Saline Implants Replaced with Silicone Breast Implants - Nicole's Story 2006
Saline Implants Replaced with Silicone Breast Implants
This is the 2006 version of Nicole's story:
This section is being introduced even though it is not finished or polished yet because I wanted to share my recovery as I go along. Watch for major improvements and additions over the next few days.
I had my original breast augmentation in 1998. This website was founded primarily on my research before that surgery and the story of my recovery after that surgery. If you just want to read about my redo to silicone, scroll down a bit. If you are new to the site or if you want a little more background, read on for some additional information about my story.
In my recent surgery, I had my saline breast implants removed and replaced with silicone breast implants. I also had a full face Erbium laser resurfacing. I am 39 years old and have 2 wonderful children. I am 5'4" tall and weigh 122 pounds. Here are the stats and details about me separated according to each of my surgeries.
Revision Surgery 2006:
Size: I went from a C cup to a D cup
Implant Fill: Silicone
Implant Volume: 550 cc's
Implant Profile: Moderate Plus
Implant Shape: Round
Implant Surface: Smooth
Implant Placement: Under the muscle
Additional Procedure: Erbium laser resurfacing of face
Plastic Surgeon: Dr. Jason Pozner, Boca Raton, Florida.
Original Surgery 1998:
Size: I went from a A cup to a C cup
Implant Fill: Saline
Implant Volume: 325 cc's overfilled to 450 cc's
Implant Profile: Normal (style 1600)
Implant Shape: Round
Implant Surface: Smooth
Implant Placement: Under the muscle
Plastic Surgeon: Robert Vitolo, M.D., NY
At the age of 31, after giving birth to two children, I had breast augmentation with saline breast implants to correct some asymmetry. Part of my asymmetry arose from a benign tumor that I developed in my right breast when I was only 13. Apparently this sort of thing can happen to young women when they are developing. It was a very traumatic experience for me at the time and after they removed the tumor I was left with less breast tissue on the right side. Another reason for my augmentation in 1998 was that I also had quite a bit of sag and loss of volume after going through two pregnancies and nursing both children. I always wanted to correct these issues with breast augmentation, but in the late 80’s and early 90’s the silicone debate was in full force. The “silicone sisters” as some of them describe themselves were out in force, chanting the horrors of silicone breast implants. None of it made too much sense to me since my cousin had implants at the time and didn’t have any problems with them. My research showed me that women all over the world had access to silicone too and yet no public outcry was going on in other countries.
By 1998, I had already spent years researching this procedure and had spoken to many women who had breast implants. I finally decided to have it done and in the process, also created www.implantinfo.com
for women like you and me to share our stories and to get information and support from a more positive perspective than I had been able to find on the internet at the time of my first surgery. If you would like to read the story of my first experience, including all of my research, the basics of breast augmentation and about my recovery, click here to go to my original story
. Or, read on about my redo with silicone implants now.
My new story begins over 8 years after I had my first breast augmentation. Here I am “pushing forty” and feeling like I look like it, too. Like most women who visit ImplantInfo, I lead a busy, full life, caring for my husband, my children, volunteering and so on. Although this makes keeping myself together difficult, I am a firm believer in the old adage—“looking good equals feeling good.” While true beauty comes from within, it feels good to look good on the outside too.
When I visited my dermatologist for my annual skin exam recently, he read me the riot act about staying out of the sun. He removed some moles for a biopsy and, thank goodness, all the tests came back fine. But, the sun damage remained. I am sure many of you can relate to growing up as a teen in a world without sun screen. I spent summers on the beach or on my uncle's roof tanning my skin with baby oil and iodine until I was purple red. Ah, Hawaiian tropic. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the coconut and burning flesh.
