This page will document the reconstruction process in photos. Prior to breast cancer, I was a D – DD and as of now plan on reconstructing to the same size.  I have tissue expanders that will be replaced with implants once I am done with chemo. New photos will be uploaded after tissue expander fills and any other changes. I am sharing these photos to help other women get an idea of what to expect. I am happy to answer any and all questions about this process


  1. I know, seems like after surgery they don’t want to continue. I can’t figure it out. Maybe just$$$. Who knows. Tired of hearing most women would be happy with what yours look like. All I know is in 95 I had my first mastectomy and chemo for 6 months, tamoxifen for 5 yrs, Femara for 5 yrs and then it came back in other breast last year. Figure that? Now, I’m supposed to be happy with what I have and how they look!

    • My dander gets up any time someone suggests I ‘should’ be ‘happy’ with something…..It is so fucking insulting because oftentimes they don’t even stop to consider how THEY would feel. xo

  2. Barbara….I cannot imagine going through it a 2nd time. It is hard this first time around. I am on the tamoxifen for at least 5 yrs. Hope and pray that mine does not come back. If it does, it is other than in my foobs. That is always weighing on my mind. Cancer is just nasty, no matter the type. I can’t stand looking in the mirror right now. Maybe one day; who knows!!!

  3. Barb
    Boy i wish people wouldnt tell people with serious illness how to feel…!
    I didnt have chemo As i may have said, Mine had no lymph involvement and my genetic test came back zero. But -and its a big one-my risk for recurrence or cross occurrence was deemed 30-40% after they found multiple in situ lobular in my diagnosed breast. So i had them take both after E2 diff docs advised it. I dont kid myself, i know im still at risk. But ive decided ill deal agressively and positively if it happens again.
    But id never tell anyone how to feel. You are what u are. Its ur body react however you need to. You are unique my friend. Remind them of that!
    Hugs Jo

  4. Thank you Tanis. Youve certainly been through it eh? Its hard enough to understand how we feel without others attempting to control it. I needed to withdraw initially Thank God fam and friends respected that and let me be.
    Its the greatedt gift and anyone dealing with cancer should insist on it.

  5. Have been through the ringer a bit Jo! However, working on getting better each day; just throws one for a loop when you think you have a game plan and then they change it, for no apparent reason or warning. I am helping several other women who have just started their own BC journeys; that is helping me heal I think! Of course, that does not mean I don’t have bad days, like today!!! Hugs

  6. Hi there Lady Bananas,
    So so true about feelings!
    It is indeed odd that we all thought of your blog arpund the same time….i was thinking quite randomly rhat i had not seen any posts in awhile and voila! Next day…..

    Id love to talk about tatoos if anyone is interested. I think im ready go ho in and do it. I declined nip transplants as it seemed too frought with potential problems. My question is: if insurance will cover the psychological trauma of masectomy and reconstruction why cant they kick in to finish the job? Cheaper than the transplants and the whole point of paying for reconstruction is medicsl insofar as its mostly mental health issue. Im guessing since tatoo artists are not doctors. Yeh yeh…yet some have special training in implant tatoos. It seems odd to me theyd be ok to cover thousands on transplants but not hundreds for tatoos. Maybe that opens a coverage door for other kinds of tats.??

    • Good question Jo. I am still undecidedon the tats or nip transplant. Jut cannot make up my mind and have serious reconstruction coming up within next few weeks and not sure I am comfortagle with what the PS has indicated he is going to do so insisted on another appointment next week!

  7. Goid for you! Ive seen some really basic amazingly real looking ones; and some beautiful alternatives such as small flowers. I need to do more research. One advantage we may have is the missing nerve endings. A lot less discomfort if any so I hear I definitely have had some feeling come back but not all and i see that as a great advantage in this particular realm. Id love to know what you decide!

  8. Hi everyone. You all sound wonderful. We can do this! I am 5 months out with implants. Is it normal to have them fall to the sides when lying on back without bra?

