Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Flat Tire Repair And Recovery

To catch you up on what's happening in my Asymmetric life I'll give you a very brief recap:
  • In mid-December, my under muscle saline implant ruptured
  • The ruptured implant drained leaving me with a missing boob
  • The ruptured implant was protruding under my skin and causing extreme pain
  • The surgeon determined that I had capsular contracture, a condition where the scar tissue capsule that forms around the implant actually squeezes the implant
  • I had surgery on Jan 9, 2013 to remove the ruptured implant, remove the capsule of scar tissue that had formed around the implant, and to replace the implant. 
So, it's March 5, 2013 and I'm finally starting to get closer to being back to normal.  After surgery the pain was pretty intense.  I had to have a drain tube put in to help get the massive amount of fluid out of the breast, and I had that drain tube in for just over a week.  I ended up with two incisions, one under my armpit (in an existing keloid scar) for the drain tube, and one that runs vertically on my breast (also through an existing keloid scar) spanning from the bottom of my nipple to to my rib cage.  Dealing with the post-operative pain was pretty tough, but the bottom part of my main incision was causing me a lot more pain than almost anything else.  
This diagram shows how my breast would look from a frontal view.  I have scars from my first surgery at #1 and #2.  This surgery made another incision through scar #1 to do the implant removal, capsule removal, and implant replacement.  The purple arrow indicates the place where I was having an intense amount of pain.  The drain tube would leave my body under my armpit, but the tube (internally) followed the top curve of my breast and came down (moving clockwise) almost to the incision.  I had an immense amount of swelling, even after the drain tube was removed, and the pain at the bottom of the incision (the purple arrow point) was getting worse.  I went in two weeks after surgery to have my stitches and Steri Strips removed, and I explained that the pain was still really bad.  As she removed the strips, the bottom of my incisions came back open, and I leaked every bit of 200 mLs of fluid.  I was stitched up again in the office, covered with Steri Strips again, and put back on restricted activity for another two weeks.  

After two weeks, I went in to get my second set of stitches out, but I was still having a lot of pain at that site. I was still very swollen, and my implant was sitting differently than it had before, so it seemed as if all the pressure in my breast was being carried right on that incision.  Prior to this surgery, incision #2 was fully under my breast and spanned from the middle of my chest to under my armpit.  Now, because of how this implant sits, incision #2 actually is on my breast about 1/2" from my rib cage.  I'm assuming that, because of how different the implant is positioned in my breast, the pain is being caused by increased pressure to that one spot.  The incision healed, but was/is still very vulnerable for another few weeks because of my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  

I'm not completely satisfied with how my breasts look in clothes.  I feel like my implant sits higher in the pocket than the last one did, causing my breast to appear fuller at the top than my  natural breast.  This is probably because of the capsular contracture I had prior to my rupture.  The capsular contracture caused my previous implant to sit VERY high up on my chest for quite a while.  This caused the pocket to expand much higher than before.  

My surgeon thinks that the skin will continue to relax and allow the implant to fall a little in the next few months, but if it doesn't improve, I'm going to consider going back in to have the implant moved to a point that I don't look so asymmetric in clothing.

Unfortunately my insurance didn't see removing this ruptured implant and mass of scar tissue as a procedure deemed medically necessary, so this cost me over $5,000.  I was blessed that my parents helped me pay for this, and the implant was free from the manufacturer.  However, this was not something that was cosmetic, and putting the implant in to begin with wasn't cosmetic.  Because of how different my breasts were, I had altered how I carried my shoulders to hide my asymmetry, and I had thrown my back out of alignment, and the doctors were concerned it would cause permanent damage.  Either way, unless you have a history of breast cancer, it seems that getting anything done to correct asymmetry is considered cosmetic, no matter what damage it is causing to you physically.  From a medical standpoint, I can kind of understand it, but I feel that if the asymmetry is bad enough it's causing physical problems, it should be assisted by insurance.  

Either way, I'm on the road to recovery and have a lot of new ways to hide asymmetry to share with everyone!  I attended my best friend's wedding with my "flat tire boob" before I was able to get in for surgery, and I didn't do too bad!  More to come! 

Before Surgery:

The drain tube: 

Rocking my ruptured implant at a wedding:

You can tell my right breast is a little different (because it's deflated), but I think I hid it pretty well


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  2. interesting blog. never knew this condition would gain such interest. Just posted an article on the subject. hope you find it helpful. https://drrucker.wordpress.com/2016/08/26/the-causes-and-treatment-of-breast-asymmetry-uneven-breasts/

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