I decided it was time to visit a plastic surgeon and talk about what I could do to repair some of the skin damage I had and get my skin looking healthy again. When I decided all of that, my breasts weren’t really an issue because I was pretty happy with my saline implants. They were slightly firmer than I wanted them to be and one sagged a little more than the other, but over all I had no problems with them and I thought they looked pretty good. If I were to take my own advice, I would just leave well enough alone. After all, they weren’t perfect but they were 100 times better than they looked before my original breast augmentation. But there was also the issue of a possible deflation which can happen with saline at any time. I had my saline implants for over 8 years and the thought of my time for a deflation coming up and getting a “flat tire” on vacation, during a holiday, at a wedding, or formal party, at a bad financial time for me or any other inopportune time bugged me. I‘m the type of person who likes to plan things and do things on my time, not anyone else’s. For all I know, my saline implants might have lasted for 20 years. But, I don' t have a crystal ball and the timing was right for me to make a change.
I set up a consult for my skin with Dr. Jason Pozner, Boca Raton, Florida
, who has been a recommended plastic surgeon on ImplantInfo for several years and who is also a friend. One of Dr. Pozner's specialties is breast augmentation revision. He is one of the few surgeons in the country who truly enjoys taking bad breast jobs and correcting them. Most good surgeons can take pretty breasts and make them look prettier by making them larger. But it takes real skill in my opinion to be able to fix something that is messed up and make it look great. I chose Dr. Pozner because he is one of the leading surgeons in the world when it comes to laser resurfacing. He lectures all around the world on his techniques so I felt perfectly comfortable in his hands. I knew if I was going to do any of this he was the right surgeon for me.
During my consult Dr. Pozner examined my skin and told me some of the surgical and non surgical options. I then told him I had been considering redoing my breasts to go from saline to silicone. After he examined me and pointed out the areas he could fix I decided that I wanted to just do it all at once. We discussed all of the risks of the surgeries and what my goals were, my medical background and set the date. Prior to surgery I received a book of information in the mail from Dr. Pozner's office with all of the information we discussed along with medicines foods, herbs and other things to avoid and what to do for Pre-op and post of care. I was very impressed with how well thought out and organized it was.
We discussed that the pain with my redo was going to be minimal. He only had to make some minor adjustments to my pockets and since the muscle was already stretched it wouldn’t be bad at all.
The laser resurfacing was a different story. I was shown photos of how red my face would look for about a week or two. I knew that for the first week at least I was going to have to stay home and recover, not so much for the pain but so I wouldn’t frighten the neighborhood. LOL!
A few days before surgery I went to his office for an exam and blood work. Again Dr. Pozner's nurse Autumn reviewed all of the information in my packet and had me sign each page. I also had to review and sign the information to participate in the silicone study. Because silicone is still not officially approved by the FDA I will have to be part of the study in order to get silicone. This means attending follow up visits for the next few years and answering a ton of medical questions. Dr. Pozner also administered BOTOX™ on my forehead, brow and my crows feet. He felt I would get a much better result if he lasered smooth unwrinkled skin. I saw the results immediately and even more so as a day or two passed. So, the thought of removing sun damage from this now smooth skin was exciting.
The day before surgery I was instructed to start taking one of my prescriptions, Valtrex. This is to prevent any type of herpes type breakouts on the lips or mouth area. I am prone to getting fever sores in my mouth and on my lips and the laser can aggravate that. Dr. Kushner who is Dr. Pozner's anesthesiologist called me that evening and we went over my health history, any medications I am taking (I take a few different things for sinus and asthma issues) and preparations for the next day, surgery day. No food after midnight. Nothing but water and a little bit of coffee (black only) the next day and only until 10:00 a.m. because my surgery was not going to take place until 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. I was instructed to shower with Phisoderm cleanser that night and the next morning. I was able to take a valium before bed so I could get some sleep that night. This helped a lot.
