Saying Goodbye to 15.5 Yr Old Implants - Can't Wait to Be Small and Natural - NJ

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This website and the posts by the members have...

This website and the posts by the members have been extremely informative and helpful. I would like to share my story in hopes it may be of some help to others.

I am 51 yrs old, 5'5 and 125 lbs. I have had my Mentor round (350cc filled to 405cc, submuscularly placed, transaxillary incision) saline implants for 15.5 years. I got them a year after the birth of my 2nd child. I was always small chested, about a 32A. During my pregnancies, my breasts were fuller and I really liked the look and feel of a more "womanly" body. I breast fed for several months and when I stopped, my breasts shrunk back and were a little sadder looking. Around that time, several of the aerobics instructors at my gym got implants so I decided to get them too. I used their surgeon and asked for a full C because all the posts by women in the BA forums said they wish they went bigger. The result was closer to a 34D. While I was thrilled to finally have boobs and cleavage, I was also self conscious of them and avoided tight tops. I guess you can say it was a love/hate relationship. I have not had any problems with my implants in the years I've had them. But with every passing year, I began to worry more frequently about deflation while I'm on vacation. I also began to notice older women with implants and thought how obvious it looked - I didn't want to be one of them. I have received a few passing comments from female friends and acquaintances on the size of my chest, although several people I confided in never suspected I have implants.

Recently two women I know got silicone implants from a local PS they highly regard. Also, for the past few months, I've felt some tightness in my left breast when I lay on my back. I decided it was time to see the PS for a downsize revision consultation. During the consultation, the PS mentioned she would deflate me first so the tissue can retract allowing for better pre-op size planning. She also said I may be happy with my natural size and decide just to explant. It never occurred to me to explant only because my female OB/GY had said once I have implants, I would always need to have them (goes to show to consult with the expert, and not to take any doctor's word for it.) So the PS sowed the seed of possibility in my head and I started my research which brought me to this website. All the successful and happy explant stories have fueled my determination to explant. Plus I really don't want to deal with implants when I'm in my 60s and 70s. The pictures here have been so helpful and gives me hope I too will have a positive explant outcome.

So three weeks after my initial consult, I went back and had my saline implants partially deflated. The PS took out 40% of the saline and said the remainder should leak out on its own in the next 2-3 weeks. I loved the way my breasts looked immediately after the deflation, They look more natural and they feel so soft. There is no more discomfort in my left breast when I lay on my back. When I mentioned it to the PS during consult, she said it may be capsular contracture. It has been over one week since the partial deflation and while they feel like they are getting smaller, they don't really look any smaller. My next appointment is in 2 weeks and the PS may end up taking more saline out.

I feel awkward showing images of my boobs, but the pictures shared by other members have been really helpful so it's only fair to do the same. :) I will post more as things develop. Thanks for reading.

Intentional Partial Deflation Experience

I want to provide some info on how the partial deflation was performed. It was done in the PS's office. She gave me the option of numbing the skin prior to inserting the needle, I opted not to have it applied (it was fine, no pain or discomfort.) She prepped the area and inserted a needle with a syringe to the lower side of the breast and aspirated the saline out. She did this twice on each breast retrieving 160cc saline out of 405cc (40% reduction .) The color of the saline was clear, no particles. I was afraid to look at first but much to my surprise, they didn't look too different except for the fullness on the upper pole was gone and they didn't look as taut. The PS said most of the saline should leak out within 2-3 weeks.

It has been 10 days since the partial deflation and my breasts have not deflated completely - at least I don't think they have. It would be ironic if most of the saline has leaked out and what is left is my natural breast tissue and I'm expecting the results to be smaller. I honestly don't remember what I looked like pre BA and I don't have any pictures since my original PS does not have my photos any longer. I think there has been some gradual reduction but it's hard to tell for sure. I certainly don't fill my regular bras like I did before, especially on the smaller right side.

One benefit of doing the partial deflation is that no one has noticed the reduction in size. I still wear the same workout clothes to my fitness classes (I feel so much more limber and lighter!) I'm hoping by the time the shells are removed, people will just think I lost some weight. I'm looking forward to lose a bit of my belly fat and feel I can do so now and not worry about my chest looking even bigger.

