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Topic: Dog Ears?

Forum: Living Without Reconstruction After a Mastectomy — Discuss prostheses, swimsuits, bras, and other options for women not having reconstruction or waiting for reconstruction.

Posted on: Aug 27, 2008 03:52PM, edited Aug 10, 2009 10:23AM by lisa-e

lisa-e wrote:

I am going to have a bilateral mastectomy.  I am trying to decide if I should have reconstruction or not.  When I saw my surgeon, he asked me to see a plastic surgeon so I could make an informed decision.    She said one thing that bothered me and I wanted to ask you all your opinion.

She said that if I did not have immediate reconstruction, I would have large dog ears, ie flaps at the end of the scars, as I am quite busty.   Do you think this is true? I have called my surgeon, to get his opinion.  The idea of being flat does not bother me, but the idea of having extra skin on my chest does.


Initial BC dx with dcis & idc after lumpectomy & snb in 6/08. in 8/08 dx with multicentric bc (idc) after mri. had bilat mastecomy in 9/08 w/o reconstruction Dx 5/2008, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 6/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left
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Sep 21, 2008 12:30PM sheesh1961 wrote:

Sorry to be dredging up an old thread -- I mentioned the "puckering" on each end of my incisions on the October recon thread, and someone suggested I do a search for dog ears, so here I am! (I had never heard that term!)

I had bilateral mast on Aug. 13, immediate recon with expanders. I'm now filled to 400cc (the size my implants will be) and still have dog ears both sides of both incisions. I'm not overweight and was not large busted (solid B cup), so those factors couldn't have come into play for me. And now that I'm filled to 400cc, if the dog ears are left for recon "space," wouldn't you think they'd have flattened out by now? So when I saw my PS last week I asked him about it, and if he can fix them when he does my exchange. He said he doesn't want to fix them because scar tissue is still living tissue, and he said the thin lines I have now at my incision will be much wider 10 weeks down the road -- and at that point my dog ears should disappear too. But from what I'm reading here, it doesn't sound like that happens necessarily.

So I'm thinking I'll bring it up again when I see him before my exchange surgery. Sher, you mentioned not being able to go braless because the lumps show through -- that's exactly my complaint too! 

Anyway, I'm curious whether anyone has seen the dog ears diminish with time, or if your incision line got wider like my PS is saying it will.


Dx 6/20/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+
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Sep 22, 2008 06:05PM , edited Sep 22, 2008 06:06PM by Firelady

I had a skin sparing double mastectomy in July because I wasn't sure about reconstruction.  In the time since, I've been leaning heavily on not having it done.  I'm comfortable going flat chested, and I'm comfortable wearing prosthetics.  Typically I've only worn the prosthetics at work since I wear a uniform and work at the fire dept.  I can retire in four years and probably won't wear them after that, I just didn't want people to wonder "what" I was!!  Anyway, should I decide not to do reconstruction, does anyone know if insurance will pay for additional surgery to remove the flaps of extra tissue left under each arm?

Completed DD AC & DD Taxol 6/13/08, Bilateral mastectomy 7/2 followed by radiation. Radiation finished 9/29/08. No reconstruction. Completed Tamoxifen Sept 2013 . Dx 1/29/2008, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/11/2014, IDC, Stage IV
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Aug 10, 2009 10:17AM DVSB wrote:

 I had a Bilateral Propylactic Mastectomy Feb. 2009,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I was 44DD and am

overweight. My Doctor never mentioned Dog Ears, till after surgery. I have 2 small dog

ears one on each side of the center of my chests.............one the size of an egg....my

real problem are the dogs ears under my arm pits, they are the size of lemons or larger

some days they hurt, feels like the skin is pulling, the get in the way of my bra, I never

planned on reconstruction.............. but I can't live with these dog ears.......I am schedule

for surgery to have them remove on Aug 27th.......I am not looking forward to surgery again

and hoping and praying, my chest and underarms will be flat, As it is the scar that is there

now gets very tight and painful. Guess I just need some reassurance that all is will be over

once and for all.........

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Aug 10, 2009 10:30AM lisa-e wrote:

DVSB, I don't have any dog ears but my mast scar also feels very tight.  I find I have to stretch constantly.   I found pt helpful in dealing with the tightness - I recommend you ask for a referral.  Good luck with your upcoming surgery; I hope it goes well!

Initial BC dx with dcis & idc after lumpectomy & snb in 6/08. in 8/08 dx with multicentric bc (idc) after mri. had bilat mastecomy in 9/08 w/o reconstruction Dx 5/2008, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 6/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lumpectomy: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left
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Aug 10, 2009 11:08AM dee1961 wrote:

I was the same size as you DVSB and had/have large dogs ears too. They left alot of skin for my reconstruction, but not sure why they would have left your skin unless you were unsure wether you wanted recon or not. Your insurance should have to pay for removal since they are part of the breast removal for your cancers. Propylatctic masts may not be covered. Check with your insurance co.

