Having had a double mastectomy and major radiation to treat breast cancer really takes a toll on your appearance. But to get back to “normal” you often are faced with a choice between bad and worse. I was not a candidate for stretchers, as putting breast stretchers in prior to high dose radiation would lead to a bad result (mis-shapen breasts and possible infection,) and putting stretchers in afterward was simply impossible. (no stretch left in the skin) So that left me with the “flap.” I did not want this procedure either, for so many reasons. Cutting up a healthy part of my body to make a breast pocket? Months of no ability to exercise? High percentage rate of complications, from infection, to death, to the pocket not surviving after all?
Then there was BRAVA, lipo, and fat grafting. I chose this method of reconstruction. It has been time consuming (as it is a multi-step procedure), but well worth it. I am no longer concave. My breast area skin looks smooth and filled in. The color is better—not burned and shot-at looking. The surgical scars are hardly noticeable. I have real cleavage. From. My. Own. Fat. In addition, my stomach is no longer gelatinous—the side effect I got from steroid use and months of chemo and periodic inactivity. During the brava use and aside from a few weeks here and there while my fat graft takes, I have been able to keep up my yoga and my running, and am well on the road to recovery. Using the brava/fat graft method takes time, but it has helped me heal and never caused any set-backs as happens so often with the other methods of reconstruction women have to choose from. I am so grateful to Dr Hartog and Michelle, and all the caring staff at the Bougainvillea clinic, for their knowledge, diligence in staying abreast of the most advanced procedures in reconstruction, and their willingness to offer this procedure. Fat grafting is truly the wave of the future for breast cancer reconstruction.