Time to Go... Breast Implant Removal and Lift

PAST After two pregnancies and breastfeeding my...

PAST

After two pregnancies and breastfeeding my perky B cup breasts were flat and saggy. I could not get a bra to fit me. After years of frustration I felt my only option was breast implants to fill out my breasts and fill a bra. In 2002 I had 425cc silicone implants put in over my muscle. I was happy with the result and enjoyed filling a bra and having 'nice' breasts.

PRESENT

My implants have (inevitably) sagged. The bras I wear to keep them up are extremely uncomfortable and I recently developed a severe Mondor's chord from the pressure of a bra. My choice of clothes is limited. I struggle to find clothes that do not make me look like a glamour model wannabe or a buxom matron. Dresses are impossible - if they fit my size 10 hips they a too tight across my chest and vice versa. As for 'fitness wear' - trying to keep my breasts decently covered and also supported is a nightmare.

I find myself making decisions based on my breasts. I avoid anything that would involve me wearing a swim wear. I practise yoga only at home so that I can go braless and be comfortable. I limit my runs so that I can get home quickly and remove my bra (the tightness of it interferes with my breathing). When planning travel I worry about how long I will have to go before I can take off my bra.

My breasts do not feel like 'me'. They are in me but not me. The implants are colder than my body temperature. I love my body and I am very health conscious about what I eat and how I live. I feel having implants in my body lacks integrity. It does not align with my approach to life or my view of the world or my perception of beauty.

I don't think my health has been compromised and my implants have not ruptured (based on an ultrasound). I do have some health issues and I guess I won't know if my implants have anything to do with it until they are out. However, there are other explanations for my symptoms though so I won't blame the implants without evidence.

FUTURE

I want to be free of my implants. I want to wear comfortable bras and clothes that allow me the freedom to move and do the things I enjoy. I want to be able to wear clothes that I love. I want to feel like me - all me - natural me.

I am planning to have an explant and mastoplexy early in 2016. I have been inspired by women's stories on this site and want to pay it forward by sharing my journey.

I have no doubt that this is the right thing for me to do. My only concern is my husband's response. He is 100% supportive of my decision but loves my breasts and is sad to see them change. But this is something I need to do for me. Wish me luck! :)

I have a date!

My explant and lift is booked for 24th March 2016 - 2 days before my wedding anniversary (not a great present for my husband!). Now I have a date I can start planning... and probably worrying. My main concern is that I won't have enough breast tissue left to make a breast out of once the implant is removed. However, I'm finding strength and inspiration in other women's experiences on this site. I'm sure my breasts are resilient. They nurtured two babies and carried bags of silicone around for years :)

Escaping nipples and other reflections

I thought I'd capture my yoga experience this morning. I practise at yoga at home every day. I'd like to go back to yoga classes but that would mean wearing a bra which changes the whole experience for me. Yoga is about feeling free not constrained. Unfortunately my breasts feel a little too free!

I have also been thinking about breast augmentation in general. I am a feminist. However, I am not against breast augmentation, or against unobtainable beauty ideals. Such ideals are a feature of human nature/culture. Historically and globally humans have idealised particular physical forms - often unobtainable, and they have modified their bodies in an attempt to meet these cultural ideals. This will continue and I don't think it is helpful for women to judge other women (or themselves) for attempting to attain a physical ideal. The drive to meet such ideals is part of belonging to a human tribe.

I find it empowering to be able to modify my body - to have bigger breasts, and now remove them. These decisions were/are mine. I may never understand why a woman would choose enormous implants (as many do) - but I respect her right to do so without judgement. My wish is that women approach each other with acceptance and compassion regardless of our different choices. My personal ideals have changed as my life has changed. Now I am focused more on how my body functions and feels than how I look. So, I am making the decision to alter my body again - this time against the cultural norm. I feel very grateful to be in a position to make such a decision.

Thanks for all of your supportive comments - it means a lot to me. I feel like I am part of a new tribe of women :) x

Another Mondor's Cord!

