Straight Breast Implant Removal - San Diego, CA

I had a breast augmentation procedure done on...

I had a breast augmentation procedure done on October 8, 2010. My implants are Mentor 350cc silicone gel- smooth round with a moderate plus profile. They are placed under the muscle. I went from a 32B to a 32DD. The original surgeon in Minnesota did a wonderful job- they are beautiful, but just too big for me. I am 5'5" and about 120 pounds. I have scheduled my surgery to remove the implants on July 15, 2013 with Dr. Pousti in San Diego, where I currently live. I am 27 years old and have never been pregnant and have no children.

I went in for my pre-surgical appointment today, July 3, and I am so excited for the surgery date! Dr. Pousti's office team is wonderful and welcoming. They make each patient feel at home and will answer any and all questions with the utmost professionalism and knowledge. I would highly recommend them to anyone considering breast implant removal. I am so happy to have found a surgeon that I trust and that I'm comfortable with, and I owe it to Real Self. All of the reviews by you wonderful ladies made my decision easy.

I made the choice to remove my implants because, although I truly loved them for almost 3 years, they didn't fit my lifestyle or outlook anymore, and I wanted to revert to a more natural look. I am a stomach sleeper and have always been bothered by not being able to lie flat. I have also been very active and found the extra weight and volume to be inconvenient and sort-of in the way. I know that the decision to explant without replacement is not favored by the plastic surgery community, and so I was even more relieved to find that Dr. Pousti was understanding and has had experience with performing this surgery many times.

I will post photos before my breast augmentation in 2010, before my explant coming up, and after the procedure.

I know that people make these personal choices for a variety of reasons, and I was lucky enough to not be forced to make this decision because of a medical issue stemming from my implants. My procedure will be very straightforward. I will be given general anesthesia to sedate me, my original incision sites under the breast will be used, and I may or may not have drains placed for fluid removal, depending on how my body reacts. My recovery time should be about one day. After that, I will need to take it easy with physical upper body exercise for several weeks. The doctor's office provides a compression bra to wear immediately afterwards, and I will be taking a pain pill (probably only needed for one day) along with nausea medication. I will need to sleep in an upright position for 3-4 days as well.

I've been told that the recovery period for breast implant removal is much quicker than the initial breast augmentation. From what I understand, there is much less pain involved.

During my consultation, I asked a number of questions which I think you all might find helpful. I was wondering about capsules and their removal. It turns out that the capsules that develop around the implants are basically made of each person's own scar tissue. So basically it is a somewhat hardened shell that, if left in place and collapsed after surgery, could not harm the body since it is actually composed of your own tissue. However, fluid buildup is possible in that space, which would need to be aspirated if drains are not placed and fluid does build up. I also asked about how to tell about the quality of the skin's elasticity and how well it will tighten up after. That is determined on a case by case basis and depends on a number of factors, so you really need to see a surgeon to get a professional opinion.

Although a lot of women probably wouldn't make the same decision I am making, I am prepared for what they will probably look like afterward. I have seen many before and after shots of implant removal, and I am expecting the worst but hoping for the best. My areolas enlarged with the original BA surgery, so I am hoping they will shrink a bit when the implants are taken out. Also, my left side implant has bottomed out slightly, so my crease on that side is a little lower. If my breasts return to a similar state to how they originally were, I will be happy. I miss my smaller breasts. So excited to have them back soon!!

Back to natural in 9 days!

I have been reading more reviews, and from what I gather, the recovery time is more like 3-5 days until the pain subsides, you can shower, and drains (if placed) are removed. So I am setting aside at least a week for recovery time.

I should mention the other reasons I am choosing removal. Aside from being uncomfortable when I sleep and the implants getting in the way while exercising, I will touch on the issue that seems to be a big topic of conversation here- self confidence. When I went in for my BA, I was in denial about why I was getting them. I truly felt that I just wanted a physical "enhancement" and that for me, it wasn't about self confidence. I am so relieved to find myself in the position I'm in today, which is looking back and seeing that I wasn't unhappy with my body before, but yes, I was lacking in self confidence. Today I see that it has changed. I am more confident and don't need the perceived "enhancement" anymore to feel good about myself. I hope other women will see themselves for who they truly are- beautiful inside and out, with or (preferably) without any artificial enhancements.

There is a wonderful website I came across, and it shows women of all ages, races, and locations with natural breasts. The idea is to give young people growing up the perspective to see what women are born with and what natural breasts look like (basically the reverse of what popular media does to sexualize and perfect the female body). It also tells how each woman feels about her own breasts, so a common trend can be observed- the women rarely say that they feel their own breasts are perfect, but some point out how they have grown to love themselves despite their imperfections: http://www.007b.com/breast_gallery.php

I am so inspired by all the strong women who have taken steps to return to their natural, God-given state. I am of the mindset that if women can embrace their bodies and not give in to media pressure to try to live up to the idealized female form, there will be a lot more character and individuality in the world. Why would everyone want to be the same? The world will be a much more interesting and beautiful place with a variety rather than a Stepford standard.

