Happy 36th Birthday & Good-bye -- RIP Implants Departing - Cullman County, AL

Writing a review of my experience is more...

Writing a review of my experience is more difficult than I thought. If it weren't for the deep appreciation I have for the generous women & doctors sharing here on RealSelf, I would be content to read & give a comment now & then. But it is helping me feel less isolated going through the deeply personal business of explanting. So here are the facts: At 28, 105 lbs @ 5'4", having the only 2 children I intended to, I made the decision to have a tummy tuck. During the consult the PS told me he did the same surgery for his daughter-in-law & balanced her breast size at the same time & she was my size (32A).

Found I was a 'perfect candidate'...and in less than a week I had 5 1/2 inches surgically removed from my tummy & beautiful 34Cs. I had been exercising like crazy to try to rid myself of the flab, so I looked better than I ever imagined. My 28 yr old self would have never believed that at 64 I would weigh 146, wear a size 10 - 12! But here I am. My breasts have changed along with the rest of me. No health issues have been traced to silicone & from what they can tell, the implants are still in tact. I have to mention that after a couple of years of getting implants, I started to resent the very attn. I had basked in after the surgery -- having until then always been the skinny girl with no boobs, but very nice long hair. Ah yes, queens of camo we become, yes? First to hide that we don't have, then concealing we do. My daughters & dils always buy me clothes-that-fit for my birthday and Xmas. lol Very few people know I have implants. I have to wonder how many women were like me & went to a PS rather than a counselor to settle their issues with their bodies. So much in life is a perspective thing.

Here's what may be helpful to someone else: I did everything wrong when I couldn't put off explantation any longer. I chose a PS quickly, had a consult without a plan, and agreed to do what seemed like the easiest way, quickly. Ya see, I don't want my body to change. I'd keep the implants forever if I weren't scared silly to keep them any longer. lol At some point common sense takes over. My loving dh of 33 years has wanted me to be explanted since the silicone issues hit the news (& my mailbox) in the mid-1990s. I set my deadline with the Dow Trust settlement ones & with Medicare. So I felt trapped to finally do something NOW. I just didn't know what something was. I took my surgical notes & images of my infantile scoliosis, in case my spinal configuration would be a consideration in creating me-the-next-generation.

I looked at photos, had my exam, and the vanity side of me was back 36 years ago thinking about the expertise of gifted surgeons who are dream makers. They smooth, they tuck, they correct nature and accidental mishaps. My superficial self went into overdrive along with Miss Vanity, and for a little while I stopped thinking about the reality of being a 65 year old woman & accepting that. Afterall, I'd been the queen of smoke & mirrors in 1 way or the other most of my life. lol So I walked out of the consult with a surgical date & a plan of getting the old ones out & new saline implants in -- presto change - o. I felt instant relief. No talk of pre-op, post -op, surgical details, or anything else other than my form of payment. Well that lasted about 4 hours. During a conversation with my husband, who I insisted stay in the waiting room (another mistake), I realized how opposed he was & questions he had I couldn't answer. Yep. For a woman who likes to think of herself as half intelligent, I blew it. Then I found RealSelf. I sat up late into the night with a cup of tea & candlelight reading story after story ... comments, questions, studied the photos. Real women. Real struggles & triumphs. Real. Real life -- my real life. My real situation. I said prayers of thanksgiving and started asking myself the real questions. Self-dialog is as important as talking things over with my husband -- honestly.

So fast forward...on the 27th I'm keeping my surgical appt. to be explanted. I settled in the decision not to get saline implants (there was something about "perky" and Medicare that didn't fit. The PS had advised a bit larger to fill in the top of the breast). Not getting the lift at that time. I read Dr. answers on questions re: lifts and realized I didn't have to make this decision right now. Something(s), someone(s) I have read about here has slowed me down to logical instead of emotional thinking, so I believe 1 step at a time is the best approach. Afterall, the mammogram is this afternoon & there still may be factors I don't know about at this moment. I will be counting myself lucky if the films show nothing unusual & am so glad this is the last time I will have to endure having my implants separated from my breast tissue for an additional set of films! Ouch!

This is far longer than I intended, but being a bit of a story teller, you're getting off easy.
So a quick re-cap (if you're still with me): mammogram this afternoon (23rd), surgery the 27th. After reading posts here I'm annoyed that the PS gave me nothing in the way of pre-op or post-op info. at the office or on the phone. When I called to drop the saline implant part of the procedure, it was clear she did not agree with the decision. I asked if I needed to come in to talk to the doctor or to re-do our financials, she said I'd get a call back. Very cool. This is not the friendliest group of medical professionals I've encountered. Only the receptionist smiles. But when I went for the consult, I wasn't smiling either. I'm not worried, as I have seen his work & know people he goes to church with. But yet again, I'll advise a person thinking of this deeply personal procedure to take their time, know their hearts & minds, and select medical people they feel are on the team. Oh yes, and let the people who love you join the team too.
whew!!! That was long!! I feel a Tiny Tim "god bless us every one" moment coming on. lol

Getting ready

Sorry about so many words in review -- overthinking I guess. On the outside I'm calm, but on the inside it's a different story. Trying all the yoga & meditation techniques I know. Again, so sorry to ramble on like that.
I'm off to the store to pick up some items from the check list I found here. My full-service-husband is right here, ready to be my chef, nurse...whatever he has to be. We're both ready to stop thinking & talking about this.