I developed a severe Mondor's cord last November. I noticed it a few days after a flight. It has happened again on my other breast this time, and again after a flight. Has anyone else experienced this? All I can think is that it is a combination of a tight bra (compression) and air pressures in a plane. I have another flight less than 2 weeks before my surgery. This is so frustrating!

First consultation with plastic surgeon

I met my surgeon for the first time and discussed my explant. He was great about it - totally understood where I was coming from and he referred to this procedure as 'life changing' for women (in a good way). He seems to think I have breast tissue and will end up with a B/C cup - this was a nice surprise as I assumed I had none. He will do a lift but warned they will still be 'flat' which is fine by me. I've reluctantly agreed to prophylactic antibiotics - I've spent years healing my gut from excessive antibiotic exposure. However, I know I can fix my gut again but a breast infection is more difficult to fix. We discussed capsulectomy, and long story short, he will wait and see what is going on inside before making a decision. He also told me it is unlikely I will need drains post op. I had expected drains as a routine part of the procedure. So, date confirmed and it is just a case of being patient now - not something I am good at :)

Preparation

My surgery is next Thursday (5 days). The waiting seems to get more difficult as it gets closer. I have been very busy over the last few weeks which has been a good distraction. I thought it might be helpful to share my preparation for healing/post-op.

I have been doing some research on scar healing and found 2 really good evidence-based articles:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1748681514001739
http://www.laserplast.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Updated_International_Clinical_Recommendations_on.1.pdf.
In summary, the end result is largely to do with genetics (how your body heals) and the skill of your surgeon, but to minimise scars:

Immediately post surgery:
- tension relief (take the pressure off the wound eg. steri strips)
- pressure garments

Once the wound has closed (after about a month):
- silicone gel sheeting - 12-24 hours per day
- no exposure to sunlight

There was no research evidence supporting the use of vitamin E oils, and some studies found that it made scars worse. As for bio oil... take a look at all the unnecessary chemical ingredients such as colour and fragrance (the list is on the website)!

What I have ready for my initial post op period:
- 3 x 'pressure' bras (carefix)
- bone broth (I have this regularly anyway - it is great for healing)
- fermented foods and probiotics (to help my gut after antibiotics)
- vitamin C and zinc supplements
- essential oils for diffusing (what I use will depend on what I need)
- a pile of books to read
- an empty diary for 1 full week

Basically I trust in my body's ability to heal itself, and my focus is on creating an environment that supports that.

In terms of mental preparation... I often get accused of being a pessimist - but I find it works for me. I expect/prepare for the worst, then I can only be pleasantly surprised. I am not expecting to end up with 'beautiful' breasts. That is not why I am explanting anyway. My aim is to be implant free and improve how I feel, not how necessarily how I look.

Gone.

This will be quick as meds have turned my brain to mush... and my eyesight.
All went well. No drains. I have a compression dressing on and look very flat. Such a change but I like it. Obsessing about my nipples being too high (can't see them) - but I knew that seroma/haematom and nipple placement were my anxiety focus (you got to have a focus for it somewhere). No drains...
I'll take some photos tomorrow when my brain has recovered enough to work technology.
Thanks for all of your support women. It has meant a lot x

Sneak Peek

I'm feeling a little less spaced out today and can see properly (my eyesight was blurry from the GA)

I didn't really get a chance to discuss the op with my PS afterwards. I was too out of it. He said it went well. They couldn't wash my implants to give back to me as planned (?). I am keeping on top of the pain meds so have no pain when still and 2/10 when moving about.

FEELINGS: Relief; gratitude; tired; lighter; a little anxious about end results as I can't see my nipples; a little worried about my husband - who loved my implants (he is being very supportive but I know he will miss them); supported - by this wonderful online community (thanks).

APPEARANCE: There is a lot of blood on the dressings. I can't really tell what I will end up with. Probably not much once the swelling goes down. However, I am loving the flat look and feel with my compression bandage on.

