Bilateral Tissue Expander / Silicone implant Breast Reconstruction for unilateral cancer

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Bilateral mastectomies for unilateral infiltrating...

Bilateral mastectomies for unilateral infiltrating carcinoma with immediate tissue expander placement. SEVERE pain and muscle spasms started immediately post op and were unrelieved with pain meds +/or muscle relaxants. Plastic surgeon was very aggressive in pushing forward towards swap out but I ended up hospitalized because of intractable pain. Had to have expanders with only 280 and 340 ml volumes removed because Neurology wanted an MRI to rule out a brain leasion as the cause. Plastic Surgeon insisted on doing swap out to implant "to keep what we have already gained" She place 13.5 base/ 375 cc implants ( I had been a 40 D) 5 weeks later one had to be removed elsewhere after she wanted to treat a draining MRSA infection with oral antibiotics only. Pain and spasms on that side FINALLY resolved. She refuses to take out other implant (which has no projection , is hard and has a deep crease in the upper pole) claiming it is perfect and my continued pain and spams MUST be due to some neurologic problem despite the negative Neuro workup and symptom resolution with removal on the other side.

Pre Op Photos

Ok, so I'm fat. Really fat. Those pre- op photos don't hide a thing. But at age 55 and with 4 breast biopsies behind me the girls looked pretty good. Even the right side biopsy site with steri strip looks great (Thanks Dr. are the best)!! I wasn't expecting miracles with reconstruction, and I was even looking forward to getting rid of the roll-y bit that crept under my arm...(it kept getting in my way when I was doing surgery), but even though I am a physician / surgeon I was in no way prepared for how I was going to end up.

Revision procedure #4

Getting really good results. I can't say enough good things about my new surgeon. We are hopeful that another 2 or 3 scar release surgeries will have my chest and arm range of motion fully back to normal

Fat grafting revision procedure #5

Nothing speaks louder and clearer than results. I am still taped for support but am ecstatic with my outcome. I see no need for nipples so I may be finally done with this whole nightmare behind me

Finished reconstrction by Dr. Figura. October 2013

This is what my original "finished" reconstruction looked like. Dr. Figuras assessment was that it looked great. My right side shows the result seven months after the permanent implants were placed...flat, misshapen, full of divots and a crazy S shaped scar. I had to have the left side explanted in April 2013 because of infection, but even if both sides had looked the same, it's clear to see why I was not happy. And worse than that, the photos Dont show the problems with constant pain, muscle spasms and restricted movement that I was still experiencing at that time. Here I had lost 10 months of my life to reconstruction and this was what I had to show for it.

Post op week 5 following fat graft #5

They look better now than before Cancer.
Erie Plastic Surgeon

Please do your research prior to committing to a major procedure with this provider. I knew she had failed her Board Certification exam at least once, but as a professional colleague I believed her when she stated that in order to avoid muscular disfunction from asymmetry which would affect my ability to work as a physician/surgeon that I would need bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction. Unfortunately her reconstruction caused severe pain and pectoral muscle dysfunction that required months off of work and physical therapy. I was told by Dr Figura that she had never seen these problems before, but the physical therapist and second opinion plastic surgeon in Erie both indicated that they were treating multiple patients of hers with similar problems. I developed an infection that was suboptimally managed forcing me to seek care elsewhere, and then she refused to provide and further follow up care, instead blaming me for the poor results and complications. So far I have had an additional 4 surgeries to correct my complications and may require several more. The $100,000 figure above is the insurance reimbursement plus my out of pocket costs for these additional procedures. Dr Figura was paid in full by my insurance (and paid very well...she was reimbursed far more than the surgeon who actually did the mastectomies). Since the corrective procedures have finally eliminated most of my chronic pain and restored most of my arm mobility and ability to resume work, the follow up procedures have been definitely worth it, only the initial reconstruction was not. Please, please, please investigate your alternatives prior to proceeding. I can only blame myself for not obtaining a second opinion, and I live with that regret every day.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
2 out of 5 stars Wait times
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