  9. See him next Friday. He said that most women would be happy with what I ended up with. Not so sure. Not giving up. They both fall to the side with or without a surgical bra

    • Hi Barbara Lane. It has been a while since my last visit to this sight. Due to circumstances, not choice! As I do love this site and all the kind and helpfull people here!
      So anyways, I read your comment and had to reply, …because ‘YES’ mine do the same thing!! In fact mine are worse than that! They not only go to the side when I lay down, my chest actually becomes somewhat concave! It is terrible! I have been waiting on my insurance to approve ‘revision’ surgery for me.

  10. I agree. Well, he’s going to fix it for sure. I don’t think they should slide to the side and leave a 3 inch space between. Will let you know next week. Stay well. 😍

    • Hi there Ladies I hope ok to add a comment: Before i had my bmx done with same day reconstruction I looked at many”real” pics of before and after recons. In most cases the after looked like a variation of the before. My surgeon told me unless i was going for high profile silicon i would be a higher more pronounced version of the before And thats what i got. I have a wide chest so mine were and still are a few inches apart. When i lay down they do shift a little but my impression is that’s a gravity thing. .i had worries about how far back and my doc pointed out where the implant ended. It was about 2 inches in front of my arm What I was noticing was the layer of upper back flesh that can get fatty with age and can fill out under the arm area. She told me as i lost weight my breasts would apprear rounder and more distinct. Im working on it!
      I dont know if that helps but might be good to have surgeon show u where implant ends and ur flesh begins. I do not think the actual implant belongs under ur arm! However! :)) i think alot of women have asked this question You are far from alone. The image in our minds is hard to shaje from the reality. That is what redo is for. Depends on how u feel about how u look. I agree that no doc should tell u hiw u should feel:) keep in mind there are other surgeons ou there whid be happy to shiw ur surgeon up if ur insurance approves it. Just a thought. God bless!

  11. Hi there Ladies I hope ok to add a comment: Before i had my bmx done with same day reconstruction I looked at many”real” pics of before and after recons. In most cases the after looked like a variation of the before. My surgeon told me unless i was going for high profile silicon i would be a higher more pronounced version of the before And thats what i got. I have a wide chest so mine were and still are a few inches apart. When i lay down they do shift a little but my impression is that’s a gravity thing. .i had worries about how far back and my doc pointed out where the implant ended. It was about 2 inches in front of my arm What I was noticing was the layer of upper back flesh that can get fatty with age and can fill out under the arm area. She told me as i lost weight my breasts would apprear rounder and more distinct. Im working on it!
    I dont know if that helps but might be good to have surgeon show u where implant ends and ur flesh begins. I do not think the actual implant belongs under ur arm! However! :)) i think alot of women have asked this question You are far from alone. The image in our minds is hard to shaje from the reality. That is what redo is for. Depends on how u feel about how u look. I agree that no doc should tell u hiw u should feel:) keep in mind there are other surgeons ou there whid be happy to shiw ur surgeon up if ur insurance approves it. Just a thought. God bless!

    • Thanks Jojo, I so love that others share their experiences here. I didn’t even think about placement and chest size. My implants, as you can see in the pics pretty much cover my whole chest wall and also touch my arms when they are by my side.

      Excellent point about the image in our minds vs reality and I will add other’s perception. In my upcoming post about my spine issues, the impression of me, my reconstruction and cancer history by these new non cancer docs is fairly startling in its simplicity and naivete. ♡ ♡ ♡

  12. Thanks girls. I agree and we will see. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Will let you know after my appointment on the 15 th. stay well🐥

    • I switch between the bras in the last 2 pics of the implants in a bra. The sports one is from target and the lace one is Cosabella. They are expensive but if you search Amazon, they have certain colors that they will sell 3 for 80 or $90. Every other bra has ended up in the trash or given away. I’ve tried getting fitted and 3 brands from Nordstrom and all of the underwires feel like a vise.

