I went to see my plastic surgeon yesterday. Have I told you how much I adore her? She’s fabulous. She lets me be a big baby, teases me about it, but doesn’t make me feel stupid. “So”, she says, “let’s deal with one breast at a time.”
The left side has the tissue expander in it. (The right expander was removed due to the post-op staph infection. .see previous posts) She looks at the incision, says it’s healing nicely, tugs on the synthetic suture sticking out on the end of the incision and says, “yep, let’s yank that out.” The last time she yanked something out of me, my body went into some sort of tailspin. . shaking, hot, freezing, hot, shaking some more, dry heaving. I told her, I don’t think I like it when you yank stuff out of me. She opted to locate the loose sutures and cut them so they don’t snag on clothing, etc.
Then she says. . let’s start expanding this side. So, here’s a little medical lesson (with pictures) discussing tissue expanders and VERY LARGE NEEDLES.
So, this is what the tissue expanders look like. They are hard plastic, filled with saline and the black circle is a port, through which the Dr. may fill them with MORE saline. The purpose of this is to allow the skin to grow so that when they finally switch out with regular implants, there’s enough room to stitch ’em up. They also keep the skin from shrinking up too much during radiation treatments.
Dr. Young gets out this little magnetic “port locator” because, of course, it’s under my skin and you can’t see it. She located the port and asked the nurse for a syringe with 50ccs of saline. She turns around and the needle on this syringe looks at least 8″ long! You’re going to stick that into my CHEST?
She laughs and says. . “I’d hold your hand, but I need them both to do this. Lean back and look up, you’re numb from the waist up, you won’t feel anything.” The nurse, Dana, rushes over to grab my hand and, of course, Dr. Young is right. I can’t feel a thing. She pushes 50ccs of saline into the expander and then pulls the needle out of the port. Then, noticing some swelling, she starts poking the needle around to aspirate some of the fluid that’s gathered in the tissues around the expander.
I had quite a bit of bruising and my left breast looked like I’d been hit by a truck. She had removed the two drains a day earlier than she normally would’ve because she didn’t want cross-contamination with the staph infection. That left alot of fluid pooling in there. She ended up aspirating 60ccs of fluid, which actually left me with a net -10ccs. After making a funny remark about me being the first patient to “self-expand”, she gets another syringe and injects another 50ccs of saline. This now leaves me with a net +40ccs in there. So, my left side is the same size as it was when I went in, but it’s much less bruised and it’s full of “the right stuff.” I’ll go in next Friday for another fill.
She then examined the right side. She poked around a bit and announced with a mischievous grin on her face, “I’ll yank out those stitches next week.” Did I say, I really hate it when she yanks stuff out of me?