Post Silicone Implant Disaster, Fat Transfer Va-Va-Voom! - Charlotte, NC
I'm only 9 days post fat transfer to the breasts...
A little background:
After breastfeeding three babies, my breasts were tired and deflated and I just didn't like them anymore. After much research I chose a reputable plastic surgeon in my area and in 2003 I received saline implants. I enjoyed them at first but problems quickly began to emerge. Rippling, bottoming out and capsular contracture, to name a few. After a subsequent surgery failed to fix the problem, my surgeon threw his hands up in the air and told me it was the best he could do (unless I forked out more money).
Thus, I dumped him and found another surgeon whose best advertisement was his lovely assistant who came into the examining room during my consult, took her shirt off and showed me the prettiest set of silicone implants I ever saw. Boom, I was sold. The surgeon removed my salines and replaced them with Mentor silicones. Though they looked much more natural, though in reality they never really felt natural at all because, let's face it, they weren't! But I was happy enough.
Unfortunately, mere weeks after the surgery I feel very, very ill, and a year of many doctors and tests later I determined that it was the silicone implants that were making me sick, and in 2005 I had them removed (you can check out my reviews to read the whole story in detail). Once I had those sick puppies out, I began to recover. Though my explanting surgeon, Dr. Edward Melmed, did an excellent job with removal and lift, my breasts were left small and sad-looking.
In the years following the removal I'd read articles about fat transfer to the breasts and fantasized about having it done but I was worried that the procedure hadn't been fully developed. The technique and retention rates seemed to improve over time, and certain surgeons stood out as above-average in their ability to obtain good results. One of these is Dr. Edward Bednar in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I live in California, so it took extra effort and expense to come all the way out to NC for the surgery, but I am so glad I did. After a lengthy phone consult with Dr. Bednar I flew out about a month later, had a pre-op appointment that same afternoon, and surgery the following morning. I also chose to have some of the harvested fat transferred to my face, mostly in the cheek area where age had caused the inevitable volume loss.
I won't say the surgery was a walk in the park (it was surgery, after all) and for the first week I looked like a cross between Jay Leno, the Joker and the Incredible Hulk, but the recovery has been relatively easy. Sylvia, Dr. Bednar's patient coordinator (and wife) was amazing. She was always available by phone, email and text to answer my many questions, and not only did she take me shopping for medical supplies and groceries, she and Dr. Bednar came to visit me at my hotel room. (By the way, I stayed in a suite at the Hampton Inn, conveniently located a few miles from Dr. Bednar's office and near a really nice shopping area with a Whole Foods, Dean and Delucca, frozen yogurt shop, etc. The suite was comfortable and quiet, with a fridge and microwave and excellent housekeeping service--I used a LOT of towels.) I hired a nurse for the first two days, but probably only needed her for one.
At nine days post-surgery, much of the swelling has dissipated and I am starting to feel less freakish. I only took pain medication twice, and then switched to Advil. My main complaints now are soreness in the lipo areas, but it's improving day by day. I've been doing a lot of walking and if I get a little winded (for example, after climbing stairs) everything swells up. Heat also really stimulates the swelling, especially my face, but it goes back down after I go inside and put my feet up.
A note on the compression garments: it was difficult to get the right fit for my body. I am tall, so the large size worked for my height but was too big for my width. The medium size fit width-wise but was too short. In the end I started wearing very clingy activewear with a high amount of spandex, like the kind for running, but to tell you the truth, I don't even wear them at night, instead opting for a pair of moderately clingy yoga pants. The tighter garments make me so uncomfortable I can't get a good night's sleep. There is are a lot of different opinions about compression garments. One prominent (and now retired) plastic surgeon says they are completely unnecessary and don't affect the result one way or another. He sited a study comparing those who wear them and those who don't and there was no discernible difference in outcomes. I do like to wear tighter options during the day, when I am more apt to be active and stimulate swelling.
Nine years later I started
15 days post fat transfer--so far, so good
Saw Dr. B before I left NC and he said the lumps and bumps I have here and there in the lipo'd areas are normal and will resolve over time. He was very pleased with my progress so far and feels that the final result will be excellent.
Still sleeping with my head elevated, and no,I don't wear the compression garment at night. Just can't relax with it on in bed. Keeping my fingers crossed that it won't matter. I do wear snug lycra workout pants during the day. talked to a girlfriend who had lipo and her doc said to use a rolling pin on her legs to smoothe out the skin! Sounds silly but I just might try it.
compression garment redux
three weeks post-op and feeling good
The bruising on the lipo'd areas is almost gone, though there is still soreness. i've begun massage on my legs, which helps alleviate this.
Things are settling down quite nicely on my face, with the exception of two small but stubborn lumps. i'm looking less freakish and more natural as time goes by.
I couldn't have asked for a better surgeon. Dr. Bednar is a true artist who really understands anatomy, as well as being patient, kind, reassuring, and committed to excellence. This man wants his patients to be happy with their results. He and his lovely wife and patient coordinator, Sylvia, along with the anesthesiologist and nurses made this experience the best it could possibly be.