Breast Reconstruction Testimonial: Gale
From: Orange County, California
Patient Type: Failed Implant Reconstruction
Patient History: Unilateral Mastectomy / Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
With little more to go on than an interview that we heard Dr. Khouri give on satellite radio, my husband Bob and I boarded a plane in Orange County, California and headed to Miami Beach to meet Dr. Khouri for the first time. Although surgery had been scheduled for the next day, we decided that if there was anything—anything at all—that did not feel right; we would cancel the surgery and come home.
My reason for wanting to see Dr. Khouri was that in 2002, when I was 57 years old, I had a mastectomy followed by reconstruction with implants. My plastic surgeon said that it was impossible to create a pendulous breast to match my existing breast. To create symmetry he would have to do a breast reduction on the existing breast and add an implant to make it perkier. For the first few months, I looked okay, but as the mastectomy side healed, the horizontal scar grew taut across my chest creating a distorted appearance, kind of like a bubble on top of a bubble. While taking the Tamoxifin, I gained weight. The remaining breast grew larger and heavier, hanging down and pulling the skin on my chest into vertical lines. It looked like I had a sack hanging on my chest.
After years of feeling disfigured and uncomfortable, of wearing a heavy prosthesis, of second-guessing myself about the course of action I had chosen, and of thinking there was nothing to be done about it, the radio interview with Dr. Khouri gave me hope. This hope gave me the courage to take the risk of going to a doctor across the country from me. For my husband's part, he did not care how I looked, but he was supportive of whatever decisions I made. I could not have considered doing this without him. Over the course of a year starting in July 2011, we flew across the country to have three autologous fat transfer surgeries.
On the mastectomy side, Dr. Khouri created a breast shelf, adding fat and sculpting my body in the process. He used fat transfers to enhance and mold my breasts. My skin was already stretched from having had implants, so the EVE device was not necessary. However, I was caught off guard by the painfulness of the recoveries. There was internal stitching, which limited my ability to move or care for myself.
For the first few days after surgery, I relied on my husband's help for everything. Yet, just four days later, I was able to fly home. After each surgery, it took about a month to regain my energy. It took longer to become fully sensate where the fat had been harvested and for the tightness and pulling in my chest to abate.
Today, just four weeks after my last surgery, I feel fine. Everyone asks me if I am happy with the outcome and if it was worth the pain and the travail. I can say without hesitation, "Absolutely, yes. I am happy and yes, it was worth it."
The mastectomy side is soft, hangs at the same height and angle as my other side, jiggles just like a real breast, and to my great relief there are no more implants.
I am extremely grateful to Dr. Khouri for developing this breakthrough procedure. He has the respect both of his colleagues and of the team of professionals who assist him. I am especially grateful to Diana, my brilliant and beautiful nurse, and to Cindy, Dr. Khouri's assistant. Cindy was my first contact in the office. She was always available and always responsive. Without her encouragement, I would not have found the courage to go through with this. I think that Dr. Khouri possesses a rare combination of traits: he is a great surgeon with an excellent sense of aesthetics and a lovely bedside manner.
There is one more thing that a new patient should know about Dr. Khouri. It is as difficult as it is wonderful. When he is working, time does not exist for him. He has this tremendous energy and concentration. His thoughts and his eyes are on his patients, which is another way of saying that they are not on the clock. If he feels that he should do more than had been scheduled or if a procedure is taking longer than anticipated, his only consideration is doing his best. Receiving that kind of attention is rare and to your advantage. However, if you are the one waiting to have surgery and watching the clock, it can be extremely unnerving. For my part, he was totally worth the wait. He loves what he does and it shows in the beautiful results.
My last surgery is still fresh. Experience has taught me that the fat becomes softer as the swelling diminishes and everything settles into place. The mastectomy side is now sensate and I feel and look symmetrical. I may be older and more worn, but for the first time in 10 years, I am comfortable in my own skin.
Thank you, Dr. Khouri.
5 / 5 stars