Doing better than expected so far

About 11 hours post op. I'll try to keep this post simple & not like the previous one!
Duration of surgery: 90 mins
General IV sedation with anti-nausea drugs.
Only remarkable thing is the tube that was inserted down my throat after I was 'out'.
Safeguard for the lungs incase I upset. I was slightly nauseated when I arrived. I always appear to be calm on the outside, but sometimes have bowel spasms & had taken a Librax the night before. So my throat is sore. He showed me how to ease it. No nausea after surgery or since I've been home.
No outside stitches; No drainage tubes.
Only surgical tape w/gauze over the original implant scars.
I can shower tomorrow (& dab dry).
Post-op visit in a week. Nurse will call tomorrow to check w/me & answer questions.
No compression bra. Told to use a sports bra or ?? if I want. I'm wearing a Rhonda Shear Ahhh-BRA (which I love) I buy from HSN. No seams in the body of the bra, seams, no elastic. Holds gently. Has cups. You can easily put it on from the bottom up. No modesty pads (although I probably will need to wear them after healing) For symmetry & to add a little.
I think I will have to post some photos -- hard to explain what they look like.
Since I have infantile scoliosis & kytoscoliosis (side-side & back to front -- I'm supposed to be about 3" taller) born with the former. Without implants, the old problem of not looking quite alike will return I'm sure.
I've taken 2 pain pills since I returned home (1 @ 12:30 & 1 at 6:30). Funny thing that the insert of the nausea pill said no to use w/the pain med. Yes I read the all the precautions. lol I slept off & on til 6. Now sitting in the recliner drinking more (& more & more) water. My appetite is good but taking it easy until I have a BM. My nurse is outstanding. (husband)
The most significant thing is that BOTH implants were ruptured. PS says they appear to be have been leaking for awhile (no guess) and the capsules did their job.
I've looked at the vials and wow! So imaging & physical exams can't tell the whole story.
I'm feeling much better than I thought I would at this point. But as I said, I'm taking the pain med, if only in a half dose. Enjoying the ergo adjustable bed, but staying up in recliner for a bit. I'll give the name of my doctor now that we're this far along.
I have complete confidence in him at this point.
Prayers & much thanks for helping me more than I can say. Hugs,

4 days post op

I wish I had known how well this was going to go. I dreaded it on every level. Each day brings improvement. Decreased pain med from 3, then 2, then 1 at bedtime. No nausea after day 2. Taking Tylenol though. Ducolax took care of the constipation (day 2, 1 pill, day 3, 2 and then it was ok) So we're good. Still napping & taking it easy, but can move around more freely & more often. I could shower from day 1 as there are no outside stitches -- the PS used the old incision & I can see it through the tape (which is peeling off as they said it would). Looks better on 1 side than the other, but pretty good. I swab the area with peroxide twice a day & cushion the incision area with sterile gauze. Wearing a sports bra 24/7 now. Doesn't look near as bad as I thought it would. Glad I didn't have replacement saline implants put in. At this point, glad I didn't get the lift. Hoping things continue at the pace they are! whew!!! what a relief.

8 days post op visit - Back in 6 wks & feeling optimistic!

Best possible outcome. No bruising. Incision is good shape (stitches on the inside). No special instructions there other than apply vit E oil after shower as the surgi-strips come off (on their own) Whatever bra is comfortable other than underwire of course. Gradually resume normal activity, no lifting over 10 lbs. As a former exercise instructor & yoga student, I understand listening to my body & going slowly. Taking no chances. Just experiencing the normal weird little twinges & sensations as my body adjusts to it's new contours.
I took 12 of the 40 prescribed pain med but did take Tylenol within safe limits. Only 2 nausea pills total. Lots of water, lots of naps. I still run out of steam quickly & have to sit a bit (get a little nauseated & weak then, but it goes away -- feels like a sugar drop, if ya know what I mean). My dh has been keeping my diet balanced. I had to turn a blind eye to the kitchen, as we each have our own ways of doing things. Mine are right of course. lol
Having physical restrictions due to scoliosis, I'm accustomed to listening to my body & paying attn. to details, so my best advise is to take the very best care of yourself as you can through your surgery & recovery. Others can wait this time. Don't rush. Don't hesitate to ask for any help you need. It's your turn. (of course, I have a policy of not asking anyone to do anything I wouldn't do for them ) So back in 6 weeks. I'll scan photos later. You'll be amazed at the state of those old implants & capsules! I am very very blessed!! PTL

