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My Health Update After Explant Surgery

My Health Update Explant SurgerySince many of you asked me to write an update on my health after the explant surgery, I am happy to do it. I am not one who usually likes to talk about myself, but if it helps others, I am all for it.

 

There will be some good news so keep reading and please let me know in the comments what you’d like to learn more about or what your thoughts are.

 

As some of you know, in January of this year I had explant surgery to remove breast implants that I dearly regretted having done in the first place, 9 years ago. To read more about why decided to explant, visit here.

 

The decision to augment my breasts in the first place was emotional, and I relied on the cosmetic surgeon to inform me of any possible risks. The surgeon said that saline breast implants were much safer because, if they ruptured (which never happened, according to him), the saline water would simply get absorbed by the body. Problem solved.

 

However, now cosmetic surgeons recommend replacing saline breast implants every 8-10 years because saline water may grow harmful bacteria, so if they rupture (or leak without rupturing), the bacteria may make a woman very sick, to say the least.

 

What the cosmetic surgeon did not tell me is that the explant surgery is more complicated, much more involved, and more expensive than implanting. When they implant, they inflate the capsules after they have put them into the body so they need to make only tiny incisions in the hidden areas of the body. When they take breast implants out, big incisions have to be made under the breasts to have enough room to take out inflated implants along with their capsules.

 

Over the years, tissue grows around the breast implants. This tissue is called capsules, and the capsules may make it challenging to take out implants. The surgeon has to be able to help you make a decision whether to leave the capsules in or take them out. Both options do not seem to be ideal.

 

In my case, the capsules were taken out to remove tissue that might have been contaminated with silicone. This type of surgery is called En Bloc. The problem is that since extra tissue is taken out, the breasts may end up smaller than if the tissue was left in.

 

My left breast looks almost normal with a small indentation on the bottom but my right breast is smaller (before the implants my breasts were of equal size). Unfortunately, it has a visible indentation across the bottom part of the breast. Coincidently this is where my explant surgeon placed a bandage after the surgery.

 

My sweet husband, by the way, says that the indentation is not a big deal, but I’m a little self-conscious about it.

 

I was unable to receive any answers as to why I have these indentations and whether over time the shape of my breasts will get back to normal. Every time I asked my plastic surgeon these questions, she said that this could be easily corrected with fat transfer/grafting.

 

I also asked other breast surgeons about why I have these indentations. One of them suggested a fat transfer and the other said that she recommended waiting a year before doing any surgery.

 

Nowadays, fat transfer/grafting has become a popular alternative to breast implants. While it might seem to be a natural way to make breasts bigger, I’d like to share with you what I have learned. Now I know better – always do your own research!

 

First of all, in order to inject fat into the breast area, liposuction has to be performed, which is a surgery under general anesthesia. (My husband offered to be a fat donor!)

 

Second, since fat grafting has been available only since 2009, there are no large clinical studies with long-term follow-ups.

 

Some doctors are concerned that fat injected into the breast area may stimulate the growth of cancer cells. (source) Moreover, in this study, 16.7% of patients developed cysts where the injected fat calcified. On the mammogram, it would be hard to tell if the cysts are benign or cancerous and biopsy would be needed to make this decision.

 

To me, all this sounds like a nightmare. And most importantly, why should I go through all this? And I need to mention that the injected fat may get absorbed by the body over time, making further surgeries a very expensive hobby.

 

With this said, let’s talk about the good news now.

 

Despite the fact that my breasts do not look as good as before the breast augmentation surgery, I am happy to have my natural body back. Now I understand that beauty comes in different shapes and forms and I don’t have to look for the beauty industry to dictate their ideals. By the way, with some techniques I have been implementing, there have been some improvements.   And I believe over time my body will settle into its natural forms soon.

 

As you might remember from my previous posts, I had been diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions after I had had breast augmentation: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Addison’s. With the help of a very skilled physician, Dr. Myrto Ashe, MD, I was able to heal Hashimoto’s and a recent appointment in April to my endocrinologist confirmed that my thyroid works as intended. (Doctors had previously told me that there s no cure for Hashimoto’s.)

 

I am also determined to heal Addison’s. There is only one documented case of spontaneous recovery from Addison’s though, without any explanation why that happened. And if you have adrenal insufficiency of any type and are reading this, please don’t try it at home as going off medication can result in coma or death.

 

The approach of functional medicine is to find the root cause(s) of chronic illness. The thinking is that once the cause is eliminated, the body will heal itself. The common root causes of autoimmunity include infections, harmful bacteria, allergic foods, toxic chemicals, and stress. (source)

 

Two months after the explant surgery, I re-tested 4 markers that are associated with mold illness, inflammation, and autoimmunity. The great news is that 3 of them are way down, with one improving by 50%. And that’s in the context that I have been grieving because my mom passed away in February.

