Rare Complication - Impending Implant Extrusion, Have Decided to Explant

I have no agenda to talk other women out of...

I have no agenda to talk other women out of getting breast implants. I know that many women are very pleased with them and I'm glad they have had good luck. But for me, getting breast implants was one of the worst decisions I ever made. I have had two expensive surgeries with multiple complications that have been painful, embarrassing, and distressing. Now I have a rare complication that I never expected (had never even heard of) and will soon have a third - but final - surgery.
My first BA was in the early 90's pre-Internet so there was nowhere to get advice or information and I just did it impulsively with the first surgeon I went to. I was depressed from a failed relationship with an unfaithful boyfriend and I was insecure from a lifetime of teasing and insensitive comments about my flat chest. I weighed around 100 pds and had almost no breast tissue - no bras fit me, I was 32AA or even AAA. Though I was athletic and muscular I was filled with self-loathing about my body and I thought that implants were a simple fix. I only told a couple friends, borrowed the money and scheduled the surgery. I did not read the fine print and I never considered what this decision would mean over a lifetime.
I had complications from the get go - after surgery my whole chest was completely numb. I eventually got some feeling back along the sides of my breasts but all these years later, between my breasts and my nipples are still mostly numb. I am aware of touch but it's not pleasant. A year or so after getting implants I developed capsular contracture which grew increasingly worse over the years. I did not have the money for revision and I was terrified of another surgery so I just lived with it. Finally, three years ago I was able to afford revision. My surgeon told me I had Grade IV capsular contracture and would need capsulectomy and either implant exchange or explant. I didn't even consider explant and decided to have smaller 270cc replacement implants. I felt certain that all would be great the second time around. Afterwards, I was generally happy with my results, My breasts were definitely softer and though not perfect, more normal looking. I had a lot of rippling but accepted it. Then, a few weeks after surgery I noticed a strange thing - under my right breast the implant formed a point under the skin. I could push it up into place with my finger but then it would just pop back out. I tried taping it for a week or so but it didn't help. I went back to my surgeon who didn't say much about it except "hmmm, that's odd". I am not a pushy person and I decided that they were so much better I had no reason to complain and I should just be satisfied.
Then recently, the spot became painful and more visible. My previous surgeon had retired so I finally went to another surgeon to see what could be done to fix it. He examined me and I was totally shocked when he told me the skin has thinned and weakened so much that it will eventually split and the implant will come out - a rare complication called extrusion. If I don't take care of it, I could end up in the ER with someone with no plastic surgery experience doing an explant. I had no idea that this was a serious complication, I just thought it was a cosmetic problem! He also told me I have capsular contracture again. I thought they were firmer than they should be but I had tried to convince myself I was imagining things. I was in denial, I just could not face it - cc again! He told me I can have a capsulotomy and replace the implants or explant, but that which ever I decide, it needs to happen sooner rather than later. I walked out in a daze, sat in my car in the parking lot and cried.
Now I have a thick gauze pad taped over the weak spot while I get a second consult.
I have already decided to explant. I'm done with implants. My body just does not want them. I am so tired of having expensive self-induced medical problems. I must admit, I am very afraid of looking freakish and grotesque without the implants. To make things worse, my husband and I are talking of separating. Adding an unexpected potentially emotionally devastating medical procedure to the mix is incredibly stressful. I haven't even told him yet that I am having them out. He was not supportive when I talked of explant in the past. I worry he will be repulsed by how I look and that will be the end of our marriage. I worry about feeling self-conscious at work and at the gym - only a handful of people know I have implants. But I realize that I must focus on being healthy and not on what other people think. Age has helped with that. Now that I have decided, I am very anxious to have them out but I am going to take my time and make sure to chose a surgeon I trust. I have another consult on the 23rd of this month. I am on a call list for cancellations so hope it may be sooner. I will continue to share my progress and appreciate all positive thoughts!

Told my husband, not the support I was hoping for

Told my husband about my consult and the extrusion risk and capsular contraction. That I've made up my mind to explant with no new implants. When we talked about it a few years ago I asked if he would still be attracted to me with them out and he said "I don't know". Now when I told him they are coming out for good he said he thinks it's the right thing to do - but nothing else. I asked if he could please reassure me and tell me he'd still love me no matter how it looks but he didn't. I even asked if he could just lie (pathetic I know). He hugged me with what felt like pity but silence and I just walked away feeling sad and alone. 20 years together. We've had trouble for a while and there was another woman. Which I forgave and have tried to forget. We are in therapy and I thought it was helping... I had really hoped for more compassion. Broke my heart but I have to love myself enough to do it and be brave.

Did you have explant under local anesthesia? What was it like?

