Making Peace with Your Body Post Breast Cancer

laughing women wearing pink for breast cance

Regardless of the severity, breast cancer takes a toll on your body.

Between chemo, radiation, and surgeries, many women struggle with their physical appearances after they’ve won their battles.

In a study published in The European Journal of Breast Health, researchers found that many of the 20 study participants who went through breast cancer treatment held a belief that breasts symbolize femininity, beauty, and motherhood.

As a result, after mastectomies, some of the participants felt that half of themselves were missing, as individuals and women.

Fortunately, there are ways to rebuild your self-esteem and body image after surviving breast cancer.

Read on to discover five tips to make peace with your body post breast cancer…

#1: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.

Supportive family

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As the author S. Kelley Harrell writes, “we don’t heal in isolation, but in community.”

Without the support of our loved ones–whether they be friends or family–getting through rough periods in our lives may seem insurmountable.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings of shame, self-doubt, insecurities, or beyond with those who love you and are there to support you.

Loved ones are necessary sources of warmth who will remind you of the wonderful qualities that make you who you truly are.

#2: Acknowledge that some of your body’s changes may only be temporary.

Another important point to keep in mind is that not all physical changes will be permanent.

For example, though you may gain or lose weight during treatment due to side effects of medication, you can instill changes to get back to your pre-treatment weight once your body is ready.

Of course, your body may not bounce back to “the way it used to be,” but remembering that some things will eventually return to normal is a healthy practice in positivity.

#3: Give yourself time to adjust and accept the new you.

With any physical change–even those unrelated to breast cancer–it can take time to accept and get accustomed to the change.

It’s not realistic to expect that you’ll be able to accept your new body right away.

Perhaps you used to pride yourself on certain physical characteristics that have changed considerably since you went through your breast cancer experience.

Give yourself the time to adjust your perspective on what beauty means to you.

Focus on finding new aspects of your appearance or personality that you want to emphasize or embrace–and let them shine!

#4: Eat healthy and exercise.

balanced health and diet

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Although you may be used to hearing your doctor provide the following advice, we’ll chime in here for good measure:

If you want to maintain or improve your appearance to reflect one of improved health, follow a healthy diet and incorporate exercise into your weekly routine.

Eating well and exercising will not only make you feel good from the inside out, but will also help you regain strength in your recovery process.

#5: Consider reconstructive options.

As mentioned before, for many women, breasts symbolize femininity and other values that can be hard to let go of permanently.

Thanks to the miraculous nature of modern day surgery and medicine, reconstructive options for your breasts after a mastectomy are possible.

If what you truly desire is to bring back your shape, reconstructive breast surgery is always an option.

Talk to a doctor and see what your options are. If you’re interested in seeing what our options are, check out our website here.

As a breast cancer survivor, there is a lot to be proud of.

Though physical changes to your body can be incredibly difficult to experience and acknowledge, there are ways to make peace with the changes.

Keep these five tips in mind in your journey to living life with a new normal.

Have any additional suggestions for what you do to feel beautiful in the skin you’re in? Share them in the comments below!

3 Common Questions about Breast Reconstruction Pain and Discomfort

After breast reconstruction surgery, patients are bound to experience some sort of recovery pain or discomfort.

This mild pain often leads patients to ask questions such as…

  • How long will the pain last?
  • Is my pain normal?
  • Should I call my doctor?

At the time, a person’s pain or discomfort might seem unusual or scary…and the last thing we want is for patients to worry.

For that reason, we’ve decided to put together the answers to a few of our most common pain-related questions.

Find out what our surgeons and staff have to say about the following concerns…

What Are Your Suggestions for Muscle Spasms after Breast Reconstruction?

Question: I had breast reconstruction on my left breast in 2006. I have had muscle spasms in it ever since. Recently they have gotten bad again.

Any suggestions?

Answer: I’m sorry you are having problems with your reconstruction.

You didn’t mention if you were reconstructed with an implant or with your own tissue, so I will answer as if you are reconstructed with an implant. Please let me know if I have assumed wrongly.

There are several potential reasons why you could have spasms.

If the implant was placed under the pectoralis chest muscle, it can lead to pains in the pectoralis muscle or other muscles, as the muscle is no longer functioning in precisely the way it was designed to. Most people tolerate the implants well, but there is no question some have more problems than others.

The muscle can also sometimes separate from attachments to the chest wall over time, which could cause changes in symptoms.

