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Topic: Allergan implant removal and exchange surgery! 😱

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: May 16, 2021 08:15AM

Bluebirdgirl wrote:

Hi all, it’s been some years since I posted on this site. I had my bilateral mastectomy, my expander exchange, and moved on with life. Fast forward to 2020, right before covid hit, and I felt a hard lump on right breast and the breast looked different too, kind of deflated and low. Ultrasound said folded implant. MRI said ruptured implant. These are the recalled Allergan implants. Plastic surgeon said it’s a blessing in disguise actually because now I can have both removed. I’m getting Natrelle Inspira SRX, round and smooth, this Tuesday, May 18, 2021. I’m nervous as hell about having another breast surgery but I’m trying to stay positive. I gained 10 pounds during “lockdown” and am trying to lose that and hoping the size implant I get isn’t too big since he’s going by the weight I am now. I’d love to hear from others who are going through or have gone through a similar experience! I’m 54 years old now and I don’t bounce back like I used to, so hoping things go smoothly. Thanks for taking the time to read this

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” Dx 7/28/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/25/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 3/20/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/17/2021 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 16, 2021 12:03PM buttonsmachine wrote:

I just wanted to say good luck! Hopefully it'll turn out to be a blessing in disguise after all.

Diagnosed at 32. Local recurrences one year later, probably due to needle seeding at inital biopsy. Now dealing with MBC. Dx 8/2016, IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 11/1/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/1/2017 Whole-breast Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 10/2017, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 2/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/1/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/30/2017 AC Surgery 3/31/2018 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/30/2018 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy 6/30/2018 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 7/30/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 2/1/2019 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 9/30/2019 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Dx 8/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/other, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 8/30/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib) Dx 1/2021, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs Chemotherapy 1/15/2021 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Gemzar (gemcitabine)
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May 16, 2021 12:31PM Rah2464 wrote:

I had to "redo" my implants from my original surgery (2018) last November because of a neuroma we had to fix and to remove lots of scar tissue. It was so much easier than the first surgery. You aren't under the pressure of a cancer diagnosis with accompanying uncertainty, you are not having an amputation then reconstructive surgery. I was very anxious about this surgery but I am so glad I did it and I hope you have truly wonderful results. Recovery for me the second time around was remarkably easy. My best to you.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 16, 2021 05:16PM Bluebirdgirl wrote:

Thank you, Buttonsmachine, for the good luck wish!

Rah2464, I totally agree, definitely not worrying about cancer like the first go-round. Thanks for sharing your story, it really helps to know I’m not alone! Sure hoping my recovery is as easy as yours was.

Thanks again, ladies!

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” Dx 7/28/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/25/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 3/20/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/17/2021 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 17, 2021 12:03AM SpecialK wrote:

bluebird - you and I are in the same boat! I had a “routine” MRI last December and it showed a ruptured right implant. Very surprised. I did have some discomfort on the right side, but nothing alarming.I also have textured Inspiras so my PS suggested removing both sides and starting over with same size smooth Inspira implants and my surgery is currently scheduled for June 8th. I have had multiple surgeries to include implant swaps previously (expander to implant - twice - and then some additional implant swaps due to skin healing issues) and have not had a problem with recovery. I am ten years older than you and those surgeries took place in the six years after diagnosis with the last one in 2016.

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 16 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 2013-2018. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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May 17, 2021 07:00AM Bluebirdgirl wrote:

SpecialK, thanks for sharing that. You have been through a lot. I remember that I had some discomfort as well, still do, especially if I do something strenuous upper body wise. Our surgeries are a month apart! Please keep in touch! I hope this will be your last surgery.

I was reading on the boards last night about something called a capsulectomy- removing the tissue that encapsulated the implant because you can still get BIA-ALCL from the textured implant they are removing. That was news to me. My PS never even mentioned it. I will have to google some more.

Again, good luck and thanks for sharing your story.

