Tissue Expanders/Silicone Implants following Bilateral mastecomy

After cancer robs you of many things including...

After cancer robs you of many things including your breast, reconstruction is a way of feeling whole again. I had two-stage reconstruction. At the time of my mastectomy I had tissue expanders inserted. After weekly "fills" of saline water I am now at my chosen size and I am awaiting implants in 2 weeks :)

Patiently waiting for my exchange

My exchange is Friday. I am hoping for the best, of course I have concerns that hopefully will just be my nerves and no reason for concern. I do believe that anything will be better than these tissue expanders I've had for 7 months. Even though they look good, they are hard as rocks. I am ready for some softness. In my preparation I have bought pillows, soup, and zipper hoodies. I have been waiting to be finally over with the diagnosis of cancer. Reconstruction is the final stage and while I welcome it, I am frightened by "what's next?" As I try and put the pieces back together of my life.

3 days post exchange

It's been 3 days since the exchange. I feel ok and get around good I believe. I have peeked at my boobs and all I can say is that they are small. From what I see they look real. I don't see any swelling and hopefully there isn't because , I wouldn't want to see the swelling go down and I'm even smaller. I wanted to be a full C, they look on the small B side. I don't even know what size implant was used, my PS Neva came to talk to me or my friend. Which doesn't sit well wit me I don't know my size and wasn't left with any paper work. I've heard people say All the time to give things time to settle , so I guess I will. At this time I know I would not like to go under Again to switch sizes. I have had enough things done to me because of cancer and treatment for it, I was so happy to be done with everything. I look the size I was before cancer so I guess at least I'm back there and cancer free.

1wk post exchange to implants

It has been one week since my surgery. My PS used the sientra silicone high profile smooth round, they are 505cc's. I never felt pain in the breast area just from my stomach where the fat was taken. It has been tight, bruised and swollen. It gets better as the days go by and you don't notice it until you bend or arise from being seated. I peek at the implants and even though I knew better I made judgment. They looked small, which wasn't no bad since I didn't have large breast to start with. I just figured that since I'm subject to all this , I could at least come out bigger. I can say they change daily it seems and can not wait until everything is completely settled. Saw the nurse at my visit today and she said they look great and gave me instructions to massage a hard spot where the fat was injected, I didn't notice it before then though. She took pics of me and I go back to see my PS in 2wks. I am out of the dreaded surgical bra and into a sports bra that hooks in the front They really are like the same material jus minus the annoying Velcro pieces. I am still wearing the binder given to me at the hospital over my stomach. I definitely want to do this for as long as they say (6wks) because I don't want issues with the appearance and feel of my stomach. You can also swear spanx, it's just that my best ones I can't fit do to gaining wait. But when I get tired of that I put on other support garments that aren't as tight as the spanx brand. It's a crazy feeling when I look down at my chest they don't look as big but when I see pics that I took n ones from the PS office today they look so much bigger. I am fine with them now I just miss the projection from my expanders. I have good cleavage and I am larger than before the mastecomy so I am fine with everything and think they do look good.

3 wks post exchange

Saw my PS surgeon yesterday she said everything looks good. She took a peak n took pictures , I will see her after the holidays in about 5 weeks. I forgot to mention my lump from the fat grafts hope that goes away.

Month post opp

I am still waiting to see the final changes, but I have been noticing a lot of rippling. On my left breast you can see where the implant ends and the boobs take a very shape when I lie down. I also don't like the shape at the bottom. I see my doctor in 4 weeks again so there will be a discussion about the rippling. It's hard to know what your next steps will be. I've been lucky to not have any complications and you are happy to get the tissue expanders out, so you wonder if you should focus just on that. The fat grafting to my upper pole have great results so maybe more surrounding the sides and bottom of the best would be good. Even though I would like a larger implant and the exchange was a breeze , I don't want another surgery at this time. The fat grafting had me sore and was the most uncomfortable part. But the fat grafting isn't surgery for I'm for that. I don't know what area to take the fat from. I still have a lump from my stomach and I wouldn't want to cause any more issues with my stomach. I have disliked it for a while, don't want to add lumpiness to the list with stretch marks and the momma pouch. So we will see what the doctor says next month.