Additionally, if you are radiated, this could potentially cause additional problems, as the muscle may be less flexible.

View the full post here.

I’m Having Pain after My Last Latissimus Flap/Implant Reconstruction. What Can I Do Now?

Question: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and had a mastectomy on my left side followed by chemo.

In 2014, my mammogram began showing tumors and I would have an ultrasound every time. This caused panic attacks and I choose to have my right breast removed because the type of cancer I had was Stage 4 Aggressive.

In April 2015, I had a bilateral latissimus flat and received implants. Now I am experiencing pain across my back where I was cut and my chest gets uncomfortably tight.

The site of the drainage tube is swollen and doesn’t feel good. I stopped seeing my reconstruction doctor because he did things I was not informed of. I am worried because I do not know what is going on anymore.

Could you please advise me as to what might be going on or what to do?

Answer: I’m sorry you are continuing to have problems, but you are not alone.

I can’t speak about your situation specifically because I haven’t examined you, but here are some thoughts in general about patients with symptoms like yours.

There is no question that many people with implants describe symptoms such as yours. Often, there is no discernible reason why they should feel discomfort, but they do. Nonetheless, many of them feel relief when the implants are removed. This does not mean that you would or should, it is just an observation.

The latissimus flap can be done with or without dividing the nerve that makes it contract. I have known some patients with latissimus flaps done without dividing the nerve to have discomfort associated with the muscle contracting. Some have experienced relief when the nerve was subsequently divided. Obviously, I don’t know if this is your situation or not.

Sometimes people have complex, persistent pain after surgery or injury which is out of all proportion to what would be expected. This can be difficult to treat but thankfully is rare.

When evaluating a patient with symptoms like yours, we usually start with a careful history and physical evaluation.

Sometimes, especially if we have concerns about implant rupture, fluid collections, infection, etc., we then get an MRI and/or CT scan. Following the complete evaluation, we then decide together how to proceed.

View the full post here.

Are These Normal Problems to Have 2 Years after a Breast Reduction?

Question: I had a breast reduction over two years ago. It still feels like I have scar tissue in some areas and nipple tends to be a little sore at times.

Is that normal?

Answer: No, that’s not normal, and I’m sorry you’re having to endure it.

I can’t tell what is going on by your description, but it’s possible that you have some residual dead fat in your breasts which has not been resorbed.

An MRI scan would be the best way to determine this.

It’s also possible that you have pain for no discernible reason, which is unusual, but it happens from time to time. That doesn’t mean it can’t be treated, however, as pain therapists can be very effective in helping manage that type of pain.

View the full post here.

Do you have breast reconstruction questions? Send us your questions here!

How to Help a Loved One Cope: 5 Common Breast Cancer Diagnosis Emotions

happy face balls with different emotions

After a breast cancer diagnosis, there are 5 common emotions people usually experience.

These emotions include…

  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger

If you have a friend or family member who’s recently been diagnosed, it can be difficult to help her navigate these emotions.

After all, what can you say or do to truly make someone feel better after receiving this type of news.

Unfortunately, not everything you say/do will make someone’s battle with breast cancer easier.

However, choosing carefully how you respond to these common emotions can give a loved one the support and encouragement she needs.

Keep reading to discover our tips for helping your loved one cope with the following 5 emotions.

Emotion #1: Shock

Nobody expects to leave a doctor’s appointment with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Therefore, it’s likely that your loved ones will leave an appointment feeling shocked or at a loss for words about the news they received.

When someone is in a shocked state, it’s often best to…

  • Sit quietly with your loved one. Let her do the talking if she wants to.
  • Provide support. Give your friend/family member the time to process the diagnosis while you help out with other things, like taking care of kids or cleaning the house.
  • Help your loved one feel safe and secure. While in a shocked state, things can become overwhelming very quickly. Remind your loved one that she is safe and that you will be there to provide comfort and support.

Emotion #2 – Confusion

Chalkboard question mark

No one deserves to get cancer.

For this reason, your loved one might be confused, wondering “How could this happen?” or “Why me?”

