My implant exchange surgery is on Monday!

That’s right. You read that correctly: I GET MY SILICONE IMPLANTS ON MONDAY.

I’m going to be honest with you–that’s something I never in a million years would have expected to ever say, write or even think in my life. Me? Breast implants? Nah, never, not for me…but it’s happening! I’ll eat those thoughts with a fork and spoon (just not after midnight on Sunday).

After more than one year since finding out about my BRCA mutation and more than eight months since my original mastectomy, I am finally going to be done with surgery.  I almost don’t believe it’s real, but it is–two breasts, four Jackson-Pratt drains, three tissue expanders, one cellulitis infection, two falsies and many wireless bras later.

I had a pre-op appointment with Dr. Festekjian on November 8. He told me my implants will either be 700 ccs or 800 ccs, most likely Natrelle style 45 silicone. A few posts earlier I said that I probably wouldn’t get those implants because they’re very narrow, but Dr. Festekjian knows that I am most concerned about projection and they offer the highest projection. The total size of the implant (700 vs 800 ccs) depends on the width he needs to cover (13.5 cm or 14.2 cm).

At this point I’ve really stopped worrying about what size my implants will be. I trust Dr. Festekjian’s judgment completely. He did such a good job with my tissue expanders; people are always surprised to find out that my tissue expanders aren’t actually my permanent breast implants.

The night before my surgery I plan to take some photos of my chest with tissue expanders. I really want to create a visual of the different “stages” of breast reconstruction. The final stage photos won’t be ready for a few weeks since there will be swelling after the surgery.

Sigh. It’s happening. Finally.

19 thoughts on “My implant exchange surgery is on Monday!

  1. That’s so awesome, good luck with everything! I got my jp drains out today and it was GLORIOUS! I feel like a new person, especially with my petite 300cc expanders I currently have. I can only imagine how excited you are for it to finally be ‘finished’.

  2. Hi Rachel,
    My name is Aretha. im 28 years old and i got diagnosed with breast cancer this year. I also have the brca mutation. I just want to say you are very brave and smart to have made this decision. Look at me, im 28 and i got this cancer. I didnt get it at an older age, only at a young one. So it was a very smart decision of yours to have this surgery. You are also extremely talented, smart and beautiful and i wish you the best of luck in all your pursuits. Your blog is helping me as well because im due for reconstructive surgery on Tuesday in ucla. I will have the same surgeons as you! Thanks again for creating the blog, take care

  3. Rachael,
    I’m very happy for you to be almost done with all the surgeries that go along with bc. I hope that you’re as happy with the finished product as you seem to be with the TEs. I never did have reconstruction after my mastectomy because of other medical complications but I love to hear when someone is able to get the results they want, and are able to get some sense of normalcy again.

  4. I stumbled on your blog as I can’t sleep. I have my exchange surgery tomorrow morning! Our stories seem similar. I had my PBM in March and can’t wait to have my expanders out! I just wanted to wish you luck and sending healing thought!

      • So my surgery went well. Anxious to see what they look like. They appear flatter than I anticipated but I am assuming that’s because of being wrapped up. I can shower tomorrow so will be able to get a look. My PS had to do some stitching inside the pocket because the left breast was too low. That side is much more sore!

        How did everything go for you? I hope you are feeling the same relief I am. It’s amazing how the implant feel compared to the expanders.

        Hope this finds you well

      • OK the flatter thing is how I’m feeling too. I am still bandaged up until tomorrow morning but right now I really can’t predict how big they’ll look. I’m nervous!

        And about the stitching–my right side is really sore too, and I know my PS said he was going to match one side to the other, but I think he was matching the left side to the right side…so maybe I’m just trying to use my right side too much and it’s making it hurt.

        I’ve only been taking Tylenol for pain and while I’m still achy I don’t feel like I’m trapped in my bed or anything.

        What size and type of implants did you get?

      • How are you feeling today? I am really sore! How did your implants look since taking off the bandages?

      • Mine are even but like blobs. From what I read that is expected. I’m really swollen. I also have a low grade fever. 😦 feel crappy

        I have mentor high profile memory gel. Not sure what size. She said between 700 and 800 cc’s. I’ll find out on Monday.

        Are you very swollen?

  5. I just had my exchange from expanders to natrelle style 45 800ccs this Monday the 19th! Which if I read right I think you and I were in this together girl! I had a bi lateral mastectomy in July this year as a prophylactic measure. These silicone is way… Better than even getting expanded so I feel great! I wish you all the best. I hope to hear from you… Vanessa

  6. Hi,
    Hope all went well. I just had prophylactic mastectomies with TE and aerola nipple sparing. Question did you have weird tight sensation and tightness to chest wall? I’m 3 weeks out.
    Best Wishes,

    • Hi Kristin,

      I’m so sorry–I never saw this comment!

      Anyway, I did feel tightness after my mastectomy, but I’ll be honest with you: it didn’t seem unusually tight. I expected it to be that way. The first few days were of course the worst, I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. But after that it was better.

      Are you still feeling this week? It looks like it’s been a week or so since you commented.

      • Hope you and Kristin don’t mind me chiming in on this. I’m a year out and I do still feel tightness of the chest wall. It’s less than it used to be (for the first couple of months it felt like I had a cement block bolted to my chest), but I still feel it more as a sensation rather than a discomfort.

      • I am doing better. With TE’s it is tight and with movement, I think you do get weird sensations now and then:) I hear after exchange things are much better:) Best,

  7. So excited to see your final outcome! I will be digging for those pictures. LOL When my PS told me she wanted me filled to a minimum of 600 to get to where I was pre BMX, I was like..oh hell no! I just don’t have the attention span to get that far. LOL But looking at your final TE picture, and knowing my build, I can see that my PS is right of course. I’m only at 275 right now. Will do 100cc tomorrow. I want to be done with fills before Christmas, and then my PS requires them to “rest” for two months before exchange.

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