Take care!

Love is never wrong
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Aug 10, 2009 04:55PM janb wrote:

DVSB-- I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with this I have the extra under my arms pits . I was not told about this before my bil-mast 6/2008. I had told my BS no reconstruction, never saw a PS. After when I saw my BS they said in a year I could have them removed. Said that this is pulled forward when we have breast and now just extra . I talked with my BS the end of July he said he could remove them --- the surgery would take about 2 hrs (that long due to have to re-position me ) that I would have staples and drains also another biopsy on tissue removed and incision would go further onto my back... Let me tell you it scared me and my DH . I just saw a PS said he could do it in his surgical office with just a local, would take about and hour , no staples or drains and no biopsy. Go figure NOW WHAT!!!! My BS is well known. So I'm at a stand still I don't want more surgery but I really hate these dog ears. I have an appointment with my Onc next month I'm going to talk with him....But I'm really confused about this .. I posted ? on surgery forum about Mast revision surgery. But diidn't get much info only people said I should talk with a PS. So at a stand still right now ...Janet

Dx 2/28/2008, DCIS, 5cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Aug 11, 2009 05:14AM dee1961 wrote:

Hi Janet,
Please consider having the removed tissue biopsied just to make sure they didn't miss anything.
Good luck to you and all the ladies waiting to get these dog ears gone!

Love is never wrong
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Aug 11, 2009 06:16AM , edited Aug 11, 2009 06:17AM by Erica


As far as the cosmetic part, the PS sounds like the better bet, but like dee1961, I agree that you may has well get the tissue biopsied just to cover all your bases. Perhaps you could request the PS do it even though it's not his normal procedure.

The surgery your BS is describing sounds like overkill for what you need. 

BreastFree.org (breastfree.org); BreastFree Blog (breastfree.blogspot.com); Twitter @BreastFree
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Dec 8, 2009 04:53AM PamF wrote:

I can't believe that someone else has this tightening across the chest Lisa!  I thought I was the only one.  I had a bilateral mastectomy in March of '08 and I STILL have this terrible tight feeling stretching all across my chest.  It's about a 3 inch wide "band" that feels like the tightest bra you've ever worn only I can't take this off at the end of the day!  I also have the dog ears.  I will be having liposuction on Dec. 23rd to try and get rid of them.  I elected not to have any reconstruction so go flat chested (actually I'm concave where the breasts used to be) which is a huge change for me (I was a 40 D).  I do not miss the breasts one bit (such sagging after 4 kids and being 59 when I had the surgery.  Gravity takes its tole).  I just wish this tightness would go away.  I've been to a neurologist who wants to put me on neurontin but I don't like what I read about side effects so will be going the acupuncture route.  Soooo many things they don't tell you and/or are non-sympathetic to!  I'm cancer free so am grateful for that. 

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Dec 8, 2009 06:18AM Erica wrote:

Pam, if you haven't already, I really urge you to try physical therapy. You need someone who is familiar with breast cancer and mastectomy issues and who does myofascial release, a very gentle technique that can break up the scar tissue that's probably causing or at least contributing to your tightness. From what you said, it doesn't sound like nerve pain so much as just uncomfortable tightness, which could occur as scar tissue forms around your incisions all across your chest.

I think the tightness is initially there for many, if not most, of us shortly after surgery. For some, stretching alone can help it go away. I needed physical therapy. I agree with you about neurotin--although it's generally well-tolerated, why take a medication if you don't need to.

If you go to the Physical Therapy section on my non-profit website, BreastFree.org, the issue is discussed in greater detail. At the end of the section, there's a phone number and link to the American Physical Therapy Association's "Find a PT," should you want to find a physical therapist with oncology expertise. 


BreastFree.org (breastfree.org); BreastFree Blog (breastfree.blogspot.com); Twitter @BreastFree
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Mar 22, 2012 07:35AM CarolSue wrote:

  I am thankful to have found this site. It helps reading about other's experiences.

I had a bilateral mastectomy Dec. 27. Surgery went good but like so many others I am left with pones under my arms and puckers in the middle where the incisions stop. This really bothers me and is sometime painful. The tightness others talk about is there too. My Dr. tells me to give it time. 6 mo. to a year. But afer reading what others wrote, I wonder. I am considering more surgery to get rid of these pones under my arms. Yes I am heavy, about 200lbs and losing. I wore a C cup. But I hope that doesn't mean I have to put up with this from now on. Has anybody had this type of surgery?

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Mar 22, 2012 07:58PM anneflorida wrote:

I am also large breasted-40DD- and after my mastectomy I did not have dog ears.  Actually, this is the first I have heard about them.  My chest is flat and there is no extra tissue or tightening.  My surgeon only does breast surgery and I think that makes a difference when they have that much experience.  Just for your information, I went to the breast center at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville.

