovery and run the risk of complications. Another drawback to this surgery is it requires a much longer surgery almost double then that of option 2 up to about 10+ hours. Honestly I was crushed when I first learned that I didn't qualify for this reconstruction, but I am totally at peace with it now.

Reconstruction Option 2: Implants...not what I ever thought I'd need or want. But this was my plan B and at least my tata's will be relocated to where gravity won't mess with them any more. This process requires them to push my pectoral muscle away from my chest wall to create a pocket to place the implants. In order to make room then will put "implants" in place to start stretching the muscle out. I've heard people refer to this as having a charly horse in their chest...I'm hoping this is not true. The process of being expanded could take anywhere from 3-6 weeks, or possibly a bit longer depending on how my body recovers from the mastectomy. Honestly, I'm not excited about a the weeks of having expanders placed and having to drive up to Huntsman to have them "filled" over that time. But my sistahs that have gone through cancer sometimes have to suffer with the expanders much long there this because of radiation and other factors. Once I'm filled to the size I'd like to be, they will schedule a second surgery to place replace the expanders with the final IMPLANTS. This surgery is called and exchange surgery.

After both surgeries I'm told no lifting at all for 6-8 weeks. Not sure about other restrictions yet.

Let's talk Implants real quick, since I get asked this one all the time too. Saline or Silicone? Mine will be silicone implants. Next question after that is, "Isn't silicone dangerous if they leak?" Well back in the "old" days when silicone implants would leak or rupture they would leak a silicone that was the consistency of syrup. Some thought this would cause breast cancer and other auto immune issues. They were pulled from the market until tested and when they found that they were safe they were put back on the market. Now days they are much better made and are typically called "gummy bear" implants. That means when cut open then have the consistency of a gummy bear. No more leaking of silicone, etc. My plastic surgeon said they're made to last much, much longer and some even a the lifetime of the percipient.

Any I know you're all wondering and would be among those that would ask me, "No, I am not sure what size I want to end up."


  1. Oh, my friend, this is quite the journey. The good news is your surgery is on my birthday and I only allow good things to happen on that day so you are covered! You're welcome (wink)

    You are so strong and I keep thinking over and over how wonderful it is to be let into your life in such a personal way. I can only imagine how incredibly hard this is. Good luck to you and many prayers coming your way!

  2. My MIL had option 2 a few years ago and has had very good results. She was glad she went this route.

  3. My MIL had option 2 a few years ago and has been very happy with the results.


HELLO....I appreciate you reading about me and my experience with BRCA1 and "everyday life". Thank you for taking the time to comment in the positive (but if you want to be negative I invite you to go read someone else's blog).