“I had decided to have reconstruction surgery after our son got engaged and was planning a beach wedding. Nothing I tried on look appropriate for a beach wedding given my lack of breasts. A friend of mine had told me about a new kind of expander that didn’t require a further surgery to remove and replace. Our family had had 5 years of surgeries and hospital appointments and the thought of one less surgery really appealed to me.
When I met the surgeon, he explained the process to “install” them. Re-open the original mastectomy scar and have a small disc under the skin where the saline would be injected. He gave me the option to choose a size and shape. I had chosen something a little larger than the “original models” I had been blessed with and the softer shape of the two options. He explained that I would come in to the clinic every week or so to have them inflated and after they were fully inflated, the port would just be “pulled out” and I would be on my way.
The inflation process was not terrible. A small poke with a needle into the port, which was slightly off centre of my new breasts. They would inject enough saline to stretch the skin and it reminded me of after the birth of my children when the milk came in and you felt engorged. Very firm and tight.
Coincidentally enough, the last day when my ports were to be removed was exactly 4 years to the hour of my mastectomy surgery. There was no operating room, simply a clinic room with a gurney. Two doctors were there and they removed some of the saline to soften the breasts. This resulted in them not being the size I had originally opted for and, quite frankly, hardly softened them at all. Then came the antiseptic smeared on my chest. After a few moments I received a needle to freeze the area. As one doctor held me down by leaning on my shoulders, the other made an incision and they yanked out the ports. This involved multiple yanks to the point of almost lifting me off the gurney. It was extremely emotional and the surgeon removing them had little if any bedside manner. When tears were rolling down the side of my face, he stopped and said “there is no crying in surgery”. If this was meant to be a light moment to ease the tension – it failed.
Afterward, I was bandaged and sent home. I was traumatized. They explained that the breast would soften over time. Well it has been 6 years and I still cannot sleep on my stomach. They are hard, and don’t resemble natural breasts. They are like half spheres – like half a grapefruit. There is a large gap between them that I understood would have been lessened if they had been fully inflated.
Some of the issues I had were as a direct result of the surgeon, his lack of clarification and his lack of bedside manner. I doubt that the feel or look would be any different with a different surgeon.
When these implants fail, as they should in the next few years, as their life span is about 5-6 years, I had planned to not replace them. However, now that my skin has been stretched, I am not sure whether that is an option. I will have to have that discussion with the next surgeon as the original Dr. is no longer practicing in this city.”