31 Years Old, Removing 10 Year Old Implants - Dallas, TX (TOTALLY WORTH IT!)

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I had my first breast augmentation in 2006 with...

I had my first breast augmentation in 2006 with 300cc silicone implants placed below the muscle by Dr. Brad Jacobs. I was a 32B to begin with and the augmentation brought me up to a 32D. Almost immediately after the surgery, I began to develop capsular contracture on the right side which developed into a severe deformity of that breast. I was also unhappy with how fake my "good" breast looked. The left side, while free of scar tissue, looked like half of a grapefruit was attached to my chest. I hated myself for what I had done to my body. Prior to my surgery, Dr. Jacobs had told me that there was a 1-5% chance of developing capsular contracture. I learned later that this is total BS and the rate is anywhere from 20-50% depending on the study.

I sought out Dr. Neal Handel in Santa Barbara to perform a revision in 2007, a year and a half later. I decided to keep the same implant size, but Dr. Handel advised me to reposition the implant on top of the muscle for a more natural look. He also suggested that, as long as the implants weren't ruptured, to reuse them and save the $1000 cost of buying a new set. I was very, very happy with the result. My breasts looked about as natural as they could for such an unnatural size for my small frame. Over time, however, my breasts looked less and less natural. I began to notice rippling in 2012 which became more and more visible over time. I finally saw a local surgeon in 2014 about the issue and he told me that my implants were not leaking or changing and the problem was my skin aging and becoming thinner. I was only 29! I also began to develop a deformity in my pectoral muscles over time. Whenever I would use them they would jerk.

I weighted around 112 pounds when I first got the implants and I now weigh around 100lbs. Since I've lost weight its obvious that I have implants that are too big for my body.

The point is...implants do not age well. They will look worse as you age, as they age, and if you lose weight.

Also, I was assured by both surgeons that my implants would likely never need to be removed or replaced. I learned recently that this is not true and that the FDA only approves them for up to 10 years in the body. By 10 years, 50% of implants are ruptured. By 15 years, 70% are ruptured. By 20 years, almost all of them. Why would the FDA even allow a device that is guaranteed to fail to be placed in anyone's body? And are plastic surgeon really ignorant to this fact or do they knowingly put objects in women's bodies knowing they are bound to either need constant replacement or eventually cause harm?

I'm at the point where my implants no longer give me the desired look I initially wanted, and are either already ruptured or are bound to rupture soon and begin leaking poisonous toxins into my body. Either I replace them with a smaller implant and continue to do so every 10 years for the rest of my life. Or I just remove them. Realizing the insanity of ruining my perfect figure because I was insecure about my appearance and had low self-esteem 10 years ago, I've decided to have them removed without replacement.

A crazy thought of mine is also this: What if something happens where we globally lose power or for some other reason surgical procedures are not an option at a time, and I have two leaking time bombs in my breasts? Maybe I've seen too many post-apocalyptic films, but no longer want to live with that concern.

I consulted with 3 doctors for the explantation. I first met with Dr. Melmed in person. Everyone in his office was very friendly and I was impressed by how many of these procedures Dr. Melmed had performed. He said he was able to remove my implants as well as the capsule through the original incision site around the areola. I explained to him that my two biggest concerns were

1. not being able to breast feed due to loss of sensation in the nipple or damage to the milk glands. I currently do not have any children but am planning to have one or two in the next few years. Dr. Melmed told me that this should not be a concern and this was extremely rare.

2. that my breasts would be deformed. I have seen numerous pictures of collapsed nipples after this surgery and wrinkled damaged skin. Dr. Melmed said that this can be an issue for women who are older, have had children, or have had very large implants. He said that at my age and with my implant size I need not be concerned.

The position of my nipple is still great, so I do not need to have a traditional lift, but Dr. Melmed recommended an "internal lift" to make my breasts look as perky as possible. He says he performs this lift with every explantation that does not require a full lift. It's hard for me to describe, but essentially the entire breast is hiked up. Dr. Melmed was able to explain this to me with an illustration. I decided to trust his professional advice and go with it.

I also had consultations over the phones with two other doctors offices:

I spoke with Linda at Dr. Lu-Jean Feng's office. She was extremely knowledgeable about this procedure and spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with me answering my questions. She explained that prior to the surgery, explant patients are sent to have imaging done of their breasts to see whether the implant has ruptured and whether silicone has migrated to other areas of the breast. If so, Dr. Feng meticulously removes any trace of silicone. After the procedure, the implants and capsule are sent to pathology for testing. She explained to me that Dr. Feng does not make the incision around the areola because she finds it impossible to remove the implant "en bloc" this way. The incision is simply not large enough. Dr. Feng also does not perform the "internal lift" procedure because she finds that the result is not natural looking and that the bottom of the breast tends to be "flat". Linda assured me that breast feeding would not be an issue after this procedure. I do not remember exactly the number Linda quoted me for an explant with Dr. Feng, but I think it was around $11000. I wanted to schedule a consultation with Dr. Feng, but her first available consultation was several months out.

