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Reconstruction After Radiation

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Asovey View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 06 2018 at 4:42pm
On July 25 I had a right breast mastectomy and things went very well.  I could not have immediate reconstruction because I have to have radiation treatment next.  I asked how long after radiation is complete, do I have to wait to begin reconstruction.  I was rather surprised when I was told six months.  That seems like an awfully long time.  I am interested how long others had to wait after radiation to begin reconstruction.

Ann
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Kellyless View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kellyless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 11 2018 at 9:34am
Ann, are you having radiation on the same side you will have reconstructed? If yes, I'm assuming you'll do DIEP flap reconstruction?
I had radiation in 2009 after lumpectomy. When I had my mastectomy after my recurrence in 2016 I was going to do that kind of reconstruction. On the outside of my body I did really well in radiation. All the doctors had always commented how great my skin looked. Turns out, that is no barometer on how radiation affects you on the _inside_. I had lots of radiation damage to my pec muscle. I'm told it was quite difficult for the plastic surgeon to get the tissue expander under the muscle, and he could not put a drop of expanding fluid into it.... He never should have done it. I woke from surgery screaming, and for the month that thing was in there it was horrible. They should have gone back and removed it right away.... It was Xmas tho, and they waited four agonizing weeks. After two more surgeries (that's 4 total) and almost 9 months of wound care, I'm "healed", but my chest is very screwed up.
Here's a kicker - you can have flap surgery without the expanders! It just won't be as pretty, as it'll be your belly skin showing with more scars. I'm not planning on posing for Playboy so who cares? Hindsight is...Anyhoo - I have no plans to go get that reconstruction, after much debate among the experts.
All that to say - if it's the reconstruction side you are having radiated then no, I'm not surprised they want to wait 6 months for more surgery. Surgery after radiation is dicey. If it's not the same side, then they just want you to get as healthy as possible before this elective surgery? Not a bad idea, healing is tough on your body, and your body's been thru a lot. Kelly
IDC, 2.2 cm, Stage IIb,lumpectomy 1/30/09 ACx4,Tx4 36 rads
6/1/17 Local recurrence same breast, same spot 1.8cm Carb.4x every 3 wks, Taxol 12x once wk. Dbl Mast. PCR!! Reconstruction fail, NED!
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Asovey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Asovey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 11 2018 at 1:22pm
Thanks Kelly! Yes, it is on the same side as the radiation and I do plan to do the DIEP flap surgery. I saw the radiologist yesterday and he explained more the reasons for waiting. He said sometime women wait a year.

Glad to hear things finally healed up for you. I am looking forward to having the radiation finished!

Ann
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