Update

So I ended up having to postpone my explant surgery until May 1, but here I am afterwards, and I can tell you that I couldn't be happier! I am posting pictures of the results so far, and hopefully this will encourage others to go ahead with removal, if it's right for them. I was pretty worried not knowing exactly how I would look post-surgery (and I know this has been said before), but after having had my implants removed, I actually think I like my breasts better now... it's like they finally look more rounded out. I know I will always have scars, but Dr. Pousti did a great job of minimizing them and creating new, finer ones that fall into my creases. This website has really been the sole reason for my mental success with this, and if I hadn't found it, I don't know if I would have had the courage to explant- so thank you all!! I was able to adjust my expectations beforehand and make an informed choice. Also, I have to note that this website showed me which surgeons had positive reviews. This was tremendously helpful in finding a skilled surgeon. I strongly recommend Dr. Pousti for anyone in the area or out of state. He really takes the time to get to know you and what type of outcome you are hoping to have- a very personalized experience! His team is so caring and thoughtful too. They called me every day for two weeks afterwards, and they handled any and all of my concerns with patience and diligent care. I am extremely happy with them and how this whole process has turned out.

Here are some of the details that I couldn't post pre-explant. Dr. Pousti spoke with me the day of surgery to review everything before I went in. This helped to calm my nerves and assure me that we had covered all of the details. I am a bit of a perfectionist trying to maintain healthy, realistic expectations, and Dr. Pousti has been great in reassuring me while being honest along the way. When I woke up, I was told that everything went smoothly during surgery. I had a pleasant experience in recovery chatting with the staff. Everyone was nice, cheerful, and went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed. I was not in much pain. I had drains placed for 6 days after the procedure. I slept in an upright reclined position for a week, which was a bit of a pain, but not a big deal. After taking pain pills for 2 days, I got a little sick from them. I wouldn't have had to take them at all and probably could have gotten by with Tylenol. The pain really wasn't too bad. The incisions were the only part that hurt for about a week, and then the pain faded altogether. I am two weeks post right now, and I have no pain or itching anymore. I like to err on the side of caution and always follow post-surgical guidelines to a T, and luckily the recovery for this was about 10 times easier than with my original BA.

The size I ended up with is the same as what I had pre-BA. I think the implants just acted as a pillow behind my breast tissue. The tissue was flattened out immediately afterwards, but in only two weeks, it seems that they have "fluffed" considerably. The negatives about the appearance are the dented look in the upper pole (which has been extensively covered on this site, although most natural breasts have little upper pole fullness, so I actually like it better), the scars (obviously, but they will be small and can always be revised to be minimized even further), and the slight stretched feeling of the skin afterwards. I am looking forward to continued improvement with my skin elasticity over time, but I'm satisfied overall if there is not much change. My areolas seem to have shrunk back to their original size with I'm very pleased about. Also, people have commented that I look like I've lost weight. I’m a fairly small person naturally, but that's always nice to hear.

Overall, SO WORTH IT!! My personal preference has changed a lot in three and a half years- I used to love my implants, and now I love the look of my natural breasts. The perks of going back to natural: I can sleep on my stomach (yay!!), I can wear button-up and low-cut shirts without causing a scene, I can exercise comfortably, I do not have to worry about any complications and further surgeries with implants, I do not have to worry about health issues developing due to implants, I can hug and actually feel close to people again, I am no longer top-heavy, I do not have to discuss implants with anyone (I'm a private person), I can find bras in normal sizes, I have very soft breasts again, I can wear strapless bras and swimsuits without having them fall down, I can buy cute padded bras again (the majority) any time I want to boost my bust without the weight of implants, I can move freely without implants getting in the way of my arms, I look thinner, I do not have to worry about someone else injuring them or rupturing an implant by accident, I can get the "right" kind of attention from guys instead, I look younger, I can accept a compliment without questioning if it has to do with my implants, I can finally stop obsessing about my breasts (!!), people actually look me in the eyes first now, and the list goes on.... haha. :)

I guess this is just a very freeing process, and it's nice for me to be able to do it for myself and no one else. I'm lucky not to have a spouse or boyfriend right now to worry about in addition to my own feelings of adjustment to my new proportions. But for those of you juggling all of that together, I commend you for your bravery! Remember that the only opinion that matters is your own, and you are the only one in your own body, so trust yourself. This is not an easy thing to do. Explanting is courageous when you know very well that the aesthetic result may be less than desirable, but if you are willing to give it time, I believe your body rewards you for treating it well. Good luck to everyone!