I also had a consultation with Jan at Dr. Susan Kolb's office. She said that Dr. Kolb could perform the removal of the implant and capsule with an incision around the areola. She said Dr. Kolb did perform the internal lift, but Linda couldn't answer any questions about it. She was quite cold over the phone. I also couldn't get a straight answer about the price and got a range that was several thousand dollars apart. She said that Dr. Kolb would have to see me before she could quote me a price. I asked what the price would be based on, and she couldn't answer that question either. I asked to have a phone consultation with Dr. Kolb herself and was told that Dr. Kolb did not offer phone consultations and that there was a fee of several hundred dollars to have an in-person consultation. Maybe Dr. Kolb is a wonderful surgeon, but my phone consultation left me convinced that this was not the doctor for me.

I decided to have my procedure with Dr. Melmed and not Dr. Feng

1. because of his proximity to my city
2. because he could perform the surgery using an incision around the areola and save me from having an unsightly scar under the fold of my breast
3. price: 7k vs 12k
4. I believe the internal lift will give me a better appearance
5. I do not show any symptoms of silicone poisoning, so removing every single bit of capsule, silicone and sending results to pathology are not as important to me as they would be to someone severely sick from her implants

My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I am nervous, but looking forward to have this over with. My husband, while nervous of the aesthetic result, as am I, understands the health risks and is supportive. I want to post this review in the hopes that women considering implants will reconsider and that women considering explantation will see my hopefully great results and go for it. I will post post-op photos as soon as I can.

1 day post-op update

The surgery was super fast and smooth. The nurses at the outpatient facility where the surgery was performed were stellar. I got 5 star treatment the whole time.

The pain after the surgery was not bad at all. Most of the discomfort was from the drains which were placed under my armpits and made it uncomfortable for me to move. The second biggest source of discomfort was the bandage which was wrapped very, very tight around me making it somewhat difficult to breathe. I came home fatigued and slept most of the day and on and off throughout the night. I took one Vicodin at night, not because the pain was intolerable, but the discomfort was keeping me from sleeping. I'm still quite fatigued today and took a few naps.

I requested to keep my implants and they look nothing like when they were first put in. They're yellow, slimy to the touch and the shell is clearly deteriorating. I can also see that the gel inside is losing its cohesion. These implants were clearly on their way to rupturing and I'm certain that the shell was already leaking harmful chemicals into my body.

I went to see Dr. Melmed today to remove the drains and the bandage. As soon as they were out and off of me, I felt instantly better. The pain now is just a soreness. My nipples are the most sore part as that is where the incisions were. Dr. Melmed did not use stitches and placed tape over the incisions, which I am supposed to leave on as long as possible (up to 6 weeks) to facilitate healing. He told me I can be up and about as my energy will allow, but I cannot lift my arms above my shoulders for the next week, or use my upper body for any activities like making beds, vacuuming, carrying a purse, or lifting things to help the sutures heal as best they can.

I will wait to post photos because my breasts are completely squashed from the tight bandage they have been under and I don't want to scare anyone considering this surgery. The area where the incisions are on the areolas is dented in, my nipples look they're positioned too high up on my chest, and my breasts look smaller than they were prior to augmentation. They definitely don't look normal today, but I'm going to wait at least a week before panicking.

13 days post op

My breasts look amazing! Seriously, you cannot tell I have had any work done on them. They're just as perky as they used to be thanks to Dr. Melmed's lift and my skin does not look at all loose. I was pretty confused initially because one of my breasts was quite a bit bigger than the other one, but that was just swelling and they are the same size as of yesterday. The soreness is almost completely gone too. I still have the pasties on helping my incisions heal, so I cannot 100% tell the result until I can see what the scar looks like. There are also some hard lumps on both of them in the same spot. I think this has to do with the internal sutures, but I haven't gotten to asking Dr. Melmed about this yet. Regardless, I am so happy I had this done. The aesthetic result is beyond what I had hoped for and now I can go about my life not having to worry about toxic implants. My new breasts fit my petite frame so much better!! I'll post pics soon.

3 months post op

I'm very happy with the surgery. My breasts are smaller than they have ever been, which is a surprise. But that is because I'm 10lbs thinner than I was even in high school. The shape of my breasts is wonderful. The skin is a bit stretched out on the top of the breasts and the hair follicles are visible (i.e. chicken skin). I do think they look better than they did with the implants. D cups for someone who weighs 95lbs just doesn't look right in my opinion.

I highly recommend Dr. Melmed

Do not listen to other doctors that tell you that the internal lift leaves an unnatural looking result. Not true at all and probably those doctors just don't know how to perform this surgery with a good result. I am also very happy that I did not opt to go with another doctor that would only perform this surgery by making a scar underneath the fold. As you can see, I have no ugly scars to look at for the rest of my life.

I wish I had never gotten implants in the first place and I know my breasts would look a little better had I never had them. But, considering that I had D cups for 10 years, they really look OK now for how much volume I lost and I'm happy.

On a side note, I went to a 3 day music festival just 2 weeks after my surgery because I felt like I had the energy. I was exhausted out there running around and dancing in the heat and ended up spending most of the time in my RV because of how tired I felt. It really does take a month or so to bounce back to your normal self, so don't push yourself so hard for a while. I returned to a vigorous exercise routine after almost 2 months and felt totally fine.

I also had some hard lumps that dissipated after 2 months. Dr. Melmed told me this was just fluid and that it would go away, which it did.
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

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