I have been stalking Realself.com for the past few...
I have been stalking Realself.com for the past few months before my procedure and couldn't find anything on removing the axillary breast tissue so I figured I'd share since it was part of my experience.
On February 12, 2014, I had a breast lift with 250CC implants, axillary breast tissue removed on both sides that included lipo and skin excision and also added flank lipo (I mean...why not, I was going under right)?
I developed at 12 years old with saggy breasts, I never had a shot. I was also born with the little puff between my arm and boob which I commonly refer to is kishky or arm boob - my 6 year old daughter is sporting the same puff which is so adorable young and becomes an eye sore later. My starting size before surgery was 5'4, 140 lbs and a 34dd. My breasts were extremely saggy and stretched out from genetics, breast feeding, losing and gaining weight and everything in between. In a bra, they overflowed the middle and if held up (by the skin) they were similar to a raisin - wrinkly. My stretch marks from when I was young and a full DD, sunk-in and my breasts looked as if a cat jumped on my them and slid all the way down with claws out. Arm boob stuck out he sides of my bra and boobs came out the middle.
I have worked out 5-7 days per week over the last 5 years and although my body is fit, my boobs and arm boobs were always a distraction. I couldn't take a boxing class without having to remove my gloves to adjust after every burpee set (even with 3 bras). I never wore tank tops (I mean EVER) because of the arm boobs and I've always dreamed of wearing a strapless dress. Approaching 40, I figured....now or never.
I had no idea where to find a good doctor. I searched realself aimlessly and called several practices. I wanted a doctor that was a specialist in breast reconstruction, not just a boob doctor made famous by fabulous marketing. Many wouldn't excise ancillary breast tissue, only lipo it. Many wanted $250 just to be seen - ridiculous. I narrowed my consults to two doctors but after I met Dr. Kim, I knew I was in good hands.
Dr. Kim had excellent reviews and was referred to me by a friend. He practices out of the best hospital in Chicago and has a reputation for being the busiest doctor in his practice. All good things.
I moved things quickly, afraid I would go back on my decision. I work so hard to be natural, I somewhat thought I was betraying myself by going in but I did it. I met with Dr. Kim in January and booked for his soonest available, February 12.
After meeting with the doctor, I also added on lipo of my flanks. I originally inquired about a tummy tuck, which he told me I didn't need, but he helped me narrow down my point of discontent and the flanks were added. We discussed only doing lipo on the arm boobs but he and I both agreed, I would have excess skin that I wouldn't be happy with. He drew the scar on me at our appointment so I could decide if I was okay with it. I was.
I am now 6 days out of surgery. I hated the anesthesia and only took narcotics for 12-hours (hated those too). I would rather be in pain than be nauseated so I have been living on tylenol.
Breasts look great, arm boobs look scary and flanks are rocking. I am a little lopsided right now do to swelling by Dr. Kim assured me that once the swelling subsides, they will be pretty darn close to the same. My arm boobs are stitched close and the incision is creepy looking. I was told that they added extra stitches to close the scar so it wouldn't spread and when they come out, it won't look as bad. The arm boobs are gone.
I added pics before, 1-day after and 1-week after. I will continue to share progress on all.
Day 8 Post Surgery
Yesterday was my first day back at work, one week after surgery. Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad. I actually am the same size, just perkier - which is a relief since I didn't want anyone to notice.
My back is killing me from sleeping on it. I've been using ice packs to help relieve the feeling of tightness. Dr. Kim said I could start sleeping on my left side if needed because the right side is still swollen. Honestly, sleeping on my side is just as uncomfortable and I am still waking up every couple of hours.
Although I love my new breasts, my mind hasn't excepted them yet - does that sound weird? I feel as if I am wearing someone else's breasts. My right side is still a bit larger and higher than the left but seems to get a bit better daily. I am doing my best to practice patience in waiting for the end result.
Tylenol and Advil are still on my list but I am taking them a lot less frequently. I go to get my stitches removed from the axillary tissue removal on Tuesday. He squeezed extra skin over the incision because the area is a point of use, he didn't want the scar to spread. I hope it makes the incision area look better but I am worried it will give me even more skin to contend with once the pinched area is released...
Update to follow after my next appointment.
11-days post-op and have dense ropey tissue on axillary breast, freaking out.
