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Topic: Successful implant recon with rads stories?

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Aug 24, 2020 08:15PM

Littleminnie wrote:

Hi all,

I'm currently doing chemo for Stage 1b (but close to 2a?) IDC, with spread to one lymph node and lymph channel invasion on my right side. Tumor was around 1cm, had it removed during a lumpectomy in May prior to getting genetics results and finding I have the ATM mutation.

Soo, fast forward to now: I'm moving ahead with a BMX and recon in November. I finish chemo in October. I met with my PS last week and the plan is thus: BMX then expanders placed over the muscle in the same surgery. I'm a small person, so I'm not going larger with my breasts (size 32 C) but will need to size up a little because my breasts are tuberous and need to be expanded at the poles (underneath) in order to accompany the implant and alloderm down the line. So I'll have the expanders all through radiation and won't have my exchange until six months or so after, meaning no implants until this time next year. I can live with this.

But, I know there are complications to operating on radiated skin and I'm so worried about getting an infection and losing the expander prior to that. My PS said worst case scenario I go flat until I'm done having kids and then can do flap. I'm only 29 and just had my eggs froze, so I want to have a few years of hormone blockers under my belt before I try and get pregnant. That being said, I'd love to hear any success stories of women who went through radiation with your expanders and were able to get your implants placed successfully. Do you think there was anything you did to contribute to a positive experience? Staying clean with extra showers? PT? I'll take any advice I can get.


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Aug 28, 2020 07:08AM Moderators wrote:

Littleminnie, how are you? We're sorry you haven't had any responses. Your post may have fall out of Active Topics and get lost... Hopefully our post will bump it back there and someone who can help you will read it. If you want, you can also post in the Breast Reconstruction forum. Good luck, and let us know if there's something we can do for you!

Kind wishes,

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Aug 30, 2020 03:19PM Tunik wrote:

Hi Littleminnie,

I was in a somewhat similar situation earlier this year. I had BMX, expanders, radiation and now am waiting for my exchange early next year. I finished radiation in June and just had my check in with PS who said I was healing well. Several things helped me:

1) make sure you do stretching exercises and regain your range of motion after BMX and BEFORE radiation.

2) Continue doing them during radiation and after. Apparently, it takes a year to heal post-radiation, even though things might not be visible from the outside. I plan on continuing with stretching exercises till my exchange surgery and for a long time thereafter.

3) drink LOTS of water and moisturize like crazy during radiation. Your PS will recommend products they like. I used Aquaphor several times a day. I'm working from home though.

4) I didn't have any issues healing post BMX. If you heal well, there is a pretty good chance that you will also heal well post radiation.

5) Make sure your radiation oncologist has experience with dealing with patients who need implant reconstruction. Mine worked with my PS. She also gave me several breaks to avoid open wounds. I did have a very bad "sunburn" and tightness. Now 2 months post radiation, my skin is a bit darker on the radiated side and I still have a bit of tightness. However, stretching helps.

6) Different PS have different approaches to fills. I was fully expanded before radiation with extra fills in the radiated breast to account for potential shrinkage. I haven't observed any yet but this could happen for up to a year post radiation.

7) last but not least, you are young and there's a pretty good chance that everything will be OK for you. I was 38 and felt I recovered fine. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you want to talk or have additional questions. This forum was a great resource to me and I want to pay it forward.


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