Thought I'd pay this forward as others before me...
Thought I'd pay this forward as others before me who have posted here, especially with photos, have been so helpful as to what I might expect. I got my implants, under muscle, saline with silicon shell, in 1996. I was single at the time and thought I'd do this "just for me". I was an A cup at the time and always struggled to find bras that fit - with small breasts and a broad back it was almost impossible to buy bras off the rack that fit properly. It was usually a case of getting the cup size right and then sewing on an extra row of hooks at the back to make the band comfortable enough to wear.
The original surgeon (now retired) did a fabulous job, I was really pleased with them. The scars are almost invisible (under breast) and they have caused me no health problems. I went from an A cup to a C (sorry I don't know the actual implant size).
Anyway, fast forward 19 years and they are now firming (my new surgeon, Dr Brigid Corrigan, says after 19 years I'll definitely have some capsulitis). I've gained a couple of kilos and gravity has my breasts drooping a bit - though not as much as they will when the implants are out! I'm over trying to find clothes that fit properly and as some others have mentioned, my larger boobs are making me feel matronly (I now wear a 16D thanks to weight gain and gravity). I'd also like to start doing some serious exercise (I've always felt my boobs got in the way at the gym though I'm certainly not in the Pam Anderson category).
So I'm scheduled for explant next Tuesday and am becoming decidedly nervous about it. My partner has his doubts (just leave them until something serious happens with them) but he's supportive of my decision. Dr Corrigan says I don't have much breast tissue so I've no idea what to expect after almost 2 decades.
I'll be in hospital overnight, having a general anaesthetic, drains out before I go home. The PS is removing capsules, and follow up appointment is 10 days later. I've bought 2 compression bras (at the exhorbitant price of A$55 and A$75 each) from Breastcare WA which I'll be required to wear 24/7 for several weeks. I'll be taking 2 weeks off work (I work at a computer 3 days a week).
I've attached some photos (they are photos of photos so my apologies for the quality - hope they upload okay). My PS has taken some "before" photos and I've asked her to also photograph the implants when she takes them out so I'll post those when I get them (I don't have a smart phone, just a small digital camera).
Wish me luck!
Had a call from a nurse at the hospital yesterday evening going over what medications I'm on (none) and previous surgeries I've had, as well as advising I buy some Chlorhexidine pre-op wash and wash with that the night before and the morning of the surgery - and don't put on any moisturiser, nail polish, deodorant or make-up. I'm getting pretty nervous now, hoping I'm doing the right thing as apart from hardening a little, my boobs aren't causing me any major issues (yet). But I remind myself that could change at any time, and they are nearly 20 years old. I've added a few pics my partner took today. I'm 170cm (5'7") and weigh 71kgs (156lbs).
The photo that got me thinking
My partner I went on a holiday to beautiful Tasmania last year and this is one of the photos that was taken - when I saw the photo, I couldn't get over how poorly this top fit me and realised I probably have a wardrobe of ill-fitting tops because of the difficulty of finding clothes that fit properly over my breasts. I'm sure I won't have this problem after Tuesday!
Nervous as a cat on hot bricks
Only about 14 hours to go and the butterflies have turned into peacocks! I am really nervous about the result. I told my partner tonight as well as being nervous about that, I'm also concerned about what he'll think. He just shrugged... I said well if I'm unhappy with the result 12 months down the track, I'll get them pumped up again! He just rolled his eyes! :) But hopefully all will be well. I've attached a pic of my current scars - the original PS did a fantastic job, the scars faded to almost nothing. I called my doctor's office today and asked her secretary to remind her to take photos of the implants when she removes them; I'm really curious to see what they look like after all this time. Anyway, keep everything crossed for me. I won't be posting tomorrow, probably Wednesday when I get home if I'm feeling up to it.
Today's the day
Just about to leave for the hospital, had a terrible night's sleep, so nervous. Looked in the mirror this morning and thought "It's not too late to change your mind, they still look good..." but reminded myself they are hardening and it will only get worse. I see the anaesthetist at 6.30am, surgery about 11am.
