Unhappy with Reconstruction After Mastectomy?

I had a bilateral mastectomy last year, with tissue expanders and silicone implants. My breasts don't match and one side hurts. The implant moves differently (like it's loose) on the painful side, is below the crease, and an inch lower than the other side. Everytime I bring up the pain and that one side is lower and below the crease, my doc says she is happy with the result. I want them to come close to matching! Am I being unreasonable? If not, how do I get her to address my concerns?

Doctor Answers 12

Asymmetric breast reconstruction

Perfect symmetry will never happen but it sounds like it might be possible to to more for you.  However, if one side was radiated, there will absolutely never be great symmetry so there are important history details you have not given.  Was one side done for cancer and the other prophylactically?  Was there radiation done to one side?  etc.  If you aren't happy, maybe a visit to another surgeon is in order.

Unhappy with post mastectomy breast reconstruction: consider second opinion

Without an exam or even photos, it is impossible to render an opinion. However, given the fact that you have concerns and don't feel your plastic surgeon is listening to you, I would advise a second opinion.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

It is not unreasonable.

If you feel that your plastic surgeon is not listening to your concern/needs, you can get a second opinion from another plastic surgeon.  It is not unreasonable to get the second opinion  when you are unhappy and having asymmetry and pain.  

Breast reconstruction

As for the appearance, I can not comment because I do not know how they look.  Bare in  mind, no two breasts are exactly the same, so asymmetry to some degree is normal.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Appearance of breasts after reconstruction.

I would recommend getting another opinion. It is far easier to get symmetry usually in someone after a doublke mastectomy rather than a single. Different things can be done to achieve this. 

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Asymmetry after Breast Reconstruction

It is not unreasonable to desire that your reconstructed breasts "come close to matching." This is much easier with bilateral reconstructions than unilateral ones. However, it may still not be possible. Revising the reconstruction and either lowering or, especially, raising the inframammary crease is quite difficult. The "pain" is something that happens occasionally. It may wear off, or you may be able to do some desensitization and resolve it. If your present surgeon does not think that she can improve you, I would suggest a second opinion from a Plastic Surgeon with significant experience in breast reconstruction. This field has changed much in the last decade and there are some new options.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Unhappy with Reconstruction After Mastectomy?

Reasonable = yes but possibility is another matter. Best to obtain a few in person opinions. Remember "realistic expectations" are paramount in any reconstruction. Best of luck. 

Satisfaction after breast reconstruction

While it is impossible to re-create the breasts the way they were before a mastectomy, I do not think you are being unreasonable in bringing up your dissatisfaction. Whether the breasts can be easily adjusted or not is obviously another question. I do not think there is much harm in seeking a second opinion. You may also wish to post some photographs in this forum.

Anindya Lahiri, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Breast reconstruction

It is reasonable for you to want to be as symmetric as possible. However there will always be some slight differences. Pain is a concern as well as your statement that one breast is below the inframammary fold.

David L. Abramson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Did you have radiation

Breast reconstruction with implants are very challenging. There is minimal soft tissue coverage. The other concern is the quality of the skin due to the radiation . Fat grafting post reconstruction is a promising new technique and you may want second opinion if your surgeon disagrees with you about the results. Please be realistic.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.