58 Year Old to Remove Without Replacement, Silicone Breast Implants, After 35 Years of Multiple Revisions - West Hartford, CT

I first got silicone breast implants in 1980. I...

I first got silicone breast implants in 1980. I was 23 years old, & very thin, with an A cup, which only plumped up a little once a month, before my periods. I went to a surgeon, & arranged for McGhan silicone implants to bring me up to a B cup. To save money (infamous last words), I chose a surgeon (referred from another patient) who wasn't even board certified. The first damage occurred during surgery, when that doctor gave me excessively long scars, nearly in the middle of my breasts. In my naivete, I was blissfully unaware that this placement was abnormal, or would be a terrible problem. The second damage occurred while massaging them during after care. I pushed one too far, & the skin ripped up over the sternum on the left side, resulting in an excessively, loose pocket. Also, the far end of the incision (near armpit) did not fully close. So I returned to the same surgeon, who attempted a repair (way beyond his talent or skills). He wound up sticking the implant in the middle of my chest, practically on my sternum, which created enormous pain! When I complained of pain, he attempted to push the implant over, & ruptured it. I saw a lawyer shortly after that. My next surgeon was familiar with this man, & other women he'd damaged, & was willing to offer written testimony against him, enabling a lawsuit. But I was still unable to afford to get the rupture cleaned out, & a revision done for at least 9 months. I eventually received a settlement, but not nearly what the cost of future revisions would prove to be. This second doctor removed as much loose silicone & capsule as he could, & replaced the implants with Dow Corning, silicone, smoothies, enlarging my breasts to a C cup. Unfortunately, the left side (former ruptured area) still felt very tight & uncomfortable. But he did not understand any need for further surgery, & dismissed my complaints as "immaturity." So off I went in search of a doctor who would help ease my constant pain. All the while, I was determined to keep my implants. Eventually, I found one in New York City who suggested loosening the pocket all the way around, & underneath the front, broken area; & perhaps that would allow the lifted, torn skin a chance to lay down & heal. It seemed like a great plan. Unfortunately, he didn't follow through with his own idea, & lowered the pocket at the bottom during one surgery, & on the side, during another. It brought some relief, but missed the critical spot! Traveling to New York by train multiple times, for all the steps of each procedure became exhausting. So again I searched, until I was finally referred to a kindly doctor nearer my home, that I worked with for many years. After five tries, he succeeded in giving me a decent result which was soft, relatively comfortable, & one that I was basically happy with for about 15 years. But still, there was some residual pain from the upper left capsule, & it was always about twice the size of the right side. I also struggled with the far end of the left scar, which was hypertrophic, & required multiple steroid injections to flatten it. My good doctor was reluctant to use cortisone injections, so I sought the assistance of a friend's surgeon who fixed it for me. She had undergone breast augmentation, & a revision (capsulectomy for contracture) that came out beautifully with him. And in time, I turned to him for that extra improvement, I hadn't quite achieved. He also convinced me that I needed to update my implants, since around then, new ones were now approved, & less vulnerable to leaks & breakage. The thought of another rupture terrified me, so I agreed to a revision with him. I expected scar tissue removal, & that the implant difference would not amount to much more than a stronger envelope. However, minutes before surgery, his nurse asked me if I wanted to be a C, or a "full" C. Not understanding the implication of her question, I answered, a full C. To my horror, I awoke to discover that without any real explanation, he had tightened both the pockets I had worked so hard to achieve, up & around some high profile implants, that defied gravity like torpedoes. I didn't even know before, what high profiles were! My previous softies had been the flattest type, that fit nicely in my loosened pockets. He also opened up the right breast pocket in the cleavage area (on the top half only), presumably to match the damage on the left, but neglected the capsulectomy, which he had charged extra for! I was both shocked, & in extraordinary pain! When I complained of my pain, & repulsion over this manikin-like result, he spewed insulting, & sexist remarks, even slapping my hand, when I tried to shield him from pushing on my damaged cleavage. "You just want someone to do your bidding!" he accused. Well duh! After paying someone $10,000., I would think it reasonable for a client to expect to have some say about the result they will have to live with! It proved to be impossible to sue him, as he had an established practice, & it would require another doctor's testimony, which my former good surgeon did not wish to participate in. He encouraged me to forget the past, & he would get me straightened back out. So I agreed, & proceeded with what resulted in seven more revision surgeries. To his credit, most of them were free of charge. But hospitals & anesthesia are not free, & we were never able to get me back to my former satisfactory state. Needless to say, it became quite exasperating for both of us. I began to believe that perhaps I just needed another doctor, but it was hard to walk away from free surgery, & start all over with my complicated history. Then quite suddenly, he developed a serious heath problem which resulted in his immediate retirement, & I turned to his referrals. The first doctor refused to get involved with me at all. But the second one thankfully, turned out to be a very kind, & experienced surgeon who has given me my latest result. He cleaned out a lot of scar tissue on the left, as I needed, & changed the implants to the flattest, & matching size. In my previous surgery, I'd tried one size slightly smaller, with unsuitable results. He curved the right pocket over, underneath in the front, to balance Dr. Burn-job's right side, upper half opening, which had left me with a weird, lower angle. But he also placed a stitch in there, which left an odd dent. ? And the placement is still too high for my comfort. The right side now feels like a baseball, especially when I'm lying down. Perhaps from so many surgeries, my body just doesn't want to heal as well as in the past. I explored the possibility of another revision, loosening the pockets more into the armpit area. But he, along with the general consensus of most doctors, is they don't like to loosen into the armpit so much, for fear of arm nerve compression when sleeping. i did have an issue with that, but it was minor (compared to so many others I've wrestled with), & I used to wear a sports bra to cope with it. Anyway, even if he would agree to that level of loosening, the partial symastia issue in the left cleavage, still remains a difficult problem to resolve, with both the rupture-compromised capsule, & the implants in the way. Well, for years I've been petrified of removing these things, for fear I'd look a fright, & have nothing left but a mess. Having some volume seemed helpful to offset all the damage. And it certainly helps to balance my pear shaped figure. But recently I've discovered Online, that some women have had actual success with growing their natural breast tissue with herbal creams & supplements. And I've begun to wonder if that might be a better approach to the volume I craved than implants. The real thing is what I wanted all along anyway! I was simply convinced that there was no other way but surgery, if you didn't win the genetic lottery. Anyway, at this point in my life, I'm just exhausted of struggling with doctors & implants! I'm tired of repeated revisions, & trying to align unreal things, to make them feel like real. I don't have the will to fight for them anymore. They've eaten up so much of my life. So much blood, sweat, & tearful disappointments. So my explant, with no further replacement is scheduled for July 16. I'm a bundle of nerves, & mixed emotions. While I'm dying for physical relief, & can't wait reach up at night & feel something soft, I'm also fearful of the aesthetics, & the reactions from people who know me, only casually. I'm not exactly eager for my misadventures with implants to become obvious to the unsympathetic, but inquiring minds of the public at large. But there's really no other way. They didn't ask for the eye assault. This was all my ambition. Dr. Schreiber has been fine with accommodating my choice, either to explant or adjust, as I desired. He is waiving any fee, since I'd already paid him for the recent revision. He even gave me a reduced rate for that, since I'd had so many surgeries. But I'm still anxious about what I'm going to be left with, & the reduced size I'm used to. They do balance my figure, & look decent in clothes (as long as no one gets too close). My husband is thrilled though. He can't wait to end the expense of this surgical circus. I've warned him that I may need some further tweaking, since neither my doctor, nor I, can be certain of what I'm going to be left with. I've had a lot of complications, & distortions were added, trying to adapt to them. But at least I'll be on the road to recovering my natural self back. The human body does always try to heal itself. And it's been heartening to see how many people here are getting good recovery results. There's really nothing like the real thing.

