Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mastectomy Procedure

The plastic surgeon explained this procedure rather nicely and I thought it's a good idea to post about it as a lot of people (I think) have no idea what it entails. So here goes...

The operation will take about 2,5 to 3 hours. It takes Jenny, my surgeon, about an hour to remove the tissue from one breast. As she then starts with the second breast, the plastic surgeon will take the silicone implant and "insert" it behind a muscle in the first breast. Before this though, they apparently weigh all the tissue that Jenny has removed, just to double check that the silicone implant he has chosen (according to measurements of my breast of course) is the correct size. It take him about 40 minutes per breast.

Because of my family history with cancer, Jenny said that my RHS breast and nipple must be removed. I have had a few months to get used to this idea and have decided to also have the LHS removed. Apparently there is an 80% change of the cancer also appearing on the LHS. That is just way too high to take a risk.

Sentinel Node Biopsy
I have also opted for a sentinel node biopsy on the LHS. I had one on the RHS during my lumpectomy. This is when they check your main node to the lymph system in you arm. If there is any sign of cancer in the main node, it will be removed to prevent it from spreading the cancer to the rest of the system. Even after chemo there is less than 1% chance of cancer... To check the nodes, however, I need to go to a specialist on Tuesday morning, before the opwho will perform a lymphoscintigraphy, where a low-activity radioactive substance is injected into the LHS breast area. I then go into a scanning machine (like a CT scan) where scintigraphic imaging is usually started within 5 minutes of injection and the node appears from 5 min to 1 hour. This fluid enables Jenny to see where exactly the nodes are. Please note, this is a very summarised version of the whole process.

Post op
I am hoping to be out of the hospital by Thursday but it could be Friday, not sure yet. There will be a drain on both sides that will be removed about 10 days after the op. I am not sure yet about bandage removal etc but will know more next week. After about 2 weeks I will also go and see my oncolgist, Irene, and will hopefully start Tamoxifan.

For now, I am looking forward to getting the op out of the way. I have taken February off at work so I will have lots of time to heal and relax.

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