I had planned to give an update after my second expander fill, but the appointment was so quick and I didn’t really get any extra information from my surgeon so it didn’t seem worth it. Instead I am going to summarise both expander fills in this one post.
The second fill was done about ten days after the first one, only because I had to change the appointment day to suit everything else I was doing. I was only in the office for 5-10 minutes. I didn’t even sit in the chair and chat, it was straight to the bed to lay down and get the injections. Again I had 50ml in each side.
I did question my surgeon about the difference in the size of my boobs again. He took a brief look and said they aren’t too bad, that I didn’t need to worry and then did the fill. And that was my whole appointment.
Fill number three was two weeks after the second fill, and this time I was determined to get a little more information. I again brought up the unevenness of my boobs. I know it’s only a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but I figure I want to make sure I don’t end up with a result I am disappointed with. If they end up uneven but we have tried everything to sort it out then so be it, but if I didn’t say anything, I would always be thinking I should have been more proactive.
So he looked a little more closely this time and poked and prodded a bit. It turns out I have a small amount of lymphodema in my right (cancer) breast. This is caused by the lymph system not being able to flush fluids out as efficiently as it used to since I had three lymph nodes removed on that side. There seems to be around 50-70ml extra fluid floating around in that side which makes my boob look bigger. This all makes so much sense now that it has been identified.
Now that I know what is causing the extra swelling, I can do something about it! What that is going to be yet I don’t know. We are about to go away for two weeks, but when we get back I think I will try a session of lymphatic drainage massage and see how that goes. In the meantime I will try a little manual massage myself. Youtube has some good videos showing how. (Like this one if you are interested)
The fill was again 50ml in each side. I meant to ask how much he put in during the surgery so I could work out how much I’ve had in total, but I completely forgot.
I then spent the rest of the appointment talking about the next step – the exchange surgery, where my expanders are removed and swapped for the implants.
My surgeon said I could have it done in six weeks from now, but I have chosen to wait a little longer and actually have it done in ten weeks time to work around some travel I have planned in April. He also had said I could wait as long as 18 months if I wanted too, but I do want to get this over and done with as soon as I can.
We again looked at and discussed the two different types of implants that are available to me. One is a micro-textured teardrop shaped implant, the other a smooth, round implant. When I first discussed reconstruction and looked at these same implants I was thinking I liked the more natural shape of the teardrop, even though there is an issue with some (not these) textured implants. Last year many textured implants were taken off the market because there is something like a 1 in 10000 chance of developing yet another form of cancer from them called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. (Further details here)
There are also another issue with the teardrop implants. There is a small chance they can turn in the body, thus the shape will be all weird. But one possible benefit is that they reduce the risk of capsular contraction, a condition where the body forms a hard shell around the implant and it has to be replaced. I say “possible” because while initially this is what textured implants were created for, recent studies have pointed to it making not a whole lot of difference, so who knows!
My initial reason for not liking the smooth round implants was the shape – I thought it would look too unnatural, but now that I am used to the round shape of the expanders, I kind of like it.
I also asked my surgeon which he would recommend for my body shape and size and he said the smooth round, so while I don’t have to make a final decision until I have my next appointment in six weeks time, I am thinking these are the ones I’ll go with.
There was only one other question I had about the exchange surgery – I am sure I’ll come up with plenty more before the next appointment – and it was if the surgery would be done through the same incision as before or if a new, smaller incision would be made under my breast as sometimes is done. My surgeon prefers to use the existing scar. I feel relieved that I won’t have another scar to add to my collection, but at the same time, I’m really pleased how well I am healing and hate to think all my effort is going to waste and I’m going to have to do it all again lol.
My surgeon did also comment that my skin was holding up really well to the expansion. Not that I expected anything different, but in some people the skin can become too stretched and thin which can cause issues. This can be a particular issue if people have had radiation, and it is for this reason often radiation and implants are not recommended together.
** Note – I am not a medical professional, and what I’ve said above is only my take on things. Please do your own research and speak with your own doctors.
You mentioned both the teardrop and smooth round then gave a small list of possible side effects. Totally your decision but I personally am against the tear drop as I have a daughter who is going to hell and back with the tear drop – yes one of the ones withdrawn. Her hair fell out – and continues to when it gets to a certain length – she has it shaved, she’s constantly in pain, has days where the nausea is so bad she can’t get off the lounge. She can’t work full time as she takes too many sick days – but she does have a part time job of 8 hours a week as a lollipop lady. She is on the public list to have them removed (they ruptured but haven’t leaked very far) and when she went on it last year (has taken 5 years to even diagnose the implants were the issue) she was fast tracked through the public system and only has to wait 18 months – so hopefully this year. She does have capsular growth – funnily enough this hardened growth is what is preventing the fluid leak from spreading further into her system. So I think her removal operation will be more difficult because the growth has to be cut out.
Anyhow – looks like you’re leaning towards round but just wanted to tell you about my daughter – she is 37.
I know you say the ones you are thinking of are different but please any doubts don’t.
Thanks Sally. I’m happy to hear all stories and opinions – it’s the only way to make a good decision. I am definitely leaning toward the smooth implants, and my surgeon recommends them, so something serious would have to happen for me to change back to the teardrop ones now 🙂
Sounds like things are going well.
Thanks Julie, I am really doing great!
Thank you for writing your story step by step! This has truly helped me for tomorrow doctor visit to go over pathology results for right breast cancer they just found on 2/4/2021 after my mammogram and ultrasound. During biopsy last week they said it was a 1.3 size but not looking like in lymph nodes. I also had the generic blood test since my grandmother passed away at 32 of breast cancer of course back then they didn’t know how to save her,my mother is 90 myself 60. My mother has MDS & Lupus. I also will have both breast removed on March 3rd with reconstructive surgery during removal. Thank you very much for giving me a list of helpful information!
A survivor in progress ❤️
Thank you Leisa. Hearing that I am helping others makes this so much easier for me. Good luck with your treatment.