So the first surgeon I saw about explant said he would do it with local only - injecting I guess Lidocaine? I thought they would do it under twilight, like they use for colonoscopy but it seems that most PS use local only. I do understand the risk of general anesthesia and that it should be avoided if possible. Everyone says it doesn't hurt but what is the experience like mentally? I can picture looking down at him pulling these bloody bags out and my boobs deflating and having a full blown anxiety attack. Do they block your view of the surgery? Did the PS describe what s/he was doing as they removed them?

Flat Pride!

Hey fellow explanters - I propose we start a Flat Pride movement! I am noticing and saving photos of women with small breasts and the more I see the more excited I am to get rid of my implants! One of my Flat Pride sheroes is Keira Knightley. Here's a photo from a shoot she did in which she demanded that the photos not be photoshopped or altered in any way because she loves her petite shape. Her statement about the photos was - "I think women's bodies are a battleground and photography is partly to blame."
The heartbreaking common thread in most of the reviews from women who explant is how terrible we felt about our bodies when we decided to pay someone our hard-earned money to slice them open and stuff plastic into them. When I made this body-and-life altering decision it seemed like I was the only woman with a flat chest and that I couldn't possibly be a real woman the way I was. That not only was I not attractive, I was defective. I was naturally very thin and muscular then. I was often saddened by phrases like "real women have curves" and hater descriptions of naturally small breasted women as "skeletons", "scarecrows" or "anorexic". It seems that it's socially acceptable to attack smaller women to help larger women feel better about their bodies, instead of just embracing our differences. The result has been devastating for many women. Have you ever read about the history of breast augmentation? It's gruesome - women's bodies altered with all manner of substances with horrific results including death. An early casualty of breast augmentation experimentation was Edie Sedgwick. A beautiful young woman, Edie was a style icon of the 60's and a Vogue model who became one of Any Warhol's Factory regulars, starring in several of his films. She was a sad and troubled young woman and despite her perfect proportions, she underwent the early form of BA in which her breasts were injected with liquid silicone. Her once lovely body became deformed and I cannot imagine the pain and health problems she must have endured. Tragically, she died from an overdose of barbiturates at the age of 28. I think of Edie as the patron saint of women with breast implants...I am honoring her memory by posting these photos of her as she was in her perfect natural form.

So, fellow explanters and friends, join the movement! Notice and celebrate the infinite variety of women's bodies and what really makes everyone beautiful: confidence, compassion, gratitude, happiness, love...

Rest in Peace Edie
XOXO

Second Consult for Explant - getting closer!

Had a second consult with a new PS today. Very nice and took time to answer all my questions. He said my capsular contracture is not bad - 1-2 - and will not need capsules out - yay! Said just novocaine to numb the skin and will be very quick and simple, they will just slide out. Will not need drains, which I was so happy to hear. He said my skin tone is very good and because the implants are not large I should not have a saggy result just "much less volume, probably an A cup" which of course I expect. I am only a B now with the implants. He said no need for a lift which is what the first doc said. He told me if I have new implants put in it will be cheaper than doing it later as a separate surgery but I told him I really wasn't happy having them anymore. He said it's very common for women my age to decide they are done with them, lifestyle and priorities change. I see my third PS next week and then will choose a doc and a date! Hoping for late Sept to early Oct...

Explant surgery booked - it is really such a simple procedure?

So I picked a surgeon, paid a deposit and scheduled my explant for December 8th. It is hard to wait but I am having foot surgery in November that will necessitate using crutches for a while and imagine that would be very bad to do post explant. Plus I need to save up sick leave. I really like the surgeon. He is at the practice where I had my revision done 4 years ago. My previous surgeon is retiring. I do not blame him for the problems I have had. I think my body just wants them out. One thing I worry about is this surgeon says I will not need drains and it will be a super simple procedure, just novocaine, cut open at my old incision sites and out they come. Can it really be as simple as that? It seems like most everyone who has explant has drains. I was happy to hear it but wonder why not. I do not need capsulectomy so maybe that is why? I do not have rupture and have fortunately have not had any of the overall health problems so many of you have had. He told me I need to take a week off from work and driving. It sounds like many women take much more time off. It will be really hard for me to even take a week off as I will have very little sick leave. I keep noticing how heavy and hard to open the doors at my office are. I also will have to lug a heavy bag with a laptop and files in it to meetings outside the office, sometimes a long walk from my car. I worry how I will go back to work and not complicate my healing process. I do not feel at all comfortable discussing with my boss. Did any of you who have been through explant get back to work and driving after as little as only a week?

Petite breasts in fashion

Have you noticed that many catalogs lately are including women with more modest breast sizes? Even Victoria's Secret is showing models who are small breasted now. I wish this had been the case when I was this shape pre-implant. I could not find any adult bras in my size 25 years ago and remember how depressing it was. I felt that I was not a "real" woman (ironic I got fake breasts to feel real...) I'm glad there are images of fashionable small breasted women and pretty bras in small sizes for girls growing up now.