All is well

Hello, all is well. Will be 2wks post opp next week. I like my results but think they can be better. Even tho I would have liked larger, I can live with the size I am now. It's weird they look small when I look down but not too small in clothes. I love the cleavage area and that's where the fat was added , I would like more to feel in dented areas and to give a softer feel. I see my PS Monday , so hopefully she will agree.

2 months post exchange

Today makes it exactly 2 months that I've had my silicone implants. I am fortunate to have reconstruction without any complications but I am not completely happy. I have a love like relationship with my new boobs. I feel like I could get better results but I would really like to stay away from doctors and surgeries for a while. I've had enough in the past year and a half to last me a lifetime. I do think that n the future I will get a flap reconstruction along with implants. Then hopefully I could have more projection and hopefully sum added natural movement along with overall more volume. I feel as if I am slightly larger than my natural breast but I could live with it. My goal was to be able to wear bras with out padding because I would have larger breasts , this isn't the case I believe I would have to need more padding to cover the lack of projection. On the bright side my cleavage looks wonderful though. I could make my breast look good n clothes n bras but I would also like them to look good while im naked. My doctor said she would do more fat grafting to fill in a dent, but other than that I'm done with my boobs. It's time to focus on starting back my life that has been on hold.

1yr anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy

March 1,2013 was the day I had my mastectomy. It was the hardest, scariest part of my cancer journey, but it was a essential process I know I needed to do. Well I was suppose to have an overnite hospital visit, I ended up spending 5 days in the hospital. I woke up with a breathing tube down my throat and in a ICU of a different hospital. There ended up being problems with my breathing. After several test it was determined I had a blood clot in my lung, so along with recovering from my mastecomy I had to get my breathing regulated and work on the thinning of my blood. It all became worth it when my surgeon told me I was cancer free , clean margins and the cancer didn't spread outside of the breast. So one year later I am doing fine, had my reconstruction Nov. 15, 2013. Which was 8 months after the mastecomy . I am now trying to get back to a new normal of life. This march I celebrate waking up from my mastectomy that came with an unexpected complication, being cancer free for a year and also my 27th birthday. I am a happy camper

Happy 27th/1 yr cancer free

My 27th birthday was Wednesday. So yesterday I had a party celebrating my birthday and being cancer free for a year. It was nice and fun to have something positive to celebrate. The last year and a half has been so crazy I'm positive it's eventful enough for a lifetime movie. My birthdays has always been important to me Last year didn't do much but went out even tho I had just had a bilateral mastectomy weeks before. But this year I was truly happy to celebrate my accomplishments and the fact that I made it to see another year and cancer didn't take me

6 month anniversary

Jus looked at the calendar and I realized yesterday was my girls 6 month anniversary. They grow on me more n more everyday. Happy with my decision to get the round silicone implants. There are things I would like to improve but I am not interested in anymore surgeries anytime soon. Tried on swimsuits and I was pleasantly surprised. I recently bought a high waist bikini tried it on and it was ok. Today I tried on the regular bikinis , I like them better than the high waist that I bought to conceal areas. Cancer isn't easy by any means and takes a toll on your body. But I can honestly say I like the skin I'm in. I'm a young woman so of course there are areas I could improve but I feel proud of this body for all it's been thru. Stretch marks, scars and silicone but I love the skin I'm in. Feels really good
Dr. Tenenbaum

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
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 6 others found this helpful

Comments (93)