      The Cosabella has the best mix of form and function and I like all the different bright colors.

  13. I bought Casabellas. But have not worn them. My Doc said surgical or sports bra high and snug 24/7 I think I will go without or wear the Casabellas. Thanks

  14. So sorry to hear that others are facing the Implant Slide as well will let you know later the results. Doc changed appointment to today

  15. Okay gals. Here’s my scoop. Having fat transfer soon to fill in ripples in left breast and fat injected in sides to strengthen implant and stablize it. This should prevent the extreme movement to the side. Waiting to hear for front desk for day and date. I am pleased

  16. Congrats Barbara Sounds like a good outcome!
    I go braless on occasion. Biggest challenge for me is upper back slight strain and be careful of rough material on thinner skin It can be sensitive at first. Otherwise those babies should hold up for years…or do im told. If under your muscles they r pretty secure

    Best wishes! Make sure they r clear with you about the revision steps.:)

  17. I would love to go braless, but until, if ever, they can fix my right foob which is so apparently different in size, that is not going to happen. Also need them to address the fat pouch that is between the two in the center of my chest. At this point, we have put any further surgery off until after the summer. I need to get there emotionally and mentally and just not sure how to do that when I look in the mirror, see foobs that are way smaller than I wanted or planned and one that is sitting higher and not the same size or at least does not look the same size, probably because of how it is sitting Glad you got good news on your reconstruction!

    • I would take all the time you need Tanis if it was me. This is not only about cosmetic correction Its another surgery. God bless as you decide whats right for you. BTW have you taken picture to see what they really look like not just in the mirror? Im sure u have but just a reminder Mirrors are not accurate for several reasons. 🙂

      • I actually still look at my pictures sometimes because they look so much better to me than the mirror! That is a really good idea – you don’t have to share them and you can always delete right after taking…..

  18. I think you need to go to a different doc and have it all done over. Sounds like something went wrong along the way. So sorry you’re going through all this. Prayers for healing. Get second opinion

    • Had 2 additional opinions and all of them different……….which leaves me totally confused and not sure what to do! Thanks for the prayers!

  19. You need to go with the opinion that will fix it and also go with your gut feeling. It needs to be corrected and done through the way. Make sure the doc is board certified

    • a thousand times yes on the intuition….even if you have to let it ‘marinate’ for a while. I have seen around 7 doctors/surgeons for my spine, it took a long time to find the right one….maybe even get a 3rd opinion if that is possible….Prayers from this end also

  20. I had a double mastectomy this last April..they put in 500ccsilicone high profile implants in and after several months they still look too small? I can see the edging of PS said he will fill that up with fat..I’m 5’2 ,with a wide back. I told him I wasn’t happy with the size so he is gonna try 600-650cc. I didn’t realize that they appear smaller when put behind the muscle..they should tell a person that…the 500 I have in now are flat looking in front? Why I don’t know..if I go bigger what do I need to ask or know ahead of time?..its hard to find pictures of ones behind the muscle.

    • Wish I could tell you what to do. I have 550 cc silicone high profile implants and I am 5’5″. They did not want to go any bigger because I just do not have enough skin (I just have had further reconstructive surgery on one side because the skin had gotten to thin). It used to be my frankenfoob, it is now better but not 100%. They never will be as they are not what we had. I am not sure what you mean by flat looking in the front. Can you explain more? Most every BC sister I know has had the implants behind the muscle, I presumed it was the only way it could be done. You will never, no matter the size, get the protrusion you had with natural breasts. Be careful, on your frame that you do not go too big, I know other BC sisters who have done that and have then turned around and gone smaller. It is a hard decision so take your time, don’t rush.