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” Dx 7/28/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/25/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 3/20/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/17/2021 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 17, 2021 08:17AM - edited May 17, 2021 08:17AM by SpecialK

bluebird - I too hope it will be my last reconstructive surgery, lol! Same for you! I would love for you to share your experience with your surgery, definitely let me know how things go! It has been a minute since I've needed surgery and I'm trying not to stress about it, but you know how that goes! I'm feeling a bit better about it since I am now fully vaccinated though. I was originally supposed to go in July but there was a cancellation so I was offered the June spot. The timing works better for me as we have some window replacement happening later. My surgeon did indeed mention the continued risk from the biocell implant exterior due to inflammation even though the textured implant(s) are removed, but the risk is pretty minimal. I believe the removal “en bloc" is the desired aspect but that technique is more specialized, I believe. I have come to learn that surgeons often don't mention things they don't routinely do, With en bloc the entire implant and capsule is removed without cutting into the capsule, a capsulectomy is capsule removal without specifically restricting cutting into the capsule itself. Definitely worth discussing ahead of surgery. I have matched your weight gain but will receive the same cc size implants I currently have, that was discussed at the consult. I have had three different size implants over time with a range of 200ccs difference and there is surprisingly little visual difference although I have found the smaller (what I currently have - 445ccs) to be more comfortable. I moved from larger to smaller but for you I would assume there is a limit on too much larger based on what you were expanded to initially. Wishing you the best!

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 16 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 2013-2018. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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May 22, 2021 11:39AM - edited May 22, 2021 11:39AM by Bluebirdgirl

Hi all,

I'm four days out from my reconstructive surgery. I ended up having capsulectomy. The right implant that had ruptured was described by my PS as “a blobby mess". I have had some really bad pain in that breast as he had to do a lot more to it than the left. I'm finally feeling better today. He submitted tissue to pathology and I just got my report back today, negative for malignancy. They tested it for CD30, a lymphoma, since I had the textured implants that were recalled. So that's great news!! Will be taking next week off from work too. Hoping I don't need a third week.
SpecialK, good luck to you in June and keep me updated. We can do this!!!

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” Dx 7/28/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/25/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 3/20/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/17/2021 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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May 22, 2021 02:21PM SpecialK wrote:

bluebird - oh yay, good to see you checking in - glad you're on the other side of surgery and with a great path report! I also expect to be uncomfortable initially, hope your pain dissipates asap! Will let you know how things go for me, my pre-op is next week, and 6/8 will be here before I know it!

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 16 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 2013-2018. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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Jun 8, 2021 12:19AM karody wrote:

I’m having a ruptured Allergan implant replaced late July. The NP said surgeon would have to “cut into the muscle.” Does that mean a capsulectomy? Will there be drains? My daughter wants to do a road trip to a big event 8 days later- will I be up to it

Dx 9/10/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/21/2009 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/21/2010 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 2/22/2010 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 3/15/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 9/10/2010 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 9/20/2010 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy 10/27/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 3/20/2011 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Jun 9, 2021 10:43AM SpecialK wrote:

My surgery was yesterday afternoon. Both implants replaced, not sure if my PS did remove the capsule on the right, her comments were relayed to my daughter, my husband had stepped away and missed the doc. I need to ask some questions of my DD today when I see her, but yesterday she did say the implant was severely ruptured and a mess. When I saw her for pre-op she said what she found inside would determine if the capsule needed to be removed. Just before surgery we discussed trying to excise the front of the left side - which had scarred down to the muscle due to repeated skin closure surgeries there. She was able to do that and downsized the implants by 45ccs to accommodate the skin loss. She requested that I stay very quiet because it is a delicate situation there. I am not in any pain on the chest since that area is mostly numb. I have multiple lipo sites and those are sore. I took one pain med last night, but none since. I put on abdominal compression this morning to add a layer so bumping the lipo sites inadvertently isn’t as painful. My initial plastic surgeon made compression mandatory for 8 weeks, my current one leaves it up to the patient. I actually feel better with it. I didn’t wear it last time and had some hardened areas on the abdomen that took quite a while to resolve. I go to my first post-op next Tuesday and will likely get more details and see how things look then.

karody - if your implants are under the muscle it would have to be cut into to access the implant for removal. Removing the capsule is more extensive than that - it means removin the entire scar capsule that was around the implant. I did not have drains but my surgeon warned me she would place them if the situation warranted - it comes down to whether the scope of work done causes the potential for excess serous liquid formation.