I called the office and learned that surgery was scheduled for approximately 1:30 p.m. I was naturally a nervous wreck in spite of my own experience and in spite of the advice that I dole out every day here on the site. Dr. Pozner has a fully certified state of the art OR so I had complete confidence in where I would be. As instructed, I took two anti-nausea pills just before leaving the house. When I got to the office, I did the whole routine with last minute anesthesia questions, final health questionnaire before surgery, blood pressure, pregnancy test, etc., all in one of those ultra chic pink paper gowns. Dr. Pozner photographed my face and my body and marked up both to show me and to provide himself a guide for what was to be done in the OR. (Click here to see pictures of my breasts before revision surgery
.) At some point in the process, I was given a sedative intravenously and when I was starting to think I was just going to go to sleep in one of the exam rooms, they walked me into the OR and poof, it was all over.
Well, it was all over for me, anyway. My husband scrubbed in and watched the entire surgery. He took some great photos and video. At some of the links on navigation on the right side of this page, you'll find photos and video (coming soon) of the surgery, including the initial incisions, what the implants looked like coming out, what my chest looked like after removal, during the insertion and removal of sizers and, ultimately, with my final implants in place, ready for sutures around my areolae. My initial surgery had been done via the navel (transumbilical incision). Dr. Pozner was not happy with the way my pockets had been created in my first surgery because my implants were able to fall way out to the sides (too much pocket laterally), my left breast was lower and I had some areas in my cleavage and above my implants, that just did not have any volume to match my implants. Dr. Pozner did a lot of work to fix the lateral pocket of my left breast as well as the bottom of the pocket to bring it up in height to the right breast crease. The implant size and dimensions did their own work in filling out my cleavage and upper pole, as you'll see from the photos. Interestingly, the implants that were taken out during surgery were not the size, shape or overfill that I had been told when I had my first surgery. Read about and see pictures of my old implants here
. Dr. Pozner and his staff ultimately decided on 550 cc's (silicone, moderate plus) as the best solution for filling out my cleavage and upper pole. After suturing me closed, he lasered my face. That must been something to see.
The next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room, shaking. I felt extremely cold but my face was on fire. I had no breast pain but WOW did my face burn. They immediately applied this numbing cream to my face and a warming air blanket to my body and I felt 100 times better. After gradually taking in some ice chips and sitting up I started to feel well enough to get dressed and head on home. At this point I still had very little pain but all I wanted to do was sleep.
I had packed a pillow for the car ride and a garbage bag in case I felt sick along with some ginger ale in a small cooler. I sipped some ginger ale and slept for the rest of the ride. Once I got home, I got into bed for a while and slept. When I woke up, I ate some soup, took all of my medication and was out for the night.
Days 1 and 2:
The fun begins: I feel very tired and my face is burning. I look like a mess and I don’t feel very well. I still have no breast pain but the face thing is driving me crazy. I have to keep it moist with a cream sort of like Vaseline that makes it feel all goopy and gross. This Alta cream is my friend and my enemy. It is very comforting because without it, your skin dries out and that creates pain. But, after it's on for a while, it runs and drips, which is not comfortable.
I guess it would be ok if I could just load up on Alta cream and go back to sleep. Unfortunately, there was a sadistic skin cleaning regimen that I had to start, less than 24 hours after my surgery. Four times a day, I had to wash off the Alta cream that was so soothing in order to do a very painful wash. I would first apply cold cream to my skin for 15 minutes. After wiping off the cold cream, I had to make a mixture of water and Cetaphil cleanser and use gauze to clean off all of my burnt, red skin. This mixture wasn't so bad. I would do this for my first and third washes of the day and then put on the Alta cream. What really hurt was the second and fourth washes of the day. Start with cold cream, finish with Alta, but the cleanser for these was water, Cetaphil AND Peroxide (OW!). If there was any pain in my breasts, I sure did not feel it over this burn in the face. I would take my pain killers the first two nights and pray for sleep to come.
I saw Dr. Pozner on the morning after after surgery and everything looked well. I have to keep my breasts taped for support and in a surgical bra. I have to keep my incisions taped and the sutures will stay put until my next visit.
