In the beginning… I was 22 and had wanted an augmentation ever since I realized in puberty that my very flat A chest was not going to change no matter how much weight I gained, or how many weights I lifted for my pecs. Although I was athletic & thin, but my wide-set hip bones made me feel extremely pear-shaped and I felt like my boyish flat chest did not fit with my very feminine and sensual emotional make-up. This part of my story is probably not very unique to many other visitors. But my first augmentation was performed in 1992 by an overzealous plastic surgeon in Texas.
He was known for going really large, so I never should have trusted his judgment for what my implant size would be, but I did. I ended up with 770cc saline implants that were extremely too large for my 5'4", 115 lb. frame. His "logic" was that because my frame is wide-boned, I needed that kind of volume for my breasts to be "wide enough" to nicely cover my chest (I now know this to be very illogical thinking!). I'm also very short-waisted, so as soon as the implants "dropped," I lost all remnants of a waistline even though I was thin…just big boobs and then my wide hips - NOT the figure enhancement I had hoped for all those years!
The lost dream… As time went by, my disappointments amplified. I have what is called "thin skin" - in addition to not having much fat tissue to cover the implants. So the ripples from the saline started showing through my skin. This was truly depressing - it felt like I had two huge water balloons on my chest- and eventually - that is how it actually looked! I'm not sure how long it took for the "bottoming out" to happen, but I eventually noticed that my nipples always looked too high, especially when you could see them through clothing…it was truly awful. I look at the old photos now and am horrified with how I lived with those results for so long. It was partly the fact that when you see yourself every day, you don't really notice how EXTREME it is. It was also partly financial, I did not anticipate replacement within 10 years, and I was putting my money towards other worthy life goals for someone my age. My husband never complained, but one day I woke up and realized I could continue to live with such a depressing and unnecessary problem.
The journey… I read Nicole's site to obsession and finally visited several plastic surgeons from her site in the Orange County area. I was so unhappy with what I heard. They all suggested that such a reconstruction was too complex, that I should just stay the same (huge) size and simply replace with smooth silicone implants. The couple of surgeons who would consider going smaller said that I would also require a lift - which would leave significant additional scarring and substantially increase the cost. The silicone implants were already much more expensive than saline - but I understood that to be a definitive requirement in order to eliminate or at least lessen the issue of visible ripples.
Answered prayer… Now for the GOOD part of my story - Dr. Shamoun! I'm a Christian, and I had been praying for God to guide me through this trial. I asked for forgiveness if my prayers were vain, but I figured I had already gotten myself into this mess - I know God wants to bless me with my hearts desire - and that was for a great surgeon who would treat me right and make me look beautiful. From the moment of my first visit, I knew Dr. Shamoun was the right one, the feeling was so strong - like overwhelming intuition - like answered prayer!! Luckily, I had told my husband about this strong feeling before we found out the cost estimate…
Dr. Shamoun was exactly twice the cost of all the other Orange County estimates I had received. There is a reason I tell you this - and it's not to scare you off! It's the exact opposite. I now realize that my body, health, well-being, and happiness are too precious to let money deter me from the best possible doctor. There was also very sound reasoning for the extra cost - Dr. Shamoun's strategy was totally different than any of the other consultations…and it was much more geared to my benefit.
The plan… Here was the strategy…to use high profile 550cc smooth silicone implants (although these were the most expensive implants at that time, the high profile provided the "upper" volume I needed to "counteract" the effects of bottoming out and the smooth surface reduces rippling), and to use my existing nipple incision to eliminate additional scarring, and to reinforce my tissue in the pockets so that the new implants would not bottom out again. Dr. Shamoun did not tell me that I had to stay so huge and he did not tell me he needed to give me a lift with additional scarring.
You see, I was a real challenge case: I wanted to go smaller, and because I was so bottomed out, the implants would need to sit much higher - and be able to stay there. That meant I would surely have a bunch of extra skin hanging from where they had been so stretched out and so low. Dr. Shamoun conservatively suggested we leave that skin alone and see if my skin still had enough elasticity that it would gradually retract and retighten under my breasts. This way, I had no additional scars from a lift - which are much more visible than the nipple incision scar.
