Facing breast cancer is tough, and it makes tough women tougher. Most ladies who have had a single or double mastectomy are happy to be alive and discover that things that were once a big deal, like boobs, no longer matter as much. There are countless stories of women who decided to burn their bras and go flat for good. Other women choose gorgeous tattoos to adorn either their reconstructed breasts or their newly-flat chests.
There are even options for nipple reconstruction, nipple tattoos, or super versatile prosthetic bras. It’s wonderful that there are so many options, but they can be overwhelming!
Whether a woman chooses to have immediate reconstruction, reconstruction at a later date, or say goodbye to the girls altogether, it can be intimidating charting a new path. It’s helpful to know what to expect.
In the video below, Chiara D’Agostino shares her experiences being prepped for implant surgery by Dr. Ross Cooperman. It’s easy to see how excited she is to have a more comfortable and natural setup!
Some women are able to, and choose to, have breast implants inserted at the same time as their mastectomy. In that case, a plastic surgeon will place an implant on a woman’s chest muscle after the breast tissue has been removed, and then cover the implant with skin.
If more skin is removed than would be necessary for immediate reconstruction, or if a woman opts to have her reconstruction at a later date, then the surgeon will place a tissue expander between the skin and the chest. This expander will stretch the skin until there is enough cover an implant. A salt water solution will be pumped into the implant at regular intervals until the skin is ready for the appropriate size of implant.
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In the video, Chiara is looking forward to being done with having expanders, which she thinks feel like golf balls on her chest. Dr. Cooperman carefully explains the differences she’ll experience from her expanders to her implants and what the entire process will entail. He makes marks on her body and explains what her new chest will look like. He also explains the purpose of the drain she’ll have for about a week after her reconstruction. Because the implants are anatomically shaped (not perfectly round) it will be important to keep fluid drained so that they can’t spin around and create an upside-down breast reconstruction!
“This is a great day for you,” Dr. Cooperman says. We can see that Chiara feels the same! Thank you Chiara and Dr. Cooperman for de-mystifying this experience! We hope that Chiara’s story will encourage anyone who thinks that reconstruction is the right choice for them. Keep fighting, friends!