I posted a partial deflation question in the Q&A section and several doctors have responded. It seems each has their own method for deflation. Some will deflate their patients completely, others will do partial deflation. I'm glad my PS did the partial because it allows me to get use to the gradual reduction and continue with my daily activities without feeling self conscious.

2nd In-Office Deflation

It's been 3 weeks since my 1st partial deflation. Today I had my follow up visit with the PS. She said there is still quite a bit of saline left so she aspirated more out of each breast. My left breast deflated more than the right side so she took out 70cc. On my right breast, she took out 130cc. So between the 2 deflations, she aspirated a total of 230cc from the left and 290cc from the right (out of the original 405cc.) Not quite sure how much saline remains but we are done with aspirating. It was a tad painful when she inserted the needle today - maybe it's because I caught a glimpse of how big the needle was!

Some info on the upcoming explant surgery - it will be performed in an outpatient surgery center, general anesthesia, inframammary incision (under the breast), the capsules will be removed. PS said I won't need a lift. My surgery is set for the end of May and my next visit to see her is for pre-op physical at the beginning of May. I got a revised quote for explant only $6300 (versus $12,000 for the original revision quote where she would replace my old saline implants with silicone implants.) Everything in NJ is expensive. I know I can get it done cheaper if I call around but I'm comfortable with her and she has done a number explants before.

I'm posting some pictures from today, after the deflation. The front view picture makes my boobs look bigger than they actually are.

Most of the Saline is Out

About a week after the 2nd deflation, it feels like most of the saline is out of my right breast. Can't tell for sure on the left side because it is larger than the right and I don't know if it's due to more breast tissue or saline. I don't fill my 34C bras any longer so I picked up some 34Bs. Since the bras are lightly padded, it may look like both breasts fill the cups but in reality only the left breast fills the cup and the right breast only partially fills the cup. Not sure what my final size will be, may go down to a 34A after the explant. I'm quite proud of my "flat" chest and have been walking around with my head held high and chest forward, rather than hunching over trying to hide my boobs.

2nd Consultation

This update is a a week late but I had a 2nd consultation last Friday even though I was scheduled for surgery with another PS. I found the 2nd PS on RealSelf and thought paying the $100 consult fee was worth getting another opinion and price quote. I really liked the PS, he was well mannered, attentive, and answered all my questions. The consult was fairly quick, about 25 minutes since I had already made up my mind to explant and just wanted his assessment and get some questions answered. The other thing I was impressed with was that he had personally called me back to answer a question prior to my appointment with him. The only thing that was a turn off for me was his medical assistant kept calling me "Hun" while she was taking down info. It was annoying especially when I am probably old enough to be her mom. The other thing was another staff member was one of the people I saw hanging outside smoking and it just doesn't project a very good impression. Lastly, when I went to throw away the disposable gown, I noticed the garbage was full, and this was before noon, so it leads me to believe they did not empty it the night before. It sounds like nit picking but I think the little details could be indicative of how a business is run. Ok so pretty much after the consult I was leaning toward sticking with my current PS (who charges an arm & a leg but runs a classy operation - beautiful office, cloth gowns, professional staff, etc.)

I asked the 2nd PS for a quote and he said he would have the surgery coordinator (who was at a different office that day) get back to me that day. I called later that afternoon since I had not heard back from her, and was told she leaves early on Fridays. So at that point I totally wrote them off. However, later that night, I received an email from the coordinator for the quote. Including a RS discount, it was $1800 less than what I will be paying (however I would lose my $500 deposit with the existing PS, so the savings was more like $1300.) I mulled it over the weekend and since I really do like the 2nd PS and he is available for surgery within 10 days, I decided that if I couldn't get my existing PS to move up the surgery date then I will book the surgery with the 2nd PS. As it turned out, they were able to move it up by 2 1/2 weeks so I took it as a sign I should stick with them. I would have liked to save the $$ given it will be a straight saline explant (no capsular contracture detected.) I go for a pre-op exam next week and unless something drastic happens, the surgery will be with the 1st PS as planned.

