Found a Surgeon Knowledgeable About the Lactating Breast; Implants Will Be Gone and I Am Breastfeeding! - Georgia

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I have been contacting doctors all over the...

I have been contacting doctors all over the country for the last two months. I have also read many reviews are implant removal. My saline implants have been in place since about 2001. They are over the muscle and I decided to do an augmentation because my breasts were tubular or hypoplastic. I never thought I would want to have a child so the ability to successfully breastfeed was not part of my consideration. Thankfully, I went with a surgeon who did not suggest a periareolar incision (very detrimental to breastfeeding b/c it severs the fourth intercostal nerve) or a breast lift like the other doctor I consulted. Within about two weeks I could tell the right breast was harder than the other. I had capsular contracture. Laying down for extended periods of time like during a massage was always painful. I kind of wanted them out but the result was better than my hypoplastic breasts. I did lose all feeling in my nipples though which was another disappointment.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I met my husband and had a baby. My breasts of course became much bigger during pregnancy and when the milk/colostrum started to change to full milk I became very engorged. The right hardened implant made that even more uncomfortable and it made it very difficult to hand express milk. It was very uncomfortable. My son was exclusively breastfed and he is nursing today at age three. But the right hardened breast was never his favorite, produced less milk and is very uncomfortable to the touch. Some babies like to hold the opposite breast which elicits a let down...think kittens "making biscuits". That pushing with their paws is a throw back to nursing.

I got great help and support from my local La Leche League group with my son and became a leader/volunteer myself. I am also studying to be an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and so I KNOW that women who are lactating can have surgery. It is not contraindicated. Many women with a breast abscess have incision and drainage performed while they are breastfeeding and they continue breastfeeding. IF you haven't seen a breast abscess you may want to google it; if a woman can nurse through that we can do anything! The body is amazing. Milk leaking from incision sites is not a problem. In fact, breast milk is antibacterial so that is actually a good thing.

Armed with this knowledge I have encountered many doctors who either don't know about the lactating breast and surgery, are practicing defensive medicine, or are simply giving bad advice by telling women, like myself, they cannot remove implants while lactating. One doctor's office, Dr. Grant Stevens at Marina Plastic Surgeon in Santa Monica/L.A. area told me I needed to "be dry" for three months. Whatever that means. Moms can still produce tiny amounts of milk months after weaning. Furthermore, the older the nursing child the lesser the volume of milk anyway. A doctor performing and implant removal surgery wouldn't see milk inside the breast tissue or know I was lactating. And the surgery wouldn't be contraindicated regardless.

I was starting to get very upset when I decided to ask on my LLL closed FB group if any mom's have been through this while nursing. Answered prayer!! A leader wrote that a client had her implants removed while nursing her 1 year old! And she continued to nurse successfully after the surgery. The doctor was in Savannah, Georgia. I called him immediately and his assistant remembered the mom and her attitude and demeanor was a breath of fresh air. Lactating wasn't an issue and this practice knew that.

So I have an appointment scheduled soon and I cannot wait! I want to experience my next pregnancy and the natural breast changes that happen without the pain of a hardened implant. I am so glad I didn't have a lift or periareolar incision; I hope young women will decline surgeries altogether and find true peace and happiness with their bodies. We are all beautiful. But if women do these surgeries they need to consult with Lactation Consultants about the techniques that are best for breastfeeding. The plastic surgeons tell women what they want to hear and they are most concerned with aesthetics NOT breastfeeding. It's like asking the tobacco companies if you will get lung cancer. We have to be our own advocates. And we actually didn't know the gross anatomy of the breast until 2006! That means every medical text diagrammed the breast incorrectly! Hartman discovered the real anatomy of the breast and his work was sponsored by Medela. You can look all this up online now. But, I question if the surgeons even know this. They've been saying sure you can breastfeed after surgery but they didn't even know the structure of the breast! The ducts are closer to the nipple than previously thought; within 30mm, there are fewer nipple ducts, 4-18 to be exact, lactiferous sinuses do NOT exist as previously thought and the milk making parts of the breast are inseparable from the fatty tissue so it is impossible to "just remove fat"! Imagine if you only have 4 nipple ducts (how the milk sprays out of the nipple into baby's mouth) and your surgeon severed 3 of the 4! This all makes me so sad for future moms and baby's. Please don't get implants, it is not worth it.

Surgery next Tuesday

The surgery is scheduled. Monday I go in to sign forms and get a prescription. I am ready and have been telling my son that my "nursies" are going to change. They will be smaller and the right one won't be hard anymore. We will see his reaction. Just praying for an easy go of it and no complications like a seroma and subsequent antibiotics. Dr. Dascombe's assistant has been very professional, kind and accommodating through all of this. I am not in Georgia so a lot of logistics had to be worked out.

Before photos

Pre-implant Photos Hypoplastic Breasts

Before my saline (above muscle) implants

Pre Implants Hypoplasia of breasts

After explantation

More pics with better lighting to come! They look the same as before! When the right one came out I felt Immediatey lighter and felt so much better. I'm shocked my skin is not more wrinkly; over time they will fluff up too which is encouraging.

EXCELLENT and more importantly, knowledgeable about the anatomy of the breast and of lactation. After searching for doctors and repeatedly being told things like, "I need to be dry", I finally found a doctor who realizes that YES the lactating breast can be operated on. It happens with needle aspiration for biopsy, incision and drainage for breast abscess and other reasons. Even after incision and drainage, lactating moms can breastfeed even on the affected side. The doctor's staff seems equally knowledgeable and it makes sense they would take his lead. I am very happy with Dr. Dascombe.

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