I recently had a follow up appointment with my surgeons about my reconstruction surgery on Phillis (my good boob) which is part of my prevention journey.
I need to make the decision whether I have the TUG flap procedure which I had on the side I had the cancer or an implant. This has been a decision that I have found hard to make a definitive choice on because of the pros and cons for both.
In the world of medicine, this is not a procedure that has to be done but simply to put my mind at ease. I have chosen to take preventative measures to help stop reoccurrence of the cancer. Before I didn’t really have the choice of whether I had my breast removed because of how aggressive the cancer was so this is on me, ultimately the decision I make will be with me for the rest of my life.
I opted for the TUG flap because I couldn’t have an implant due to having radiotherapy before the reconstruction. Now I have the choice and it’s proving difficult to make a decision.
I believe in my heart that the implant will be less invasive and recovery time shorter but there are cons to this too.
Before I have the reconstruction I need my surgeon to perform a mastectomy to remove all the tissue from Phillis (this will take place alongside the reconstruction so i will still be under the knife for sometime).
Pros to implant
1. Less invasive, I won’t be having skin and tissue removed from other parts of my body.
2. Time under the knife will be less. I will be out of hospital the next day, all being well.
3. Recovery time will be approximately 2 to 4 weeks.
4. Only my chest area will be effected. Scars will be to a minimum and only on my breast or under.
Cons to implant
1. Won’t be my own flesh and blood so by body could reject it.
2. It won’t feel like a natural breast.
3. The shape may be different to my currently reconstructed breast.
4. Will need replacing at some point.
My plastic surgeon doesn’t really approve of the choice of me having an implant because he carried out the procedure of the TUG flap and believes the implant will not be more beneficial and the outcome will not be as good as the TUG.
Pros to a TUG
1. It’s my own flesh and blood being placed on my chest.
2. Will feel and look like a natural breast. I may need further liposuction to fill but no further adjustments.
Cons to a TUG
1. Essentially having two surgery’s done at the same time. Muscle and tissue removed from my leg and placed on my chest.
2. Likely to be under the knife for more than 5 hours.
3. I will be staying in hospital for a minimum of a week with regular checks and no sleep.
4. Recovery time can be up to 3 months although I was back to work after 6 weeks from my first TUG.
5. The scars will be immense as I already have a huge scar on my inner thigh from the previous surgery. They will be taking it from my other leg this time. It will look like a shark has attacked both legs.
As you can see there are good and bad points to both but would seem the TUG procedure is a lot more invasive.
I know I need to make the best decision for me as it’s me that has to live with it. I know if the cancer wants to come back it will but knowing I did all I could to prevent it will help me move forward with my life and accept if it did decide to raise hell again, there wasn’t anything else I could do to prevent it.
With being a cancer survivor there is always that risk and also the what if’s and I don’t want them to haunt me for the rest of my life!
The dilemma continues....