Two days ago I noticed hard tissue on the left axillary breast tissue area when showering. It felt rope like and very dense. There was a little of the same on the right side but not nearly as firm. I emailed my PS and of course he responded right away. He noted it was probably scar tissue and to lightly massage. After scouring the internet on scar tissue massage, I massaged both areas for 15 minutes each the first day and three session of 5 minutes the second. Needless to say, the left area is now so swollen and painful and the tissue seems firmer. I tried icing to alleviate the soreness.
Concerned, I emailed my PS at 12am last night and he actually responded within 10 minutes. He said it could be fluid accumulation and to come see him. I have an appointment on Tuesday already. After doing further research on the web, I have scared myself into tears and panic. It sounds like my condition is axillary web syndrome which tends to grow and could travel down my arm. I'm hoping this is not the case. The other possibility is a seroma but it doesn't seem like fluid....Either way, both could be precursors to Lymphedema.
I'm so mad at myself that I might have caused myself long term issues. All of the above are common in breast cancer patients or those having biopsies of the axillary tissue (about 15%). I'm hoping I'm over reacting but I was up all night researching and have been very depressed. I hope this is a simple fix and I didn't cause myself long term complications.
3 weeks post op - a littly asymmetry and lymph nodes swollen
It turns out that the swollen ropey tissue in my arm is swollen lymph nodes, not exactly what I wanted to hear but it is what it is. Swollen lymph nodes can result from injury and it may take quite a while for them to go down. It can also later result in lymphedema. I cannot massage the area as it could cause more damage which means I also cant work on my scar tissue from the axillary tissue excision, a bit frustrating. I have been doing this lymph node pumping exercise and I'm hoping it is working in reducing the swelling. In addition, the skin in the axillary area is still pinched together. I was under the impression that the sutures were manually removed but instead I need to wait until they dissolve. The positive is that the scar looks like it will be nearly non-existent once the skin goes back.
My breasts are a little uneven but this should come close to resolving itself as swelling subsides. If you look at my post-op pictures, there has already been a huge improvement. The left breast is soft and pliable and has dropped, the right one is on the way. I believe I had a bit of asymmetry to start with but the doc said he would try to correct it as much as possible but nothing is perfect and no two breasts are identical.
Lipo on flanks has been the biggest success. No scarring and it's staying fairly smooth, though I tend to swell a tad on the right side at times. Love lipo and this doc is definitely awesome at it. My skin on my belly is still loose and I debate whether I should have had a tt. I just don't think the scar is worth it quite yet since my tummy is kind of flat with just some ripples.
Now I wait for the axillary swelling and scarring to subside....and hope the right breast follows the left.
As far as scarring on the breasts, I think this doc is a genius, his incisions look they will heal remarkably. Updated pics attached.
Almost 6 Weeks Post
I swear the healing process is so drama-packed. This weeks issue: a sore muscle and a slippery implant. If you notice, I have a bit of asymmetry. I don't notice it at all when I look in the mirror but it seems so prominent in pictures! Well, the smaller of the two - my left side, has an implant that sucks in when I flex my muscle. It is so freaking bizarre. And, the left muscle is so sore, I can't do much on that side. I went back to working out and can do about 3 pushups before that side hurts so bad, the right is perfect. The left implant also slides more from left to right and I can feel it distinctly. I hope all this movement calms down!!!
I also have very knotty scar tissue on the left side at the bottom of the anchor and it is hard around the scar. I think this is getting better daily but I have been busy massaging and applying silicone strips. Luckily I have very veiny breasts so the scars are not very visible. Never thought i would say I was lucky that I had so many veins!!!
Overall, I am very happy with the appearance. The movement on the left side is a bit concerning because the right side is so perfect in appearance and feel. Just a waiting game I guess.
I have started wearing underwire bras again which seems to keep the left side tame. We are leaving on vacation in 2-weeks, I hope everything is better by then!
11 Weeks Out - Flex distortion and slight lateral displacement
Attached are pics from 11 weeks out. I'm not thrilled with the asymmetry but it's not too bad, I was likely bigger on one side to start with so this is a BIG improvement. I am however having issues with slight lateral displacement and flex distortion - both which I could live with if it didn't bother me so much internally. I always feel the implant as if carrying around a rock on the left side of my chest, especially when I bend down, it feels like the implant will fall out. There is also some empty skin near the cleavage on this side which kind of ruins my dream of wearing something low cut without a bra.
What is making me crazy is that I feel like I carry around a constant moving boulder on my left side. I can't do any chest exercises at all, not even a baby pushup without extreme pain on that side (right side is perfect). When I run, it hurts too, I wear two bras and there is pressure again where the cleavage is on the left side that becomes painful if I jog, do jumping jacks, etc. I'm wondering if the pocket is too big and the implant is just flopping around in there.
