Life After Breast Cancer: When Is it Time for a New Implant?

If you choose breast implants for reconstruction, it’s important to know that they don’t always last forever. The time may come when you need to consider replacement or maintenance of your implants.

While implant reconstruction offers a safe, straightforward and effective way to restore breast contour after mastectomy, it’s possible to have trouble with your implants years later.

How I Found the Right Bras After Mastectomy and Reconstruction

Wearing a bra, or not, was the last thing on my mind when I underwent a preventive double mastectomy three years ago. But when I woke up from that first surgery, and the three reconstructive surgeries that followed, I was wearing a bra. It was pale pink, closing in front with a strip of hook and loop fasteners, and had two rings hanging from the sides to keep my surgical drains from dangling.

I hated this bra. For eight weeks after my mastectomy I needed to wear it, stuffed with soft gauze to protect my sensitive skin.

Black Women Are Underrepresented In The Breast Cancer Community, Even Though They’re More Likely To Die From The Disease

Doing a Google search of the terms “mastectomy” or “breast reconstruction,” will likely lead you to a plethora of images of these procedures on white breasts, while black bodies are almost non-existent in the results.

And even if you try being more specific by entering the phrase “mastectomy on black woman,” a few more photos will pop up, but it’s still clear that there are not nearly enough resources for black people fighting the disease.

What Happens When You Can’t Afford Breast Cancer Reconstruction?

Despite its importance as part of a holistic cancer treatment plan, reconstruction can be incredibly difficult to afford.

When a single breast implant can cost as much as $10,000, the financial burden on a patient can quickly get out of control, making some women feel as though the surgery isn’t a viable option for them.

What about when money does dictate the decision? Marie Claire spoke to three women in the throes of trying to rebuild their lives—and breasts—after cancer.

Fat Grafting for Breast Reconstruction Does Not Increase Cancer Recurrence Risk

Women who underwent autologous fat transfer for reconstruction after breast cancer surgery did not appear at increased risk for locoregional or distant recurrence, according to a case-matched, retrospective review of medical records.

Fat transfer reconstruction also was associated with lower mortality rates than conventional breast reconstruction.

Autologous fat transfer, also called fat grafting, is a process in which a clinician injects a patient’s liposuctioned fat, often harvested from the abdomen or upper legs, into soft tissue deformities that may occur during breast cancer surgery.

Imagine You Had to Choose Exactly How Erect Your Nipples Would Look for the Rest of Your Life

Nipple reconstruction can have a huge impact on the emotional-recovery process of mastectomy patients. Research backs up the fact that nipples play a key role in the emotional-recovery process.

For patients who can’t keep their nipples, reconstructed, tattooed, or prosthetic options can greatly improve their quality of life.

Here, five women who have undergone post-mastectomy breast reconstruction share how they dealt with the loss of their nipples—and how it impacted their lives.

Breasts of Burden: My Battle with Gigantomastia

Breasts are personal, but when they grow bigger than usual, they become a societal affair, a source of self-consciousness, embarrassment, pain even. Or it could be a condition. Think gigantomastia, a condition that turns boobs into breasts of burden.

Just ask Ruth Makena. She knows one or two things about excessive breast growth, which may occur spontaneously, during puberty, pregnancy or while taking certain medications.

Makena once suffered from gigantomastia and that inspired her to set up Gigantomastia Foundation in Kenya.