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From: Miami, Florida
Patient Type: Immediate Reconstruction
Patient History: None
In 2011 I went to have my scheduled mammogram and ultrasound. Unfortunately, I was advised that I had to have stereotactic breast biopsy in three points of my right breast. This would be my sixth biopsy of the breast. The result was that they found atypical hyper - plasia, even though I had been on Tamoxifin® for almost four and a half years after they diagnosed and removed a small Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS) growth in the right breast. I was advised by my oncologist it would only be a matter of time before this developed into breast cancer. I made a decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. I did not want to risk having cancer if I could avoid it.
Once that decision was made, my attention then turned to reconstruction of the breasts. I did not want to have implants because I did not want anything unnatural in my body. The doctor recommended two plastic surgeons before scheduling me for surgery, one of which was Dr. Khouri. The first doctor used the DIEP flap procedure. When I researched this online, I decided against it for several reasons:
Length of hospital stay
Possibility that the transplanted tissue would die, warranting multiple surgical procedures
Scarring left by the reconstruction procedure
The recovery time of six to eight weeks which would delay getting back to normal and would mean considerable time off from work.
I decided to go to Dr. Khouri because it was a more natural and aesthetic way to approach my reconstruction. I did not have to have multiple sessions or major traumatic surgery.
The side benefit was also something I liked: liposuction. With Dr. Khouri's procedure, the breasts would be rebuilt using my own fat and tissue. I made an appointment for the initial consultation and went ahead with the surgery in February 2012.
Since then I have had two procedures. The first procedure was immediately after the bilateral mastectomy in February 2012. The fat was taken from the inner legs and transferred to the right and left breast. I left the hospital with two small breast mounds. I had drains attached and wore a compression garment.
I remained in the hospital for 24 hours. I was very swollen. I was able to bathe approximately four to five days after the surgery and did require help bathing as well as taking off and putting on the compression garment. I had to bathe with wipes and had to measure the liquids of the drains from the mastectomy. The drains were very uncomfortable. A week after my mastectomy, I went to my follow-up appointment with my surgeon at which time the bandages were removed. Only small steri-strips remained over the area of the incisions.
Approximately ten days after the bilateral mastectomy, my drains were removed, which was somewhat painful. I had about seven to ten days of discomfort in the drain area.
Three weeks after the first surgery, I was advised to start using the BRAVA expansion device. The use of the BRAVA expander does require personal sacrifice. It's bulky and uncomfortable but does not hurt. As a patient, you have to be ready to place portions of your life on hold.
By the end of March 2012, I commenced using the BRAVA equipment for 10 hours a day. My next procedure was approximately six weeks after starting the BRAVA, which would be around mid-May.
The BRAVA bra is not currently covered by insurance because the FDA has chosen not to regulate it. It ends up costing about $2,000.00. Maybe if enough of us write to the FDA they will approve it, and then more insurance companies will cover it, opening the door for more women to opt for Dr Khouri's treatment instead of implants or one of the other reconstructive options that are available. Insurance will pay for the reconstruction procedure for breast cancer patients, just not for the BRAVA itself.
The fat was taken from the rear of my legs and then transferred to my breasts in an outpatient procedure. Dr. Khouri removed some of the indentation from my left breast, filling up the area of the fold on the lower part of the breast. Additionally, the fat transferred to the right breast contributed to an expanded size of the breast and diminished the scar.
After the second procedure, I had a family member drive me home. I had a surgical compression garment which I had to wear for approximately three days before I could remove it and shower. The harvested site was draining for about 24–32 hours after the surgery. I had considerable bruising, which is normal after liposuction. I started using BRAVA on the third day after surgery to ensure that any liquid that drained would not damage the BRAVA sport box. Though sore, I was able to drive myself to my follow-up appointment with Dr. Khouri four days after the procedure. I was very sore and swollen for the first seven days. The bruising lasted about two and a half weeks. However, I was able to go back to normal activities about three weeks after the procedure, though I still had numbness in the rear of my legs, and the area was still a little swollen.
After three weeks, I was able to resume normal activities including working out at the gym. Three weeks after my second fat transfer, I noticed that I had about a one-to-two inch increase of the breast. I went from being completely flat to almost a small B cup. Incredible! I also had sensation in the breast area. At the time of this writing, I am still wearing the BRAVA and am scheduled for my third procedure in mid-July.
It has been four months since my bilateral mastectomy. I am halfway completed in the process of my reconstruction, and I am extremely satisfied with my results so far. I have had fat from several areas of the legs removed and though there is still some numbness and swelling, they have reduced considerably in size. My breasts appear more proportioned than my less-than-perfect natural breasts had been. I am anxious to see the final results. I have personally seen the results in other patients that have completed their treatment, and I am amazed at how their breasts are almost perfect. I am confident that I, too, will achieve the same results under Dr. Khouri's care.
5 / 5 stars