There are reconstruction options out there that are amazing. If I had known then what I know now I would have had DIEP flap reconstruction at the time of mastectomy. DIEP flap surgery is using your own tissue, either from your tummy or buttocks. A very specialised plastic surgeon (micro-surgeon) performs a "tummy tuck" if the donor site is your tummy, moves skin and fat and blood supply only, no muscle and then .... if you have skin sparing mastectomy they put the flap inside your skin pocket created by the breast surgeon (also done at the same time). This creates a breast using your own tissue and this tissue does hold up very well to radiation.
There are about 42 micro-surgeon plastic surgeons doing this procedure successfully and mine has been doing it for over 10 years with less than a 1% failure rate and they do about 700 surgeries a year. I had a breast surgeon and the two plastic surgeon's working on me simultaneously and my surgery was about 6 hours. Recovery was 6 weeks.
Also available are other flap procedures that a regular plastic surgeon can do such as a TRAM flap or LATISMUS flap, Tram from the tummy but moving the stomach muscle too, Lat flap using a small muscle in your back and pulling it forward. Both procedures are available anywhere but require moving the muscle which I wouldn't choose for myself. Once the stomach muscle is removed you have a higher risk of hernias and stomach bulging. Research all options and see for yourself.
Feel free to ask questions. I hope you don't need any further surgery. Best wishes.
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