Day Three (Friday):
I discover ice baths: No not for my breasts! I had been told that ice or ice water on my face would be a relief. The thought of it scared me but once I tried it, I entered a whole new world. After going through about 3 million dollars worth of 4 by 4 gauze pads, I also discovered Kleenex brand Viva "Soft Like Cloth" paper towels. They don't break apart like regular paper towels and I reveled in bathing my skin in ice cold water before and after my cleansings. A bowl of ice cubes, water and paper towels - priceless. As I continue my cleanings, my face is transforming. That's a good thing because until today, my entire face was purple red. Now I can see a lot of skin tone in between some painful red blotches. The skin tone begins to win out in the days to follow and I'm starting to see why I did this to myself.
On this day, I also met Dr. Pozner's nurse Autumn and skin specialist, Heather for a follow up. Autumn checked my breasts, removed my support tape and my incision bandages. She removed the suture in my right areola but left the suture in my left areola. This incision was more delicate because Dr. Pozner had spent so much more time on that side. She then retaped my incisions with new tape and retaped the base of my breasts with support tape. I may have to wear this tape for up to six weeks to ensure that my crease and my pockets stay where Dr. Pozner wants them to stay as they heal. Heather examined my skin and did a light cleaning and said everything looked great. I also got a really cute and very useful Obagi floppy hat to complete my Hollywood look as I left the office in huge sunglasses and floppy hat. What a sight?!
Days Four and Five (hiding in the bell tower):
Like quasimodo, I hid in the dark recesses of my home in order to not frighten the neighborhood children. Most of my neighbors got some advance warning but, as you can guess, I did not venture out to the kids' birthday parties and the community carnival that was scheduled for this weekend. My husband took the kids back and forth and I laid low, resting and getting some satisfaction as my skin began to improve in appearance. At this point, I am wondering if I'll make it out this coming week to carpool, grocery shop, etc. My big outing came Sunday night as I ventured out (about 1000 feet away) to my mom's house for Sunday pasta with some beautiful skin underneath the red blotches on the face of a woman who looks like a battered wife. The joke is that my husband "had to tell me twice."
Day Six (Monday):
D-Day It's my week to carpool and the laundry, groceries, email and discussion board are not taking care of themselves as I had hoped. My husband fought valiantly to keep up but we are a team that requires both of us. Since his work is piling up too, I had to get back in the saddle. I sucked it up, put on my Joan Crawford headgear and headed off to the grocery store. I rushed through the aisles grabbing bread, eggs, milk and anything else I could to get out quick. Oops! Isn't that my neighbor? No I have no coupons. Out the door.
I also had a quick visit with Dr. Pozner today. Everything still looks great. My left areola suture was removed. My left breast is slightly swollen from a little bit of extra fluid (and it creaks) and I may need to bind it if it does not settle down. My left nipple was bothering me a bit and it feels better now.
I don't think I have even begun to rave about how amazing these silicone implants are. With all the fuss over my face and the pain, etc., I have just started to appreciate how soft they are. If I had known that they would look and feel this good, I would have done this years ago. They already feel like they are just a part of me. Because they are wide in diameter, they also take up a lot of my chest and don't feel like the baseballs that my saline implants were. I thought my saline implants were nice, but little did I know how great these could look and feel. Once you have silicone, I don't know if you could go back to saline, but that's just how I feel right now.
One Week (Tuesday - Thursday):
Tuesday was a long day for me with the website, carpooling and the usual work around the house, errands and I also had to run down to see Dr. Pozner's skin care specialist, Heather, so she could check out my laser recovery.
