Age 53, Remove Ruptured Silicone Implants. Don't Wait!

Several months ago my left breast swelled and was...

Several months ago my left breast swelled and was slightly uncomfortable. A physician suggested a mammogram and breast US to rule out various problems. Later, an MRI confirmed both implants are ruptured and there is intra- and extra- capsular leakage of the silicone. Needle aspiration of some fluid came back negative for ALCL. I feel fine. So far so good.

My reasons for explant are to clean up the leakage, remove scar tissue, and avoid future surgeries. My first BA was in 1989. I was talked into a size larger than I was happy with. I developed CC and one side "bottomed out". The current set was implanted in 1996. This set lasted me 18 years with very little problem until now. They seem to have ruptured suddenly. Last year's mammogram was normal and I can't account for any trauma.

I spoke to a few surgeons and found one who has done a lot of breast reconstructive surgery. I have learned a lot of what to expect from Realself.com stories and hope to encourage others who want to consider this procedure. I am fortunate that my health insurance will cover most of the costs.

Here goes...

No price yet

I don't know what the final cost will be. My health insurance is covering it. I have a high deductible with a maximum out of pocket. I will track the charges though and report it at the end.

Surgery completed May7th, 2015

My surgery was done by Drs. Zol and Gil Kryger in Thousand Oaks, CA. Their mission was to remove my ruptured silicone implant material and not re-insert any new implants. They said it was a difficult explant surgery. I did not get more details since I was out of it. I will get the whole story when I go back for my first follow up appointment. Coming out of anesthesia, my pain level was high. They got that under control quickly but then a Percocet pill later brought on MAJOR NAUSEA. A Phenergan injection and Zofran helped a little bit. My aftercare nurse Lana was awesome and really everyone was kind, helpful, and professional. On the drive home (about 1 hour 45 minutes) we went through rain, hail, and a dust storm. (I was mostly in a fog. Pun intended.) My nausea finally subsided by the next morning and today I’ve only taken one 800 mg Ibuprofen for the pain. I’m sore but not really in pain. Using my icepacks sometimes.
I have drains but no wrapping of any kind. I am comfortable, sleeping fine and have already been outside a bit to walk around. I will post some photos. I'm not very good at it and was very nauseated when I took the first ones post-op. The breasts look awful right now but I was ready for that after reading other postings. It feels great to be "lighter and flatter" and I just have to wait and see what happens as time goes by.

A drain by any other name...

Bulbs, grenades, pisspots, whatever... The drains don't bother me much. I do advise having on hand one or two button up shirts you can sleep in and pin (and re-pin and re-pin) the blubs without fear of ruining the fabric. For showering I pinned the bulbs to each other and looped them over my wrist. The washcloth idea was good but then my bulbs bounced right on top of my breasts. Smaller washcloth solved that problem. Rock your pots!

I need to take it easier

I woke up this morning to find blood in my right drain bulb. Checked with the doctor and he said I probably did too much the day before. (Guilty as charged. I did a little bit of laundry. Even though I was moving slowly and carefully I may have reached too far.) By a few hours later, the fluid was changing back to the pink then translucent yellowy pink. I'm using about 5 pillows at night. I'm a J-leg/stomach sleeper and while it's possible to get comfortable, it's hard to flip over in the middle of the night. You have to wake up enough to consider where the blubs, tubes, and sore bits are before you settle back down. Since I slept so well last night I may have inadvertently tugged on the right tube or have done a push-up with my right arm to cause the bleeding.

"Washcloth trick" is to pin the bulbs to the sides of a washcloth and loop that around your neck to take a shower. They gave me regular safety pins at the hospital but I changed them out for old-school diaper pins. I pin the bulbs to the side seam of my shirt. Today I went to Target with the bulbs pinned to the waistband of my pants and the bulbs and tubes stashed in my big loose pockets. I don't recommend this. It was fine until I needed to use the restroom. Fast. Don't try to do anything Fast with bulbs on. Lol.

And be more careful..

I woke up again with bloody discharge and a spot on my sheets. The doctor told me to what to do and my husband cleaned the site and put on new clear bandage. The stitches were still in place. That was good. It's hard to keep the long drainage tubes from catching on things: chair arms, the corner of desks, and sleeping torso.
Otherwise, feeling fine. These drains are obviously not coming out this week as I'd hoped. I don't want to go back to work with the tubes in. I work an average of 10-13 hours a day (own business) and if I were there I would automatically be overdoing it.

Drains coming out tomorrow! Down to Tylenol once a day.

I get to turn in my drains and tubes tomorrow! What a relief that will be ! my make-shift ace wrap belly pouch has been awesome. For me, it was safer to contain the long floppy tubes this way. They did not crimp or fold even in my sleep as long as I positioned the tops carefully. The negative pressure vacuum still pulled the fluid even in my sleep.
My breasts are still folded weirdly and are becoming sensitive to loose clothing touching them. My husband says its the nerves healing. Hyperesthesia. I've had some itching on my rib cage too, but not bad. I have a tube of Benadryl gel handy. Sometimes just patting on a little bit makes the spot wet and goopy and I'm less likely to scratch.
Regarding pain medication: I used 800 mg Ibuprofen every 8 hours for the first three days. Then averaged one dose every 12 hours for six more days. Last couple of days I've only taken 2 Extra-strength Tylenol once or twice a day.

Permanent disfigurement. :(

My appointment today with Dr. Kryger went well. I got a copy of my Operative and Pathology reports and answers to all my questions.
During the procedure they drained a large seroma from my left capsule. My implants had ruptured and the silicone was everywhere! They removed everything including the capsules. The silicone was stuck to and embedded in the muscles, scar tissue and chest wall. It took a while to staunch all the oozing blood.
The sad news is that in certain areas my breast tissue was obliterated by the implants and there is no "fluffing" back from that. He likened it to lumpectomies. My breasts are not going to look "normal" without some PS intervention. I had opted not to get a lift (which would have fixed that upper fold) because I did not want to cut into my aereolas again. For now, I am grateful I have no cancer, no free silicone, and no more implants causing more damage.
If you have old silicone implants, remove them before they do any damage.

Still happy the implants are out.

Thank you all for your support. I am 3 weeks post-op and it's like night and day. I feel good. I'm back to work. I'm walking 15-40 minutes a day. Yes, my breasts are wonky but I don't mind very much. I can't stop saying how happy I am that the implants are out! I don't know a THING about massaging. Sounds painful at this point. I'm most comfortable in my Nikibiki bra top. I only need a little support when I walk briskly. I jiggle! Hee hee. I've never had jiggly breast tissue before.

Hope this helps someone.

29 days post-op
0:22
I am about done posting and commenting as I don't think my appearance will change significantly. I hope it has helped someone make a decision one way or another. I don't know how common my results are so if you have had a similar case, please post your experience and photos. I'm interested to know if and what you decided for reconstruction (besides re-implantation). I will check back in 3-6 months to post another photo to compare to these early ones.

Thank you for your support through this. To those ladies considering explantation and are put off by my results, take heart, talk to your primary care doctor or gynecologist and make the decision that is best for your health. You are not your breasts. You are you, with or without them.

If you are considering breast augmentation, save your money and plan for future revision surgeries. Implants are not a lifetime product. Most importantly, talk to other women who have had the procedure and listen carefully to what they say. Consider your emotional health and your body image. Have others told you that your view of yourself is skewed negatively? Do you over-think things? When in doubt, do nothing. Wait a year or two and see. Surround yourself with people who love you the way you are. Bras today are amazing. Spend your money on some great ones!

Three months post-op photos

Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon

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