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Positive experience with implants?

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townlakelady
townlakelady Member Posts: 3
edited November 2022 in Breast Reconstruction

Hey everyone, I was just diagnosed for the second time and am really struggling with my limited reconstruction options. The first time around I only had a lumpectomy but this time I am doing a mastectomy (unilateral). I am not a great candidate for DIEP Flap surgery due to limited abdominal tissue (I could do TUG, from the thigh, but that's a really tough recovery I'd like to avoid). That leaves me with implant. I was feeling pretty good about my decision to go that route until I started reading the forums. Between the reports of breast implant illness, the non ideal cosmetic results, and the lack of muscle strength (it has to go subpectoral because I had radiation on that breast before) that I am reading about on here I am really starting to second guess my decision now! My surgery is scheduled for 9 days from now and I'm really starting to panic about it. I really need to hear from some women who have had positive experiences with their implants (bonus if they are subpectoral!) and also not experiencing breast implant illness symptoms in order to feel better about my decision! Anyone out there in that camp??

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  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,255
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    Hi! I hope many will comment here because I am going through the same as you. The only difference is that I had my surgery with expander, and I am committed to having an implant.

    This was my third time with breast cancer, first time IDC, 2003, two lumpectomies, chemo and rads, second time same breast, ILC, 2019, mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction, currently healing from Oct mastectomy of my right breast for DCIS with microinvasion.

    I had an excellent Plastic Surgeon in 2019 and an equally outstanding one now, but I never felt prepared for any of the procedures. My current PS is super, always asks if I have questions, but most of the time I don't even know what I should be asking. I still have a drain in, going on 4 weeks post-surgery, but it will come out today.

    So far I think things have been going well. I wasn't prepared to see myself after surgery either time. The first time I saw my body post-surgery after the DIEP, I totally freaked out! I looked absolutely hideous! No one prepared me for that. I found out however, that with time, it looked much better and after it completely healed, it looked like my other breast, minus the nipple. I declined getting that done, totally my choice, to avoid unnecessary surgery for health reasons.

    This time the first time I saw myself in the mirror, I thought "OMG, it looks like a bad art project!" But I did not panic because I knew it would get better looking, and it has a little already. I haven't had any fills yet, maybe today, and I don't know how that schedule will work. I am apprehensive, but I put my trust in my PS and so I am not worried.

    I too heard many horror stories about implants, but this was my only choice other than going flat. I didn't want to do that, so I am committed to the implant. I totally trust my PS, so I am not at all worried. I am, however wondering about the road ahead.

    I may have had breast cancer three times, but it is like having it for the first time.........three times!

    Wishing you the best and I am here for support. Sorry I don't have the answers you are looking for, but I am sure there will be others who will post with information that is helpful for you!

  • townlakelady
    townlakelady Member Posts: 3
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    Mavericksmom, wow - thank you so much for sharing your journey! You have really made me feel less alone in this process. It's one thing going though it once, but to do it again... and with limited options... it's a lot. It's super helpful to hear your perspective because you have done autologous before so you know what the difference in recovery looks like between that and having expanders placed. I'm so glad to hear things are going well so far with your expanders, and that is also very encouraging to me.

    I have a question if you don't mind - are your expanders placed under the muscle or over? My PS (who I also really like and trust) suggest placing the implants under the muscle to support my skin which has received radiation before. It sounds like this time your diagnosis was in a different breast than your prior two so this might not be the case for you.

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,255
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    Mine are under the muscle, because that is what my PS felt would be best for me.

    You can ask me anything, any time!

  • townlakelady
    townlakelady Member Posts: 3
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    Thank you! That is really encouraging. Sending lots of healing vibes your way for a speedy recovery.

  • DaughterOfBarb
    DaughterOfBarb Member Posts: 29
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    Hi townlakelady. I’m sorry you are dealing with this again. My current reconstructed breasts are smooth round silicone implants placed pre-pectoral, but prior to my BC diagnosis I had smooth round silicone implants submuscular for over 20 years. While augmentation and reconstruction are not equal, I hope I can offer some insight. I never had any medical issues related to my augmented breasts in the over 20 years I had them. When they were removed during my MX they were still in pristine condition (I actually kept them…that request made my surgeon LOL). My understanding is that breast implant illness is quite rare, but if you do happen to experience it there is always the hope that by then you will have other reconstruction options available to you. I had no noticeable reduction in muscle strength after the initial recovery period from my augmentation surgery (which is a bit tougher than pre-pectoral placement), nor do I notice any improved muscle strength with my current pre-pectoral implants. Yes, there was distortion with muscle movement with the submuscular implants, but it was only with extreme muscle movement vs. everyday activities and wasn’t noticeable in regular clothing. I believe the degree of distortion varies from person to person. It certainly wasn’t bothersome enough for me to remove my implants or move them to pre-pectoral placement. Submuscular placement offers a more natural look vs. pre-pectoral (I just had a second round of fat transfer to hide rippling and the edges so they look more natural). Considering you will be matching a natural breast, that’s a plu. Unfortunately neither placement is perfect, but I understand your frustration a with your options being limited. Best of luck to you.