When I met with Heather, she said everything looked great and changed my cleaning regimen a little bit. I now have to wash with Cetaphil cleanser on my whole face and use the mixture of cleaner and peroxide with water only under the eye area. Then, I use Cetaphil moisturizer all over my face and the Elta cream under my eyes only. That one is like Vaseline so it is only for the red areas. It is just too greasy for the new skin. She then did some sort of light wave treatment on my face for a few minutes that is designed to stimulate collagen development. I also picked out a powder base foundation and brush that I can use next week. She likes this mineral type powder after the laser treatment instead of a liquid or cream foundation. I won’t see her again for another week and a half, when she is going to do some sort of facial cleansing.
Since I was back in the swing of things, I think I was over doing it a little bit. I started having some slight pain and discomfort mostly in my left breast. That one also had some slight bruising that you can probably see in the photos. I also had some slight pain in my nipples and slight swelling. I even sent Dr. Pozner an email with some photos asking him if all looked well because this was the first time I felt pain. He said everything looked fine and I would see him on Friday for a checkup. My face was healing nicely and I decided that I was just going to start going out in public without my sunglasses. I figured people who knew me would ask what happened and I would tell them, and everyone else would just have to wonder. LOL!!
The poor people who were forced to look at me in the grocery store and around town probably just thought I was a battered wife. If you look at the updated photos you can see that the redness is really just around my eyes now. It sort of looks like I got into a fight or maybe a car accident.
Wednesday I woke up feeling sort of the same. My face was improving tremendously and my breast just felt a little ache, but I was feeling blue because I just wanted to be back to normal now. My husband on the other hand was feeling quite frisky. He couldn’t wait to check out the new additions and kept grabbing me every chance he could to feel how soft the silicone was compared to my saline. LOL They do feel amazing. I can’t feel the implant at all. They just feel like they are completely natural.
Thursday morning I wake up with my period! Aaahh! With everything that went on I forgot that I was due for my period this week. That probably explains some of the discomfort and the mood swings. Life goes on even when you don’t think about it.:)
I think by the weekend most if not all of the redness will be gone under my eyes. Tomorrow I go in for a check up with Dr. Pozner and see how things are improving. I still have the tape under my breasts and he said I will probably have that for another 6 weeks. We will just have to see how that goes. I also still have to wear my support bra 24 hours a day. None of it bothers me during the day; it’s just sleeping at night. I wish I could just set them free. J but I will be a good patient and do whatever he tells me to do.
Well today was a difficult day for me, and the first time I had any pain during my recovery. My face is looking great, but my left breast is feeling swollen and tender. I have had some swelling and bruising on that side from the start. That was the side that Dr. Pozner had to lift and make adjustments to, so I think that is why that side is bothering me. The right side feels and looks great.
Anyway, I went to see Dr. Pozner today for my follow up and he wanted to make sure all was well with the left breast, so he decided to do a procedure to remove some fluid on that side. He used a local anesthetic and tried to draw out some fluid with a needle. There wasn’t much of anything that came out, so he opted for binding me with an ace bandage to prevent any further swelling on that side and scheduled me to see him again on Monday. This meant me wearing this bandage all weekend. It wasn’t comfortable and since it was Easter weekend we agreed that a very tight sports bra would accomplish the same thing, but allow me to wear some normal clothing.
After poking around trying to drain that breast, it was very sore. By the time I got home, I just wanted to take a pain killer and go to bed. I haven’t needed too much pain medication during this recovery because it had been so uneventful, but today it did come in handy.
I feel a little better but the stupid sports bra is driving me crazy. I feel like a sausage. LOL!!
I took off the bra today to shower and things look like they are getting better so I hope when I go back in tomorrow he will let me take this bra off.
I went to see Dr. Pozner today to see what he thought about the swelling issue. He said he could go back in and open the incision and take a look to make sure there was nothing in the pocket but, things looked better to him so he still wants to wait it out. His concern is that there may be a build up of fluid in the pocket, but upon further examination he feels the swelling is in the breast tissue not the pocket. He instructed me to go back to the surgical bra and we will observe things for a week and see if the swelling continues to go down. I was just happy to be able to take off that tight sports bra.
