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Unilateral mastectomy & reconstruction

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littlechicken
littlechicken Member Posts: 3
edited August 2021 in Breast Reconstruction

It seems that bilateral mastectomy is the norm. Anyone else have unilateral Mx? What are you doing with reconstruction for symmetry? I am still in the expansion process but will need to make a decision soon if I want any work done on the "healthy" side. I'd love to know what others are doing. Thanks.

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  • Lily55
    Lily55 Member Posts: 1,748
    edited June 2014
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    i had unilateral, had reduction on remaining breast as it was heavy and pointed downwards, now I am having fat transfer on mx side to create a match. I wanted to match a healthy breast nit change a healthy one to match a reconstituted one, but most do it the other way round. Getting the reduction helped a lot even though it was not reduced a lot it feels lot more confortable

  • littlechicken
    littlechicken Member Posts: 3
    edited June 2014
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    Thanks Lilly. I feel the same way about wanting to match the healthy breast but i think that's easier said than done.  I was thinking about a lift on the healthy side but that seems so invasive.

  • marley2
    marley2 Member Posts: 38
    edited June 2014
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    I had a lift on the healthy breast at the same time of exchange.  It was really no big deal(I did not have reduction), breasts now match!

  • Monis
    Monis Member Posts: 309
    edited June 2014
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    I had a reduction/lift on my healthy side, as I wanted to go smaller w/my implant.  I was a 40DDD prior to sgx.  It is soooo nice to be smaller!  I am actually contemplating a revision to exchange my implant for a smaller/lower profile one, as my current one sits higher than my natural breast and has more fullness.  Still thinking about it though.

  • velle
    velle Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2014
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    I had a reduction/lift on the healthy side the same time I did my Lat Dorsi flap surgery.  The healthy side was still a little larger so I had them tweak it when I had my nipple recon in april.

  • mrenee68
    mrenee68 Member Posts: 48
    edited June 2014
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    I had a lift on my healthy side during my exchange and now I match pretty good. I didn't do a reconstructed nipple on the implant side I just did a 3D tattoo. If you have a good PS they can get a very close match with an implant and tweaking your healthy breast. It is definitely worth it. Good luck! 

  • sandj
    sandj Member Posts: 14
    edited June 2014
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    I had a UMx on the left with a lat flap. I am currently in the expansion process with a tissue expander. At the exchange surgery, my PS will swap out the expander for an implant and augment the other side with an implant. I plan to do nipple recon on the left and nipple tattoo. My natural side is a 34B.

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited June 2014
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    Glad to have found this board.  There are so few of us UNI's!  I am currently in the TE phase and will be having exchange surgery Sept. 9.  At that time I will have a lift/reduction on the natural breast (42D).  I'm hoping my PS can attain good symmetry, because as of right now I am totally having buyers remorse and wishing I had just gone with a BMX.  Completely lopsided and uncomfortable, and with it being summer time, the bathing suit thing really stinks.  I have to keep reminding myself to be patient, it will all come around.

  • vettegirl
    vettegirl Member Posts: 136
    edited June 2014
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    I too had a uni masectomy on my left side.  On my right-had a lumpectomy, with a lift-they actually moved the nipple up as well, and added a tissue expander so we can get symmetry at final exchange.  I agree with you Frostecat-I am 5.5 weeks out of surgery and have beach vaction in three weeks.  Wondering how the heck i am going to get these things in a bathing suit, sundresses or anything half way sexy.  My left side is hard as a rock...up to 740cc and will be at 900ccc in two weeks...but still looks flat to me.  Not sure how we are supposed to deal with this for 6 months and more....I too am trying to be patient.  I know we have bigger fish to fry than how we look, but it sooo affects how we feel.

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited June 2014
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    vettegirl - same here!  Did a girls weekend this past weekend, and it didn't bother me too bad to put on a bathing suit in front of them, they know what I'm dealing with and we weren't in too public of a place.  However, my DH wants to go away this weekend to a friend's and go on a boat (we've done this for the past few years), but I'm really not into it.   I don't think I would enjoy myself feeling so self-conscious the whole time., so what's the point.  His male friend and his wife and extended family, a little to crowded for me while I'm "under construction".  I think I would just prefer to wait out the summer and enjoy less public places/times.  After all by next year - it will be  a whole new ball game :-)   Trying to keep my eye on the prize, but it is difficult right now.

