I understand your concern, when you say you have implants in after 3 weeks, are your referencing your expanders?
I too had a double mastectomy and the first phase of reconstruction (I have my expanders in place). I just started radiation last Wednesday (25 treatments and 5 boosters) is my treatment plan. My doctor said I would need to wait 6 to 12 months for my tissue to heal before getting my permanent implants in. Based on the reading, talking to others and talking to my doctors it's better to have your permanent implants placed after radiation vs. before.
I hope this information helps in some small way. Best wishes with radiation.
Hi Belmont Rosie, did the hardening happen three months after you finished radiotherapy? Was it fine at first?
So sorry it’s taken a while to reply to your post - I am a bit further along the road in your journey and am happy to share my experience.
After 6 months of chemo, I had a left side mastectomy, full lymph gland removal on 31 July 2019 and immediate reconstruction. 11 of 20 lymph glands were cancerous. Although the scar healed well, I had a recurrent seroma during the autumn, which meant a delay to radiotherapy - this ran for 3 weeks until mid December. Apart from 2 weeks of itchy ‘heat rash’ post radiotherapy I had no ill effects.
Now, roughly 3 months later, my foob is much perkier than my other natural boob (well, I am 61!) and pretty firm and solid. This is fine during the day and looks/feels pretty normal in a bra, but I do find it hardens noticeably in the evening and also wakes me up at night. It’s not painful, just uncomfortable enough (doesn’t move with me) to wake me when I try to turn at night. This hasn’t changed much in the last couple of months, so I don’t think there’s swelling any longer - it must be the implant itself. I have good mobility but also find I get pretty stiff in the muscles/sensation in my upper arm - despite doing all the exercises several times a day.
I don’t know if this is normal but am going back to my breast surgeon later this month to ask if it’s possible to make the implant softer. May mean it is less attractive, ie the mesh will show, it’ll be bumpier. He said 2 months ago that it can take up to a year to settle down (don’t think I can face a year of broken sleep though!) Will report back.
Hope you are feeling better about things - this Forum is a great way to share worries with others who’ve experienced it. Surgeons and nurses are lovely but they don’t fully understand how it feels!
Big hug, BelmontRosie
HI Louise. I am in the same position as you. I had a mastectomy with implant reconstruction in August. I have just finished chemo and am due to start radiotherapy within a few weeks. The decision to have the implant was based on all the information we had at the time - and it seemed then that radiotherapy was unlikely. I recently saw the radiologist who examined me and was hopeful that I have enough give in the implant that I may not run into any problems. My surgeon also said that capsular contracture doesn't always happen (I think he may have said 2/5 do) and if it does, it could be some years down the line.
Tbh, I don't think there is much that you and I can do to affect the outcome of radiotherapy in relation to the implant. For me, they are in no doubt that radiotherapy is necessary so I am going ahead with it with fingers crossed.
Best wishes for you too.
Hi Loulinen, this is a difficult one. I had a mastectomy with immediate implant too and currently undergoing chemotherapy. My surgeon didn't think I would need radiotherapy but the oncologist thought it would be benificial, i.e., 10% less chance of local recurrence. I had 2 cancerous lymph nodes. I was told radiotherapy doesn't damage the implant itself but can cause scarring of surrounding tissue and/or skin which would compromise the result. If and how bad is totally unpredictable. I haven't decided yet. I am leaning towards not but I might change my mind once chemotherapy is done. I was told I could take my time to make up my mind.
I'm sorry you haven't had a response to your message yet. I'm hoping by posting that one of our Forum users will get back to you soon. In the meantime if you have any questions about radiotherapy and implants you can call our breast care nurses at our Helpline on 0800 800 6000. They are open tomorrow 9am-4pm.
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i have a mastectomy 3 weeks ago with immediate reconstruction with implant. My oncologist told me yesterday that I will need radiotherapy, will this cause damage to the implant and if so what happens then? My consultant said if it does then he will think of something to do! I’m really worried.