Second Attempt to Post Photos

I'm not sure why my photos didn't load the first time. Here
is another attempt. If this doesn't work, I'm sorry. I know a picture
is worth a thousand words. But I don't have any more time to figure
out photo loading problems. Lots of pre-op prep to do, & I'm nervous
as a cat.

7/16/15 Surgery Is Complete!

Just a quick note. Aside from the expected soreness, incision pain, & anesthesia blah, I'm feeling a great deal of physical relief already! I don't think I've enjoyed sleeping so much (afterward) in recent memory!! I don't even mind looking at my new form (albeit through a bandage). I don't feel "diminished," at all. I feel whole again! What a wonderful sensation to shed those stupid knobs, close the crevices in my breasts, & come together again! And of course, Dr. Schreiber was wonderful, as always. He agreed to leave the back ends of my scars (so difficult to mend) untouched, which will make the healing process much easier! He also tweaked the dent in my cleavage on the right side, to give me a nicer curve. Any aesthetic assistance will certainly help.
Just for inspiration, I don't know if this link will connect: https://youtu.be/26ZZJLg5Nlw
But anyway, it's Meryl Streep's closing song, "I'm Checkin' Out," from the movie, "Postcards From the Edge." It's the long version (over 6 minutes) on YouTube, that get's uptempo at the end. It's had special meaning for me lately. I also really love the Alexis England song, "Had to Lose Myself (To Find Myself)" that closes the film, "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag." Unfortunately, her version of that song, never appears to have been recorded, outside of the film. Wonderful, empowering tunes both, that speak volumes about how I'm feeling about this transition. Thanks so much to all in this community! It's been so helpful to read about your experiences & have your support. While others in my life have been supportive, it's still been amazingly, helpful to have this kind of connection with people who've been through similar, etc.. And best wishes to all future ex-planters who may feel inspired by my experiences. It's quite a unique, emotional, roller coaster, but still worth it I feel, to be purged of this baggage.

