Nicole has asked me to write my recovery story to help inform ladies considering a BA of two things: first, the symptoms of infections and second, that things don't always turn out perfect. Neither Nicole nor I want to scare anyone but we want you to have all the facts. So here goes.
My name is Gina and I am 32 years old, I am 5'3 and weighed 118# when I went in for my BA. I have three children, twin girls, aged 11 and another girl age 8. I have been married for almost 13 years and my husband was and continues to be very supportive of my choice. I started out as a 32-34 A cup and hoped to become a full C. I researched and considered every aspect of a BA for well over nine years before actually doing it. I even had surgery scheduled once and chickened out.
I had my BA on 11/25/98 and everything went very well. I woke up in recovery very surprised to see that I had not freaked out and jumped off the table at the last minute. There was a lot of pain and breathing seemed difficult. Actually everything seemed difficult for those first few days. You don't know how much you use all those chest muscles until now. You use them for everything, breathing, sitting up, rolling over, going to the bathroom, everything!
On day two post-op I went in to have my bandages and ace wrap removed and to see the new additions for the first time. They were beautiful! I loved them. They did not appear swollen or bruised at all. Things continued to go well and at one week post-op everything was fine.
On day 11 post-op (which was a Sunday), my right breast incision started to ooze a honey-colored substance. After much urging from women and doctors from this forum, I called my surgeon's office and, of course, he was out of town and the doctor on call did not call me back for three hours. By the time he did call, I was soaking a 4x4 gauze pad every 30-45 minutes. He advised me to come into the office the next day.
When I went in he started me on an antibiotic (which I forgot to tell you my surgeon had me start one the day before my BA and was on it for one week), and he contacted my surgeon to keep him informed of my situation. I had no symptoms of an infection other then the oozing. Symptoms of infection can include fever, swelling, redness or red streaks running up the breast, discharge and swollen lymph nodes in your armpits.
They had me come back to the office daily for the next two days and then my surgeon returned on Wednesday. After seeing him he informed me that the implant needed to be removed and we would need to do it the next day. So on Thursday, day 15 post-op, I had my right implant removed and a drain put in. Everything went fine. I saw him again on Saturday to remove the drain and at that time, he noticed that my left incision was now having a discharge, although not nearly as bad as the right. He refilled my antibiotic and saw me in his office again the next day. There wasn't much change and it was only soaking 4-5, 4x4 gauze pads every 24 hours.
He continued to see me daily until day 26 post-op when he advised me that we needed to remove the left implant as well. So, on day 27 post-op, I had my left implant removed and yet another drain put in. He did many cultures throughout this whole thing and they were all negative for infection but a slide of the discharge under a microscope did show evidence of bacteria. On Christmas Eve, I had the drain removed and have continued to improve ever since. I now have to massage my scars to prevent scar tissue build up.
You should know that the chances of this happening to you are very slim, but we just want you all to know it can happen and if it does that we are here to support you, that you are not alone. The people from this site along with my doctor and husband have been wonderful to me. The ladies even got together and sent me flowers and balloons, which lifted my spirits greatly. I also have to tell you that my surgeon is a saint. He refunded every dime of my money, not even charging me anything for the three surgeries, lab fees, implants or his time.
Right now, I am waiting to see if replacing the implants is an option. If it is, I have to wait at least six months. Hopefully I will be ready around June. I haven't actually decided if I want to replace them. It was a lot to go through but the chances of it happening again are slim and all the reasons I did it in the first place are still there. I would truly love to have those beautiful breasts back!
After much agonizing, I decided to redo my BA, it didn't even take me the entire six months that I was supposed to wait to make up my mind and as a matter of fact the waiting was killing me! I had my redo on June 18, 1999, and once again everything went great. My PS started me on antibiotics 10 days before my surgery, and he went in through the old inframmory incision. He used the same type of implants but different sutures. He said everything inside looked healthy and other then an abnormal amount of scar tissue (which he removed and it took several hours) he felt everything would turn out fine this time, there was nothing to indicate any trouble. This time he put drains in at the time of implantation and left them in for one week, YIKES, that was the worst part! At one, two and three weeks post-op everything continued to look good and I took it very easy, my family and everyone in my life played a huge part in all of this, making sure I didn't over do or lift anything, they were all wonderful.
A couple of days after my three week check up I had a hole open up in my left incision line, it never oozed, never looked red, never had any symptoms of infection. My PS put me back on antibiotics and saw me daily in his office. We keep it covered with Silvadine cream and sterile 4x4 gauze pads. I stayed in close contact via this site and email with several doctors from all over the country and many great and very smart women also from this site, they had me taking all kinds of different vitamins that help boost your immune system. The hole closed up after a couple of weeks and then a new hole opened up, still no signs of infection. Finally at about eight weeks post op I went to another PS for a second opinion. He probed my incision and said that he could actually see my implant and that it needed to be removed ASAP. He had me call my PS from his office to let him know that the implant could be seen. I went in the next day and we schedule the removal. My PS thought it best that we remove both implants so I didn't have to go around with one new breast and one old one. The removal went fine, had drains once again, but there was no signs of infection. My PS refunded my money yet again, what a wonderful man! He advised me to wait at least one year before trying it again, if at all.
During the next nine months I saw several other doctors, even flying from Dallas to Richmond, VA to see a PS there. All of them stated that there was no reason for this to happen and no reason for me not to try it one more time. Most of them advised that I go through a different incision site, use a different type of implant and just do everything possible different, so I did. I decided to go with a different PS, not because I felt my first PS was responsible in any way, I just felt he had been through enough. The doctor I chose to use had only been doing BA's in private practice for about seven years, but he use to teach Breast Augmentation at a medical school in south Texas. His name is Louis Strock from Fort Worth, Texas. He did my surgery in a surgery center VS doing it in his office like had been done both times before. He used Silicone Gel implants, and he went with the nipple incision. We decided to go with a smaller implant, 325cc VS the 400cc I had had both time prior and to once again go under the muscle. I had my second redo (my 6th surgery) on May 10, 2000. When I arrived at the surgery center at six that morning, I was scared to death, My PS came in and told me he had decided to go with bigger implants after all, he ordered 350cc's instead, he drew on me and I made him promise that if he got inside and things looked bad that he wouldn't put the implants in and he agreed.
When I woke up, I was told that my PS placed the implants above the muscle instead of below like we had planned. At first I was very upset about it but then he told me that "it looked like a war zone inside my chest" and he didn't want to disrupt it anymore then it had been. Within two days I was off the pain meds and doing great. The velcro strap that he placed on me was an annoyance but besides that all went great. Going over the muscle was so much easier then going under the muscle and they look and feel AWESOME! I am now eight weeks post op and doing super. The nipple incision is great, the left side is already almost invisible and the right side isn't far behind. I don't think I have lost any sensation, it is just taking some time in coming back. I do have a spot just under my right nipple about the size of a pea that feels "thin" and "rubbery" my PS thought it may be a stitch abscess and put me back on antibiotics for three weeks. He expected it to open but it hasn't and it has been there for four weeks now.
I am stilling keeping my fingers crossed but I think things are looking good! Even after all I have been through, I still think this is the best thing I have ever done for myself and wish I hadn't waited so long to do it! I will keep you posted and good luck to you all!
Gina's last surgery was performed by Dr. Louis Strock of Fort Worth, TX