Silicone - eeewwww

So I found out from Wikipedia that silicone is used for:
Caulk
Brake lubricant
Dry cleaning
Aquarium sealant
Oh, and breast implants
How creepy is that?? I am counting the days until I get this foreign matter OUT of my body. And I feel very guilty for these things going in a landfill only to outlive me by thousands of years...

Just say no to implants article (Preaching to the choir yet so reaffirming!)

I found this article online (Forbes magazine of all places...) and have copied most of it here below. For all of those on the explant journey it's just preaching to the choir, but I decided to share because it's so well written and reaffirming. I just hope some women who are on the fence about getting implants may read it and decide they are just fine without them thank-you-very-much.

If you are considering breast implants, ask yourself, why do you really want them? Is it because your boyfriend or husband wants them? Then maybe he should get breast implants himself or purchase a pair of silicone bags that he can keep in his dresser drawer and take on dates (by himself). If your significant other doesn’t like you without breast implants, then you may want to consider another surgery…removal of your significant other. If you feel that breast implants will make you more attractive, then ask yourself who you are really trying to attract? If you are trying to attract plastic surgeons to operate on you more…well then maybe this will work (plastic surgeons may have to perform several operations to correct problems with the first breast implant surgery, which is another potential issue with breast implants). As you know, physical attractiveness is highly subjective. No one is universally attractive. The entertainment industry tries to tell you what is attractive, but remember, these are just a fraction of the people in the world telling you what you should look like. If all of us were to base our preferences solely on these standards, then many people of different races, ethnicities, body shapes and backgrounds would be out of luck. Also, just look at how the “ideal look” has changed over time.

The FDA website lists the many problems that you could have if you get breast implants. First of all, remember: Breast implants involve major surgery. The joke is that unless surgery is performed on someone else, all surgeries are major, meaning that they bring serious risks. You have to undergo anesthesia, which is essentially putting you to sleep with chemicals and then requiring chemicals to wake you up again. You need a tube stuck done your throat and a machine to help you breathe during the surgery. Someone has to cut into your chest, meaning that you will bleed and could have an infection, scars and various body parts such as your nerves, lymph nodes, muscles and nipples damaged. Do you really want to undergo surgery if you don’t have to do so?

Secondly, someone is sticking a foreign object into your body…and not for just a few hours or days, but for years. The body and immune system does not always react kindly to such an invasion. Try sticking a splinter into yourself and see what happens. (Note: I am in no way advocating sticking a splinter into yourself.) And these foreign objects are not small splinters, but instead large bags…or really large bags depending on what you or your partner wants. If the surgeon does not know what he or she is doing (and a number of surgeons do fall into this category), these big bags could end up positioned incorrectly and lots of damage could occur.

Did I mention that you are sticking big bags into your chest? These bags are filled with some type of liquid (saline or salt water) or goo (silicone) to make them feel like real breasts (they really don’t). Any bag can leak or break. Like “love” based on breast size, no implant lasts forever. Typically implants will last 7 to 12 years, meaning that you will have to have another surgery to remove and replace them. But implants can leak, deflate, or rupture well before that time. When these bags leak, the liquid or goo leaks into your chest and can potentially travel to different parts of your body. Some have wondered whether leaking silicone (and platinum that may be part of the silicone implant) can cause immunological diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and mixed connective-tissue disease or even neurological problems. While scientific studies have not established clear links, some women have indicated that their symptoms of diseases have disappeared after removing their implants. It is not implausible that your body and immune system may react to breast implants…because you are, after all, sticking big bags into your chest. However, more research is needed.

There is still much to learn about breast implants. Scientific research is limited because many of the surgeons who perform breast implants just don’t conduct formal scientific research, many of the people who get breast implants do not participate in formal scientific studies, and many of the people who think about or encourage breast implants don’t think about formal scientific research.

Knowing all of this, do you really want to get breast implants? If you are considering breast implants simply because someone else is telling you directly or indirectly to do so, you may want to think about the potential problems before moving forward. Breast implants are a big deal…and we’re not talking about the 34DD sense. You would be undergoing surgery that you may not really need and putting…one more time…bags of liquid or goo into your body…that you may not really need.

In the end, whether you should get breast implants is a personal decision. But don’t overlook the seriousness of taking such a step. After all, getting breast implants is not like buying a pair of toe socks (which has its own set of problems) or even getting a piercing. Breast implants do require major surgery and…you guessed it…putting bags of liquid or goo in your chest.

Countdown to Explant!!

This time next Thursday I will be free!!
Exactly one week from today my implants will be gone!!
I have had several dreams in which I am so happy with them out. Hope that bodes well. But no matter what the results, I will accept myself as I am.
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