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Flap versus implant reconstruction 

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Hi Everyone,

My sister had a double mastectomy back in January of this year. Her surgeon advised against immediate reconstruction because she needed radiation after surgery. She is now considering her options for reconstruction and trying to decide between Flap versus Implant. I appreciate it if those who had reconstruction done chime in here and maybe share their experiences with either flap or Implant. Thank you for help :)

Comments

  • nns121317
    nns121317 Member Posts: 115
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    I had BMX with immediate implant reconstruction in October 2021. I had radiation afterwards (they found a positive node), and although they was structurally intact and beautiful cosmetically, the implants was never comfortable, even after some fat grafting to provide some padding. Therefore, I had a DIEP in February 2024. The original DIEP process was fine, flaps were very healthy, but the chest skin on my radiated side died off about two weeks later, so I've had four more surgeries (one debridement, two skin grafts from my leg, and revision/fat grafting) to correct healing issues. Since it sounds like your sister has already had radiation, she'll want to chat with her surgeon about how that can impact success. I still prefer the DIEP over the implants I had, much more natural and warm breasts, but getting the radiated side to a good result has been a challenge.

  • dimples90
    dimples90 Member Posts: 5
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    I had BMX with expanders placed. Needed radiation. My PS didn’t do DIEP procedure so was only given option of implants after radiation. It didn’t work for me. After failed implant, he offered lat flap. Developed capsular contraction. After reading about experiences of ladies here who had DIEP, I went to New Orleans for my surgery. Dr. Dellacroce removed part of my radiated skin and built lower half of breast with skin from abdomen. My recovery was uneventful. I am very happy with the entire experience in New Orleans. My reconstructed breasts feel warm, soft.
    Implants work for some people after radiation but not for others. If a flap surgery is chosen, please do a lot of research and find a skilled surgeon.

  • sanazsabeti65
    sanazsabeti65 Member Posts: 13
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    Thank you nns121317 and dimples90 for sharing your experiences.