    • I had breast reconstruction this past year. I was filled with 700cc in expanders. After implants I am a 38 c. I am 5 ft 3 and my breasts are large. I also had fat transfer to fill in the ripples and divots. Most of it took. Feeling good

    • Thanks Barbara & Tanis for chiming in ❤

      Yes, I believe the implants in bc reconstructions are placed under the muscle. The muscle can seperate though, and that's where certain problems come in…'s hard to believe that they are under the muscle because they are still so close underneath the skin. I know it's hard to find pictures in general, which is why mine stay up.

      I think mine are too big, but am unwilling to have another surgery at the moment. If I have to swap them out after a period of time (I think it's every 15 years?) and I'm the same weight I will definitely go smaller, but April is enough time for them to settle and see how they look on your frame.

      As for what you need to know….well, I think it's about managing expectations, a lesson I had to learn the hard way. You may never be happy with the result, it's about (in my opinion) seeking the result that you can live with the easiest. If you are not against another surgery, I definitely encourage you to go bigger, and I would take the biggest option you are offered, the 650. I think, and have heard, people, including myself are happier being a little too big than too small.

      They will always look flat. There are different shapes and people are starting to get 'gummies' which are solid all the way through but a regular silicone implant without breast tissue just will never give that protrusion. If it's comfortable, you can experiment with different bras, I tried but I can't stand anything more binding on there, I only wear the lace one because it evens them out, other wise I would let them free lol.

      I don't know why some plastic surgeons seem to not take in the torso/body of a woman they are reconstructing…..we all have different widths and sizes, the implant should fill out the chest area the same way breasts do……so if he's willing to change it, go for it! Unfortunately, books can be written with all they do not tell you beforehand. As for seeing the edge, if he's willing to fill it in, get it, my plastic surgeon refuses on all patients. He's kind of stubborn that way so I have rippling when I bend over and can see some of the edge, but my husband says he can't so, maybe it's because I know it's there.

      It sounds like you have a good plan moving forward, I can't think of anything you are missing in terms of technical questions. I wish you the best and please feel free to ask any other questions. I have one for you – did you or are you getting nipples? That can make an aesthetic difference but many choose to go without, or 3d tattoos. I'm glad I did mine, but they have flattened out, and it would be yet another surgery for something that probably will flatten out again so I'm just living with it….. I never tattooed them, on the advice of my surgeon who said I was too fair and I would be unhappy, but now that they are flat, and I have so many other tattoos I have geen thinking of going with a 3d tattoo on top of the reconstruction. Good luck to you.

  21. Thank you to all of you brave women! I had stage one BC right breast in 2012. Mamosite radiation and partial masectomy. Clean bill of health. Late 2014 BC is back. Same place but stage 3 invasive. Full chemo, radiation and double mastectomy. More surgery to take more lymph nodes. I just went from expanders to implants yesterday. PS said he took out a lot of scar tissue and had room for 750 cc’s. Prayers for all of you ladies!

    • Mawmaw Deb, I don’t know how I missed this comment, I’m so very sorry. I’m sure you’re in the thick of your treatment right now so I will send you good thoughts and comforting energy. I’m so sorry that it came back and I will pray that this is the end of it.

  22. Prayers to all, was diagnosed April 28 2016, stage 2 invasive duct carcinoma, going for my 3 chemo next Friday. I feel like running away, cancer is really nasty.

    • Hi Sheldene. Yes it is very nasty, certainly not the sanitized pink fluffy experience they like to portray. I also felt like running away quite often, I think that’s totally normal. I will send you prayers and good thoughts and if you have any questions for any of us please feel free to ask.

  23. I am so sorry for us all, and yet so honored to be in such a brave crowd. Its just about living whatever time we have, cuz truthfully? Don’t nobody know…even those, as my friend, referred to as ‘the rest of us’ that don’t believe they are mortal. You don’t realize it until you get hit with something like cancer. We know, we’ve been through it, we are going through it, we will get through it. Life is always there waiting for us to live it. Just do it. We’ve all been given a kind of window into real reality, when the illusions are stripped away. Getting reprieves for however long, makes it all the sweeter. Keep the faith. Hugs.