I probably won't post again until I can show you a change. Maybe end of next week. I'll be concentrating on resting and compressing.

Day 2 Post Surgery

Already 'over' recovering. Feel really sleepy and woozy and can't focus/concentrate enough to read. I have just had one endone today and have been using paracetamol as my regular pain med instead. Pain is OK and mostly in the incisions under my breasts. No pain if I stay still, just when I move about.
I'm constipated and bloated as expected. The first night I 'slept' propped up. Last night I reduced my pillows and slept much better.
There has been no further 'seepage' from the wounds after the dramatic blood stain in the photo. Breasts remain the same... no further swelling, so fingers crossed I have avoided the haematoma/seroma scenario.
I'm going to have a 'bird bath' later and wash my hair.

Mixed emotions going on. It is my wedding anniversary today and I feel a bit bad about taking away something my husband loved (big breasts)... but then also annoyed that he loved something that wasn't me. I love my new flat shape and want to be able to enjoy it without worrying what he thinks. Not that he has said anything... he is being very caring and supportive. Hmmm I think I need some sleep!

Day 3 PO

This website is on US time so my days are not in line with the sites days (in case you are wondering)

Anyway, I wasn't planning on updating until I had some after photos - but I think this recovery experience might be helpful to others. Because for some reason I thought I'd be feeling great by now. Perhaps I only focussed on the stories of immediate/quick recoveries?

I do feel better. Constipation has cleared. I am off the endone. Pain is there - mostly on moving, but it is manageable. Most of the pain is due to the pressure garment I am wearing. It is pressing on the scars under my breasts. I have no pain in my breasts. I am still feeling groggy and snoozing a lot. My stomach feels yucky - probably all the meds and antibiotics. I'd like to be reading books but find concentrating difficult.

I had a bird bath yesterday and my husband washed my hair - felt so much better after that. I'm going to have a walk around our property this afternoon to get out of the house. I have my post-op appointment on Wednesday. Hoping I can get out of this compression boob tube and into a bra. Anxious to see my nipples and know they have not fallen off!

Day 4 PO

Turning the corner (I think)
Feeling more normal today and I've been able to read. I just feel very tired. I've only taken panadol a couple of times in the last 24 hours and have no real pain. I've been moving more - a bit of gentle tidying/cleaning and a short walk outside. I'm looking forward to the end of the antibiotics tomorrow so I can start sorting my gut out.
My breasts feel softer but I'm still wearing the compression boob tube.
If I feel this good tomorrow I might sort/clear through my bras and 'big boob' clothes.
I am still waiting for the elation that others experience. But to be honest I don't tend to do elation/celebration... I might force myself to have a glass of champagne at the end of the week once I've confirmed my nipples are still attached ;)

Day 6 PO - 1st Post Op Appointment

Feeling much better now. No more meds and very little pain. Just exhausted.

Had my post op appointment with the nurse. It was such a relief to get that compression boob tube off and the gross dressings removed... and to discover my nipples are still attached. I now have tape on the suture lines for the next 6 weeks - to be changed very week by me (and I can get it wet). I was also given a rather glamorous bra courtesy of my surgeon (thanks). I need to wear this bra or a variation (I have a selection) for the 6 weeks too.

I am pleased with the result so far. I think there might be some weird stuff going on in my cleavage (bottom corners) with a kind of double line. And there is still some swelling, so the end result will probably be a bit flatter. However, they feel so much better than my implants already. I feel lighter and more comfortable, even in this bulky bra. No regrets :)

1 Week Post Op

Physical recovering going well. Feeling better everyday. I checked my heart rate variability (HRV) for the first time since surgery. I usually do this measurement every morning so I can adjust my exercise accordingly to avoid adrenal burnout (again). No surprise it was terrible - worst it has ever been. So despite feeling better I know my body is still in recovery mode and needs rest. The only discomfort I have is the incisions under my breasts - however it is no worse that my tight underwire bras I used to wear.