All done and home
6 Oct 2015
Day of treatment
After being told by the anaesthetist's assistant that he was going to see me at 6.30am and my partner and I getting up super early to accommodate that, he didn't arrive until l amost 8! But he was very thorough wit his questioning, took my BP and even ordered an ECG. I was given an anti-nausea tablet, anti-reflux tablet and mild sedative about an hour before the surgery. Compression stockings put on and then those other ones that automatically inflate and deflate (to avoid blood clots). Saw the PS and she was reassuring, I asked her a few questions (she said to wear the compression bra for about 2-3 weeks, I can drive after 4 or 5 days if I feel confident enough, massaging won't do much in relation to increasing breast volume but will help with scar healing. I asked her if she had many patients having explants and she said a reasonable number when they get around the 20 year mark, like me).
Wheeled into surgery about 10.30 and after the oxygen mask was put on and I was told to think of somthing pleasant, I was out!
In a private room on the ward by noon with a drain on either side. They removed the inflating stockings but left the normal compression stockings on. I dozed on and off all afternoon (couldn't keep my eyes open for long, obviously still had the drugs in my system). My partner visited and took these photos. As many others have mentioned, I can't get over how soft natural breasts feel!
PS stopped in this morning and checked everything out, said it all looks good. Had drains removed and dressing changed (nurse said she couldn't see the stiches as they are covered with a steristrip). Given some Tramadol if I need it (have not needed any painkillers to date, feeling fine), and was home by 10.30am this morning. I am feeling great - thought I'd be aching or at least with some minimal residual pain, but there's nothing.
I'll ask my partner to take a couple more pics tonight in the compression bra and side views. I have the common lack of upper pole volume so hopefully the fluff fairy will eventually pay a visit!
Thanks for all your kind and supportive messages, they were incredibly helpful.
Forgot to mention
6 Oct 2015
Day of treatment
The PS took out the capsules as well as the implants, she said there was calcification and they had deflated a bit so there was a leak there (luckily they were saline) and so they'd have had to come out eventually anyway. She took photos of the implants so I'll post those when I get them (probably when I have my follow up next Friday).
A couple of pics - apologies for the method of photography but I don't have a smart phone, a digital camera is the best I can do (my partner/chief photographer is away for a few days). Side views taken in the bathroom mirror - at the moment the steri-strips are helping to hold them up and you can see there's little top volume (at the moment anyway - hopefully this will improve a bit with time). Struggled a bit with sleeping entirely on my back last night (I'm normally a side sleeper). Stepped on the scales this morning and have gained just over 1kg (2.6 pounds) in 2 days! So went for a long walk today, upping the fruit and vegies and water intake. Oh - I also told my mother and she was fine with it after I reassured her it was the best thing for me, especially since the implants had started leaking.
Back problems - anyone else dealing with this?
I had my explant on Tuesday (does that count as Day 1?) and I've had almost no pain - except for back pain as a result of having to sleep only on my back, which I'm not used to. Even with 3 extra pillows around me, I'm still waking a few times a night with back pain. I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with this and how you managed? Any tips I should know about? How long after explanting did you get to sleep on your side? (We have a pretty soft 100% latex mattress.)
Strained chest muscle and sleeping arrangements
I've figured out the most comfortable way for me to sleep and stay on my back - I've moved into our spare room which has a king single bed with a latex mattress topper. I've now got 7 pillows arranged so I'm basically sleeping in a reclined position, which takes the pressure off my back. This worked reasonably well.
My other news is, in an effort to keep the steri-strips dry I've been standing in our bathtub to "shower" with a hand held shower hose. This way I can just use a wash cloth to wash my top half and keep the strips dry and "properly" shower my bottom half. However when I bent down to wash my feet I had this terrible ripping pain through the top half of my right breast, so bad I actually let out a bit of a scream. I'm wondering if I could have strained a chest (pectoral) muscle? I've probably been too active so it's a wake up call to slow down. I'll have a look for some stretching exercises and take things a bit easier.