During this emotional time, it’s vital to…

  • Remind your loved one that she didn’t do anything to deserve this. It may sound silly at first, but it’s always a good reminder that sometimes bad things happen in life for no good reason.
  • Help your loved one put the puzzle pieces together. It’s possible that your loved one ended up with cancer for no logical reason. However, it’s also possible that she was genetically predisposed to breast cancer. Having a better understanding of why your loved one developed cancer might help bring some peace into her life. Uncovering a family member who also had cancer and won her battle might bring comfort to your loved one.
  • Be a listening ear when your loved one asks questions. You might not know all the answers, but providing a listening ear to your friend/family member who has so many questions is a great outlet for her.

Emotion #3 – Sadness

A sudden cancer diagnosis can easily bring up feelings of sadness.

After all, your loved one might have to leave work, cancel a vacation, miss family events, etc., in order to get treatment.

In order to help a friend/family member who is feeling sadness, we recommend that you…

  • Make yourself available. Be willing to sit quietly with a friend, go out for coffee, or pick up your phone to chat with your loved one. Simply being available when the person you care about is experiencing grief is very important.
  • Send your loved one an uplifting card. It’s amazing how much a simple card with a thoughtful message can do. Grab a pen, a piece of paper, and remind your loved one about how much you care for her.
  • Grab a box of tissues. One of the best ways to release pent-up sadness is a good, old-fashioned cry session. Make the time to sit with your friend, uncover the reasons behind her grief, and allow yourself to be vulnerable and share in her grief.

Emotion #4 – Fear

elderly woman looking worried

Thanks to donations, research, and hardworking volunteers, doctors, and scientists, the prognosis for many breast cancer patients is wonderful.

That being said, a breast cancer diagnosis often makes people think the worst, which causes a lot of fear.

When a loved one with a new breast cancer diagnosis is feeling fearful, it’s a good idea to…

  • Talk about her diagnosis. After testing, most doctors can determine if a person has a good prognosis or not. If your loved one has a good prognosis, remind her that she is strong and able to win her cancer battle.
  • Put action steps in place. Fear often occurs because someone feels she is losing control. With permission of her doctor, help your loved one gain back control with a special cancer-fighting diet plan, supplement plan, etc. Having a little control can help the one you love ward off feelings of fear.
  • Hit the books. Fear of the unknown is a very scary thing. In order to help your loved one curb this type of fear, get educated together. Read about breast cancer. Go with your loved one to doctor’s appointments. Ask questions. Every piece of info you get can help put both you and your loved ones worries to rest.

Emotion #5 – Anger

Finally, it’s likely that your loved one will feel anger–and she has every right to feel that way!

While anger is usually an emotion we try to avoid, experiencing it can actually help with the healing process. In fact, anger is a motivating emotion!

If your loved one is angry at her cancer diagnosis, there’s a good change that she’s going to be more motivated to conquer her battle.

To help your loved one express her anger, we suggest you…

  • Set aside time to let your loved one share her honest thoughts. We often have to hide our true emotions so we don’t upset people. This is why letting your friend/family member be real and honest with you about her diagnosis–even if it means screaming, crying, swearing, etc.–is very helpful.
  • Offer constructive ways to release anger. It’s important to remind your friend/family member that there are healthy ways of releasing anger. Let her know it’s ok to hit her pillows, scream at the top of her lungs, do some kickboxing, etc., to channel her inner feelings.
  • Provide support. Sometimes anger causes people to say things or do things that don’t make sense. For instance, your loved one might blame a doctor for her cancer diagnosis. As long as no one is being harmed, stand by your friend’s side and just agree. Once the anger blows over, she’ll realize that not everything she said or did was right. However, in the midst of being angry, your friend doesn’t need an argument, she just needs to know that you have her back.

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What to Say to Someone with a New Breast Cancer Diagnosis

two friends chatting together

According to NationalBreastCancer.org, 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Unfortunately, this means that, over your lifetime, there’s a good chance that you’ll know a friend or family member who has breast cancer.

Sadly, if you receive this type of news, it can be difficult to find the right words to say to bring comfort to the one you love.

For that reason, we want to suggest 5 kind and compassionate things to say to someone who has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

It is our hope that you can use these suggestions to find positive, encouraging words that will uplift the women in your life who are fighting this courageous battle.

Keep reading to discover what we recommend…

Idea #1 – “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.”

It’s 100% okay to not know what to say to someone with a new breast cancer diagnosis.

In fact, sometimes, it’s better not to say anything at all and let your loved one do the talking.

The simple line “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you” is a great way to let your friend or family member know that you’re at a loss for words.

Most important, this line can prevent you from saying something you can’t promise, like the phrase “Everything will be okay” that many people say out of habit.