Had an emotional melt down today with my husband. I am in such a conflicted and vulnerable state. I know I have made the right decision and I have a better than expected result. I don't want 'perfect' breasts - I just want functional and comfortable breasts. So I am very happy with how they look so far. It is a bonus. However, I am aware that my breasts are now less attractive to my husband and he needs to adjust to the new me. And being a man he has been a little insensitive with his words this week. Anyhow, we had a good chat, he told me he loves me and finds me attractive and knows I have done the right thing. Yes, he will miss my implants, but he will get used to what I have now. He even had a look after my shower. This is a big step as anything 'surgery' or 'incisions' freaks him out. He was positive about them.

Day 10 Post Op

I feel good. My HRV today was back to normal this morning. I have been slowly getting back into life - catching up with friends, etc. Still having lots of rest in between activities and generally taking it easy. I did 10 mins of restorative yoga yesterday, leg focussed and it felt great. I'll do some more gentle yoga next week. I am sleeping normally now that I can lie flat again which helps a lot. Back to work tomorrow!

Pain is not an issue and I'm taking no meds. I feel like I am wearing a tight underwire bra (the scars) and my nipples are tender. I ache if I use my arms a lot. However, I actually feel more comfortable than I did with implants and wearing those horrid bras I needed to hold them up.

I think I look so much better now. I can wear clothes without them stretching across my chest. I feel lighter and slimmer. I am so looking forward to hugging someone without those silicone bags in the way.

My husband has turned the corner. He likes them and is looking forward to 'getting his hands on' my new smaller breasts. He still likes big breasts - but these are a nice change and they are on me, who he finds attractive. We celebrated my health and breasts with champagne on Friday. So, for all those with reluctant partners - there is hope.

I'll post a photo on Wednesday when I change my tape and can get a good look at my scars.

For your information ;)

I've had a few women ask about the lift procedure and I've read a few comments on other reviews. I found this youtube clip that explains the procedure and show how the nipples are not removed and remain attached to their nerves and underlying tissue. So although the scar around my nipple is numb my actual nipple has sensation and responds to cold etc.
Even though I knew this I still worried about my nipples falling off!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIWD3ZFtBb8

Update on me: I was back a work yesterday and felt great despite it being a big day. No one mentioned my sudden lack of breasts... not sure if they didn't notice or just didn't say anything. I wore a patterned dress to distract (it used to be stretched across my chest). Usually at the end of a big day at work I get home and take my bra off due to the pain and discomfort of my bra and weight. Not anymore! :)

2 Weeks Post Op (almost)

I changed my tape today and got to check out my scars. They definitely look better taped! However they are healing really well so far.

HOW THEY LOOK: As you can see they are not perfect or symmetrical . But they were not perfect or symmetrical to begin with. I'm really happy with the overall shape. Not sure if the lower cleavage lines and bumps are here to stay, and I'm not sure if I will care enough to do anything about them (there is the option of revision under local). I think they look amazing in a bra - the perfect shape and size. I love how my clothes fit now. I look slimmer and younger.

HOW THEY/I FEEL: For me this was the most important reason for getting my implants out. Anything cosmetic was a bonus. They feel amazing. I love them! I am having no pain - a bit of discomfort at night if I wake up and move about. I feel like I can breathe better, walk better, sit better. I no longer need to wear an uncomfortable bra all day. I feel like they belong to me - never did with my implants. I feel authentic. No regrets.

3 Weeks Post Op

I'll post a photo on Sunday when I change my tape. The overall shape has not changed but the scars are healing well. My left breast used to be the bigger one and now it is the smaller one. My right breast is very slightly bigger and the nipple is a bit swollen - I'm hoping when the swelling resolves it will be smaller like my left nipple. The uneven cleavage is still there and probably there to stay as I can't imagine much change will happen now.