  • ClaireFraser
    ClaireFraser Member Posts: 47
    edited June 2014
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    I guess this place will my new hangout. I had a UMX on my left breast back in January (December lumpectomy w/unclean margins), and my implant exchange surgery last Tuesday, with a lift and implant on the right, plus fat grafting. I was feeling sorry for myself bc of the ugly scar around my nipple, but Frostecat gave my emotions a bit of a lift (no pun intended, lol). Time is a great healer, so just have to take it one day at a time.

    Claire

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited June 2014
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    ThumbsUp Claire!

  • ClaireFraser
    ClaireFraser Member Posts: 47
    edited June 2014
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    My breasts and nipple are swollen, which is normal.  But my nipple is erect and highly sensitive.  Will it flatten over time?  I would rather not have my high beam on 24/7.

    Claire

  • HappyCamper123
    HappyCamper123 Member Posts: 4
    edited June 2014
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    Had a reduction and lift on one side, mastectomy straight to expander on the other.  Infection, expander removed.  Realizing after having had a chance to do some better research and clearer thinking that reconstruction is a scam.  Total PS BS.  Functionality is what counts, and reconstruction is destructive of functionality.

  • HappyCamper123
    HappyCamper123 Member Posts: 4
    edited June 2014
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    Bilat is NOT the norm, Angelina notwithstanding.  Removing a healthy breast borders on medical malpractice.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,178
    edited June 2014
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    HappyCamper123,

    We ask that you edit your post above to "My opinion is that removing a healthy breast borders on medical malpractice".  You are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is not necessarily the opinion of this community and may be misinterpreted by others. The Mods

  • GointoCarolina
    GointoCarolina Member Posts: 95
    edited June 2014
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    I was not given the option of bilateral mastectomy because my surgeon felt it was not feasible to remove a healthy breast.He was a great surgeon and I would go back to him in a heat beat.BUT my remaining breast was large,I was uncomfortable in a bra with prosthesis,in a bra without a prosthesis,without a bra was even worse.Plus my breast was dense and I dreaded every mammogram.So I had my right breast removed  by another surgeon,closer to home....who was also great.Difference was,she was a woman and had some understanding of what it was like to have breasts.Women need to be given all their options..mastectomy or lumpectomy,uni or bi,nipple sparing and skin sparing and then the choice of recon or not..and the types of recon.And most of all to come here and talk to others who have experience.

  • GointoCarolina
    GointoCarolina Member Posts: 95
    edited June 2014
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    HappyCamper,I missed your other post...about reconstruction being destructive of functionality.I think if you will read some of the posts by women who have had successful recon surgery,you would be better educated about that aspect of reconstruction.It is not for everyone,but to say it destroys function is a little over the top,especially since function is not just physical but also emotional.There are  women who have had problems with recon and you will see them here,looking for support.The women who have had recon that was a success don't have reason to spend a lot of time on this particular forum,except to help others with information.

  • Skiergirl
    Skiergirl Member Posts: 8
    edited July 2014
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    hi little chicken,

    I had unilateral mx last October. Mine was a tram flap recon, and my surgeons were excellent. I knew it wasn't a once and done thing...I had my nipple reconstructed yesterday.  (I'm a teacher and had been out so didn't want to lose more time during the school year.)  Surgeon was able to pull skin together and voila a nipple - no more crop circle!  I have yet to see it, but I know he does excellent work so I have no worries. All that is left is a tattoo for the areola, once it is all healed. 

    Good luck with your journey,

    Ann

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2014
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    It's interesting how many different types of surgery there are.  When I do my exchange, I will have a lift/reduction on the natural breast, and he will make the nipple out of that for the reconstructed breast.  I gotta say, I have yet to read about this type of surgery on any of these boards.  He actually reduces the size of the other nipple to make a new one.  Kinda funky huh?

  • aff
    aff Member Posts: 33
    edited July 2014
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    I has a UMX with DIEP reconstruction on June 6. I will have a lift of the natural breast for symmetry. This has been a journey with a long road still ahead. I start radiation in a couple weeks so we won't be looking to create symmetry until we see how the new breast reacts to radiation. We are expecting it to shrink so my PS did make it a bit larger than my natural breast.