The most important part of this sentence is the ending…“I’m here for you.”

It’s a great reminder to your friend or family member that, while you might not know what to say in the moment, you’ll always be there to provide support.

Idea #2 – “I’m here to listen.”

two women looking at the mountains

Actions often speak louder than words.

For this reason, we suggest letting your loved one know “I’m here to listen.”

This line gives your friend or family member the time to express her own thoughts, concerns, or worries before you speak.

It’s important to understand that your loved one will need time to process her thoughts and talking out loud can help her do just that.

After your loved one has had a chance to talk, you can then express what you feel is appropriate to say based on what has been told to you.

If you’re struggling to find the right words to say, don’t say anything at all. It’s just as valuable to lend your friend or family member a pair of supportive, listening ears.

Idea #3 – “Can I help you with X?”

When someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s easy for her to become overwhelmed.

It’s likely that she will be left wondering how she will keep up with daily life while also fighting the battle of her life.

This is why our third recommendation is to simply ask your friend or family member, “Can I help you with X?”

Instead of talking about the diagnosis, simply ask how you can help. Doing this will remind the person you care about that she has people in her life that are going to help her keep moving forward.

We recommend that, when you ask how you can help, you are specific in your request.

For instance, you might ask, “Can I drive you to your doctor’s appointments?” or “Can I walk your dog twice a week?”

People are more likely to accept help when you are specific about what you’re offering to do.

Idea #4 – “What else is new?”

2 friends on a coffee date

Sometimes, talking about a breast cancer diagnosis isn’t helpful–especially if a person has a lot of other people asking her questions and wanting information.

Instead, your loved one might want to take her mind off the situation and talk about other things like a hobby or vacation.

If you can tell that your family member or friend is having a hard time talking about the diagnosis, change the topic and see if that helps.

Ask anything from “What are your kids up to?” to “How did you enjoy that movie you went to see the other day?”

A lighthearted conversation on a topic other than cancer might be the best thing you can do to offer a little peace in the midst of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Idea #5 – “Where or how can I learn more about what you’re going through?”

We all know that getting diagnosed with breast cancer is a difficult, life-changing experience. However, unless you’ve been diagnosed yourself, you’ll never be able to put yourself in the shoes of the person you care about.

That being said, it is possible to educate yourself to get a better understanding of what your loved one is going through.

That’s why we recommend that you ask your friend or family member, “Where or how can I learn more about what you’re going through?”

Having this knowledge up front will equip you with the tools you need to ask the right questions and provide the best support for the one you love.

This knowledge will also help you become more empathetic toward your loved one who is on this challenging journey.

Do you have any recommendations for what to say to someone with a new breast cancer diagnosis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

3 Ways to Support a Friend with a New Breast Cancer Diagnosis

In the past, we’ve talked about how you can help someone who is in the midst of battling breast cancer.

It’s amazing how simple things like cooking a meal or sending a card can really make a difference in the life of someone who is undergoing treatment.

In this article, however, we thought it would be nice to give some advice on how to be a friend when someone is newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

After all, while a battle with breast cancer is certainly challenging, the initial shock of being diagnosed is downright difficult.

Many times, we are quick to jump in and say, “Everything’s going to be fine” out of the kindness of our hearts. But, that’s not necessarily true or helpful.

Keep reading to discover 3 powerful ways you can help someone who is coping with a new cancer diagnosis.

Be a Good Listener

Humans are verbal creatures, so sometimes it’s our natural instinct to start blurting things out like “You’ll beat this,” “You’re tougher than cancer,” or “Everything will be fine.”

But, in the midst of a new diagnosis, these words are very cliché and unhelpful.

No one knows what the future holds, and your friend has just started the battle of a lifetime. Now is the time to sit quietly and listen.

Take in what your friend has to say and only chime in when appropriate.

Don’t push for details on what type of cancer she’s been diagnosed with or how bad the diagnosis is. Your friend or family member will reveal that information if she wants to in her own time.

It’s possible that your loved one won’t want to talk about her diagnosis at all. Perhaps, she needs some time to get her mind off the matter and focus on other things.

Let your friend or family member direct the conversation.

Make Yourself Available

Processing a cancer diagnosis is mentally draining.

And, as treatments begin, a battle with cancer becomes physically draining as well.

This is why making yourself available to a friend who has been newly diagnosed is so valuable.