Tuesday (2 weeks):
Two weeks have passed since my surgery and I think things are going great. Since I took that tight sports bra off, my left breast feels so much better. I think the swelling is going down and it will be just fine. I will continue to keep an eye on it but I think all is well.
My face looks great and I can now wear some makeup if I like. I purchased a light powder at Dr. Pozners office, sort of like the bare minerals you see on TV. This is what they recommend after laser surgery. I just have some light red tones under my eye still, but other than that my skin looks wonderful. I would do this again in a minute to get the results I have so far and he tells me it is going to look even better once I use the Obagii.
I’m going to start the Obagii next week so I will keep you posted on how that goes. I’m not sure if you will be able to see the results in the photos like you can in person, but my skin is so clear and youthful. I just love it.
This is only the beginning of this story. I have hundreds more photos and a ton of additional information to share once I can pull it all together. Feel free to send your questions and requests for additional information to me.
1 month update:
My left breast has improved a lot in two weeks. The swelling is going down and the bruising is almost gone. I still can’t believe how soft and natural they feel. I do love the results so far and I am feeling great. I have so much more cleavage and fullness with the silicone moderate plus, and the feel compared to my overfilled salines is amazing. My breast feel so natural I don't think anyone would even know they weren't. The only problem I have right now is that I don’t fit into some of my clothes. My breasts are wider now then they were before, so some of my old bathing suite tops don’t fit because they don’t cover me enough. Oh well I will have to just go shopping now. Poor me. LOL!!
My skin on the other hand isn’t healing as well as it was at first. I had a setback after about three weeks. It seems that I had an allergic reaction to some old make up I tried to use or maybe some of my old face cleanser, I’m not sure what it was. I wasn’t supposed to use anything, but I did just out of habit. Since my skin is so sensitive right now the areas around my eyes that were still red, swelled up and became puffy. I called Dr. Pozner and he told me I could use some over the counter cortisone cream. This did help the swelling but it took another week to get that area under control.
In the mean time I started my Obagi products. I use the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer every day twice a day. I also use the sunscreen every day, and then every other night I use Retin A .01% mixed with the blender and then moisturize. This is causing some more redness and peeling all over but it is looking better now. It seems that the first two times I did it was the worst but the peeling and redness is getting better now.
I was a little upset about all of this because after the first two weeks things were looking so good I thought I was out of the woods. My advice to anyone reading this and considering laser is just be patient. My skin is looking so much better even with my set back. Over the past few weeks I have been going into Dr. Pozners office for a few minutes to receive a facial light wave treatment. I’m not exactly sure what it does, they mentioned something about it stimulating collagen. I’m trying to just listen to Dr. Pozner so I can get the best results possible.
I can't believe how fast this month has gone and how happy I am with the results. Dr. Pozner did an amazing job. I knew he would correct the issues I had with my breasts but I never expected them to be so perfect.
3 Month update:
My breasts have dropped nicely and feel so soft and natural. I have a lot more cleavage now and love the way the moderate plus fills out my chest wall. I have total sensation in my breasts and my nipples. I I’m thrilled with the way the incisions have healed too. I am so completely comfortable with my new implants now that I truly forget I have them. I go in for a follow up this week and I am sure Dr. Pozner will agree all is well.
My skin has completely healed at this point. I am still doing the Obagi and have been going to Dr. Pozner's office for a medical facial every few weeks. I get what they call a silk peel to help keep my skin smooth and even toned. Because I am Italian, I have a tendency to have some hyperpigmentaion. I get dark spots in places. The Obagi products are designed to help get rid of this but it has been a challenge to stay out of the sun over the summer. I use a strong sunscreen and try to wear a hat at all times. I do have some powder foundation on in the photos you see. I am thrilled with the way my skin looks now. It’s smoother, clearer and almost all of the fine wrinkles I had are gone.
7 Month update:
No complaints. Dr. Pozner is a genius and I could not ask for more from this result! See more comments on the pictures page