Reconstruction Costs

Blister Member Posts: 65
edited December 2020 in General discussion
Don’t know why or what planet I was on, but I thought if you had breast cancer your reconstruction would be covered, as it wasn’t classed as cosmetic surgery.  Well apparently I am so wrong.  If I was to continue on the Private Patient path what would the be possible cost give or take.  Or would I be best going on the Public waiting list and of so is anyone here in Brisbane who might know approximately how long the wait list is

I had hoped to get a reconstruction next year, I’ve just been warned that it’s expensive so not sure I can afford it now.  Which is leading me to think and wish I had asked for a DMX and I would have just gone flat 😢

don’t get me wrong, even though I’ve only got the temporary crocheted prosthesis, I find it hot and it just doesn’t look good no matter how much I try and play with the stuffing 😳, I’m just not that comfortable in my own skin to go out without the look of being close to even


  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,513
    Hi @Blister
    I haven’t had recon yet, but from what I’ve read it can be anywhere between $10-20000 privately. It’s a ridiculous amount. I also wasn’t aware at first that we have to pay so much. Very unfair. 
    I suggest you check reviews of hospitals in your town that do it, and put yourself on the list for public. You can figure out a different strategy while you’re waiting, but at least your name will be down. 

  • Blister
    Blister Member Posts: 65
    @FLClover thank you I think that’s what I will do 
  • AllyJay
    AllyJay Member Posts: 934
    Hi there Blister...sorry about your problems around reconstruction. Do you realise that you can get a silicone breast prosthesis which medicare will pay $400.00 each? I had a bilateral mastectomy and was seen by a fitter and given two Amoena foobs (fake boobs) and a free bra. Medicare refunded the money in full, after about a week. I also had a pair of crocheted ones as well as knitted ones, but every time I lifted my arms, The whole shebang, bra and all would end up just under my collar bones. If I had had at least one original boob, it might have anchored the stuffy side, but they were not suitable for me.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,332
    A prosthesis is worthwhile even as a shorter term measure while you consider reconstruction.  I had to use a soft pad for an extended period while something else got sorted out and its ‘floating’ quality was irritating, to put it nicely. A proper prosthesis fixed my out of balance spine and stayed put! I was never sure about reconstruction (the whole idea, more surgery as well as cost). As I have found a prosthesis simple, easy and completely acceptable, I will remain unreconstructed. Best wishes. 
  • Blister
    Blister Member Posts: 65
    @AllyJay I have a crocheted one at the moment, I’m still swollen and recovering (so haven’t gone shopping yet for proper bras and prosthesis) I just find it very hot and I end up chucking it. I’m going to make an appointment next year and see what type of reconstruction I can get and get a cost if it’s way to expensive I will go public. If I was smaller breasted I wouldn’t care, but I look uneven I get a lot of women are happy going with prosthetics. I’m also one of the lucky 1 in 8 who will suffer hot flushes the rest of my life so I’ve ended up not enjoying that hot sweaty feeling all year round
  • Locksley
    Locksley Member Posts: 903
    I have the crochet ones but they were not very comfortable.   When I got my silicon prothesis this fits much better in the bra and is very comfortable for about 6 hours and then I have to take it off.   Medicare covered the whole $400.00 cost of the prothesis.
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,808
    I use a Trulife prosthesis which comes with it's own little cotton pocket and it is really good even in hot climates.  The prosthesis itself is far softer on the skin side and fits really well with whatever chest/scaring is there.  It feels like it is filled with cornflour, soft and silky.  (I'd had Amoena ones before and found them too stiff and hot as well as heavy).  Hope this helps someone.
  • Blister
    Blister Member Posts: 65
    @June1952 thank you will into that one 

    @Locksley thank you
  • JulieVT11
    JulieVT11 Member Posts: 90
    @Blister I am also still to have reconstruction after single MX.  I am in Brisbane also and was quoted $12-$15;000 also going private - I’m keen to have a DIEP recon done.  There is no way I have that sort of cash so spoke to my breast surgeon - she suggested Mater Hospital is the best if you go public and Dr Gerard Bayley at Greenslopes Hospital has a gap fee of approx $3500 which is private.  I haven’t looked into either option as yet but will do so in the New Year.
    in regard to the prothesis as the ladies above have suggested there are quite a few options, I had a proper fitting done about 5 weeks post op and got a lightweight one as well as the proper silicone one.  I much prefer the lighter version especially in the hot humid weather haha.  Spirit of Life Boutique in Clayfield do proper fittings and sell a good wide range of prothesis, bras, swimmers etc and both ladies have had BC so are very caring and thoughtful, I had a full on breakdown at my first visit and they were wonderful - the whole fake boob thing became a bit overwhelmingly real.