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 16 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 2013-2018. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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Jun 9, 2021 06:31PM msphil wrote:

hello all I had 3mo chemo before and after L mast with reconstruction only one filling in expanded then wk later I develope High fever pain in the site. Fiance at time now husband took to ER they rushed me into surgery to remove expanded my body rejected it as a foreign body. Since then wear prosthesis and have no problems since. Ms Phil IDC stage2 0/3 nodes. Chemo surgery then got married and then rads for 7wks and 5yrs on tamoxifen. Praise God 27 yr Survivor and celebrated our 27yr wedding Anniversary. Hang in there. Keep Hope.

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Jun 9, 2021 06:45PM Bluebirdgirl wrote:

special K - Glad to hear you are done with your surgery!! Sounds like it went well, so glad you aren’t in much pain, yay!!! Put another notch in our belts, I guess. Keep us updated.
I saw my PS today, three weeks out from surgery. Everything looks good, scars have healed well and I can swim now! Righty is still a little grumpy if I overdo it. I really only feel comfortable wearing a sports bra. If I go without, it feels like they are pulling. That’s the only way I can explain it.

Karody, I agree with Special K. They would have to cut through muscle. And everyone is different in regards to pain and healing. No way could I have gone anywhere or done anything 8 days past my surgery. I was off work two weeks. But others have a different experience, so it just depends.

Msphil- thank you - keeping the hope. Glad you are well!!!

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” Dx 7/28/2016, DCIS, Right, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 8/25/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 3/20/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 5/17/2021 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 10, 2021 12:05PM SpecialK wrote:

bluebird - yup, another notch, lol! I am going to try to switch from the narcotic pain med to a combo of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to handle my minor soreness. I tend to flinch involuntarily on narcotics - just drifting off to sleep and then I feel like I fell into a big hole. This is consistent with any narcotic so I tend to stop taking them, and just switch to OTC pain relief.

karody - This is my fourth exchange and I flew 10 days after the first two - to funerals that I needed to be present for. Traveled by car 7 hours for the last one and I still had drains, but we were going to see my in-laws and they are a doctor and nurse, so I figured I would be in good hands if anything went askew. My DH was with me for all of that and I didn't lift anything or carry luggage, or drive, etc. I tend to recover well from surgery, but we are all different so it is hard to say whether you will feel up to a trip.

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 16 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 2013-2018. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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Jun 18, 2021 09:51AM - edited Jun 18, 2021 09:57AM by DiveCat

Bluebird:


Glad you are doing well. I swapped from the Allergans to Inspiras too, but did that back in November 2019. No rupture here but did due after discussion with my doctor about the recall issues as well as some various issues with comfort, feel, etc.


Recovery for me was very smooth and quick but it was not my first swap and I did not have a rupture like you did either.

Very happy with my switch over! I did go for a couple rounds of fat grafting as I did have a bit more rippling with them then the Allergans.

Keep on that good recovery path

Hereditary High Risk, Uninformed BRCA Negative Surgery 4/23/2014 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/11/2015 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 11/13/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 7/8/2020 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery 12/11/2020 Reconstruction (left): Nipple tattoo; Reconstruction (right): Nipple tattoo Surgery 3/4/2021 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Jun 28, 2021 10:38AM veronicapoland2 wrote:

Hi, I am planning on switching from textured implants to smooth. My PS recommends doing some liposuction to add to the implants. Is this painful? Is it important to do? I did not have that with the original implants but they have shifted, hardened and are textured. I have had them for six and a half years. Still deciding what to do. I appreciate everyone's input on this site.

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Jul 12, 2021 09:54PM Serendipity09 wrote:

Veronicapoland2

I am three days out from my exchange with fat grafting and the pain is very manageable with Tylenol and Ibuprofen, for me at least. My PS did lipo on my love handles, stomach and back. I was going in to this surgery dreading what I'd feel like after based on what others told me, but so far so good. The pain I feel can be best described as extreme soreness.

I hope this helps you somewhat.


Dx 3/2020, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 3/31/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/16/2020 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/3/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Dx 7/2021, Right, 2cm, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 7/9/2021 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine) Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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