Do you mind educating us a bit about what the differences might be? Additionally, could you describe the physical side effects, pain or distress you felt after the operation (and how long did it last).
A Woman’s Prosthetic Breast
A. Reconstruction is fairly distinct from breast augmentation. The easiest reconstruction procedure is an implant but unless you’re having immediate reconstruction, i.e. during the same surgery as your mastectomy, you need to have an expander put into your chest to stretch the skin.
Immediate reconstruction isn’t normally possible if you’ve cancer because it can interfere with follow-up treatment. Because a mastectomy is so radical and leaves you with absolutely no fat etc after, you’ve got no room to insert an implant.
An expander stretches your skin over a time period, 6 months I believe. After that, either the expander can be used and full of saline, or it is removed and replaced with a new implant. If you’ve got just lost 1 breast, then the procedure will need to be repeated on another side (minus the expander) so as to balance you up! Actual boobs sag, false ones are more pert!
The other options are to have a brand new breast built out of your own flesh. Surgeons use either your own tummy or back muscles & fat to create a breast. This can be an extremely long process which takes about 12 months to finish. You are left with scarring on the grafted area and numbness.
A friend of mine had difficulties with her “back muscle boobs”, as the muscles took quite a while to “stop” being back muscles! They’ve to “learn” how to be mainly inactive breast muscle which takes time. It is possible to get contractures and irregularity as essentially they are in the wrong area – not in the back/tummy!
Reconstructed breasts are mostly numb. Definitely there isn’t the same degree of and very generally, do not have a nipple. Occasionally nipple sparing operation can be done, but not generally if you’ve got cancer. Nipples are then created; tattooed or prosthetic ones can be “stuck on”.
The physical side effect which I felt was mostly tightness which confines your arm and shoulder motions. In the second day post-surgery, you’re given exercises to do daily, which are mainly a series of stretching exercises.
The scar region felt quite tight and unmalleable. I massaged it each day with Bio Oil to try & loosen the area. Pain only actually happened if I transferred my arm and it was a burning, aching pain and felt like a “Chinese burn.” It lasted for about 2 weeks, but I still get the occasional pain today as well.
been to see me and clarified he was feeling positive that we’d have a good consequence. I asked him if he would be able to tell just by looking whether there was any lymph engagement and he clarified that it was simpler to see if there WAS involvement than not. He went on to say he believed it would be improbable in my case.
Q. Can you describe the feelings and thoughts that were racing through your mind during those last few minutes, right before the surgery, as you were getting prepared to be wheeled in?
I felt uplifted by his remarks and actually quite composed. I wasn’t feeling panicky or frightened actually, perhaps a bit apprehensive. I just wanted to get it done. Within 5 minutes of being taken into the Anesthetic room, you’re asleep anyhow, so it is pretty fast.
Q. When you saw your body in the mirror for the very first time after the surgery – What happened / how did you feel / what did you think?
Rebecca’s Post Op Mastectomy Image
A. I “bit the bullet” on this one and had a look pretty much just as I could escape bed. The only time I cried, was when I came round from your anesthetic in the recovery room and immediately sensed the right side of my chest.
I saw myself with the dressing on about 2 hours after. check it looked strange, but I was not appalled. I didn’t see the actual scar, until I got home 2 days after and removed the dressing.
My partner saw it first, actually before I looked. We were both quite shocked, but accepting of the fact the process had very probably saved my life. We both felt that, in the grand scheme of things, life is more significant that aesthetics.

I feel entirely comfortable with it now and after I looked at “before” photographs several weeks ago, my first thought was that it was not me. I appear to have adjusted really well.
Q. As was removing the bandages with you and the shown the scar – Did his expression shift?