I'm back at work and into life. No pain, but I still feel like I am wearing a tight underwire bra where my suture lines are under my breasts. This feeling is worse in the evenings and a night (not sure why). I wonder if there are internal stitches into the muscles around my ribs? Nipple sensation is more than it was with implants and can be quite tender if they are brushed or bumped.

I don't think they look great naked but I love how they look in clothes. And I love the freedom of having small breasts. I used to avoid going out sometimes because I'd have to put on an uncomfortable bra, arrange my breasts in it and then wear clothes to hide them. Now I just throw on my clothes without a thought and head out. I am walking and doing yoga (gently) and it feels so good to move without those heavy implants.

My husband is patiently waiting until he can touch them. I know he preferred my implanted look, but I also know that he loves me (and my breasts) as I am. We are still intimate and the new smaller breasts have not put him off in that department ;) Most importantly he knows I am happier and healthier now.

No one at work has noticed or commented. The two colleague I have told (one of which did not know I had implants) tell me they would not have known if I had not told them about the explant. They said I hid my implants very well... which is exactly what I was doing. I have nothing to hide now :)

3.5 Weeks Post Op

As promised the mid-tape-change photos. Dr Google says my weird cleavage fold/lump situation will resolve itself. I'm not convinced. So in my mind I'm planning to ask about a minor revision of this area at my 6 week consult. I think it is just a case of adjusting the scar fold. I might ask the Drs on here in Q&A. Other than a freaky cleavage everything is healing really well and I am very pleased with my progress. I'm keeping the tape on for 6 weeks to help the scars heal flat - along with a compression bra.
I love them and life without implants :)

5.5 Weeks Post Op - Settling and de-fluffing

My breasts have started to soften and the swelling and firmness around the scars is subsiding. This means they are less 'full' looking and smaller - but I am happy with that. The weird cleavage is still an issue - not sure if there is any improvement. My left nipple is taking longer to 'reconnect' - it is permanently contracted (although the feeling is in tact). So when my right nipple expands in response to heat they are different sizes. I'm hoping this resolves or I will only be able to bare my breasts when it is cold and they are even ;)

The scars are healing nicely. I've stopped taping with micropore and now use silicone tape at home and go tapeless with cream when I'm out and about. I'm massaging the scars when I rub cream in. The permanent 'underwire bra' feeling has gone and I have no pain. Occasional tenderness if I lean or press on the scars near my ribs.

I am back into yoga. It is amazing how quickly you lose strength! I am having to build back up to chaturanga. However, I am loving the feel of my body moving without implants. I've been walking and plan to start running again next week. I have found a great wire-free sports crop/bra - Triumph Triaction Seamless crop.

My cup size is strange - it always has been due to my very wide shoulders and relatively small under bust measurement = breasts wider than their projection. So, I am really a C cup width but a B cup projection. Therefore, structured underwired bras rarely fit well. However, now I don't need them and find wire-free unstructured stretchy bras fit well. I bought one 'for my husband' in a sale - I prefer a little more 'sophisticated' lingerie, but he likes trashy and red ;) (although I think it looks a lot less trashy without big implanted breasts spilling out).

Talking of my husband... my explant really hasn't changed our relationship at all. He said he misses my implants sometimes but loves my breasts as they are. Other than being impatient to handle them, he is happy. So for all of you women with a man who likes big breasts - give them time, they will come around.

6 Week Post Op Appoint With Surgeon

A 2 hour round trip for a 5 minute appointment! To be fair I didn't need longer - he is a man of little words and he addressed my questions. He was also interested in how my explant had improved my life. I asked about my cleavage. He explained that at the time of the operation to avoid the irregular finish he would have needed to extend the scars up and around into the mid cleavage area. They would have been visible if I wear a low cut top, swimsuit etc. He said to give it 6 months to settle. To massage the scars and breast tissue lots. He will review in 6 months, and if necessary can do a minor revision to tidy it up. And my uncoordinated nipples should improve over time and start working in unison.