    • I always love your comments. So very true, I could not agree more. And I think once you’ve been changed like that you really can’t go back which in some ways is good and in some ways is sad.

      Question to all you faithful ladies: I have been going through a lot of medical issues this past year. I thought about starting a new blog but is there any interest in starting this up again with my current experiences?

  24. thank you Planet Bananas for this forum & to all you warrior women who are providing support to us all. I need advise on my 2nd reconstruction revision implant surgery. I was a DD on right & D on left before mastectomy. 1st implants were 420CC round silicone. I am 5’5” & 140 lbs. I did want to go smaller but I ended up with flat (no projection) pancakes. I thought I’d have smaller circumference breasts with some projection & received the exact opposite. 6 years out I developed capsular contracture on the right & the left implant had a huge dent in the center due to being too small for the skin I had left.

    New PS said she would have to redo everything to get a good aesthetic look. She wants to put in anatomical gummies with high projection. Here’s the concern: She filled the left expander to 550cc and the right to 500cc yet she plans to have 620cc and 680cc implants in the OR to see which size will look best. Has anyone here received an anatomical gummy/gummies and been disappointed in the size. From all my research almost every woman has said (and many Plastic Surgeons have agreed) that silicone implants will always look smaller in comparison to expanders filled with saline. You can’t compare them because gel is softer than saline and implants are placed under the chest muscle making them less pronounced. Also, I can’t understand why I appear to be underexpanded compared to the size implants she’s considering using. She wants a tight fit in the breast pocket so the implants won’t rotate but I’ve only found a few posts online of women with anatomical implants & their expansion size was close to the final implant size.

    Sorry for the lengthy post but going thru this for the 2nd time, I don’t want to make another mistake & end up too small again. Bless you all & sending healing thoughts.

    • Hi Nancy,
      So sorry you have to go through this a second time – and with expanders again too, that can’t be easy. I invite anyone with personal experience with gummies to chime in – they were only beginning to be available when I had my reconstruction so I have silicone.

      I think one of the biggest differences in projection or how the implants look is the size of a woman’s frame. I have fairly broad shoulders and an upper back for my frame and am grateful now that my implants are as large as they are…..because of the flattened shape of the implant and subsequent weight gain over the past 2 years mine finally look proportional – even on the medium side. Now with hindsight and experience I would encourage women to not be afraid to go a little bigger if you are afraid the result will be too small. 1 year out they settle and they keep settling as the skin keeps stretching. That said, my experience is only with silicone.

      I wish you the best, I would love to hear how they look!

  25. Hi Nancy. Mine are max size of silicon for me that I could get. 800 cc. I have pretty broad chest and was very overweight when it happened. I’ve lost 40 lbs and counting since and not much change just a little. They have a slight lumpiness after 3 plus years and I got mid-profile so they are a little flatter than my real ones.., keeping in mind real ones are conular due to nipples:). If you don’t have them which I do not they remain flattish. However I understand high profile if going with silicon could make a diff. No experience with gummies but I know someone who had stage 3 andbgot gummies. She looks great. ( I just wish she’d stop smoking!)

  26. Hi Planet Bananas and Jojocap- Thanks for responding and providing me with support and helpful info. Saw PS last Fri. & found out she will order the 3 largest sizes Mentor makes in high profile gummies. Sometimes you just have to trust your doc. I never had nipple or areolar tattooing (many other health problems got in the way) but I plan to this time. Not sure whether to go for nipples or 3D tattooed nipples. Do either of you have an opinion on that? By the way, can you go braless with large implants or are you supposed to wear a bra for support all the time? I forgot to ask the PS that question & I’m not seeing her again until early Sept. prior to switch out to implants. I was thinking that if I had the ability to go braless at 550, 620 or 680cc then I might want 3D nipples so the front of my t-shirts or sun dresses look smooth. Of course I would still wear a bra much of the time. I wish both of you and all the other inspiring women on this site wellness and to those who are struggling strength to get through the journey. You are not alone!

