Tuesday, April 16, 2013

If You Are Curious - Surgery (Warning: Graphic Content)

  I have had a lot of people ask me what kind of surgery I'll be having, how I will recover, when will I have reconstruction, etc. I guess I have been pretty vague on here, though I'll tell anyone that asks in person. I'll break it down (Barney style, as my husband jokingly calls it). My prophylactic bilateral mastectomy will be broken down into three stages (if all goes according to plans).

  The first surgery will be the biggest. I am having a skin sparing mastectomy. The doctor will make an incision that will allow him to get into my breast and remove all of my breast tissue, but leave the skin in tact. Skin sparing mastectomies are different than nipple sparing. I will only have the epidermis and the dermis left of my own breast...everything else will go. Thankfully, the skin on your breast isn't at risk for breast cancer, so I can leave it without worry. Once my surgical oncologist is finished, my plastic surgeon will then insert an "expander". I will only have about a 60cc fill (I'll be leaving the hospital with boobs not even big enough for a training bra...ha..haven't seen that since I was about 12). Below is a link to a short video of the procedure. Please, if you are squeamish, do not watch it.

After about three days I will be allowed to go home. I'll have four drains at that point (see below) and will be able to have them removed once they stay under a certain amount of cc's per day. Most people celebrate drain removal because they can be very uncomfortable...not to mention, I won't be able to shower until they are gone. 

 When I am ready, I'll be allowed to have fills in the expanders each week, and once I finally reach my desired amount of cc's in the expanders, I'll wait three months to allow for any changes, movement, etc. After the three months is up, I'll have an "exchange" surgery, where they will swap out the expanders and put in the implant. Below is a link to the tissue expander (part two of the previous video) video.

The third surgery, if/when I want it, will be to add nipples. Though, I am undecided exactly how I want to go about this, as there are multiple ways. Some women have tattooed nipples, some opt for nothing, some do prosthetic nipples, while others chose to have nipples made from a part of their own body. The video I am going to link is just one way of reconstructing a nipple, but it will give you an idea.

This is a very quick look into my upcoming surgeries. Obviously, I have left out a lot of information, but this gives people a better general idea of what is going to happen. 

Hope it helps a little!! 

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