on being 2 months out & being authentic

...and life goes on. I feel like I'm back home from a long trip -- like the month of Sept was cancelled & Oct was living another life. A restricted & sometimes emotional one. I was so lucky to get through those 36 years w/implants without consequence. I thought I would miss my full, natural looking boobs. (oh yes, I was proud of them. lol especially in a bathing suit at my age. They offset my weight gain in my lower body that has come with time) Vanity comes at a price & I've found my limits. Which the women on this site helped me realize. (thank-you again)
Sooo...they look exactly like what they are. Round boobs that have a chunk removed. Everyone says wait 6 months to a yr to really know. We'll see. They feel nice & soft. Sensation more acute. Healing well. Gradually getting back to my fitness level but still cautious. Life is good.

It's been over 6 months now...

which is the time I set to consider whether or not to have reconstruction after explantation of my 36 yr old silicone implants. I just had them removed & hoped for the best. I am now a B cup, instead of C. In my stretchy bras & bathing suits things look good. Not without. They are not symmetrical. One is larger, there are indentions where the implant lived, one nipple is shy. I can see that having saline implants at the time of explant would have made them look better. But I have to say, that they feel great. I don't regret my decision to wait & see. It needed to be more than an emotional decision. They aren't perfect to look at but they're perfect for me. They're authentic. They are me. I am peaceful in the knowledge that I'm healthy & the ordeal is done with. If I decide to have saline implants put in, I can do that. A person learns a lot about themselves when they go through this process. If you let yourself think that is. At first I didn't even want to do that. After the procedure I couldn't stop looking or worrying about all the "what ifs" so I drew a big red heart around the 6 month anniversary of the surgery & just coasted, trying to stay away from the bathroom mirror. So here I am. Back to full exercise & wearing pretty underwear (which I advise every woman to buy before surgery). With imperfectly shaped, but remarkably soft & loveable breasts. I'm good. Only advice I have: be good to yourself. Whatever you do, do it for you. Not your lover, your gym-mates, or anyone else. I laugh at myself when I go & put the contour cups in my stretchy cup bras (I think they call them modesty pads, but who are we kidding?) lol I do that when I'm wearing a clingy top that shows the left being slightly larger than the right. lol So I'm not entirely the poster girl for self-confidence. My PS was not happy w/my decision not to reconstruct at explanting. But he's a dream maker -- I'm living a real life. I have his number if I change my mind. It's a long life hopefully. Who knows. Be peaceful & self loving in whatever you do. To those who verbally held my hand & offered support in a very vulnerable, sad time, I will always be grateful. I made a very close friend who made such a big difference. Congratulations to those with great results & to those who haven't, love yourself & do what's best for you. You are more the measure of your chest. Thank-you for everything.

oops...can't type

that was "You are more THAN the measure of your chest" lol But you probably knew that. See we are perfect in our imperfection. lol
Steven Seidel, MD

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Comments (18)