    • OMG I just lost a long reply ….. 😦
      Anyway…. good luck with the Gummies, I agree, at a certain point you have to trust your surgeon. I have no opinion on nipples, other than it seems like a very personal decision and one that everyone has to make for themselves. I know many women who have opted to not get them as it is one more surgery. I am happy that I

      • Oh no…. this computer is giving me the agita today!

        As I was typing….. I am happy that I decided to do the nipples, but 3 years later they are very flat. I never had them tattoed – a combonation of advice from the surgeon and laziness but I will likely get them tattoed in the future rather than redo the reconstruction. I think flattening out is very common – I often go without any bralette and my silhouette is smooth, I think you could see the profile for about a year or so, it wasn’t long before they started disappearing. That said, I don’t regret it, at the time it was mentally important for me and I think that should be the defining thought behind your decision – how do you feel about it?

        Thanks so much for your kind words – you are not alone, either. If you feel like it, please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

  27. Hi Planet Bananas – Thanks for replying to my additional questions. Sorry your computer went nuts on you! I’m not sure about the nipple surgery but at least I have time to evaluate 3D tattooing before making my decision. I haven’t found any websites with good pics of 3D examples so if anyone out there can advise, I’d appreciate it. I’m glad you chose nipple surgery since it was important to you to do so at the time. Each of us must choose what reconstructive techniques feel best for ourselves and that is a very personal decision.Given the fact that you experienced flattening and it appears that many women do, I;m not so sure I want to go thru surgery for that just to end up tattooing down the road. Thanks for your support and the invaluable service you and your followers are providing to us all. I’ll most certainly keep in touch! Sending healing thoughts and prayers to all!.

  28. Hi Nancy and Lady B,
    Nipples: IMO I think the visual in the mirror and perhaps when wearing translucent clothing ratios would make a definite difference. My objection to nipple surgery is simply surgery and a definite risk of infection/rejection, even my breast surgeon paused when I asked her. So it diesnt always go well. But I think if it’s very important to anyone and will make them feel truly whole who can say anything about it? For me I don’t even want to deal with going under again unless I have to. Some day I’ll probably need or want to deal with the imperfections but I’m good for now. I don’t know of issues with tatooing? So can’t speak to that. My surgeon did express any concerns about it to me.. But I’ve seen some amazing tattoos on line. If you go to a cancer site you might find some. If I can locate a past link I’ll post it. Best wishes.

    • Hi Jojocap – Thanks for your input re: nipples. I definately want areola tattooing & possibly 3D nipple tattooing since they are done at the same time in the Ps’s ofc so no surgery. I agree with you that the less surgeries the better. Also, I’ve read that many women have complications after nipple surgery & I don’t want to take that chance. At least that’s my feeling today – it might change after the implant exchange. Thanks for offering to post a link to tattoo sites if you come across any. I haven’t had much success but I’ll keep looking. By the way, did your friend who got the gummies get the anatomical (teardrop shape) type, and if so, was she satisfied with the size and amount of projection? I haven’t received a post yet from anyone with anatomical gummies so I don’t have anyone to discuss size( cc’s), type of projection & final outcome with. Wishing you wellness and joy!

  29. Hi Nancy
    Don’t know if she had teardrop or not sorry! I will ask if I get the chance.
    Type in “nipple tattoos after reconstruction” and click “images”. Hope that’s a start gor you.

    • Thanks Jojocap

      You’re absolutely right! Some of the 3D tattooing is amazing! Sorry I didn’t respond back with a thank you sooner. I hope you are doing well and thanks again for your help!

  30. hello…. it’s certainly been a long time. I was locked out of this account for a good 2 years until the password just hit me like a bolt of lightening!!

    if anyone is still out there, I hope life is treating you well. This has been a long strange road, I have met some amazing human beings who helped carry me along when things just got to be too much. Now, things are good. I have fought tooth and nail to get here, and am not leaving anytime soon!!

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