A friend or family member might need you to sit and talk with her as she processes her diagnosis.

Or she might just need you to watch her kids, walk her dog, etc., so she can get in a nap when she is feeling drained and exhausted.

Making yourself available to jump in and help whenever and wherever help is needed is one of the best gifts you can give someone.

It’s possible that your loved one will be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. For this reason, be sure to extend the invitation to help so she doesn’t have to ask for it.

If your loved one declines the help, make it a point to let her know that you’ll always be there for her as time goes on in case she needs an extra hand later.

Be a True Friend

Being a true friend means being honest, open, giving, and readily available when needed.

It also means not gossiping about your friend’s recent diagnosis or sharing things that shouldn’t be shared.

We understand that it can be hard to not discuss your friend’s personal matters with others who are close to you. After all, it’s likely that you’ll need time to process a friend or family member’s cancer diagnosis, too.

But, it’s important to remember that your loved one who has been diagnosed is sharing difficult and often deeply personal information with you–information that she might not want shared publicly.

Always ask permission before you share information.

For example, you might be a part of a religious group that wants to pray for the friend or family member who has been diagnosed.

This is a lovely thing to do. But, before you tell your entire prayer circle about your loved one’s diagnosis, make sure it’s ok to share.

Your loved one who is battling cancer needs someone who she can confide in and depend on.

Be a true friend.

How have you supported a friend or family member who was diagnosed with cancer? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day This Year

Women are amazing.

From working full-time jobs and raising families to caring for those in need and having to deal with awful things like breast cancer, women are powerhouses.

We don’t let life get us down, and even in the midst of a struggle, we keep our heads held high.

For that reason, it’s no surprise that International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, was established in order to celebrate women from all walks of life.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve won a Nobel Peace Prize, or if you’re simply the peacekeeper in your home.

You (and all of your lady friends) deserve to be recognized and honored.

During the week of March 8, we invite you to celebrate International Women’s Day with us.

Not sure how to celebrate? Check out some of the fun suggestions below!

Bake an International Women’s Day Cake and Host a Party

No celebration is complete without a cake!

This year, bake your favorite cake, decorate it, and then host a party for all your favorite gal pals. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by cake and good company.

If you’re worried about making enough dessert for everyone, ask your friends or family members to all contribute a small cake or dessert of their choosing. Doing this ensures you’ll have enough food and that everyone at your party will be able to enjoy their preferred dessert.

You could also ask people to contribute things like drinks, plates, or plastic silverware.

Volunteer at a Women’s Shelter

Serving women is one of the best ways to celebrate women. After all, many women are nurturers by nature and are great at loving on others and building them up.

The best way to serve…volunteer at a women’s shelter.

From homeless women’s shelters to domestic violence and abuse centers, there’s no shortage of places that could use a helping hand.

The best part…you don’t have to have a special talent or gift in order to volunteer.

Whether you’re serving a meal, helping with laundry, providing entertainment, or just spending time with someone who could use a friend to talk to, your presence will be greatly appreciated.

Gather up your girlfriends and make a day of it while giving back to the women who need your help.

Tip: Be sure to call around to your local shelters and women’s centers to see what they need help with. Some places might need volunteers, while others might need physical donations like blankets, soap, or food.

Enjoy a Chick Flick Movie Night Starring Your Favorite Female Leads

A long time ago, women’s movie roles were often limited to wives and love interests.

However, in the past few decades, women have really started to make headway in the film industry, taking the lead and starring as strong, independent, and intelligent characters.

For this reason, we think it would be fun to have your girlfriends and female family members over for a chick flick movie night that features female actresses.

Here are a few movie suggestions that feature female leads…

  • Thelma & Louise
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Legally Blonde
  • The Help
  • The Heat
  • Miss Congeniality

Enjoy a Spa Day with Your Girlfriends

Every lady deserves a day of pampering. And what better way to be pampered than with a mani/pedi, massage, or new haircut?

In honor of International Women’s Day, get your best girlfriends together and make a day of it at the spa.

Splurge on the gel nails or foot massage–you deserve it!

Tip: Make your spa day even more extravagant by enjoying brunch before your appointment or lunch and drinks after your spa day.

Give Your Kids a History Lesson on Amazing Women

Harriet Tubman courageously led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for research on radioactivity.

Amelia Earhart was a fearless female pilot.