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Great post. I'm going in on Wed. ayem. Can't wait. Only concern is the inability to exercise for weeks. I ran/hiked and lifted today. And did a set of pushups. The good thing is I know I can get back there. Will use time off in the morning before work to pursue creative endeavors....now who's rambling? lol. Thanks for your story!
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Will be thinking of you tomorrow Bub. It is going to be hard for you to be patient (cautious) re: exercise, but healing well has to be enough motivation for you to take it slow. You're right. You absolutely will get back & be stronger for it. If we can't do what we're accustomed to doing, try something different we can do, right?!! It's just a small segment of time dedicated to another wellness pursuit. Hugs,
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Thanks so much Alli! Just a few hours away....:-)
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Feeling well. Breasts changing. Looking less symmetrical & less like a set. One nipple has a tendency to go inward, but isn't concave or set that way. When I lift both arms overhead & the muscles are engaged, the skin on the inner (lower) side of each breast looks a little mottled -- not quite smooth. I can definitely see the advantages of a breast lift for someone like me. Some reconstruct would greatly improve the appearance after all this time & the addition of weight. 36 yrs is a long time. Can't say yet that I regret not having the breast lift at the time of explant, but I'm sure that's because my recovery has been fast & gone well. You know how we are...the way I look is secondary to the way I feel -- right now. But I felt I should say something for the long-timers who are planning their surgeries. Yes, everyone is different ... age, skin elasticity, wgt...
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3 weeks ago today I was just getting home from explant. Very grateful to be on this side of the surgery! Went to dance yesterday for the 1st time since. Felt good. Even if it was just the 1 hr beginner level. It was my 1st time to have to think about what to wear. I promised myself, no comparisons (not to old self or to others), but that's not easy to keep. Someone mentioned concerns about going to their tai-chi class after surgery & I can relate. People are used to seeing you looking a certain way. Oh well...let 'em think I was padding myself up before or ??. lol I haven't shared my boob-saga with the group. I'm a private person but a friendly one. I ended up wearing an oversized tee & sport pants. Unless we're doing lunch, I wear tees anyway. Before the surgery I did buy some large shirts in different colors than I usually wear. A girl needs a little camo (not in color) now & again. Well...I look different because I am different. I'm better. I'm real. And personally I think it's a very good sign when I'm thinking about how I look instead of how I feel. lol I feel so much better!!
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Exercise today was merely turning on Music Choice on tv & dancing for 40 mins & there was no one watching. Don't know if you're familiar with nia but it's random movement to music. It was a bit like that but easy going. No intensity, just free flow. I would stop & stretch now & then, but it was an easy workout, ending with a stretch & a much needed shower. It's a new way, but that's good. This is a new day. I'm feeling strong right now so all things positive are seeping into my thoughts. Maybe we need a thread called Random Thoughts as a kind of post op therapy. lol (I'll try not to ramble)
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15 days post op. Best day yet! Healing well. Glad I didn't have the lift! I feel like I've given enough time to all things connected to implants. Relieved I have breasts. Don't mind them being a bit smaller. And the right returns to being a little smaller than the left (it's the spinal curvature really), which actually makes me smile. I'm real. I'm me. Wearing the Ahh bras (without pads) & sports bras I own. The 38C bras with defined cups will have to go. I'm waiting a few months to see how things settle. Wore a proper size t-shirt today instead of oversize. It feels so good to be able to exercise a bit & feel like me. No meds, fully rested, and so relieved. Yes, the incisions are a little touchy, but that's a minor imposition!
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clarification: I'm glad I didn't have the lift. But I can see that it would greatly improve the symmetry & be more youthful. Knowing I can do it later is enough for me. I'm a little stubborn right now re: self-acceptance, comparison, and all that led me to a PS in the first place. I refuse to mourn what was & embrace what is. This time, it IS all about me. lol
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Happy to read your story. i go to PS tomorrow for consultation. I do not want implant exchange and hopefully have enough tissue for a lift. I am 65 and have had these implants for 30+ years. ready for them to be gone!
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((36DD)) Please learn from my mistakes that I'm sure were brought on by nerves & dreading the worst. Once I came to terms with the fact I could go back later & have a lift, if I felt it necessary after meeting the newbies (or the oldies -- depends on your point of view!), I became calm. I am glad I didn't do anything but have the implants removed. My recovery has been so much easier than I imagined. Stronger by the hour. Keep reading & writing to the generous women in this group. All their info & experience enabled me to make notes & stay focused when I spoke to the PS & staff. I was so fearful & felt isolated. Best of luck tomorrow & in getting what you want/need right now. In your pocket!
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Wonderful story ..thanks for sharing! I was explanted 3 weeks ago & I can promise you, it will be the best decision you have ever made! I feel so free now :) If you have any questions about the procedure, I can help answer them ;) Sending blessings your way!
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((Iron Baby)) Thanks for writing. Tomorrow is the day. I'm not feeling near as comfortable with the PS & staff as most seem to be. No Rxs given in advance, no blood work ... no instructions except wear an open-down-the-front top & no liquids after midnight. When I asked the nurse about pre-op & anesthesia on the phone, she said they would go over that right before the surgery. That's my pre-op (??!!) The PS is well educated & has a solid reputation with patients & doctors in our area. I'm a little concerned about post-op anesthesia problems, but my husband assures me he'll get whatever I need. I'm very lucky to have him with me. He's so glad I'm finally doing this. Fingers crossed...
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Thank-you. You are absolutely right. I feel so much better than I imagined I would. The mental anguish was terrible.
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commenting on my own comment: The PS & staff could not have been more attentive & reassuring.
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Oh my goodness, what a story! And never apologize for rambling here. We love it! How was your mammogram? I'll be thinking of you big time on the 27th and hoping it all goes swimmingly.

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Thanks. Since I've heard nothing, I guess the mammogram was ok. They knew I was being explanted tomorrow...the tech told me the lifts she as seen done by my PS are excellent. Which is nice, but since I'm not having one... I'll check in hopefully tomorrow.
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Well that was a very courageous thing to do to shift gears in mid stream. You've come to the right place for questions, answers or just sharing. I too am sixty four and getting mine out October 1st. Yours is just around the corner and wish you fast healing. It's fortunate that you still have good health, I am hoping that my health turns around after the explant as I have a rupture. Best wishes to you!
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Thanks deborahvs. Hoping for the best for us both.
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