3 Weeks Out!

Well, it has been 3 weeks now, and I am feeling great. There has been some fluffing going on, and I notice it in the upper pole, which was completely empty after surgery. I have been able to sleep on my sides but have been holding out on sleeping on my stomach just yet. Taking vitamins and drinking a lot of water has helped the healing process, I think. Removal was the best decision to make, and I don't regret it at all! I have gotten back to my normal routine, and I don't feel pain or twinges at all in my chest area anymore. Wearing sports bras has been difficult with trying to dress normally, but I guess it's a small price to pay for a good result. I still haven't gotten a look at the incisions under the strips that have covered the areas since surgery, so I'm hoping they won't be too noticeable. They will be red for awhile, but I know that will fade with time. Very happy and thankful over all!

1 Month Post

Things have continued to go well since my last post. My steri-strips fell off, so I've been able to see the incision sites. I've been covering them with waterproof band-aids for showering. The incisions look fine, and I am happy with them. At first, my left incision was very raised and seemed a bit chunky, and I was afraid that something wasn't right. I have massaged it for about 4 or 5 days, and it has gone down to the point of lying flat. That really seemed to help. Now I am keeping the incision lines compressed with the band of my sports bra. The only other thing I've noticed since the strips came off is that my left incision seems a bit lower than my crease when I raise my arm. I'm not sure if some of the breast tissue is not quite falling all the way down into the bottom of the pocket or if I was just a bit asymmetrical to begin with (we all are, right?), but I don't seem to have the problem unless my arm is fully raised. Another thought I had was that since I had slight bottoming out on the other side, maybe both creases are a bit lower than they were to begin with to accommodate that bottoming out? Anyway, you can't even see it unless you're looking for it. It's a very small imperfection that I can accept, and I'm not too worried.

Still SO happy that I chose to do this... and actually can't imagine still being on that emotional roller coaster I was on before explanting. I went in to be fitted for a bra, and it seems that I'm almost a cup size bigger than I was pre-augmentation... so that's exciting. I fit into most 32C bras, but we'll see if that size fluctuates with time. I'm not going to invest in many right away. I hope all of you lovely ladies are doing well and that this post finds you as gratified with explanting as I am! :)

6 Weeks and Counting...

Not much to update since my last post. Everything looks about the same, so I will wait a couple of weeks before posting a new picture. I am back to regular exercise with both lower and upper body. It feels great to be able to run without the extra weight on top! The scars are staying flat and healing nicely, although I can't wait for the redness to fade a bit.

I have tried on different shirts, and I'm so much happier with the fit now. I feel like myself again. Still hunting for cute bras without underwire and welcoming recommendations... At my last appointment, Dr. Pousti recommended no underwires for a year if I want to be really careful to get the best scar outcome. I have thought about picking up some silicone strips too, but I keep forgetting.

Everything feels tighter in the pockets now than it did about a month ago. I've definitely noticed my skin retracting, specifically in the space between my breasts. At first it was looking like I had some loose skin that didn't really know where to fall when I had my sports bra on, and now I have no "extra" skin in the crease there. Everything looks completely normal again. Still happy and will keeping updating with any changes.

Oops...

Just realized my last post was at 7 weeks instead of 6.

2 Months Post

Here's an updated picture at the 2 month mark. I'm still so happy that I decided to explant. It has made a difference in my confidence level and my relationships- I love giving hugs. My posture has improved and so has my health, because now I want to work out! I'm also sleeping better than I had been in years. It feels good to be light and free. I can't believe I kept the implants for over 3 years. I never really thought that I could get back to feeling 100% authentic, but I actually do, and it feels amazing!!

3 Months Post

I've uploaded some pictures taken now that I am 3 months post-surgery. Time really flies! I have noticed improvement in my incision sites. My size has stayed the same since my last post. Still incredibly happy and loving the implant-free life!!

6 Months Post

I can't believe it has been 6 months since my explant procedure! I see the most changes in my scars since my last post... a lot of the redness is gone from the incision sites now. I massage the scars every day for a few minutes, and it seems to keep them nice and flat. My breasts have lost some fullness because I unintentionally lost about 13 pounds over the last 3 months. I have had a lot going on in my life. I am still reading other women's stories on here and sending positivity though. I haven't had as much time to be on this website, but I have you all in my thoughts! I am still overjoyed at having explanted, and I hope that you all are too. Can I just say how great it is to sleep on my stomach comfortably all the time now?! Love it!!
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Pousti is absolutely the best! He is so thorough and knowledgable. After meeting him, I wouldn't trust anyone else to perform the procedure. His team is warm, helpful, and so professional. I am thankful that I found this office. I would highly recommend this surgeon for anyone who is looking for a trustworthy doctor. I thoroughly researched my options, and there was no question in my mind that Dr. Pousti would be doing my surgery. Positive reviews, sheer number of surgeries performed, and reputation helped solidify my decision. After my consultation, I was very confident that I would be in great hands, and I was! I give him and his team a five-star rating in every category. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

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
5 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 times
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