These are just three examples of amazing women role models that we should be teaching our children about.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we encourage you to talk with your kids about the brave, intelligent, and powerful women who have helped shape our country.

It’s so important that kids (especially young girls) understand that women can do anything that men can do.

How do you celebrate the women in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor – Who Do I Ask About My Cancer Treatment, My Plastic Surgeon, Breast Surgeon, Or Oncologist?

This week, Audrey Rowen, PA-C, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question about breast reconstruction.

Question: Who do I ask about my cancer treatment, my plastic surgeon, breast surgeon, or oncologist?

Answer: Thanks for reaching out to us! That is typically a question we would defer to an oncologist to answer as they can calculate your overall risk for recurrence and how different surgical vs. medical treatments can impact that risk. Technically a lumpectomy is only removing the cancerous area, leaving the rest of your breast tissue intact, so by surface area, a lumpectomy leaves more breast tissue that could potentially develop a new breast cancer, where a mastectomy is an attempt to remove all breast tissue.

The options for reconstruction are much more plentiful with mastectomy vs lumpectomy, but that shouldn’t necessarily sway you either way. If we can answer any reconstruction questions about whichever option for cancer treatment that you may choose, please let us know. But definitely, chat with your oncologist about what they feel is your best option for overall survival.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

3 Common Breast Reconstruction Questions

Undergoing breast reconstruction surgery is a life-changing event.

It’s a decision that often requires multiple doctor’s consultations and lots of personal reflection after a battle with breast cancer.

And even after all that time spent planning, researching the best doctors, and doing your homework, it’s possible that you might walk out of a reconstructive surgery and be unhappy with the results.

It’s heartbreaking, and we hate to see women suffer through this.

That being said, there’s a lot that can be done to help repair reconstructive surgeries that didn’t go as planned.

And thanks to innovative technology and our amazing surgeons at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, our team can often help women achieve their reconstructive goals in order to feel beautiful and confident once again.

Are you feeling disappointed after a reconstructive surgery?

If so, we encourage you to take a look at some of the most common questions we get from women who are looking for reconstructive help to see how we’ve been able to help them in the past.

Chances are, if you have similar issues, we’ll be able to help you, too!

Check it out…

QUESTION 1: Is It Possible to Do Repair and Nipple Reconstruction Surgery at the Same Time on the Same Breast?

Not long ago, we received the following question from a prospective patient…

Question: I had hybrid DIEP reconstruction at another facility, and I am disappointed with the results. There have been many issues.

For example, my breasts are different shapes and sizes, no node involvement and no microinvasion. The surgeon who did the mastectomy said the path report said the margins were not wide enough and he will need to cut additional skin out during the next surgery.

The next surgery is supposed to be to reconstruct the nipple. Can you do both procedures on the same breast at the same time? Please Help!”

Here’s our response…

Answer: “I’m sorry you are having to go through this.If your margins were positive and you had an immediate DIEP flap, that could be a little complicated to resolve, although I’m sure we could work through it.

Reconstructive surgery can be different for every patient that we encounter. However, many times it is possible to do both at the same time. The best way to determine what method will work best for you is to come in for an evaluation.”

QUESTION 2: I’m Unhappy with My Reconstructive Result from Another Surgeon – Are You Able to Make It Look More Natural?

The question we received was…

Question: “Three years ago, I had a double mastectomy and am now cancer free. My plastic surgeon did a terrible job with the reconstruction. The left side implant is way off to the outer side and looks larger than the right side.

The right side is way too far to the outside. There is zero cleavage.

Is there any way to reposition the implants more to the natural position of the breast? I do not expect perfect but don’t like looking like a botched job. Thank you.”

Our response is as follows…

Answer:  “I’m glad to hear you have been cancer free and have your treatment for breast cancer behind you. At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, it is part of our mission to help women move on with their lives after breast cancer. We focus our efforts on helping women get their bodies back together with permanent, natural results.

I’m sorry you are disappointed with your reconstruction. If you have had radiation, then it may be very hard to have your breasts match with implant reconstruction. If you have not had radiation, then perhaps your implants could be revised or adjusted for an improvement.

Unfortunately, these corrections are all too often temporary. It is possible that using your own fatty tissue would be a more permanent option without implants.

Sometimes it is hard to start over with another approach, but it may be necessary if you desire a more natural and permanent result. So, the answer is yes–it’s likely that we CAN help you achieve a more natural look.

