Saline Implant Removal After 17 Years - 38 Years Old - Vancouver, BC

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Hi! I’m a 38 year old mother of two boys (5 and...

Hi! I’m a 38 year old mother of two boys (5 and 7 years old). I had saline implants placed under the muscle 17 years ago. I believe they are 300ish cc’s but I really can’t remember the exact size. For about the last decade I have been waiting and waiting for something to go wrong. Until last December, I had not experienced any problems. In December, I started to have pain in my right breast, mainly when I was lying on my side sleeping. For a couple of weeks, my breasts were also tender. I decided to make an appointment with the plastic surgeon that performed my initial implant procedure. I finally saw him in April (super long wait). He basically said that everything seemed fine. I just had minor tightness in my left breast. No rupture, leakage, etc. He sent me for a mammogram in May and everything came back ‘normal’.

The pain I experienced in December scared me. Although the pain was not severe, it just confirmed the decision I made years ago not to have my implants replaced. I do not want to be a grandmother or 80 year old women with breast implants! I also want to get them out while I can still hide my bad decision from my kids. I really do not want them to know!

So here I am now, a 38 year old mother of two beautiful boys, embarrassed that I did something so foolish. This might sound strange but I am not the type of person that would get implants (now). But I’m stuck with these plastic bags in my chest. None of the people I have met in the last decade or more know I have implants. I am too embarrassed to tell anyone and they really don’t look obvious. I have even had men and women talk poorly about women with implants right to me….they have no idea the secret I’m carrying. I think I would shock a lot of people if they found out, especially some of my girlfriends.

When I went to see Dr. Pugash in April, I had already decided that I wanted the implants out. The pain I experienced in December was coming and going….nothing significant. I had so many questions/concerns at the appointment and I really had not done my research and didn’t know what route I wanted to take (drainage, removal, lift, etc). He tried to answer all my questions but I was still confused when I left his office. I ended up making an appointment to get my implants drained on Oct 8th and to have them removed with a lift on Nov 13th. At the time, I thought I wanted them drained first so I could decide whether I wanted to have a lift after the implants were removed.
Now I’m not sure what I want. I really do not want to another procedure (lift) but I also do not want to feel terrible when I look at my post-explant boobs. Honestly, after looking at pictures of breast lifts on this site, I think the idea of going through another procedure and having significant scars on my breasts would make me feel worse than having empty, saggy breasts. It’s so hard to make a choice when you can’t really see what the end result will be. That is why I thought drainage first would be a good option. Again, it’s another procedure and I’m scared of how my body will react to having 17 year old saline dumped into it. My surgeon also wanted to start me on antibiotics before the deflation. Why would I set myself up for potential problems?

After writing this, I feel like having the implants removed without drainage or a lift is what I would feel best about and is the most ‘me’. I still don’t feel like I’m ready to commit either way though. I can always decide against the deflation and lift and cancel the appointments but it would be hard to get the appointments rebooked if I cancel them and change my mind. I’m just going to leave it as is until I feel 100% about my decision.

Just over two months to go!

I finally decided not to have the implants drained and not to have a lift at the time of removal. I really think it's best for me to wait and see the result before I go through with any more procedures. I can always have a lift later if I am truly unhappy. I cancelled the extra appointments/surgical time and now have my preop on Oct 8. I have lots of questions for the Dr and can't wait to have them answered. He mentioned no drains at the last appt but we didn't even discuss incision sites, capsule removal, bandaging/compression, local vs general, etc. This site has taught me so much and really helped me decide what is best for me. I'm very thankful to everyone that has shared their journey :)

One week post-op

It has already been a week since I had my implants removed! I feel great. I went off Advil yesterday (I probably didn't even need it on day 5 but didn't want to chance it) and even did some running around at the mall after my post-op appointment. Today I walked my kids to school :) I'm so happy to be on the other side. One week ago I had no idea I would feel this good today!! I'm going to do this in reverse and post more later today about the past week of healing.

Day of removal

I had my implants removed on Nov 13th. My surgery was at 1:30pm and it was so hard to fast since midnight the night before..awful. I had them removed under local with IV sedation. When I got to the surgical center, they did give me tylenol but that's it. I was happy to have a small amount of water to wash it down thirsty. After the Dr marked me up for surgery, I met with the Anesthesiologist and expressed my concerns re: nausea. She told me she would give me the least amount of drugs needed to make me comfortable. During the surgery, I remember being pretty drowsy and feeling like I just woke up from a nap. At that point, the first implant was removed and the Dr was just about to start on the second. I chatted with the Anesthesiologist and remember just wanting to be done. It did feel some discomfort when he was removing the second implant but at that point he was almost done so I didn't receive any more freezing. The procedure took less than 1 hour (not really sure how long I was in there). I got wheeled into the recovery area and just sat there for around 45 minutes until they were ready to let me go home. I was a little bored at that point LOL.

When I got home I was pretty sore so I made sure I took some of the pain meds I was prescribed (Tramadol with Acetaminophen) and that helped. I rested the rest of the day and slept on my back that night. I was uncomfortable but the pain was bearable.

My incisions were placed in my crease. Original incisions were in my areola. The Dr feels that going through my areola again could lead to the tissue under my nipple pulling in. He did sew up the pocket and told me that my breasts would look dimpled and have puckers after surgery. He assured me that they would smooth out over the next six months. He did not use drains and I am thankful for that. I still remember the pain of getting the drains removed after implantation. It really hurt!