The First Unveiling

Well, today I unveiled my wrap for the first time (desperately in need of a shower). The dressing tape had created some bloody wounds of their own. My skin is hyper sensitive to bandage tape, & the stuff he used to secure the gauze was thick, & stuck on hard. There was also a lot of break through bleeding at the incision site, & the gauze had hardened, & stuck on that. Then came the ordeal of unraveling, & re-wrapping the ace bandage. What fun this will be, to wrestle with this thing for three weeks. But there's no other way through this process, than just through it. My selfie pictures oddly, don't seem to capture exactly how dramatically flatter I am. Perhaps since my arms can only stretch back so far. But they are definitely only A cups, & quite shriveled, & worse off (as expected, really) from the implant misadventures. But it still feels tremendously good to lay in bed without baseballs sticking up off my chest, & to be able to get up without that horrible implant drag, tugging across my chest. My doctor also released a dent in the right, cleavage curve, which feels & looks better. It may be too subtle for anyone else to notice but me, but every improvement helps.
I'm dreading facing the neighbors though (I live in a building with nearly 500 people), & the grocery store clerks, where all these people know me..... but not really. This is quite a change, & it's going to take some serious mental adjustment, for me, & everyone who regularly sees me. But somehow, I have to gather the courage to overcome my weak ego, because my poor little boobs just can't haul those plastic, trash bags around anymore. Luckily, I usually wear long sleeved, cotton over shirts, & hats to shroud from the sun. I'm determined not to get wrecked by tanning, loose ALL semblance of beauty, & then become victimized again, by facial plastic surgery! The boob job ordeal has been disaster enough for me, thank you.

Seeking Reconstruction For Multiple, Post Implant Issues

It's been nearly one year since my silicone breast implant removal. And while I have some relief from their absence, I am still suffering somewhat, both physically & aesthetically, from the damage remaining, after years of multiple surgeries, struggling with trying to align them naturally. I still have partial synmastia damage, on both sides where the skin was torn away from my sternum, leaving painful spots, & an uneven cleavage line. In the two front views, the left side (my right breast), was wrongfully excised in the upper region. And on the right (my left breast), the most painful spot is in the lower front patch, where there should be a clean curve. I'm also in perpetual discomfort from needing the parameter expanded, & loosened, so my breast tissue can have more room for circulation, more normal slopes, & natural feel. I asked for pocket loosening before my last implant exchange, but did not receive that. It's been somewhat 'over lifted' for a while, to the point of excess tightness on both sides, now even more so, after the implant removal. The bottom, lower left picture (my right breast) shows the tuberous shape I now endure, due to both lifting & tissue excision, done at the time of explant. Tissue removal was done because of an infection that occurred, when the incision (from implant exchange surgery) was not properly closed all the way. That left me with an oozing hole for quite a while afterward. When a few rounds of antibiotics did not resolve it, Dr. Schreiber finally resutured it. But afterward, it still felt weird & squishy in that whole region, like it never fully healed properly. That breast also developed capsular contracture, due to the infection & a tight pocket. So it was definitely for the best that I got the implants out! He discovered & removed some questionable tissue during the process. It was sent to a lab, & checked for malignancy. None was found. This was aesthetically unfortunate for me though, since that side was already smaller than the other one. So now, it's even more pronounced, & the shape is completely off from the other side. I've totally had it with implants! And I'm now contemplating the possibility of some kind of, fat transfer repair, or perhaps a diem flap, or something. I don't exactly know what's best for my case or possible, with my particular issues. It's also tough to find someone who has the skill to handle my multiple problems. (And I shutter to imagine the cost.) Since I never had cancer, merely botched implant work, with 'unspecified disease' tissue removal, I don't know that insurance would help cover any of this. So for now, I'm posting this just as an informational reference, to help provide insight to the various doctors I may need to confer with. For pictures & descriptions of what I'm dealing with, & my history.
Hartford Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Jonathan Schreiber was referred to me by my former PC who retired. And is he the most highly rated Plastic Surgeon in my immediate area. Initially, I went to him for an implant exchange, & some pocket revision (loosening). He assured me he could do that. But there was no perceivable pocket alteration performed. Later, I discovered a hole in the middle of my sutures! When I called to report it, as well as the oozing still going on after several weeks, he was about to go on vacation, & did not remember who I was. After two rounds of antibiotics failed to resolve it, he finally re-sutured the hole. But it never fully healed smooth, or firmly, & that whole side developed capsular contracture. I ultimately opted to just have the implants removed rather than struggle with ongoing revision for pocket loosening (which might never actually occur). Since I had no idea what aesthetic result I might be left with, he offered whatever follow-up aesthetic tweaking I might desire, free of charge. After three months of healing, I pleaded again for pocket expansion, to release the tightness still plaguing me; especially on the tuberous side that looked disfigured & dented in, after tissue had been removed. He then informed me he couldn't release the parameter, with nothing to hold it in shape! I could not understand why gravity &/or my natural tissue would not slope into the released lower line. I also inquired about internal stitches for the sternum tears (since he had offered to do one externally). He ultimately admitted that he didn't have the skill. Real Self's rating system does not ask the critical question, "How satisfied are you, with your results?" I can't actually say he was a BAD doctor, since I've been with worse. He was basically a nice man, & probably could have done, better with a simpler case. But I am disappointed in his failure to reshape my breast pocket / parameters as originally requested, & the suturing mishap, that resulted in tissue loss. But there are risks involved with any surgery. So overall, I would give him an average rating. He wasn't horrible really, just not my hero. Still searching.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 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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