Dx 12/12/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 23, 2012 03:20AM Galsal wrote:

Anne, I'm at least the size you are if not more and after a skin-sparing bmx there is a lot of excess skin that flops at the sides.  Yup, have floppy flaps or dog ears at the sides.  PS said he'd be doing lipo to get rid of of fat in there since skin will be used for the recon.

Dx 12/14/2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/9/2012 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 10/5/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 12/12/2012 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/15/2013 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Mar 24, 2012 05:18AM , edited Mar 24, 2012 05:21AM by dreniger

My bmx was 2/29. It actually looks like I had breast reduction rather than a mastectomy. I actually have a bit of cleavage. I wore a C cup before surgery, and now I look like an A cup with no nipples. I'm mortified. I initially thought it was swelling or fluid, and would go away in a few days. Apparently I was wrong.

A week before surgery, I told my BS I was very confident about not wanting reconstruction. I followed up with an email, to specifically discuss dog ears. I told her I wanted to avoid them if at all possible, and to NOT leave excess tissue for the possibility of reconstruction at a later time. I also said I wanted the most flat, smoothest scar possible. Her response was that without reconstruction, she didn't know if dog ears could be avoided. I wish now that I would have taken that as a warning sign, and looked for another surgeon.

These are not small bumps. I really look like I have breasts, minus nipples. I definitely need surgery to clean this up, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid.

Not happy!

Denise Dx 2/7/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/28/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Left Chemotherapy 4/16/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/12/2012
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Mar 24, 2012 10:54AM DVSB wrote:

My bi-lateral was Feb. 2009 I had very large breast 42 DDD, I had a small dog ear on my chest but the large dog ears on each side under my arm pits really bother me, and went  back to had them removed, which I did ,I now have a nice flat scar across my chest, no dog ears, but still have Fat arm pits .............  which are uncomfortable at times, but I have learned to just live with it, I am 68 yr old and do not want more surgery.

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Nov 20, 2012 09:28PM bendor wrote:

Just learned the name for the deformities under both arms - dog-ears!  Accurate I guess, and at times mildly funny, but most of the time NOT!  Since I live just a few miles away, I'm curious who did your surgery.  I have Kaiser--do you by chance?

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Dec 17, 2012 12:55PM constance14 wrote:

Hi I had my surgery on Sept 20, 2012. Iam very pleased with the BR but iam in the same boat with the dogears. My doctor did not discuss this situation with me either, i was really upset when i saw the dogears like most of us. This procedure needs to be discussed with women so we all would know what to expect. I throught i was going crazy, everytime i take off my bra they gets in the way and very tender and upsetting to look at.  I should have been told that this was going to look like this, you can see the print on the outside of some of my clothers, and it really gives you a low selfesteem. My insurance did pay for my surgery, but they told me that the excess skin consider comestic, that it was not coverd by my insurance. Anytime a women having this done they need to make sure it's done right, not half step. We women our body is our pride and to me they just want to make morer and morer money instead of making us know about this procedure and the outcome of what might happen. This system is setup to rob us no matter what the cost.

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Dec 18, 2012 12:50PM DVSB wrote:

I know how you feel my doctor never dicussed the possiblity of dog ears.............. but I went back and had it corrected, my doctor told the insurnace (Anthem Blue Cross) is was not cosmetic is was caused by my surgery and needed to be corrected......... you need to talk to your doctor and let him know how uncomfortable you are and have him deal with the insurance company...........

I wish you luck and keep fighting........ if you had breast cancer the insurance would have to cover re-construction ( implants ) so they should cover the dog-ears !

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Dec 18, 2012 02:47PM Starak wrote:

DVSB is right.  Be prepared they may deny but don't take No for an answer.   Realize this needs to be presented and approved under "reconstruction" even though you are only wanting one stage - the cleanup.  Emphasize the discomfort.  The doctor should know how to submit to have it approved. Possibility you may have to run it through a PS.


Freed 'em when they tried to kill me. BMX, no recon, center dog ears removed, currently living flat but still tending an extensive foob and mx bra experimental farm in the back of the closet.
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Dec 24, 2012 12:20PM , edited Dec 24, 2012 12:22PM by CarolSue

wanted to let you know that I had scar revision surgery 10-11-12. the same surgeon that did the mastectomy did the second surgery. he knew what I wanted and got it pretty close. I still have healing to do but so far I am satisfied. from the front I have a scar across my chest. there is some puckering in back but I can live with it. I can wear the prostesis most of the day without any trouble but I understand that I am not completely healed yet. God is good....all the time. Wish you all the best and a Merry Christmas.. by the way, my insurance paid... just so you know..

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