On a completely different subject
I haven't washed my hair for a week so thought I'd treat myself today to a shampoo and blowdry at a hair salon. This is unusual for me - the last few years I go to a hairdresser twice a year for a 1/2 inch to 1 inch trim and that's it. I was totally shocked at the prices they wanted to charge me today - A$60-63.50 (US$44-47/GB 28-30) - just curious what you ladies in North America and the UK would pay for this service? So I came home, kneeled over the bathtub and used the shower hose and managed to do it myself.
First follow-up appointment tomorrow
My follow-up appointment was booked for Friday but since I've been experiencing some pains in my right breast, I called the PS's office today and they've managed to fit me in tomorrow afternoon. Interestingly, the original Friday appointment was only for a nurse to change the steri-strips - it wasn't to see the PS (which I didn't know until today). But tomorrow I'll see both. I'll also ask the PS for the photos she took of the implants she removed. The compression bras (I have 2 that I alternate daily) are quite uncomfortable (not sure if the band is too tight?) and I will be SO glad when I can stop wearing them (about 3 weeks to go).
First follow up appointment
Saw a nurse yesterday who removed the dressings (from where the drains were and from under my breasts) and I got to see the scars (sorry, no pics). They looked a little raised to me but the nurse said that the PS had to cut out the existing scar line and re-stitch one and she's made her stitches tight. She assured me the wound was clean and the stitches would flatten over time. She showed me how to take the dressing off (Fixomull) and replace it (once a week). I then saw the PS who was very happy with the result of my surgery (as am I). She also said the stitches would flatten over time.
Interestingly, she said the implants were 240ccs but by the time she took them out they had "deflated" (leaked) down to about 150ccs (thankfully they were saline-filled).
She said I can now sleep on my side if that's more comfortable for me. I'm still having back issues so will see if my physio can work on my back with me sitting up or on my side as I won't be able to lay on my stomach for weeks yet. Next follow up with the PS is in 4 weeks.
I'll get my partner to take update photos next time I change the dressing. Meanwhile, attached are photos the PS took of the (intact) implants and capsules she removed.
Just over 2 weeks
Had to change the dressing yesterday (weekly), think I stressed about it more than my partner, who did it for me. This stuff is really sticky (Fixomull) and I didn't want the dressing misplaced and then have to take if off and start again - but he got it right first time, much to my relief.
He took pics while I had the dressings off - he zoomed in a bit much! And the pics of the scars are a bit blurred but you'll get the idea. The fluffing is happening and the scars are healing really well. I'm thrilled with the results. Still wearing the dreaded compression bra 24/7. Next appointment with PS is 12 November and I'm hoping she will tell me I no longer need the compression bra and then I can go bra shopping.
I'm pretty much back to all normal activities now. I need to start an exercise programme but will leave that until I see the PS and get her ok.
Scar tissue and dresses
My partner changed my dressings last night. While the scars are healing, they seem somewhat raised, one more than the other, so I'm hoping this doesn't mean the end result will be a line of raised scar tissue under each breast. I guess no one will know except me and my partner if it turns out that way but of course I'd prefer the great result I had with the BA scars (which were basically non-existent).
I've tried on 2 dresses that my mother made for me a few years ago and they now don't fit - I have all this gaping fabric at the back (they both have long back zips) because I no longer have bigger boobs to pull the fabric forward. Mum is now in her 80s so probably wouldn't be bothered with basically re-making them. One of the (few) downsides of explanting is having to replace parts of your wardrobe (I hate clothes shopping).
Two weeks today until I see the PS for second follow up appointment and hopefully say bye-bye to compression bras.
11 Jan 2016
3 months post
I just got my private health fund rebate so I thought I'd share the details of what this procedure cost me (in Australia).
Plastic surgeon - $1,822.50
Anaesthetist - $1,250
Lab work (precautionary biopsy) - $432.45
(add in any hospital excess if applicable - mine was $125)
2 compression bras - $135
Siltape (to help improve scars) - $47
Medicare rebate for PS, anaesthetist and lab $841.55
Private health fund rebate $990.85
TOTAL cost of procedure: $1,979.55