Sort by

Your reconstruction is lovely. You look perfect! Great news on being cancer free! I have my bilateral mastectomy/2 step reconstruction in one more day>>Yikes!!!
  • Reply
Thank you Lulu. Good luck and hope you have a speedy recovery. U will do just fine :)
  • Reply
Wow gorgeous! I am wishing you a long, happy, healthy life!
  • Reply
Thank you Chantexas
  • Reply
its so weird that you mention how small they look when you look down...I feel the same way too about my expanders...must have something to with the shape maybe our old breasts projected out more when they rested on the lower part of our rib cage..hard to believe that breast tissue removed took up that much space..and where does all the skin go they weren't supposed to remove that much..i can understand having to stretch the muscle underneath to form a pocket but it doesn't seem like we should have to grow that much more skin to cover the implants..you are the first person ive heard mention that comment. .I miss not being able to see my feet yet it still looks ok--sure beats being flat but I would like to fit back on these 2 drawers of bras i've collected over the years
  • Reply
Don't forget...yout PS should be able to expand you more. Have you been expanded yet?
  • Reply
@evesue I was the exception, I actually liked the way my expanders looked. The projection was better than my implant and my natural breast too. So when I got my implants I was disappointed. Just as there are so many implants styles the same is for expanders. I actually didn't find out until right before I got my implants that my expanders were tear drop shaped so that probably helped them look so natural. For as the stretching wit the expanders I believe it's mostly to stretch the muscle to cover the implant. And depending on what ur surgeon tells u U can't wear underwire now n a certain time After the implants. I wear sum every now n then but not on a regular and I too have tons n tons of bras i would like to get back in. But implants are wider so u may need to get sized again n end up wearing a completely different size.
  • Reply
WOW it's amazing to hear the comments, they mirror my own feelings. Cancer steals sooo much from a woman and I really am surprised and disappointed with reconstruction surgery. They say "there's only so much that can be done". I would just like a little movement in my lumps. People keep saying "you should be happy, you're cancer free". I AM but our society puts so much focus on a woman's looks …..
  • Reply
I believe 1st the woman affected by cancer is happy to be cancer free. But that is jus one of the million thoughts going thru her head. I wouldn't listen to much about the comments of other because they haven't been there and can not understand especially a male. All of their little problems can be fixed with a pill. I believe that if more women spoke about the issues with reconstruction that would help. We shouldn't have to feel as If we are unappreciative or something. Especially when we are just trying to get back what we had or close to it. It's not like a regular augmentation were the goal is to get bigger breast, we jus want to simply have breast again . I jus hope that as time pasts technology and compassion will improve , since I know revisions are in my future.
  • Reply
after watching Suzanne sommers utube it give me hope that someday we can be rebuilt with our own fat instead of these awful looking flap proceedures
  • Reply
There is the Brava fat transfer method but there are drawbacks to every procedure. That process requires you to wear a cone shaped thing on your chest to make room for the transfer
  • Reply
Trinall I agree! I feel more woman SHOULD speak up. I hate it that I am made to feel guilty for wanting my femininity back… I don't think it should be considered unrealistic to want to look and feel normal again. I think October 18 is breast reconstruction awareness day. We should make ourselves heard on that day. As it is I feel like my dr patted my hand as if I were a child having a tantrum !!
  • Reply
I am havingy surgery July 31st bilateral with expanders. was told both expZnders and implants would be tear dropp shaped , I have no chest to speak of and I was hoping for a big B, but realize that there are limits.
  • Reply
Wear those swimsuits with style! You deserve it girl!
  • Reply
Thank you Clarey I definitely will. Around this time last year I was doing radiation so I was out with all my stickers n marking from that.
  • Reply
Good for you. Hope you had a great time!!
  • Reply
Happy birthday to you Trinalll but most of all congratulations on your successful journey. You have conquered it with courage and grace and are an inspiration to all of us who are going through similar situations! I wish you peace and good health in your future. Thanks for sharing your story.
  • Reply
Thank you for reading Clarey. It is my goal to help ladies going through this so they can kno they aren't alone and that they will get through it.
  • Reply
Congrats! I am so happy to have read your journey....thank you
  • Reply
Thank you Mindyydnim
  • Reply
Hope you had a great birthday yesterday! Did you find a pink dress for your party this weekend?
  • Reply
Congrats on your 1 year anniversary. I am a Black woman who is 59 years old and will be doing my final exchange on April 9th. This is my second time with breast cancer, but the good thing is it was not a recurrence, but a new primary in the other breast. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and my MO said my prognosis was excellent. Cannot wait until these TEs come out. They are a pain. I want to start feeling normal again and will be celebrating with a cruise at the end of the year. Will be getting 3D tats in October and should be ready to celebrate my new normal. Best wishes to you always :)
  • Reply
Shorfi - Glad to hear it's not a recurrence and that you'll be celebrating with a cruise at the end of the year. Sounds like you've been through a lot. Feel free to start your own review so we can easily follow and support you. Wishing you the best on April 9th!
  • Reply
Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary! I am happy you are celebrating not only your birthday but waking up from surgery and being cancer. ;) Wow, I did not realize the story about the blood clot. Gosh, just an additional worry at the time. Do you have to take any type of blood thinner or precautions now?
  • Reply