On reflection: I made an informed decision to have a lift at the same time as explant. My rationale was that I knew I would need a lift. I know that many of you have breasts that spring back to pre-implant. But my pre-implant breasts were very flat, droopy and stretch-marked - that is why I had such big implants. I was not trying to make small breast bigger, but fill empty skin. So, there was no way I would be happy with them post explant even if they went back to pre-implant shape (which would be unlikely). Perhaps that is vain of me.

I decided to have the lift at the same time as the explant because if I was having a GA and surgery I might as well get 2 procedures done at the same time - less time off work and exercise, less stress to my body, and less cost. The risk I took was that the end result may not be as good as waiting between procedures and/or I might need a revision. It looks like I may need a revision and my full journey will involve one big operation and one minor one (possibly local anaesthetic).

I'm still happy with my decision and hope my experience and photos help other women to make the decisions that are right for them. I've changed my review to 'worth it' because it has been SO worth it. I feel so much better in my body and in my self.

2 Months Post Op

Can't believe it has only been 2 months - it feels like a lot longer! I am loving my new body. It has been life changing. Just the simple things like feeling comfortable in my clothes (no underwires). I am more confident - shoulders back - happy to push my little boobies forward because they are all mine. No pain or discomfort now. I can rub and squish them and it feels so nice to have warm, squishy breasts. My nipples have full sensation. They are still a bit uncoordinated in their response to temperature and stimulation but are starting to get it together. I am continuing with silicone taping as my scars heal, and massaging when I remember. My breasts have definitely shrunk over the weeks and are much softer too. My old stretch marks are more obvious again, but, they don't worry me. I am not anticipating much more change now in terms of size and shape. I am assuming I will be having a further procedure to tidy up my cleavage. Anyhow bye for now- I'll keep updating every month or so. ps. my husband loves them too :)

3 Months Post Op

As promised - an update. Although there is not much to report. My nipples are getting more coordinated and are managing to be roughly the same size most of the time. However it is cold here and lefty is much quicker at scrunching down than righty... but righty gets there eventually. I have also noticed that my breasts are warmer. My implants were always colder than my body in the winter - at times it was like having a 'cold' water bottle on my chest. I have also noticed I can breath better when running ie. expand my chest and lungs more. Not sure if this was the implants or the tight bras I used to wear for running. Anyhow... here are my update pics. I hope you are all doing well wherever you are on the explant journey xx

6 Months Post Op

My life with small breasts is going well. I'm healing well and generally very happy with them. I'm seeing my surgeon in November and will be discussing how best to address the 'messy' cleavage. I wish he had just made curved scars in the first place! Anyhow - that is a small gripe when looking at the bigger picture.

I feel myself in my own body - explanting has changed my self-image radically. I used to feel self-conscious and embarrassed about my breasts. Dressed to hide them and avoided situations where I would have to wear revealing clothes in public (swimming, yoga). Not any more!

Even just the simple freedom of not wearing a bra (I wear comfy bralettes - or nothing at all) has been life-changing. I am comfortable. Moving feels great - running and yoga are so much better now.

I'll pop back after my visit to the surgeon and let you know what he says :)

6 Month Update - More Pics

More photos...

8 Month Update

I had the follow up appointment with my surgeon this week. He will do a small revision - 20 mins under local - to tidy up the cleavage area and take away the small dog ears on the outer sides of my breasts. No additional cost. This is fairly common with explant and lift combined. It can be difficult to estimate where everything will end up.

I am very happy with my result. It has been life changing and part of a bigger journey to embrace my real self. I have stopped dying my hair and am loving my black/silver natural colour. I recently went camping for the first time in my adult life. Something I would have avoided previously due to uncomfy bras/breasts. The hot weather (Aussie summer) is so much nicer without a bra too. My husband still loves them as they are and benefits from my own inner confidence.

My nipples are still uncoordinated. The surgeon thought it was 'weird' - great :D My right nipple just scrunches up way quicker than the slow left one. Oh well!

I hope you are all travelling well on your explant journey.
I will update when I have my 'tidy up' done at the end of January.
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