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Topic: Unilateral mastectomy & reconstruction

Forum: Breast Reconstruction —

Talk with others facing decisions about whether or not to have breast reconstruction, and if so, what type and when.

Posted on: Jun 6, 2014 07:13PM

littlechicken wrote:

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.

"just keep swimming" Dx 1/22/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2014 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 4/9/2014
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Aug 2, 2015 07:43PM damazon wrote:

I had a uni-M on April Fool's Day 2011. Surgery was nothing, walking, happy the next day ... then I found out my cancer was 7cm and not simply 2 cm, multi centric and multifocal ... and, and, ... but happy to report it is now almost 5 years later, and I am healthy, and looking good. I have a great Amoena stick-on prosthesis and wear a padded uplift bra, Size 38B, when I am actually a 38-36A cup size. Life was getting better until a gym club member (a twenty year survivor who never tried to hide her single breast) told another member I had only one breast. I freaked. I have arranged for implant surgery (initially told I could never have implants due to radiation damage but it appears that my radiated skin has come back to normal and I can now undertake an implant based reconstruction).

I hope it goes well but I understand that at least for me, or 1 in 5 , it may not take. I do not want to spend more than a year reconstructing. If it does not work out I will be reverting. My fear now is that the site may look ugly after moving forward, whereas now, the mastectomy scar is relatively pale, and the area relatively smooth.

Nonetheless, I am tired of wearing my prothesis, cleaning it every night, and putting it on five days a week, and panicking if I forget to wear it at the grocery store when I quickly leave the house for a menu item. I hope it goes well.

Just want to say I really, really, appreciate all of you who post, and help make my journey visible, doable, and provide the greatest gift of life, community. Thanks!

Dx 3/8/2011, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 2, 2015 08:22PM damazon wrote:

Should have said, received a morphine drip the night of the surgery, and took Tremacet as prescribed. It was no cake walk! Just saying, would not want to make light of such a traumatic and painful

surgery. Nonetheless, pain medication is great!

Dx 3/8/2011, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 2/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 3, 2015 05:00PM Fourminor wrote:

My PS, who seems to be a minimalist, also dissuaded me from fat grafting (along with the lift of the other side). Although i developed a ripple right at my cleavage, he said it was unlikely that fat grafting would correct it. He also thought that fat grafting had about a 50 % chance of making the thin skin above the implant look better, but a not unreasonable chance it could make it worse, and talked about fat necrosis. His advice was to leave it alone. IT would appear that spaghetti straps and I will be parting ways, but as long as I have a more full cup coverage, things do not look amiss.

One thing i was wondering was how come they can't use the facial filler stuff (like Juvederm), instead of fat, to smooth out edges and such. I have to ask him that.

Damazon, its your body you have to do what makes YOU happy!

I have to get up the energy to book an appointment with Vinnie.

Dx 10/2008, DCIS Surgery 10/24/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 12/11/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/25/2009 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 8/28/2014, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/7/2014 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 1/10/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 2/5/2015 Reconstruction (left)
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Aug 4, 2015 05:04PM Mich71 wrote:

I am curious if anyone's drop and fluff took longer on the reconstructed side. Exchange on 4/28/15 with augment but no lift on native side. If the reconstructed side takes longer, a little bit of drop yet would be about perfect for symmetry. Any wisdom appreciated

Dx 7/16/2013, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/14/2013 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 11/8/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Surgery 12/2/2014 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 4/28/2015 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
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Aug 4, 2015 06:56PM tjh wrote:

My PS said it would be around 6 months to see the final results. She did a lift on the native side and expander placement when I had my mastectomy. My reconstruction, silicon implant, is 8/12... Next Wednesday. After the pain of the mastectomy and chemo I am getting nervous.

Dx 3/7/2015, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/26/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/11/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 6, 2015 04:23AM Fourminor wrote:

I had no ripple until about 4 months out, then it just showed up one day so I think that's when things dropped.


Dx 10/2008, DCIS Surgery 10/24/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 12/11/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/25/2009 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 8/28/2014, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/7/2014 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 1/10/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 2/5/2015 Reconstruction (left)
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Aug 6, 2015 04:36AM tjh wrote:

Fourminer...Arimodel is the hormone therapy I started this week, 4 weeks post chemo. How are the SE?

Dx 3/7/2015, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/26/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/11/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 6, 2015 04:38AM tjh wrote:

That would be Arimidex...hate autocorrect

Dx 3/7/2015, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/26/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/11/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Aug 7, 2015 01:25AM Fourminor wrote:

For me its hot flashes, a little stiffness in my feet and ankles when i first get up in the morning, that's basically gone once i get to the hallway.


Dx 10/2008, DCIS Surgery 10/24/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 12/11/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 3/25/2009 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 8/28/2014, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/7/2014 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 1/10/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Surgery 2/5/2015 Reconstruction (left)
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Jul 29, 2020 12:11PM Fleurdavril wrote:

Hi ladies!

