I have been following explant patients on this site for about a month and the letters and pictures have been so helpful. Now I want to share my own story as I near my surgery date.
I am 49 years old, and nearly 25 years ago, after two babies, I went to a plastic surgeon for breast implants because I was very unhappy with my sagging barely-B breasts. I told him I wanted an implant large enough to lift up the excess skin. I ended up with 600 cc textured silicon implants, putting me at a DD to DDD. To be honest, I have mostly enjoyed them all these years. I have received a ton of attention with them. Sad that it was important to me but I have body issues.
Over the past two years I have changed my life by becoming vegetarian, dropping 60 pounds, and exercising daily. I have grandchildren and an active life. I am tired of these heavy things on my chest. I am tired of cold, hard boobs and giving everyone a side hug. I am tired of indentations on my shoulders from my giant bra straps. My neck and shoulders and back hurt all the time. I love to run, but it is really hard on my chest and I have to wear 3 bras. When I look in the mirror, I see a really heavy woman with matronly breasts, but I am 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) and weigh 135 lbs (61 kg). Not skinny but not exactly obese!! Yet I feel HUGE.
In the past 2 years, my breasts have become harder, and I have a strange flatness under both nipples. Also, with the weight loss, I have hardly any tissue covering the implant, so a funny fold in the implant is visible on top of my breast, so I can’t wear any cute necklines without this strange shape showing.
I recently had a mammogram and was shocked by the size of the implant comparative to my own tissue. I had never seen my mammogram before. I was also alarmed by the fact that my implant pretty much masks everything on the mammogram. I mean, I could have a golf ball sized tumor in there and it would not be possible to view it. That’s alarming.
I have being going back and forth on one issue: do I explant only, or explant with a lift? If I go through Kaiser (my insurance-- based in California), they will only do an explant. I wasn’t sure if the cost savings was worth putting myself through 2 surgeries if I really need a lift. And I was sure that I would need a lift, since that was part of the initial reason for getting implants, and my body did not improve with age…
So today I went to Kaiser because I read on this site that they might do the explant for free. (I also have two more appointments with private PSs next week for their input.)
I was examined by the PS. She measured my breasts and reviewed my mammogram. She said I have some contracture. I told her about my issues: neck pain, hardness, shape changes. She said the mammogram does not show an obvious leak but there could be a leak within the capsule. She said I have almost no breast tissue and I will be flat-flat, like an A, and they will sag and hang LIKE FLAPS. I am envisioning a pancake. At this point in the exam I was thinking that’s it, let me just get a lift at the same time with a private PS. Then she said something that I have not seen mentioned on this site before. She said she does NOT advise a lift at the same time as explant in my case because I have such a small amount of tissue, such huge implants, and so much skin would need cut off that it would affect the blood supply to my nipples and I could LOSE THEM. !!!????? What the…?????? She said maybe a private PS might want to try it, maybe he has more leeway with the chances he can take… At that point, I knew I would not try to talk anyone into doing a simultaneous explant and lift. I am not risking losing nipples! Has anyone else heard this??? I am so glad I went to Kaiser first, because they seem to be conservative in their approach to everything and I like that.
However... I am grieving today. I feel stupid for ever getting these giant rocks in the first place. I look ridiculous. I am grieving for the pancake boobs I will soon have. I am not ruling out a lift in a second surgery, but now I am also thinking, who cares what my boobs look like. Really I could use a tummy tuck, thigh lift, arm lift etc etc it never does stop. Why do I need perky boobs when the rest isn’t perky? Mostly I want to be healthy and not worrying about leaks. And neck pain. And I don’t want to be planning another explant surgery when I am in my 70s so I am not considering a replacement.
I feel so sad. I am going to look like a man. No, much worse than a man. I am going to attach pics of my mammogram, and current pics of my enormous breasts. ? For some reason they want to flip upside-down after the upload. Sorry!
I want to say, thank you to all of you who posted 1 day post op pics and etc. I had really thought I would do the same thing for the next person in my shoes, but I don’t think I can bare to look at them. It is going to be horribly gruesome. Do any of you think, with a really good bra, like a VS Miracle bra, would I look somewhat ok? Is there any bra that can help? I’ll just never be naked in front of my husband ever again.
Ugh, sorry to be such a downer. Today was a hard day—slap to reality.
By the way, to anyone else in California—to get my implants removed, Kaiser is charging me $15 co-pay! That’s it!!! I LOVE KAISER!!! All I had to do is get my primary care doctor to refer me to plastic surgery, and it was approved today as a covered procedure. The surgeon is really respected and seems to know her stuff. She took her time with me and I feel as good as can be expected.