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Jackie Kannegieter

Breast reconstruction after bilateral mastectomy

I had a bilateral mastectomy Feb 11, 2009. I did chemo and 6 weeks of radiation on my left breast. Finished radiation 9/17/2009. Now I am considering reconstruction. The plastic surgeon I have seen said that on my left side, where the cancer was there isn't enough tissue and good blood supply to do an implant. He recommends a latissimus dorsi (Back) flap. At least on the left side. Ther is enough tissue on the right and that side doesn't have radiation damage.He could do an implant on the right, back flap on the right but the implant will be more round, back flap more pear shaped. I am looking for anyone who has had back flap on both sides or even one so I can understand what recovery is like.

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I had lumectomy with reconstruction. I chose implants and love it. I didn't have enough fat to take from my stomach and I wasn't comfortable with the back flap surgery. Good luck!
I had a bilatermasectomy with jepg flap reconstruction on both breasts. For my surgery I was in surgery for 12 hrs and had colapsed lungs and phenmonia spent 5 days in ICU. I got out of ICU and went to the floor then eventually home I have and am still having recovering but unlike you each reconstruction and case is different. I had a double surgery in one day you on the other are having just 1 surgery and you will probably be back to your old self in about 6months. The key to recovery from the surgery is remember don't let this control you. Reach down deep inside yourself and look to God for the strrength to come back even stronger than you ever have before. Above alwasy control the disease don't let it control you.
Hi, Jackie:
I had a bilateral lat flap. I'll tell you some honest info, not trying to make you sad or scared...I know it's overwhelming regardless of surgery type. Just wanted to give you the facts as they played out for me.

Recovery is difficult due to the long surgery, for starters. It takes about 8 hours. I came out with 6 drains. The last two drains stayed in a full month.

Your range of motion will be limited by the missing back muscles, in spite of what they tell you to the contrary. It will take some work to get your upper body strength back, because you have to re-educate your body as to how to work around the missing muscles. This won't hurt at all, it will just feel odd. And it will take a lot more effort to hold your shoulders back and sit up straight.

Also, you will be vulnerable to frozen shoulder, which is excruciatingly painful. So to avoid that, so you must, must, must stretch every day as soon as you are able. (Even now, almost 3 years out if I don't stretch every day, I feel stiff.)

Also, just FYI, your new breasts will 'flex' in an odd way due to the muscle attached to the flap. This won't go away unless you get the muscle de-nervated (sp?), which most doctors won't do.

In addition, the skin may not match your chest skin. Most women's back skin is darker, even if they don't tan. Also, you will have a football-shaped scar rather than one straight line as with expanders/implants alone.

One more thing - you will have long back scars that may or may not be covered by your bra/bikini strap. I'm almost 3 years out and mine are now visible, but white.

On the up side, I've hear expanders also hurt like heck. So maybe I avoided some of that pain :)
Also, because they were done the same way at the same time, at least I have symmetry. And the flap allows plenty of skin to make nipples if you want them.

If you have any other questions, please let me know. I wish you success!
I had reconstruction and masectomy at the same time. The recivery process for me was very difficult. I think that for each case is very different. The recovery process for reconsruction is very painful physicallyand mentally. I suffered from depression I also was very angry for having to have to go through this again. I kicked the depression and asked God to give me a frame of mind that was positive and thankful for all the positive thing in my life and not the negative. Smy recovery had alot to do with my frame of mind. I mean if you are a fighter then you will not let anything defeat you and you go into the surgery for what you want don't do what you think will make your mate happey because you are the one who looks at yourself everyday and this new part of you will be with you until................

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