Bilateral Breast Reconstruction for unilateral cancer

Bilateral mastectomies for unilateral infiltrating...

Bilateral mastectomies for unilateral infiltrating carcinoma with immediate tissue expander placement. SEVERE pain and muscle spasms started immediately post op and were unrelieved with pain meds +/or muscle relaxants. Plastic surgeon was very aggressive in pushing forward towards swap out but I ended up hospitalized because of intractable pain. Had to have expanders with only 280 and 340 ml volumes removed because Neurology wanted an MRI to rule out a brain leasion as the cause. Plastic Surgeon insisted on doing swap out to implant "to keep what we have already gained" She place 13.5 base/ 375 cc implants ( I had been a 40 D) 5 weeks later one had to be removed elsewhere after she wanted to treat a draining MRSA infection with oral antibiotics only. Pain and spasms on that side FINALLY resolved. She refuses to take out other implant (which has no projection , is hard and has a deep crease in the upper pole) claiming it is perfect and my continued pain and spams MUST be due to some neurologic problem despite the negative Neuro workup and symptom resolution with removal on the other side.

Pre Op Photos

Ok, so I'm fat. Really fat. Those pre- op photos don't hide a thing. But at age 55 and with 4 breast biopsies behind me the girls looked pretty good. Even the right side biopsy site with steri strip looks great (Thanks Dr. are the best)!! I wasn't expecting miracles with reconstruction, and I was even looking forward to getting rid of the roll-y bit that crept under my arm...(it kept getting in my way when I was doing surgery), but even though I am a physician / surgeon I was in no way prepared for how I was going to end up.
Laura Figura, MD

Spent a long time at the pre-op visit but discussed only options of TRAM, LAT Flap, immediate expanders or no reconstruction completely ignoring all the other options she does not personally do. She does not listen to patient complaints or problems - becomes defensive and always seems rushed to be done with you. She told me to research my own problems with pain and spasms online - "she had never heard of it before" She treated draining my MRSA infection of one implant with oral antibiotics, then after hospitalization for MRSA sepsis made me wait 10 weeks for follow up. She then refused to remove other implant despite continued problems with it forcing me to pay $$$$$ for out of network care to have it removed elsewhere

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
2 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
2 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
2 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
3 out of 5 stars Payment process
2 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
Was this review helpful? 1 other found this helpful

Comments (3)

I am so sorry to hear of your challenges. You've been through enough emotionally and then you have to deal with this. I witnessed a relative that used an expander during reconstruction...I empathize with your pain. Which part of your treatment was for out of network care? Are you going to get additional opinions and consults? I'm glad to hear you don't have any neurological problems, but hoping you can find some pain (and mental anguish) relief soon. Take care and keep us posted!

  • Reply
I had an elective bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, immediate tissue expanders and you're right. IT HURTS! Those 2 things alone, hurt. I had problems from the beginning as well. I started with saline implants, 300cc. Had them replaced due to my own tissue growing into the valves on the back of the implant. Had them replaced a second time for the same reason. And that was enough to leave them looking like crap. Had them replaced a 3rd time, but they did silicone implants that time. Well silicone implants combined with lots of scar tissue, and unexplained weight loss has left for VERY HORRID looking breasts. Dimpling. Hard around the outside edges plus cleavage edges. Plus with the weight loss, I lost all the fullness on my chest. I dropped all the weight due to an undiagnosed (@ the time of surgery) autoimmune disease, actually 2. I have undifferentiated connective tissue disease, which can kind of be compared to RA or Lupus. Symptoms are severe joint pain and swelling, multiple uncontrolled flare ups per year most of which have resulted in hospital stays on high dose prednisone and pain meds. I take LOTS of prescription high dose pain meds at home. I also have Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID). My body does not mount immunity to anything. Even childhood diseases which were vaccinated for, like MMR, I'm not immune too. The flu and pneumonia vaccines don't even work for me, as I've had pneumonia resulting hospitalization 22 times in the past 5 years. I take multiple immunosuppressants which, I know, seems counter productive, and I get an IVIG infusion monthly to supplement my body as it does not make IgG, IgA, or IgM. I stated I had lost weight. A total of 22 pounds. I'm currently 5'10 and 134 pounds. So I look like a stick with softballs. Lop sided soft balls, that is. NOW, I have to get them explanted. With my connective tissue disease, they are far too heavy. I get severe headaches and neck pain due to this. Well, implants cause your chest to concave where the implants were. I posed a question on here a few weeks ago, to the doctors. 1 has answered. It had to do with the explanting. He suggested explanting with body flap, stomach or butt fat, to make implants...there's a name for that, but it escapes me right now. But I don't have enough I don't think. So I'm not sure what my option will be. I see a PS in September. A diff one as now I live in another state. Kind of makes me regret being so proactive. :(
  • Reply

Just checking in to see how you are doing. Hoping you haven't had any flare ups from your autoimmune disorder. I have positive antibodies for RA and Lupus but only occasional minor aches and pains. I'm sorry your situation is much more severe. 

Did you end up explanting this October?  We do have a community that is dedicated to breast implant removal. Hoping you are feeling well with our without your implants. We'd love an update to your review when you have time!

  • Reply