Pre-Op Exam

So I'm scheduled for explant on 5/8. I went for my pre-op exam a couple of days ago. It's mainly to sign forms, get instruction packets, and a very brief exam by the PS. Prior to the pre-op exam, they asked for my most recent EKG and metabolic panel blood results from my primary doctor. I asked the PS if she will remove the capsules and use drains. She said she will remove the anterior (front) side of the capsule and she will use drains. I was concerned about additional scars left by the drains so she showed me some pics of her patients whom she had used drains on. The scars were minimal and barely visible. I asked if she can leave the capsules alone and she said that capsules never fully adhere to each other and there is a possibility fluid will build within the capsules. This may cause false readings in mammograms. So what she does is remove the anterior (front) side of each capsule leaving the posterior (back) side which will eventually adhere to the surrounding tissues. Since I have a mild case of ptosis on the left breast (off by 1 cm compared to the right breast), she said she will take off a little bit of skin at the incision to help correct it.

Pre-Op Preparation

Here are some of pre-op preps I made in the last few days (surgery is on 5/8)

1) fill out prescriptions - antibiotics, ibupropen, and zofran (to prevent nausea)
2) purchase front closure cotton bras (I got Fruit of the Loom cotton bras from Walmart)
3) take either Arnica Montana or Bromelain (I got Arnica and started taking them 5 days prior to surgery)

A nurse from the surgery center will call me the night before with instructions. I'm not nervous nor excited. Just anxious to get the shells out and heal from the surgery. I believe most if not all of the saline has leaked out, so hopefully my breast size will not be too much smaller after the surgery.

Day of Surgery

My explant surgery took place yesterday. We were at the surgery center for a total of 3 hours. The actual surgery took about an hour, slightly longer than planned. When we arrived at the center, I was asked to remove all my clothing except for my underwear and to put on center issued socks, gown, and cap.

The nurse took a urine sample to make sure I'm not pregnant, checked my vital signs, had me sign a number of forms, and gave me instructions on how to operate and measure the drains that will be inserted during the operation. She hooked me up to a glucose IV, and later attached an antibiotic drip to it. I took the Zofran (anti-nausea pill.)

The anesthesiologist went over his check list and asked for my height and weight. He also wanted to know how my teeth are, which I found strange but later understood why he asked. Lol.

The PS measured the nipple to fold distance and my left breast was 1.5cm longer than the right. She said she'll decide whether she will remove some skin at the incision (to help even out the 2 disparate lengths) after she remove the shells, but most likely she will leave it alone since the breast tissue will continue to retract. She said she will remove the anterior (front) side of the capsules and possibly the entire capsule if it can be removed easily (otherwise it will involve more cutting which causes more bleeding.) She marked the incision site under the breast folds and I was led into the operating room.

It wasn't until I saw the operating room that I had a flash of nervousness. The equipment and instruments hit home that I am undergoing surgery. I was asked to lay on the operating table and my arms were loosely strapped down, warm blankets were placed on my body, an oxygen mask went over my face, and the anesthesiologist begin to administer the intravenous anesthesia. I was out almost immediately.

I woke up in the recovery area with a sore throat. Apparently during the operation, the anesthesiologist used Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) anesthesia which involves inserting a tube contraption down the throat. This is an alternative to using a face mask to administer gas anesthesia. A few of the benefits of using LMA are it keeps the airway clear and the dosage can be kept low.

I left the center with a drain on each side of the breast. A little stinging sensation at the drain incisions, but nothing like the discomfort and pain I felt when I got the BA. I took the ibuprofen when I got home and once before bed.

Post Op Updates

1 Day Post Op - I went to the PS office the day after surgery. There was really no need to but I wanted to stop in and get more details on the surgery. She said it took a little over one hour. The left side was more problematic in removing the anterior capsule. It was embedded within parts of the pectoralis major. My pecs feel slightly sore, more so on the left side and there is more fluid coming out too. I only took 2 ibuprofen the day of the surgery and stayed on the antibiotics for the duration with the drains in. No full showers - hand held shower for the lower half, and washcloth for the upper half. Hubby helped me wash my hair over the tub.

4 Days Post Op (today) - Called the PS's office with the daily drainage volume and was told I can go in any time to have the drains removed. Went in as soon as I could. Feels so much better without the drains. The only discomfort I felt after the surgery was the sore throat and the drain incision area. Still feel slightly sore in the pec area on the left side.

Left breast is definitely bigger than the right.
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