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how many flat women (NOT DOG EARS) have needed a REVISION?

blah333
blah333 Member Posts: 68

My surgery was over 4 years ago, I go to an educational hospital and one side was clearly done by an inexperienced surgeon. Letting them operate on me is one of the biggest regrets of my life. They left behind a row of tissue/fat below my scar, it is like a row of fat that clashes when I move my body. I also had a seroma (void - area where too much tissue was removed). This was all my prophylactic side. I wanted symmetry and instead I got incompetence.

I am on medicaid and this blob of fat brings me discomfort when laying in bed, sometimes when walking, all kinds of things. I also have stitch marks - this person like overlapped the bottom flap of skin with the top flap. When I complained about this, I only got access to an inexperienced plastic surgeon like - UH NO.... it could have been done right the first time but because I'm poor I had to deal with someone who doesn't know what they are doing, I'm not going to try to have someone else who doesn't know what they're doing fix it. But it's been hard to find someone who might be able to help me. When I had my consult at the educational hospital they told me they would have to extend my scar to my back and "once we cut you open it starts to swell and we can't do anything" uh.. ok.

Is it possible for someone to do a revision without extending my scars? I don't want a scar across my sternum or back. I just want this blob removed. Where do I even find a surgeon? Info online is all about dog ears, or reconstructed breasts. I found ONE person in my area, but I can't afford the consult. It's really bothering me lately though and I was hoping I can have some kind of hope it can be removed someday. Has anyone had excess tissue below their mastectomy scar removed? It's sometimes like a little half-moon shape.



Also... wow, this site looks so much worse and is so much harder to read now.

Comments

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 1,978

    Hi Blah333! I just saw your post. Have you looked into surgeons who do top surgery for female-to-male trans individuals? The surgery is fairly similar, but these docs understand how important it will be for their patient to look like they have a normal, flat chest.

    This resource may be helpful. Good luck!

    The Ultimate Top Surgery Reference Guide

  • blah333
    blah333 Member Posts: 68

    This response reminds me why I never come here. People who do top surgery are usually cosmetic surgeons that make money off of people who have self esteem issues and want to conform to gender norms by getting breast implants, liposuction, top surgery etc.... a woman who removed her breasts and did not get implants - these doctors look at me with pity and disgust. No, they cannot help me. And most people who have had top surgery seem to have gone to some bargain surgeon, because most of them look bad, like no care was put into it at all. I will never have a "normal, flat chest" I have a post-cancer chest. It should have been done correctly the first time but because of my income level I had to deal with a moron breast fellow resident, and I was naive. Biggest regret of my life letting that woman touch me.

  • lw422
    lw422 Member Posts: 1,375

    Blah--I'm sorry that you had a poor outcome and that you are so unhappy with the results. I also regret that you didn't have more responses to your post, but your followup post seems a little harsh. The fact is, there may be a small number of flat BC survivors who are unhappy but that don't have the answers to your questions. I'm only flat on one side and I haven't been thrilled to have one "D" cup and one empty cup, but that's my problem. I had so much nerve pain, tightness, discomfort and now lymphedema that I will never have another elective breast surgery for any reason. (I had planned a prophylactic Mx on the healthy side but I'm terrified of more pain and more lymphedema and just more CRAP to deal with.)

    Lymphedema taught me that there is certainly something more horrific than appearances, as I sit here in a damn compression sleeve that feels like a vise on my arm. I want to cry and cuss and throw things; it's just all seems like a shit sandwich since the day I heard those words, "you have cancer." Do you suppose that "fatty area" under your scar might be swelling? I know a lot of people have truncal lymphedema to deal with.

    I apologize if this response isn't helpful but I've not had your issue. I just wanted you to know that I read your post and I have sympathy for you. I honestly don't think anyone other than a doctor (plastic surgeon) can answer your specific questions about a revision, and whether it can be done without extending your scar. We are all different in physiology and no 2 of us will have the same outcome. My very best wishes to you.


  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,650

    blah,

    It may be small comfort but whether one reconstructs or not, the outcome may not be what one expected. A flat aesthetic closure is something many have had difficulty achieving and it seems that it is relatively recent that surgeons are recognizing that this is a choice for some women. They previously assumed that everyone would want recon and often left a mess of flesh for those who didn't reconstruct in case they changed their mind later. Of course, this did not always happen.