 

I definitely have more energy now than after the explant surgery. And I am able to work long hours helping people reduce exposure to toxic chemicals while performing the duties of a stay-at–home mom.

 

But wait, there’s more! Back when I started working with Dr. Ashe, I took the Nutreval test, which provides insight into one’s overall biological profile: mineral and vitamin deficiencies, gut health, ongoing exposure to heavy metals, digestion, and ability to convert food into energy, to name a few. This test includes a marker for oxidative DNA damage (which itself can indicate a predisposition to cancer. Three years ago, this marker was high for me. I am happy to report that it is normal now!

 

It was also handy to find out that I am unable to convert fat from foods into energy, and my body relies on carbs for energy. No wonder I was fatigued when I tried a low carb diet awhile ago. Now I am taking a supplement for that.

 

Some other steps I’ve been taking or am planning to take in the near future to achieve optimum health include:

 

  1. Heavy metals chelation therapy (after 5 months of this therapy, my stored lead and mercury went down)
  2. A fast-mimicking diet (studies show that this diet has great anti-aging, anti-autoimmune, and anti-cancer properties)
  3. Finding and eliminating sources of an ongoing exposure to antimony, a heavy metal
  4. Continue with mold detox until I am tested negative for mold
  5. Strategically provide my body with minerals, vitamins and amino acids it needs to heal
  6. Continue to eliminate exposure to heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances in my environment.

 

In conclusion, I am happy that I explanted. And I am also grateful that I discovered the world of functional medicine where taking control of your health is encouraged and healing is possible. I am looking forward to the time where I am not dependent on any medication to live and when I feel sustainably vibrant – even with age.

 

If you’ve read this far, stop stalking me! No, I’m kidding. Thank you for your prayers, energy, and support. I hope others thinking about implants or explant surgery might learn from my mistakes and experience. Thanks for reading!

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33 thoughts on “My Health Update After Explant Surgery”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Your post was very interesting to read for me, I have had implants for 20 years. I had them replaced at year 14. The surgeon (who was not the same as the one that put them in) assured me that they looked good as new and were intact when they were replaced. I have had no health problems related to them or otherwise (that I am aware of) so I have elected to keep them in for now. I really do wish I had never gotten them in the first place though. They are completely unnecessary. If only I knew then what I know now about health.

    1. I’m right there with you…wish I never had them done as well. Purely a mid-life emotional reaction. The explanation of Irina’s surgery scared me. I have saline, probably for about 12 years now…no health issues. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Irina, so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. Hugs, hope the time will help to cope with losing your parent. Happy to hear you are feeling better after the surgery, you are a beautiful girl inside and out, don’t let anybody make you doubt yourself or any of the decisions you’ve made.

    1. Thank you, Elena. When my son was a baby, my mom was already sick but helped with him so I can work on this blog. She did everything she could help me create our wonderful community. 🙂 ~Irina

  3. Sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. May you find comfort with family and friends. I am sure she is very proud of the compassionate daughter, wife, mother and friend that you are!

  4. Bless your heart, Irina, you have been through the wringer. I am so happy for you that your health has shown so much improvement in really what has been a short time since explanting. The results have to be incredibly uplifting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing your journey. You have a lot of courage and persistence. And thank goodness you have such a supportive partner!

  5. Thank you for your story. My daughter has been contemplating prophylactic double mastectomies with implant reconstruction due to strong cancer history. But I am concerned about the implants after reading your story along with others that show auto immune problems. She already has rheumatoid arthritis and is sickly. What functional medicine doctor do you go to? Also so sorry for the loss of your mom. 🙁

    1. So sorry to hear. This is probably not my place to ask and I am sure you have considered all your options. But is there a way to wait for her to heal and gain weight before doing breast reconstruction? ~Irina

  6. You have another angel in heaven taking care of you…The most important is be beautiful in your heart Irina, always remember that you can do all with God. 🙂

    1. I’m getting my 23 year old saline implants taken out soon. One is deflated as of a couple weeks ago! I am diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroidits 4 years ago. I have gained a ton of weight, and my knees and hips hurt constantly. i also have dry hair, and skin. The brain fog and memory issues are horrifying. I am 55 years old. Your story has helped me feel positive about the explant! Will i feel better right after this surgery, and maybe my Hashi’s will get better? It’s been about 6 years of hell……i think its from the implants.

      1. Hi, Bridget: Congratulations! I am glad you are doing it. You will feel better soon. It will also depend on other healthy changes you have been implementing. The Hashimoto’s had is healed. And the other autoimmune conditioner is almost gone as well. Every minute I am so grateful for my health. ~Irina

  7. I’m so happy you are getting back to good health! Do you by chance have a list or a link to all the tests you took for your detox? I’m having my explant surgery in June and I want to make sure to be properly cleared of everything! Also, did you experience hair loss while you had implants? If so, did your hair grow back? I’m asking because that is one of my main issues right now and I’m scared to death it won’t grow back. Thank you for sharing your story. It has been most helpful!

