I had breast cancer 10 years ago, was not offered reconstruction, what can I do if I still want to have kids?

I had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy-unilateral-when I was 22. No one offered me any kind of reconstruction options. 5 yrs ago, I went to a surgeon who told me they couldn't do anything if I still wanted to have children. I understand that results might not be ideal, or that it may be more unstable, etc., but is there *nothing* to achieve a cosmetic result without giving up fertility? Flap procedures seem implausible recovery-wise for someone who is a mom. What can I do? Implant? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 5

Breast Reconstruction and having children

There are multitude of options available when he comes to breast reconstruction including implant based and flap based reconstructions. However it also varies based on the type of defect you have after your breast cancer surgery. Oftentimes larger defects in the past required large flaps from the abdomen. However these days there are multiple options available including smaller localized flaps not from the abdomen as well as fat grafting and implant based reconstruction's in combination with contralateral symmetry procedures to achieve a nice aesthetic result.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Breast Reconstruction and having children

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are multitude of options available when he comes to breast reconstruction including implant based and flap based reconstructions. However it also varies based on the type of defect you have after your breast cancer surgery. Oftentimes larger defects in the past required large flaps from the abdomen. However these days there are multiple options available including smaller localized flaps not from the abdomen as well as fat grafting and implant based reconstruction's in combination with contralateral symmetry procedures to achieve a nice aesthetic result.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Breast cancer 10 years ago - options for reconstruction.

Congratulations on being disease free from breast cancer.   There are multiple treatment options including breast implants, breast lifts/reductions, and contralateral symmetry procedures.   Would first seek recommendations from your medical oncologist.   If your breast cancer was hormone receptor positive,then there might be some concerns about hormone changes during normal pregnancy.  But, that answer is better answered by a physician who medically treats breast cancer.  Then, would have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss your options for reconstruction.   

Breast cancer 10 years ago - options for reconstruction.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Congratulations on being disease free from breast cancer.   There are multiple treatment options including breast implants, breast lifts/reductions, and contralateral symmetry procedures.   Would first seek recommendations from your medical oncologist.   If your breast cancer was hormone receptor positive,then there might be some concerns about hormone changes during normal pregnancy.  But, that answer is better answered by a physician who medically treats breast cancer.  Then, would have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss your options for reconstruction.   

Breast reconstruction options

There are many options for reconstruction.  You do not have to wait until you have children first.  Best of luck.

Breast reconstruction options

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There are many options for reconstruction.  You do not have to wait until you have children first.  Best of luck.

You have many options.

Thanks for your question. Congratulations on being disease free so many years out. Things have changed quite a bit in 10 years in terms of the management not only of breast cancer but in the reconstructive arena. You need to consult with two different specialists. One would be a medical oncologist who can advise you on risks relative to pregnancy, etc. The other would be an experienced board certified plastic surgeon whose expertise includes an emphasis on breast reconstruction. After carefully evaluating you it can be determined which options are best for you. 

It used to be true that that radiated patient is not a good candidate for implant reconstruction. With the introduction of acellular dermal matrix and more limited flap procedures, this is no longer a clear cut contraindication and an evaluation in person is your best next step. You can find board certified plastic surgeons by searching on the internet or asking friends or family. The websites of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are both excellent resources. Do not be reluctant to consider more than one consultation before proceeding with surgery. Best of luck to you. 

You have many options.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thanks for your question. Congratulations on being disease free so many years out. Things have changed quite a bit in 10 years in terms of the management not only of breast cancer but in the reconstructive arena. You need to consult with two different specialists. One would be a medical oncologist who can advise you on risks relative to pregnancy, etc. The other would be an experienced board certified plastic surgeon whose expertise includes an emphasis on breast reconstruction. After carefully evaluating you it can be determined which options are best for you. 

It used to be true that that radiated patient is not a good candidate for implant reconstruction. With the introduction of acellular dermal matrix and more limited flap procedures, this is no longer a clear cut contraindication and an evaluation in person is your best next step. You can find board certified plastic surgeons by searching on the internet or asking friends or family. The websites of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are both excellent resources. Do not be reluctant to consider more than one consultation before proceeding with surgery. Best of luck to you. 

Breast Reconstruction And Fertility

It is difficult to give options without photos, but there are certainly options for you.  Breast reconstruction will not make you unable to have children.  You can have decreased or no ability to breastfeed though.  We frequently avoid reconstructive options using abdominal tissue for patients still planning to have children as the repairs of your abdominal muscle/tissue can stretch out.  Go consult with a plastic surgeon, you deserve to feel good about yourself!

Kelly Killeen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breast Reconstruction And Fertility

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is difficult to give options without photos, but there are certainly options for you.  Breast reconstruction will not make you unable to have children.  You can have decreased or no ability to breastfeed though.  We frequently avoid reconstructive options using abdominal tissue for patients still planning to have children as the repairs of your abdominal muscle/tissue can stretch out.  Go consult with a plastic surgeon, you deserve to feel good about yourself!

Kelly Killeen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.