    Yes, good medical insurance puts one in a different position and though I wish that everyone had equal access to top medical care, we all know that is not the reality in the US but please don't blame this site or it's members(“This response reminds me why I never come here.“). Some of us have great insurance, some not so great, and some,none at all but none of us created this situation and many of us have medical bills and insurance struggles too. Something as simple as changing jobs can upset or improve the whole apple cart. Although you may have already checked, perhaps a social worker at your facility or patient advocate can help.

    It is easy to see how upsetting this is to you and I hope that you eventually find some resolution. Economic circumstances do indeed play a part in medical care in the US and I see the unfairness but bco members represent a wide range on the economic spectrum and try to support each other the best we can regardless of where we fall on that spectrum. Take care

    * I had implant reconstruction but one side was done by a plastics resident (my hospital has interns and residents from Stanford medical school, though they are not part of Stanford). I think the side he did doesn’t look quite so good as the other but I have no desire for further surgery.

  • blah333
    blah333 Member Posts: 68

    lw422 Thanks for trying to be kind but I'm still going to be pissed about all of this, I have l lymphatic issues too. My surgeon damaged my axilla area over TWO lymph nodes and that's been another pain, which I don't have access to help because "we don't really understand truncal swelling" But by now I can see if the person who made all of these basic mistakes on my prophylactic side of my chest touched my lymph nodes in anyway, that's why I have issues. And trying to find solutions is a lonely maze of no answers. Stage 0 cancer should not be this difficult. I gave them the easiest variables possible and they fucked up almost every step of the way. The row of fat left behind is NOT swelling, it's an area the surgeon simply forgot to remove. The other surgeon who did the opposite side removed it perfectly. It is not lymphedema either, nodes were not removed from that side of my chest.

    exbrnxgrl I did my research to have realistic expectations. Nothing could prepare me for the fact they let two different people do each side - I thought by law I was supposed to have symmetry. The discrepancy in skill level is shocking. I thought at an educational hospital that the older doctor is supposed to monitor and keep the younger doctor in check. The mistakes she made are just stupid (skipping an entire step of the mastectomy - leaving a whole row of tissue behind, as well as putting the second part of my scar, after the elipse - in the wrong place, it hooks like 1" like a J shape). I can't google anywhere to help me with this, except one surgeon. Every other thing online about flat revision is for dog ears or people who weren't listened to initially. All of this would've been so much easier if it was done right the first time. BTW - people with good insurance also go to my medical system and get inexperienced breast fellows inflicted upon them. People with good health insurance still find crappy surgeons. Every day I wish the older, experienced surgeon did both sides of my chest, I would be thrilled. Instead I live in discomfort, my surgery was almost 5yrs ago now and I am not any closer to finding anyone who can help me.

  • cydney
    cydney Member Posts: 4

    Hey Blah,

    I totally get being MAD. I often am too. I had to have reconstruction to fix my original mastectomy scar. I am a uni-boob and decided against reconstruction because my medical onocologist told me that radiation had weakened my breast bone and ribs. The surgeon never mentioned that. He also left all this fat and flaps because he thought I would change my mind. HE THOUGHT HE KNEW BETTER THAN ME. I lived with his decision. I finally got reconstruction. I did a bunch of research and sent emails with pictures of my scar and my medical info to the plastic surgeons I thought I might want to use. I found a female surgeon who agreed to help me out. She was far from my home. We had to drive to the hospital, hang out overnight in the parking lot to be there at 5 am, my husband drove me home after they released me the same day as the operation. All in all not much fun - but my chest is flat and neat looking. Lymphodemia issues still, but I am so much happier. I still get MAD at that first breast surgeon. After all, hacking off body parts to treat a disease just sucks. I guess you have health insurance issues too. I am in an HMO (Kaiser), so that made it easier. I did have to research all their different facilities. I hope you've found a solution.

  • blah333
    blah333 Member Posts: 68

    I haven't, I am uncomfortable daily and curse my original surgeon and my medical center LAC-USC daily.