This entry is meant to give information not complaint. It is information that I wish I had previous to my reconstruction. I may still have made the same decision because breasts, even artificial ones, are near and dear to a woman’s heart. However, I am putting this info out there so that women know what they are doing with this type of breast reconstruction.
Before I had my mastectomies, I read about reconstruction. However, I did not dig deeply enough. My understanding of the process was grossly incomplete.
I only recently found this out when I started investigating. My searching began because the Alloderm, a fabric made from cadaver skin, is failing around my implants which are now directly under the skin in places instead of being held snugly in place by the Alloderm fabric. The plastic surgeon instructed me to watch and wait . And he said those dreaded words, “Be careful.” If the skin is stressed enough, the implant can push through it to the outside. At that point another surgery is inevitable. ( I have already had 4 surgeries related to the reconstruction, 2 of which were unplanned.)
Since the Alloderm failure around my implants, I have checked online for side effects and problems with this cadaver fabric. I also read about the surgical procedure. ( These are searchable on the web from reliable sources.)
The most common method of breast reconstruction in North America is the type which I had. In this type of reconstruction the lower portion of the pectoralis major muscle is detached from the bone so that it rolls up like a shutter. The implant is placed under the upper pectoralis muscle which is still intact and held in place by alloderm, a mesh type fabric made from the skin of cadavers.
It is hard to make decisions when your life has become chaos because of cancer. But I offer the info from my experience to women considering reconstruction. Additionally I tender the following advice: Ask many questions. Dig deeply. Make informed decisions. You may trust your doctor, but you deserve all of the facts laid out before you.