So I was supposed to have surgery in November to replace my expanders with permanent implants. I finally decided to go with saline implants. I travel enough to remote areas of the world that it seemed having silicone implants that require immediate surgery if they leak would not be a good idea if I was out in a jungle. Saline implants, if they were to leak, would end up just deflating, but my body could absorb the water without harm. I could then wait until I got back home to have surgery. That seemed to make sense to me.
I had to cancel the surgery because my youngest daughter was in the hospital. I needed to be well enough to care for her both at the hospital and once she got home. She is well now.
It turns out that it was a very good thing I didn't have surgery. The scar tissue is building up very intensely in the area of my chest where they did the radiation treatment. The area is becoming like cement, very hard and encapsulating the expanders. It is pressing the expander, especially on the left side, tightly against my chest wall and misshaping it. It feels like someone has wrapped a very, very tight bandage around my chest. It is pulling the muscles in my back and is very uncomfortable.
I have spoken to two surgeons, they both agree that I need to have a more significant surgery done to repair the damage from radiation. The plan is to remove the skin and muscle on the left side over the expander and replace it with donor skin and muscle taken from my back. They will take a portion of my latissimus dorsi muscle and the skin and move it around to the front and replace the damaged tissue. It will leave a 5 inch scar on my back but should free up the tightness and pain in my "breast" area. While they are in there, they will replace the expander with a saline implant.
The surgery will take about 41/2 hours with two surgeons working in concert. I will be in the hospital for a few days. I will have a drain in the front for about a week and a drain in the back for about two weeks. It will be a few more weeks after the drains are removed to recover.
In about three months after that surgery, they will do the same thing on the right side. It is pretty major surgery. If I had the original surgery in November, they still would have had to do this one, so the decision to cancel the previous surgery saved me a needless one.