When I was first dx with breast cancer (age 50) and scheduled for a unilateral mastectomy, my first surgeon was pushing heavily for reconstruction. I chose to change to another surgeon who was willing to accept my request to forgo reconstruction. We did have a “what if you change your mind” conversation, and I was firm in not wanting tissue left “just in case”. I had a prophylactic mastectomy on the left the following year.
BMX was 12-19-13 Emergency explant was 3-5-14 These pictures taken 9-23--14--- about 6 months after explant.
I have extra scars from a breast reduction. Mastectomies done 4 years apart, left side cancer with node removal, right side prophylactic. I was disappointed that the first time left the scars from the reduction, second side my surgeon said she'd try to remove as much of the old scar as possible. Other than the left over old scars, I'm happy with the end result. I think every doctor who's seen my chest comments on what a good job the surgeon did.
I had a bmx about five years ago and plastic surgery a year after that. The ps was to remove "back boobs" left by my cancer surgeon. She told me without them I wouldn't have been able to lift my arms. Because of bad lymphodema insurance covered it. I didn't consider reconstruction more than a few minutes after realizing I'd have no nipples and little feeling. Given the amount of nerve damage I have just from the bmx I'm very glad.
"10 months out, 2nd occurrence in right breast previously radiated"
"Three years later and 71 years old...rather saggy but flat nevertheless!"
"20 years out this coming October 19th, from pbmx. I was treated like a freak when I said no recon."
"It's been three years now. I was 37 when I had my mastectomy."
"3 years out for me....I'm 50 now..."
"3 years out reconstruction failure , I want revision done."
"This is as flat as I'm going to be."
"Just had another fixer surgery - it is under my left arm and into my back. But otherwise I am feeling great!!"
"I love going Amazon."
"My consultant is reducing the right one further, and is cutting off the sticky out bit under my left side at the same time. Left was done June 2014, right was June 2015."
"Not as flat as I would have wanted. I said " make me look like a 10 year old boy!"
"I think my guy did an excellent job! Down to the bone and flat as can be."
"Coming up on 6 months from revision and debridement."
"So much for my requested flat and smooth!"
"This is me... 2 years breast-free & I'M STILL ME! I'm not completely FLAT, but I am completely FABULOUS! I live flat 24/7 without breast forms & it works for me. I won't get any revision as I don't feel I need it as I am WHOLE AS IS!"
I asked members of our closed group to share a photograph of their mastectomy. I think it's important that we share our reality in hopes of addressing the vast differences in outcomes we are seeing. It is discouraging to continue to see our FLAT & fabulous sisters receive less than optimal surgical outcomes. Especially when considering often times, a woman may choose no reconstruction because she does not want multiple surgeries - when left with extra skin, she is then faced with deciding whether or not to have surgery again to achieve the results originally requested.
We implore our doctors to treat us with the same care and consideration they would a woman choosing reconstruction. Do NOT leave extra skin because you believe we will change our mind down the road. Please choose to take pride in your work with us too and choose to do your best work in getting us flat.
If you are a waiting for your mastectomy surgery, we have created a few documents you may want to read through and, potentially, take with you to your surgeon. Please feel free to print any of these photographs below and say "do this" or "do not do this". Sometimes, a visual representation will help your doctor listen to you.