  • Blister
    Blister Member Posts: 65
    @JulieVT11 thank you I’m going to see the ladies at Clayfield after Christmas as I’m only just over 2 weeks post op, I’m going to check out the PS my Breast Surgeon has said she will send me to, have decided it won’t hurt and a great way to find the best way forward.  I’m going to cross my fingers that they use special item numbers for cancer patients which I have found out happened for a lady.  If not I will look into Public, I found on the Queensland Health page that BC women must be seen or done in 365 days, but you have to meet a criteria BMI etc, which means I have a little weight to lose either way
  • Ecup2020
    Ecup2020 Member Posts: 15
    Hi Blister
    re the weight loss thing- I find lots of people with a cancer diagnosis start to re assess lots of things about their life.
    I actually lost 4 kilos in hospital , almost 2 from a single mastectomy and reduction in other breast ( was an E cup now a C cup) and then another 2 from the terrible nausea I had from the anaesthetic and pain meds.
    I then decided to build on that by looking closely at my eating habits.
    I was 78 kilos before the operation  and am now down to 71, my aim is to get to 70 which I have not been for over 20 years ( I am 62).
    I have virtually given up alcohol, sweets and processed foods and mainly eating fresh food with lots of fish, fruit and vegetables.I am not starving myself, just eating more selectively.
    I am also doing more exercise ( mainly walking but will be going back to swimming and Pilates soon).
    I am soon to start Letrazole and have heard that this sometimes  cause weight gain so wanted to get ahead of the game there.
    I am in Sydney and the hospital I am getting treatment at had a dietician and exercise service ( I haven’t used it) but that might be something worth checking out.
    All the best with your journey.
  • Blister
    Blister Member Posts: 65
    @Ecup2020 thank you.  I’m 60, and need to loose about 20kg 😢 my weight got worse after they took me off my Thyroid meds then I got BC and recovering, I’m making sure I try and walk a lot, I’m doing my exercises I was given post surgery.  Hoping next year I will be able to start doing some upper body exercises.  Am looking at my diet, and going to see a physiotherapist who does Pilates, thought they would be better than one of the Pilates gym
  • Mazbeth
    Mazbeth Member Posts: 199
    Hi @Blister I just had my expanders swapped for the implants last night. I had a BMX in June and had expanders put in immediately and slowly had them filled every 4 weeks. I was a DD cup and I am now a C cup. I have used the private system the whole way through and I am based in Brisbane. After some counselling I realised that reconstruction was for me - and I used the BRECONDA online app which also helped. My surgeon gave me a list of plastic surgeons he works with and left me to decide. Eek! However, he did let me know that there are PS where he has heard there may be a gap of up to
    $20 000. You need to check if your PS is participating with your private health fund provider in the ‘Gap Cover Scheme’. Both my PS and anaesthetist did participate. I am pretty sure I am not out of pocket for the anaesthetist and I paid an up front fee of $3000 for my PS - who has been absolutely brilliant. In total, I have paid $3000 + $40 for each of the constriction bras I need post surgery.
    I hope this helps in some way. I am happy to answer any questions if you want to know who my surgeons are - all amazing and I have been so supported through chemo, surgery, hormone blockers and the reconstruction. Ask questions, gather information and I wish you all the very best. 
  • Blister
    Blister Member Posts: 65
    @Mazbeth thank you yes it does.  I’m not sure which type of reconstruction I will be able to have and will find out at consult 
  • Mazbeth
    Mazbeth Member Posts: 199
    No problem - I could not have DIEP due to a previous surgery and did not have the necessary veins/artery to do it. There are quite a few options, which is great. 😀