5th Surgery and FINALLY Got It Right!

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If you're wondering if Dr. Mustoe is worth it... I...

If you're wondering if Dr. Mustoe is worth it... I promise you, he is. Let me tell you a pretty long and arduous story that ends with a knight in a white lab coat that lives in a castle somewhere around 737 N Michigan Avenue in Chicago ;)

Surgery #1 - I got my first breast augmentation when I was 19 years old. I was living in South America at the time, modeling, and I was flatter than a board in the boobs department. So, I had the surgery. It probably wasn't the best decision considering I didn't end up with any cards or information on the implants, I developed large scars at the incision point, they were a bit small, etc. BUT, they looked good to me (considering I had nothing before) and I didn't have any major complications.

Surgery #2 - Fast forward 10 years and my husband and I move to St. Charles, a suburb of Chicago. I started to feel a small "lump" in my left breast (I have had cysts before both in my breasts and ovarian without issue), and I had an ultrasound that was inconclusive but nothing to be too concerned about, BUT since I didn't know too much about the implants that I had in there, and my husband and I were considering having children in the near future, he suggested I have a consultation with a pretty well known local plastic surgeon. Long story short, it is my personal opinion that he kind of took advantage of the situation by using some scare tactics ("you don't know what's in there, and around that time they were using a certain company that's out of business now because of complications," "if you were my daughter, I would have them replaced," etc.) and even though I had over the muscle with my first surgery, he recommended under the muscle, and larger to fill out my chest area more proportionally. I thought he knew best, so we went with it. Well... I'm not sure what happened, but I was very unhappy with the results = I had "hyper animation" where the muscle moved too much over the implant and just looked strange whenever I used my arms or flexed my pectoral muscles, AND I had "symmastia" which is where the skin between the boobs that is usually adhered to your chest was lifted causing a sort of "uni-boob" look. He claimed, "You should be happy because a lot of women wished their boobs were closer or they had good cleavage." That's NOT what was going on here... So...

Surgery #3 - The St. Charles surgeon claimed he could fix the issues and go over the muscle this time to make it have more of the look I desired (He said, "Come to think of it, most girls that have very little coverage (aka fat tissue) like you are always happier over the muscle" Uh... so WHY did you recommend under and WHY didn't you think of this BEFORE we had these issues? Ugh!) I still had to pay for another surgery, in full, but it had to be done. **I should have got another opinion at this point or something, BUT again, you trust that they're a doctor and are up to date on their knowledge, certifications etc. Well, make sure you look them up and check first... that's all I'm going to say about that** After this surgery, everything seemed to be going well, except I had MASSIVE bruising on the left side right away and he didn't put in drains at all, EITHER time, which I later found out is not so good. A month or so later, I started to notice that my left side was hardening, and, again, long story short, I developed "capsular contracture" or encapsulation of the implant where your body forms scar tissue around it causing it to become hard and sometimes misshapen. He never told me what was going on during subsequent visits, I even looked through my chart one time when it was left in the room after my visit and he NEVER wrote that I was having issues. He just kept performing a "Closed Capsulotomy" technique on me to try and alleviate the symptoms enough that I would be happy (this is also called the "nutcracker" technique where they literally squeeze the implant, and consequently your boob, so hard that the tissue around the implant breaks or cracks and makes it feel temporarily softer. There is no evidence that it ever really works to make things permanently better AND in fact it can void the implants warranty because it's simply NOT GOOD for it! Besides, it hurt. Like, BAD) Needless to say... I was done after finding out all of this information when I finally got wise and started doing major research.

Surgery #4 - After consultations with a few other surgeons in the area, I decided on one in South Bend (I'm from Northern Indiana), based on the recommendation of some family members that had gone to him, one was even a reconstruction after breast cancer. To be fair... I think things were pretty messed up to begin with, so he had a long road ahead of him. He at least seemed more knowledgable and up to date on procedures, and he was up front and honest with me. In fact, he told me to WAIT and NOT get the surgery since we were planning on having kids sometime soon. But, I was experiencing daily pain from the capsule and scar tissue and decided to do it anyway. Well, I insisted on over the muscle again (because I was afraid of the look under the muscle would give me), and only about 4 months after the surgery... I was pregnant. So, it could have been the surgery again, or the hormones, or the fact that we couldn't really do anything while I was pregnant, but my left breast developed a "capsular contracture" AGAIN. Before I got pregnant we tried to soften some of the scar tissue with steroid injections and it did help, but one area was too thin from removing the scar tissue from the previous surgery, and after my boobs went back to normal after the pregnancy and breastfeeding, it was so thin that my dermatologist thought the implant may eventually come through the skin. So, I had to do something...

SURGERY #5 - DR. MUSTOE = If I could insert angel music here, I would. Obviously, I was at the end of my rope. Feeling completely hopeless, distraught, regretful, stupid, ashamed, you name it. I wished I had never got the implants replaced to begin with, my husband felt terrible for recommending the doctor and like it was his fault, it was affecting our relationship mentally and physically, and though the pain, suffering, and mental anguish it had caused was way more damaging... the hit to our bank account didn't feel too good at this point, either. Luckily, we're very blessed and could afford to look at getting one more surgery. We both decided this was the LAST ONE no matter what, so we had to make it a good one. Again, we went to several surgeons, did a LOT of research, looked at reviews, etc. and my mother-in-law said she talked to a friend of hers who's daughter had a very similar story to mine: 5 surgeries, all kinds of problems, and she FINALLY got it right with a surgeon downtown... you guessed it, Dr. Mustoe. We scheduled a consultation (it took forever because he's a busy guy, but, trust me, he's worth the wait), and we met with him. He is obviously very knowledgable, has tons of awards and accolades, and a lot of experience, even with difficult cases like mine. He gave it to me straight - he didn't really tell me what I wanted to hear, but he told me how it had to be done in order for it to be right. Having the surgery with him was the BEST decision I could have made. The surgery was long, the recovery was hard, and we went under the muscle despite my desires, but I truly couldn't be happier. I haven't had any of the previous complications, my breasts are soft, appropriately sized, even, well placed, and just overall fantastic. I don't have any more hardness, pain, strange muscle moments, or ANYTHING! I can't tell you how relieved, grateful, and just so HAPPY I am.

Of course, hind sight is 20/20, but I really wish I would have gone to Dr. Mustoe from the very beginning. He's pricey, he's hard to get an appointment with, and his bedside manner is a little more matter-of-fact than I typically like, but he's the best, he's worth it, and... you get what you pay for. So, do yourself a favor and just start at the top so you don't have to work your way up like I did. You'll be happy you did.

Dr. Mustoe is a very knowledgeable, experienced, and a well-known and awarded plastic surgeon. My experience with him was nothing less than fantastic. I had a lot of surgeries and complications in the past that I came to him with, and he devised a plan of action and the best procedure to take care of it all. His bedside manner is a little more "matter-of-fact" than I was used to, but, in the end, all that mattered was the results. I truly couldn't be happier with his work and would definitely recommend him to anyone looking to have plastic surgery. I personally only have experience with his work in breast augmentation, but I have no doubt he's equally qualified in many areas. In my experience, he's the best.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 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
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