Plastic Surgery

At last I have an appointment in August to talk to the plastic surgeon in regard to reconstruction. I have been waiting for this appointment for nearly two years.

Meeting with the plastic surgeon:

I was so looking forward to meeting with the plastic surgeon at last, it signafied an end, the final chapter of my journey. Two words can discribe the meeting and that is “Gob Smacked”
I was called in to the office by one of the surgeons registrars. He introduced himself and started explaining the different procedures as follows;
“There are three different techniques we preform in this hospital, the first is known as a tissue expander”

Tissue Expander
The surgeon inserts a tissue expander (a temporary silastic implant ) beneath the major muscle of the chest wall. Every three weeks a saline solution is injected to progressively expand the overlaying tissue. This can take months to stretch the skin to an acceptable size. So basiclly the bigger your boobs were to begin with the longer it will take to stretch.
Once the size has been reached a more permanent implant can be inserted. Reconstruction of the areola and nipple are usually preformed in a seperate operation. That struck me as funny and I had a picture in my head of me holding a menu and saying “Yes I will have the implant today but hold the nipple”.
After explaining this first technique he added “this procedure is not recommend for paients who have had radiotherapy. Because radiotherapy damages the skin and reduces elasticity, the skin may not strech enough with the expander. That is not to say it hasnt been sucessful for some”.

The second and third proceedures are known as flap reconstruction.

Flap Reconstruction
use of tissue from your body – (Back or Abdomen)
The latissimus dorsi muscle flap- which is donor tissue available on the back. It is a large muscle and surrounding tissue which can be employed without significant loss of function. Sounds stright forward but then comes the “but”. This procudure will leave you with a triangluar scar on your back and could also weaken the shoulder and arm on that side also you are left with scarring around the new breast where the tissue has been put in place.

And lastly the abdom tram flap.
This procedure is the same as the back tram flap, a muscle and tissue are removed from the lower stomach which will leave a scar from hip to hip on the bikini line so will not be visable and also gives you a tummy tuc into the bargin, sounds tempting until you hear the “but”. Because a muscle is removed from one side of the stomach it may be difficult to sit up stright from a lying position, you may have to roll over on your side to get up, you also have the scaring around the new breast where the tissue and muscle have been sewn into place.
Both of these techniques can take up to eight hours under anistetic so they are major operations.
When all had been explained I was asked if I had any questions, I was shell shocked and couldnt think of anything I wanted to ask. Of course this was my own fault I hadnt done my homework before the meeting so I cant stress enough to always always do the homework and write down all question you need to ask.

So I sat there gob smacked and said “no I cant think of anything right now”
He asked me to strip down to the waist and put on the paper gown so the surgeon can examine me and left the room saying “the surgeon will be with you in a couple of minutes”

I sat there in the paper gown trying to process all the information and asked myself what was it I was expecting to come from today, I know it wasnt the horror story I had just heard. Do women go to these extremes to regain their breast? Well they must, but could I do that to myself? I had no answer. It took three quarters of an hour for the surgeon to come and meet me, I sat there cold in a paper gown and confused to say the least. She spent 5 minutes talking to me and then left without even looking at the scar area so the paper gown was completly unnecessary. The only information she added was to give me two web sites to look at and told me to make an appointment for a months time, by then I should have made up my mind as to which procedure I want to proceed with.
I left the hospital in a daze and only hours later started feeling angry, I was angry with myself for not looking into it before the meeting, I was angry with the doctor for leaving me sitting in the cold and then not bother looking at the scar area and I was feeling let down as I was so looking forward to having the reconstruction. When I calmed down I went on line and visited the web sites recommended and printed out all the information needed. Over the next couple of days I read everything over and over and finally came to a decision, I will be ready for the next appointment and this time around I will have a voice.

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