    1. Hi, Melanie: I am so sorry to hear about your hair loss. I know how scary it is. I had some hair loss episode after the surgery and was able to fix – so happy about that. Please read my article here: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/overlooked-hair-loss-causes/
      Let me know if you’d like to talk the phone about all this: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/services/consultations/ I can tell you about something very important to do right after the surgery. ~Irina

  8. Hi Irina
    I know time has passed since your explant, however I may have similar results after my explant 3 months ago, to what you describe with the indentations. My left breast complete lower portion is flat and dimpled and my breast is filling up in the upper portion, making my nipple point downward, it would be a B size now. My right breast has not filled in yet but looks normal in lower fullness except for some flat dimpled area like the other on the outer third, nipple straight, it would be an A. I don’t want any more surgery and would like to know if your indentations filled out over time? I am embarrassed because of how they look now. My PS said the way the breasts look on the lower pole is because I have no fat there (even though I am overweight), and that I had a large implant in there for 35 years and it is heavier at the bottom of the breast. I have been wearing compression bras and now a vest as a bra rides up, I have to wear it 24 hrs until the 6 months consult. I have had small seroma fluids removed a few weeks ago, tested for ALCL but all clear. PS suggests implants/lift/fat transfer only to smooth out. After 4 operations I don’t want more surgery, and costs.
    I was flat 35 years ago (like a boy) after breast feeding. I had silicone implants with contraction. I then had saline implants, one implant slowly leaked over a few years. I had saline implants replaced and the same happened. I had increasing fluid around my implants and was tested for ALCL twice, negative thank goodness. My PS said he found silicone in there during the explant through under breast incision. 27 years ago he told me that he had to cut the silicone implants to squeeze some out to remove them through the incision under my nipple, I was horrified, some silicone must have gone inside there at that time. I used saline implants to prevent that from happening, as it turns out silicone was in there the whole time! I have had health issues and have not had any relief since the explant, actually my digestive issues are worse since my saline implant leaked faster prior to removal. I had most of the capsules removed. I am hoping the massages I have been asked to do (starting in the last week) may stimulate breast growth? I can only hope. My question is did your indents fill out?

    1. Hi, Melissa: 3 months is not enough to see improvement in shape and your health. You need to give it at least a year to make sure conclusions. In my case, it took me two years for the indentations to get smaller. The right breast is still smaller on the bottom than the left. Massage and cupping should help. Even though my breasts are very small, I feel very happy that I got rid of the ticking bombs inside my body. My health has improved, too. Do you see a functional medicine doctor? Have you had a chance to look around my website? Please let me know if you have any further questions? ~Irina

      1. Williams Kelley

        Please have a call with me . I’m a nurse – undiagnosed health inflammatory issues- I’m not sure who to seek for advice . Other than these implants I should have never have done .

      2. Thank you Irina for your reply, it has helped me to feel more at ease with my situation, and to be patient as the passing of time is what I need to heal, my body has been exposed to toxins for 35 years of silicone and saline and it will take some time for my body to heal. I realise the stress of how unusually damaged my breasts look now after the multiple surgeries and explant has had an impact on my health, so I really need to accept what has happened, along with the other challenges in my life, to move forward. I am so glad I had my implants removed for my health, which is exceedingly more important than how I look, regret has not been an issue, but disappointment has. I have been taking time to go walking, getting a little sun every day and trying to feel healthier and happier, and distracting myself with being busy. I haven’t seen a functional medical doctor. I see online there are a few in my area and will get a consultation and tests if I don’t see improvement.
        I have looked at your site, you have vast insight into health and healing. It is hard to be natural in the world we live in, it all comes back to awareness, and trying to get as close as we can by eating and living clean. Our bodies have the amazing ability to heal if we don’t impede it with toxins.
        Irina, you have such resilience with your health issues, your mental determination is amazing. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, and I wish you continued success in your life.

  9. Hi Irina,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I had my implants for 13 years. I also didn’t know they came with all these illnesses. Mine are 250cc from an A cup. I was wondering if you got your nipples sensations back after explant. I lost my nipples sensations after getting implants and how I used to enjoyed being touched.

  10. Hi,

    I am having my 525cc textured silicone sub muscular implants removed on Nov 25 2019 and am curious about what testing (specific tests) you did post-op explant for your health? What type of doctor did you go to? I am interested in testing heavy metal mold etc as well as my immune function as I feel it has severely decreased in the past year. I live in Dallas Texas, just as additional info. Any suggestions are appreciated!! I really want to get healthy and get my body back on track after the explant. Thank you!

    C

    1. Hi, C: I’ve been working with a functional medicine doctor. As for the tests, it is individual. I would highly recommend finding an experienced functional medicine with MD credentials. Congratulations on taking them out and good luck with the surgery. Let me know if you want to talk on the phone. ~Irina

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