  • debiann
    debiann Member Posts: 447
    edited July 2014
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    I had a lump in April and I'm currently doing 6 rounds of chemo. In September I need more surgery due to close margins. I've been going crazy (plus making my DH crazy) trying to decide if another lump is what I want or if I should do a mx, either with or without recon.

     Finally decided today on a umx with implant recon with a lift to the other side. The PS recommended Deip, but while I love the results, its too much surgery for me.

    Frostecat, that does sound like an interesting nipple recon, going to ask the PS about it.

  • mrenee68
    mrenee68 Member Posts: 48
    edited July 2014
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    ClaireFrase - your nipple will be erect and sensitive for awhile, but it will get better. My nipple was so sensitive that it almost drove me crazy, but at the same time I was glad I still had feeling, some women lose feeling in there nipple. Hang in there it will all settle down.

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2014
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    Debiann - For me the most difficult part of this journey was making  the decision between lump, umx, bmx, especially early on in the game when I knew very little about BC.  Each have their pros and cons.  The lump was ruled out for me, as I was multi-focal and the BS said for as much as she would have to remove, it would be disfiguring.  So it looked like the umx, then I started thinking about the bmx, but my Dr's all insisted I didn't need it. The DIEP surgery appealed to me, after all I get a tummy tuck too, but my BS said it is a very long and hard surgery, and I would have to travel out of town to have it done.   I am in the TE phase and completely lopsided and hating it right now, but I know I just need to be patient and this too shall pass.

  • vettegirl
    vettegirl Member Posts: 136
    edited July 2014
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    Got my last fill on my masectomy side yesterday-now at 900cc.  I too am really hating this phase.  I am totally lopsided-boob is high and wide and not filled out...looks awful.  Go on vacation next week and not sure what i can wear at all.....may just wear tanks and shorts on the beach and try to find some summer dresses for night time.  I get mapped for rads next week...nervous but want to get this phase behind me so I can heal and have my reconstruction surgery late Dec or early January.  Hate that we have to wait sooo long.

  • TifJ
    TifJ Member Posts: 804
    edited July 2014
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    Frostecat- I too was multi focal with extensive DCIS and was told a lumpectomy could disfigure me. I had an uni MX as well as a little lift on the left at the same time. I was really scared at first about having both done during the same surgery, but was glad I did for when the exchange surgery came- it was a breeze. I am naturally a 36 B, closer to a C but not quite. My breasts were very close together and my PS did a wonderful job matching them. I have never had the nipple done- just don't care and neither does my husband. I told him a reconstructed one would have no sensation and he said, "why bother then" so I didn't!

    Best wishes to all of you making your decision as well as those going through the process right now!!

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2014
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    TifJ - again it amazes how many different options there are to treatment.  My PS likes to do it at the end, so he can match the reconstructed breast better, right now, how yours was done definitely appeals to me more.  I guess they all have their way of doing things, but I am so glad to hear that you are happy with the results.  Symmetry is definitely a concern when going the UMX route, and there are so few of us that have chose this, it's a welcome relief to hear the good stories!

    Vettegirl - I totally sympathize with you!

  • SullivanSF
    SullivanSF Member Posts: 2
    edited July 2014
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    Hi Gals had my mx on 6/4, now in early TE phase. Other breast had no issues, so for me, given it was the last breast I had with a nipple and sensation I never considered having it off. Drs didnt suggest it. I hate this TE process but I want to look somewhat like myself again so Ill suck it up. 

  • Frostecat
    Frostecat Member Posts: 223
    edited July 2014
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    Sullivan - welcome to the uni board.  I guess we are all learning the new meaning of patience.  My belief is that most Dr's don't encourage the bmx, but most patients want it.  Just when I was second guessing my decision my DH pointed out a news story that was released that day just on this topic.  I tried to copy and paste the link here but it didn't work.  Just google "nbc news mastectomy" and it is the first story that appears and has a picture of Angelina Jolie on it.  There is a video too, and I encourage all on this board to watch it, it is very compelling.

  • littlechicken
    littlechicken Member Posts: 3
    edited July 2014
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    thank you ladies for sharing your uni stories. I'm scheduled for my transfer in August and can't wait to get this TE out! My expander is crazy looking and feels like concrete. I'll do a little lift on the healthy side for symmetry. Looking forward to feeling and looking a little more natural.