This month we are following the journey of Kate.
Kate underwent breast augmentation in august of 2015. Kate had little breast tissue after breastfeeding 4 children over 12 years. She decided it was her time to do something for herself and started her journey to undergo surgery. With the goal of feeling confident and investing in herself. Kate set out to have a breast augmentation, tummy tuck, and hernia repair. She thought she had done all her research and was choosing a surgeon she could trust. The surgeon advised Kate that the “biggest regret of most patients was not going big enough”. Kate felt encouraged to have bigger implants.
He suggested silicone to prevent rippling. Kate said “That was the first and only time I ever heard the word rippling. He said he would see what he could get in there (breast implant volume). So, I wouldn't know until I woke up what I was getting, but it could be anything between 400 to 600 cc”.
At first, Kate was not disappointed; the size was great at first. But there are many common complications which do not occur within the first 12 months.
“At first I was a little freaked and felt cartoonish. But then fell in love. Loved them”
About five months post-surgery, Kate experienced rippling and then lateral displacement shortly after. This has become worse and worse causing distress and discomfort. When Kate went back to her surgeon to discuss her concerns, the response was shocking. The surgeon minimalised Kates feelings and had little regard for Kate’s concerns. The surgeon proceeded to explain this was not his fault, stating “they are not that bad” and basically said it was Kate’s fault. Sadly, unless the surgeon and patient can work together on a solution the therapeutic relationship breaks down.
“My doctor said it was not bad and anything wrong had to be my fault and I must not have taken care of them. He made me cry and treated me terribly. He showed me before pictures and said that we could just rip them out and he could take me back to that. He told me to wear a shoe string for 6 weeks. I did. It didn't help”.
“My tummy tuck scar is also extremely high and thick and my implants scars are also extremely high and huge. My bellybutton is a mess. And I have a suture that is trying to come out above my belly button. I had paid the man 13,000 dollars”
In despair and regret, Kate was left to evaluate what had happened. Was it her fault? Did she waste away her life’s savings? And would she now need a lift? Every time Kate laid down, her left breast drifted to her armpit.
Kate saw several surgeons who advised her this could be improved and the original surgeon should be doing this at no cost. Kate was advised the implants were too big for her chest width and she would require a capsulotomy and smaller implants. When Kate called the clinic to inform them of the information she gained from the other surgeons, she was told her treating surgeon had a several months wait to get in to discuss. This left Kate to decide, do I wait another 7 months to end up leaving crying? This would have been Kate's third in-person attempt. The nurse informed Kate, the surgeon would not correct her problem. Kate chose to give up hope on her original surgeon, Kate's priorities are her kids, her health and she knew the therapeutic relationship had dispersed.
The left breast continued to move south and the rippling increased. Even though Kate went back to the original surgeon to find a solution all she found was heartbreak and dismissal.
That was it. Kate knew she had to either find a new surgeon or live in discomfort and shame.
The new surgeon was empathetic and horrified at the journey Kate had been on. He thought 400CC was pushing the boundaries for Kates small frame. The surgeon examined Kate’s breasts and took the time to explain why Kate is in this situation including, how this has affected her tissue and what can be done. Kate’s implants were beyond the recommended size for her chest wall which caused Kate’s tissue and skin to be stretched. The skin over time has lost integrity and strength. This limits Kates options as there is only so much internal suturing that can be done before you deform the breast shape. The surgeon was generous with his time and showed compassion for Kates situation. But what came next restored Kate’s faith in surgeons. The surgeon went beyond, he called the rep from Alloderm and received help in covering the costs. Alloderm provides products and mesh used in breast reconstruction. This left Kate able to afford the revision she desperately needed.
“I almost cried. I knew this would be a huge help for me but never thought I would be able to afford it”.
Kate is finally having revision surgery on the 3rd of August 2017, we could not be happier for her. The plan has been discussed in detail and Kate feels well prepared. The surgeon has advised; 485 cc silicone moderate implants, under the muscles. These implants are not gummy bears but are a cohesive silicone. The surgeon has advised he will use a textured implant as opposed to smooth. The textured implants will hopefully stay in the desired location because Kate’s inframammary fold had been “obliterated”. The plan is, with the textured coating, cohesive gel, and Alloderm, Kate will achieve comfort and results that she will be proud of. Kate will also be having a capsulotomy and the existing scars removed.
With the surgeons help, the revision procedure is costing less than the original surgery.
Kate is elated, with the impending surgery and lessons learned. We thank Kate for sharing her story.