Is a simple mastectomy a reasonable procedure to achieve symmetry.

In 1989 I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma at age 42. I had a modified radical mastectomy, immediate reconstruction, and chemotherapy. The reconstruction caused terrible pain. Two years later I had the reconstruction redone. 17 years later it broke spontaneously. I did not want another one. I hate wearing ANY type bra and prosthesis. I am slim and a B cup. I would like to have my remaining breast removed. My only question is would the procedure would be risky. Would it be an easy recovery?

Doctor Answers 3

Simple mastectomy for symmetry

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I am sorry you have had to go through this.  There are many options available to you and you should discuss them with a plastic surgeon. A complete analysis is beyond the scope of this forum.

Yes, a breast reduction (or a mastectomy) will make you smaller and could help with symmetry. 

You could still consider reconstructing the mastectomy side.  If you are very small on the normal side, then total restoration with fat grafting might be an option.  The procedure is low risk and easy to go through.  This approach is common in my practice.

Best wishes.

Breast Reconstruction - Mastectomy

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Thank you for your question. A simple mastectomy means removing the breast including the nipple without removing the lymph nodes. It is a relatively easy operation and well tolerated without much pain. Since you are choosing not to undergo further reconstruction, it is a reasonable option to not only achieve symmetry, but also reduce your chances for a second breast cancer.

Breast surgery

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The risks are the same for another procedure.  If you can get to a breast surgeon you feel comfortable with you should be informed of your options.  I am sorry you had such a difficult experience with reconstruction.  I devote the majority of my practice to breast cancer reconstruction.  I have summarized some of my thoughts. It is important to pick your reconstructive surgeon properly.

Three basic forms of breast reconstruction exist. You can use your own tissue, implants or a combination of the previous two techniques. Your own tissue can be used in the form of the DIEP flap, PAP flap, SGAP flap or fat grafting. Implants can be done in one stage or two stage. Two stage reconstructions are started by placing expanders at the time of mastectomy. Once they expanders are placed they are able to be inflated as determined by wound healing. The final time consists of combining any of the above techniques.

If you are interested in being seen in Austin please give us a call. I know this is a difficult time for you. The majority of my practice is devoted to reconstruction for women with breast cancer or who are BRCA+

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.