I am new to this forum and I have a question.I just had a UMX left side and I agree to do a reduction/lift on the native side at time of the exchange.The more I think about it, the more I read, I feel like it would be best to remove the breast and get an other implant for 1.better symetry 2.less scars 3.no more mammograms 4.I wouldn't have to worry about the native side sagging after some time (even if I know the side with the implant will sag eventually) .I'd like to know your thoughts on that if any and did anyone ever have regrets doing a UMX?

Thank you.

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Aug 6, 2020 08:19PM Marenstd wrote:

Hello! I have the same question as Fleurdavril! I am finishing up chemo and still trying to decide between unilateral or bilateral for the same reasons. Oncologist notes the risk with the non-cancerous breast is low at 5% but I still feel that's 1 in 20! Between that and the reconstruction options I am changing my mind twice a day. Any advice/thoughts from someone with a similar experience would be most appreciated.

Thank you


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Aug 7, 2020 02:19PM AnnC2019 wrote:

Hi Marenstd,

I just had a prophylactic mastectomy on the left side which was cancer free. I read my test results and the notes indicated atypical hyperplasia with e-cahedrin loss, so even though it was cancer free that is the start of potential tumors growing there. My plastic surgeon also indicated it would be hard to match both sides later, so I would have had to have it lifted etc and then get mammograms. I also didnt want radiation down the road on my left side because I had radiation damage to my lungs. Additionally I have capsular contracture on my TE expanded right side so I will still probably be lopsided. I am two weeks out of surgery and left the house without a bra today and no sagging which was pretty awesome


Dx 6/19/2019, ILC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/28/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 11/4/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 7/22/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/23/2020 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Aug 10, 2020 06:39PM Marenstd wrote:

Thank you AnnC2019,

Your response is very helpful. Congratulations on the bra-free foray! I would appreciate any thoughts or insights you have about the timing (initial double mastectomy vs doing the prophylactic mastectomy at the later date)?

Thank you

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Aug 11, 2020 05:39PM lala1 wrote:

I had a UMX in 2012 with an implant on BC side (left) and lift with a small implant on native (right) side for symmetry in 2013. I'm very happy I had a UMX because I can say that recovery was hard and I can't imagine having done it with no good arms! Also, my PS explained to me that implants are warrantied for 10 years and that many women opt to swap them out at that time so they don't have out of warranty implants in their chests. He doesn't really recommend that but does suggest swapping them out every 15 years or so because the integrity of them can break down. My BS actually says he will do an MRI on me every 3 years or so to check the integrity of it and as long as it's holding up he says to keep it. And as an added bonus I get an MRI on my native breast every 3 years just to be sure the mammograms haven't missed anything. Now, I will say that 7 years later my native side has started to droop just a bit lower. I can't tell yet dressed but I know one day I will. When that day comes, I am going to swap out my implant for a brand new one and then get my native side lifted again. I know this surgery is basically outpatient as it was when I had it done in 2013 during my exchange surgery. And it was a very easy surgery to recover from. I was out pretty much doing normal life in a week! So I guess I'd vote UMX just because at the time I felt having a good working arm made a big difference in how I got through recovery. And if I have to swap out implants periodically anyway I might as well get everything evened up at that time!!

Mentor smooth round high profile memory gel implants 600cc (Left); Allergan 10 Moderate Profile 120cc (Right) ; Oncotype 15 Dx 11/27/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/12/2012 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/31/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 3/25/2013 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Surgery 6/24/2014 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction Surgery 1/19/2015 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Aug 22, 2020 04:19PM - edited Aug 22, 2020 04:20PM by AnnC2019

I wanted both sides done at the same time but they wanted to wait due to a pre-condition which was really unnecessary. I wish I had both done at the same time. Recovery is easier with one side, especially if you’re a side sleeper, so that was the only benefit.

Dx 6/19/2019, ILC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/28/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 11/4/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 7/22/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/23/2020 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Jun 10, 2021 11:01AM momwriter wrote:

Q- Should I get a prophylactic MX on my other side? If so recon, or no recon.


I went through treatment (UMX, Chemo, Herceptin. Radiation) and DX is coming up on 9 years ago. I had a UMX with recon on the left, and a slight lift on the right (that didn't really work).

I am wondering if I should get a prophylactic MX on my right side so I don't have to go through the worry - every time I have an MRI or Mammo I get a call back and it's so stressful. One day they might find something and I don't really feel like going through it all again if possible.

On my UMX side, I had an ALND and recon. My range of motion is much worse (For instance in my yoga practice). So I don't know if I'd want to get recon on my other side because I want to be able to do yoga etc well. So I may consider removing the implant and being flat.

I like having a chest "profile" even though it's lopsided- I can work with it with a bra. And of course I don't feel like having more surgery. On the other hand, I'm healthy age 56 and maybe this would be a good time in life to do this.

Any advice?



Dx 9/2012, IDC, Stage IIB, 3 cm, Grade 3, micromets in 3/7 nodes, ER+,PR+,HER+, Affinity trial Surgery 10/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 11/4/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 12/2/2012 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/21/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 5/19/2013 Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2013

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