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implants uncomfortable? And questions about saving my natural nipple

Hi,

I'm scheduled for left sided mastectomy in one week. I've had mixed messages about whether I can save my nipple. I'm a 38D with grade 1 ptosis and was told it might not look good if I try to save it but that it's okay from a cancer standpoint to keep it. I've heard about the natural nipple looking weird or getting necrotic and wondered how often these things happen. I was also told it might hang low relative to the shape of the implant. Any feedback or experiences?

Also - how often are breast implants uncomfortable (not the expander but the permanent implant)? I really think I don't want the DIEP procedure. It just overwhelms me to think about that big of a procedure. I don't mind that the implant is not me - I would mind, though, if it's physically uncomfortable. Any feedback on this?

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Comments

  • nns121317
    nns121317 Member Posts: 102

    I couldn't save my nipples, so I can't comment on that. I had a direct to implant reconstruction, but after surgery I had to have radiation, and I will say my radiated implant is pretty uncomfortable. I've had the implants over two years, and just don't feel comfortable with them even after fat grafting, so I have my DIEP on 2/20. If you don't want to do the DIEP, I would try the implant, many people have good results. They just weren't for me.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Hi @saf1234,

    It sounds like the necrotic issue would be tied to the removal of all of the tissue behind the nipple, which can lead to: "an interruption of the blood supply to it, which can lead to an 8% chance that a woman will actually lose her nipple because it will not get adequate blood flow and heal properly" (FAQs about nipple-sparing mastectomies). While waiting for others to weigh in on this, we have an article that discusses the risks and complications with breast implant reconstruction if you wanted to read about it:

    Hope that this is helpful. If you were curious to hear about others' experiences in real-time, we do also offer free meet-ups with members over Zoom. For this question, you would want to look into our Bonded by Breast Cancer groups that occur on Mondays at 8pm EST and Fridays at 1pm EST. You're welcome to come as often or infrequently as you like. The registration information is available here:

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,684

    It depends on where the cancer is I know. I did a skin saving mx on my left side and have an implant on that side. I was offered to have a "reduction" to make the right side match the left side which is now smaller of course. I wanted one side to still be me and chose not to do it. Some women do though and it is a personal decision.

    As far as the expander "pain" the fills were not what I would call comfortable but compared to the surgery it was not terrible. I had to go several times for fills and when it was where they thought it was as much as it would go I had revision to for the permanent ones which was fairly easy recovery after that one.

    I think it is a lot easier than the DIEP to recover.

    My breast surgeon was good help to me to let me know what type was best for me in making decisions on which surgery to have. Best wishes to you!!!

  • saf1234
    saf1234 Member Posts: 4

    Thanks to everyone who responded! I didn't have to lose my nipple from a cancer standpoint but ultimately, my PS felt it would be best cosmetically to say goodbye to it, so that is what I did. I am going to get a nipple tattoo. I have the expander in now and it is not bad so far (minimally filled). I just hate the drains and can't wait to get them out. But that should happen in a week or so!