If you would like more information about natural breast reconstruction with your own tissue, let me know.”

QUESTION 3: I Am Unhappy with My Previous Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction Using Implants. Are You Able to Fix It?

Question: “I’m not happy with the results of my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction using implants. Reaching out to see if it can be fixed.”

Answer:  “It is very likely that we could help you with your unsatisfactory reconstruction. This problem can often be fixed either by using your own tissue, or by revising your implant reconstruction.

I will be happy to discuss your situation and provide you with some options.”

Looking for options to improve your breast reconstruction results? Give us a call at 1-866-374-2627 or contact us online to find out more!

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction Gives Thanks

On behalf of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

We hope you are able to spend time this week with the ones you love, eating delicious food and reflecting on the many things you are grateful for!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve spent some time thinking about the things that we are truly grateful for. And in honor of this holiday of giving thanks, we wanted to share our list with you.

How many things do we have in common on our lists? Keep reading to find out…

#1 — The opportunity to work with so many courageous women who have battled breast cancer.

First and foremost, we are so thankful that we get to work with such amazing women each and every day. Their stories inspire us, their smiles brighten our day, and it is truly a gift to be able to interact with each and every one of the ladies we work with.

Read the stories from some amazing women here.

#2 — Our team of highly skilled staff and medical professionals.

We never take for granted the amazing staff and medical professionals that we have on our team. We are thankful that we have kind, hardworking, and highly skilled professionals that are able to give our clients the best care they deserve.

#3 — Our health.

Every day we work with women who have fought courageous battles against cancer. And every time we hear a new patient’s story, we are reminded of how lucky we are to have our health.

#4 — Our friends and family.

From loving spouses and children to awesome coworkers and friends, we are thankful to be surrounded by those who love us each day.

#5 — Our freedoms.

We are thankful for all the freedoms we have. From access to the technology and education we need to serve our patients to being able to pursue our passion to help women recover and heal from breast cancer, we are truly blessed.

#6 — Delicious food.

Last, but certainly not least, we are thankful for the delicious Thanksgiving meal we will be indulging in this week. There’s nothing better than chowing down on our Thanksgiving favorites while surrounded by the people we love.

Need some inspiration of what to bring to your Thanksgiving table this year? Here are some of our favorite holiday recipes!

This year, when you’re gathered around your Thanksgiving dinner table, we encourage you to share the things you’re grateful for with your loved ones.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- I’m Having Pain After My Last Latissimus Flap/Implant Reconstruction. What Can I Do Now?

This week, Richard M. Kline, Jr., MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question about breast reconstruction.

Question: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, and had a mastectomy on my left side followed by chemo. In 2014, my mammogram began showing tumors and I would have an ultrasound every time. This caused panic attacks and I choose to have my right breast removed because the type of cancer I had was Stage 4 Aggressive. In April 2015, I had a bilateral latissimus flat and received implants. Now I am experiencing pain across my back where I was cut and my chest gets uncomfortably tight. The site of the drainage tube is swollen and doesn’t feel good. I stopped seeing my reconstruction doctor because he did things I was not informed of. I am worried because I do not know what is going on anymore. Could you please advise me as to what might be going on or what to do?

Answer: I’m sorry you are continuing to have problems, but you are not alone.

I can’t speak about your situation specifically because I haven’t examined you, but here are some thoughts in general about patients with symptoms like yours.

There is no question that many people with implants describe symptoms such as yours. Often, there is no discernible reason why they should feel discomfort, but they do. Nonetheless, many of them feel relief when the implants are removed. This does not mean that you would or should, it is just an observation.

The latissimus flap can be done with or without dividing the nerve that makes it contract. I have known some patients with latissimus flaps done without dividing the nerve to have discomfort associated with the muscle contracting. Some have experienced relief when the nerve was subsequently divided. Obviously, I don’t know if this is your situation or not.

Sometimes people have complex, persistent pain after surgery or injury which is out of all proportion to what would be expected. This can be difficult to treat but thankfully is rare.

When evaluating a patient with symptoms like yours, we usually start with a careful history and physical evaluation. Sometimes, especially if we have concerns about implant rupture, fluid collections, infection, etc., we then get an MRI and/or CT scan Following the complete evaluation, we then decide together how to proceed.

Hope this helps at least a little. I would be happy to chat with you further by phone about your specific problem or see you in person if you can come for a visit.

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!