The surgery… Now for the part of this story that I find truly unbelievable….my surgery took Dr. Shamoun ALL DAY. I went under at around 10 a.m. and came to at around 5 p.m….I woke up to Dr. Shamoun laying in the recovery bed next to mine, his jovial joking voice telling me how "I owe him" and how much "I wore him out" in the operating room. Of course, I was so loopy from the anesthesia that I had no idea what he was talking about. I went home and slept for two days straight on some good drugs.
I woke up enough on day 3 for my follow-up visit and I couldn't believe how much pain I had in my ribs of all places. I was a little concerned. At my follow-up Dr. Shamoun explained the whole procedure to me. Basically, he said he couldn't believe what he saw when he opened me up. In order to fit those 770cc implants in my small chest cavity - my previous doctor had scraped ALL of my natural tissue in that area away….gone…just two huge open pockets with nothing but bone and my pec muscles left. I guess we normally have some other tissue, fat, soft tissue, etc. in there - but my previous surgeon unrightfully removed it all to fit those over-sized implants. \
So Dr. Shamoun had to figure out a way to put my new 550cc implants in that big open space - and get them in a nice high position so I wouldn't have to deal with bottoming out again. This is why it took all day! Keep in mind that this is my layman's description of the surgery of course…but basically, Dr. Shamoun used permanent sutures and temporary sutures to "sew" an "artificial internal bra" of sutures across that space and the only thing he could use as a support anchor was my ribcage - hence my rib pain. I am SO grateful that I was in the hands of such a caring surgeon that he took that kind of creativity, time, and just plain HARD WORK to ensure a good result for me - I can not imagine there are many surgeons who would have done the same. I could have woke up with very different results if it were not for Dr. Shamoun's pure commitment to excellence.
The results… You can only imagine how my husband and I feel about the expense now! Talk about earning your money - Dr. Shamoun worked on me for over 6 hours! Now I understand why God gave me such a strong feeling to chose him - He knew what Dr. Shamoun would find in there and He knew he was the doctor for the job! And it does get even better - when it was time for my drainage tubes to be removed, Dr. Shamoun actually made a HOUSE CALL! He happened to live down the road from us, and he graciously offered to stop by and remove the tubing and check on me on his way home one evening. He visited with us, played with our dogs, and painlessly removed my tubes - something he knew I was really bugged about (I'm super squeamish!). SO NICE!
It took about 2 years for that extra skin underneath (that you can somewhat see in those 1-year post op photos), to finally tighten up. In the past 3 years, I have noticed the implants dropping some, but in my opinion, far from a "bottoming out" problem. Following Dr. Shamoun's advice, I am religious about wearing very supportive bras - two athletic bras when I run and I even wear a light support bra to sleep in. He did warn me that because my bottoming out was so severe and because there was no natural support system left, the dropping may be a recurring problem for me in the long term. But he also assured me that he was "in it for the long run with me" and that he would help keep me looking and feeling beautiful. And you know what, I believe him!
Today… So now it's three years later and I'm about to schedule my follow-up visit for being a part of the "5-year silicone follow-up study." I wish I had sent my testimonial in sooner, but hopefully my pictures in the photo gallery have spoken a thousand words for Dr. Shamoun's talents. I'll also make sure that we send in my 3-year photos, because I'm not totally sure, but I think my breasts might have actually improved since those 1-year post-op photos. Based on my past experience, I'm sure my rating scale for my breasts is very different than people just viewing my photos. For me, they make me feel beautiful and I am so grateful to Dr. Shamoun. I still can't believe what a difference - they feel absolutely amazing - so much softer and more realistic than before. My husband is particularly fond of them too :. They are much more fitting for my figure, my lifestyle, and my personality. Dr. Shamoun was aiming for all of those goals for me, so I'd say I'm a huge success story of his! Considering how bad my troublesome past augmentation was, I never thought I would be so happy with the results.
If you have any kind of troubled augmentation, I would highly recommend you consult with Dr. Shamoun. And if you are a first-timer - how blessed you are that you can go to Dr. Shamoun from the get-go! I thank God for life, I thank Dr. Shamoun for the new life he has given me with these results, and I thank you ImplantInfo for the many lives you help with your wonderful site!
View My Photos - RD