Day 1 to Day 6 Post-op

The second day I took some Advil when I woke up. I did't feel like I needed the prescription meds. I rested all day and felt pretty sore...better than I thought I would feel though. My Dr said I didn't need to wear any compression garmets/bras so I just wore a sports bra with support. I couldn't imagine not wearing something tight around my chest! I continued to take Tylenol/Advil through the day to keep the pain down and took one the the prescription pain meds before bed to help me sleep. That was the last one I took!

Day 2 - Kids had a sleepover event and my husband went with I was all alone :) I was comfortable making easy meals/hot drinks and really enjoyed the quiet! Had my first shower post-op. Was uncomfortable washing my hair but I managed. My incisions were covered with waterproof dressings so I was able to shower beginning Day 1...I just couldn't be bothered that day.

Day 3 - Was able to do easy cleaning (tidying up, dish food, etc) and felt much more comfortable.

Day 4 - Started driving again today. Felt a little sore after (who knew it took so much strength to put our van in 'drive' LOL). Was able to take care of the kids easily! Getting easier to take my sports bra on and off. My husband had to help me before today the only bras I found comfortable I had to put on over my head.

Day 5 - Ran errands, light shopping, driving felt totally fine today. Made dinner, no problems. Still can't do any lifting but feel good.

Day 6 - Had my post-op appt and Dr removed the waterproof dressings. Felt good to have them off. He said I could resume my normal cardio activites in 1 week but have to wait another month to do any heaving lifting/chest exercises. He even said I could wear a normal bra (even with underwire), which really surprised me. I'm not ready to go out and spend a fortune on new bras yet though as I know my breasts will keep changing for a while. I'm not sure they would even be comfortable yet. I think I'm just going to stick with my sports bras!

2 days post-op

Another day 2 pic

8 days post-op

Feeling great! I tried on a few of my old bras this morning and somehow they did not look totally ridiculous. Big...but not totally crazy big. I guess I should have been wearing bigger bras before LOL.

Day 8 - better lighting

Two weeks post-op

Feeling great! Felt so great that I really did too much yesterday. I vacuumed the whole house, dusted, went grocery shopping and cleaned the bathrooms. Way too much for one day and I totally felt it last night :( I still don't feel as good today as I did a few days ago but still pretty darn good. Lesson learned!! It's just so hard to take it easy when I'm looking around at a mess and just sitting on the couch. Definitely going to try to take it easy today!

Went bra shopping a couple of days ago. The underwire bras just felt so uncomfortable after spending so much time in a sports bra! I found a Warners lightly padded non underwire (but acts like underwire) bra at Target that I wore yesterday when I was out. It felt pretty good and gave me some lift and support. Sports bras are not very flattering and it was nice to wear a real bra again :)

3 weeks post-op

Can't believe it has been three weeks already. I've been able to lift laundry baskets comfortably and other light lifting. Still trying not to lift too much and taking it easier. My right breast is still sore when I touch it and wearing regular bras isn't very comfortable but it's getting better each week. Scabs are almost off of the incision sites. Incision sites are comfortable. Dimpling/rippling is getting better each week...I just hope they stay this size now :)

One month post-op

I'm feeling great! Pretty much back to all activities except really heavy lifting (waiting until the New Year). Still feel some discomfort when wearing a push up bra but it's not really that bad. Started sleeping on my side again this week. It has been uncomfortable until recently. My right breast has always bothered me more and, of course, that it the side I usually sleep on.

Not really noticing any big changes in appearance. The wrinkling/dimpling under my left breast is slowly getting better but still has some work. This nipple has always pointed down and never looked 100% normal, even with implants, so not surprising that it has not smoothed out. It may never catch up with the right breast.

I started massaged with coconut oil before bed this week, just avoiding the incisions. They look much firmer/smoother after. It really helps to smooth out the wrinkles, even if only temporarily. I'm sure it can't hurt! I even started sleeping without a sports bra at night. So nice to let them breathe again :)

Two months post op

It feels great not to think about my boobs day and night :) I feel comfortable now lifting heavy boxes and other things. I did a bunch of heavy lifting yesterday and never even thought about my chest! Up until a couple of weeks ago I only felt comfortable being intimate with my husband if I was wearing a sports bra (to prevent bouncing/jiggling LOL). The last couple of weeks I have not had to wear one and it was so much nicer! I even let him touch them :) I've been using coconut oil on my chest before bed but I started breaking out a bit so now I use it every other night. I'm not sure if it's helping my skin but they do look nicer/firmer after. My left breast is still wonky under the nipple (pulled in a bit) but I'm still hoping it will improve with time. I have an appointment with my PS next week so I'm going to see what he thinks. Overall I'm very happy!!

3 months post-op

I can't believe it's been three months already! I can't really see any dramatic changes. Still waiting for the skin to loosen up below my left nipple. I saw my PS last week and he is happy that they are really soft and the scar tissue is pretty smooth already. He said the the scar tissue is tightest between two and four months and the tissue below the left breast will loosen up and fall with time. Scars are pretty smooth but are still red. My PS did such a great job with the placement of my scars. They are in my crease and the only time a notice them is if I raise my arms! I could barely see my original scars so I'm sure they will totally fade away with time.

I finally found an underwire bra that fits comfortably. It's a push up, microfibre bra from Joe Fresh and it was only $14. It doesn't dig into the sides of my breasts like other bras have and I actually can fill in the cups....even on top :)

Feeling great overall. One of the best decisions I have ever made! Totally do not miss my fake boobs. Not once have I wished I had implants again...which I am a little surprised about :)
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon

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