I saw my surgeon who told me how wonderful they look. He said the flex distortion is part of the territory with unders and not to flex....really? He also said the empty skin near the cleavage is because I have thin skin? What frustrates me is that I had saggy stretch marks with extra skin and the surgery was supposed to remove the skin. I'm thinking the slight lateral displacement to the left made the center empty, not the thin skin. He said I could have another surgery in a couple years to switch to overs if I wasn't happy with the distortion. In essence, he was not thinking any revision but a complete overhaul.
The distortion happens when I am wiping down the table after dinner, picking up groceries, etc...I will never be able to wear a low cut shirt. Can you even imagine dancing at a wedding? I am worried when we boat in the summer to tie up the boat or pull it in to the dock in a swimsuit.
The thought of having a revision surgery scares me since I don't want to go under the knife again and I don't want to shell out extra money (which I would have at least the bill of anesthesiologist and or room - if he admits there is an issue). Also, what if I go through a revision and it doesnt fix the problems? On the other hand, even if I could live with the look and distortion, the feeling of the implant moving is awful and delivers a constant weird pressure. I want to work out and not have this dull pain. ARGH.....so frustrated!
Revision....Strattice internal bra - should I do it?
27 May 2014
3 months post
Chronic discomfort is the best way to define my left breast. The lateral displacement has progressed and it feels as if the lefty slides out of socket. The sliding back and fourth is extremely uncomfortable and happens when I lift my arm, bend over, lift something, have sex (imagine having sex in a bra - forever) or shower.
I visited my PS today and he made note and suggested a pretty major revision. He thought they looked good but does see the displacement and addressed the irritation of the sliding. I have thin skin and lax ligaments. I'm pretty elastic, so in addition to what probably started as a an over dissected pocket became a bigger problem because I'm so loose. The right is also slightly displaced but it doesn't bother me.
He is concerned if just does the standard pocket stitch, it would also stretch out. He is also concerned that if he does this on one side and not the other, they will be more uneven. He is suggesting a strattice internal bra and swapping my implants for silicone, textured by mentor. He also suggested to take my girls from 250cc to 300 cc to fill the extra skin that stretched already.
It's a big surgery - one he is willing to do for free (plus the cost of the new implants - $1,800 + anesthesia/OR for another $1,800) - adding $3,700 to my bottom line.
Does anyone out there think this is overkill? Should I go for it? Another 2.5 hour surgery, $3,700....plus strattice is newer to the market.
6 Month Update
18 Aug 2014
6 months post
I am scheduled for a revision surgery on October 6 - to fix the lateral displacement, the appearance of the implant through the thin skin and to build an internal bra to help the skin laxity.
I think the appearance of both breasts without clothes looks great but I still have constant discomfort on left side from the lateral displacement, am unable to us the left muscle at all without days of paying for it and my nipples appear in most swimwear (lateral displacement, mostly happens on left).
I'm debating if I should just remove the implants or go through with the swap out, fat transfer and seri-scaffold. I want this to be my last surgery and my original goal was to not be so floppy and stretched - yet I'm stretched and with my skin laxity, I will be floppy in no time without the seriscaffold. Also worried scar on right nipple will continue to spread. On the other hand, I've always been big chested, if he removed the 250cc on each side, I will likely be a C, not sure if I will be happy small. ARGH>>>>>
Deflated the Saline - explant compltely???
Decisions, decisions! I decided to have my breasts deflated today. I wanted to see if I really need implants at all and if I should go for this mammoth revision. He deflated the left completely and the right side will deflate in the next 48 hours (he wanted to leave me time to compare the two so just punctured it). I have 3-weeks to decide....explant completely or full-on revision. Any comments or thoughts are appreciated!
Deflated and explant tomororw with fat transfer
I am done with implants; the pain on the left side with the flex distortion and the ability to see the implant through my skin was just not doing it for me. Couple that with the lateral displacement, I made the decision implants are not for me. Tomorrow I am having the deflated saline bags removed (deflated early September) and having a fat transfer to mask some of the flex distortion that is still very prominent even without the implants. Since deflated, the chronic pain on my left side and the lateral displacement has subsided but hasn't gone away completely. I am able to do a semi-push up without being out for days, so there is improvement. The deflated saline implants haven't bothered me too much but I do see the bag poke through my skin and I've had fun shoving it to the side. I can't wait until this is over. I hate surgery.