So tomorrow marks one week since my fat grafting procedure. I must admit the recovery has not been as painful as I expected. Whether or not this is due to the fact that I have so many places in the affected areas that are numb from previous surgeries, I don’t know, but I was pleased that it wasn’t as brutal as I thought it would be. It has been very sore, yes, and the bruising has made it uncomfortable, but all in all, probably the least painful of all my reconstructive surgeries. I had no pain meds and didn’t even take a tylenol.
I expected I would have drains, but I did not. Nor did I have a compression garment. The surgery was just shy of two hours and I woke up well, with exactly 4 plain old bandages (nothing like I expected I’d have); three on my left breast and one on my lower abdomen.
The goal of this procedure was to fill in some spots in my left breast that were lacking fullness. My breast tended to cave in on itself whenever I was lying flat, on my right side, or flexing due to picking up something or straining the area. It also lacked roundness on the outer portion of my breast. It bugged me, so the goal was to fill in this area with some fat from my abdomen. I’d had 3 c-sections and this area had plenty, trust me, even though I’d recently lost 25 pounds due to a new workout regimen. I was told to expect the the procedure would need to be repeated a few times due to the fat dissipating by 50% as I healed.
The following photos are the evening of surgery.
You can see right away that my nipples aren’t even, even though I have blocked them out. This is simply the way that it is, and I’ve had to learn to live with that. It would be my preference that they were more even, but is it worth removing and repositioning one and opening myself up to major infection and possible loss of the implant to achieve a more symmetrical look? The answer is no.
The marked area indicates where fat was added. You can see the difference in size of each breast, since the left one is still swollen from the procedure. I could immediately see that it was more round on the outer portion of the breast. There is a distinct flatness just to the side of the nipple that I could still see post-surgery. This was kind of a bummer, but whether anything else would plump up in that area in the coming weeks, I didn’t know. It seemed a teensy bit less pronounced, and when I was a few days post-op, I turned on my side–which normally made my left breast cave in on itself–and the caving in was not there. Whether this was because enough fat was added or because everything was still swollen I don’t know, but I was happy that the breast retained its shape in this position. I hope it continues to be this way.
Reconstructed breasts have a distinct lack of projection, and this is unfortunately common. However, the area I have highlighted below is the remainder of the “caved in” portion of my left breast. After more time, I should know whether or not it will improve any further.
I had great anxiety about the recovery period, since I’d worked so hard to gain the ground I had with my workout routine and lifestyle change. Going backward seemed synonymous with lying around recovering from surgery. I was told by my surgeon that I could resume my visits to the gym approximately one week after surgery depending on how I felt. Well I’m there now, and I don’t feel that I would be able to do much at the gym at this time. My breast is still tender and swollen and my abdomen is still distended (I assume due to fluids since I didn’t have drains) and tender as well. Just wearing pants (even baggy, stretchy ones) is uncomfortable. There is bruising and itchiness, though the bruising is not as much as I expected.
Until I see the surgeon for a follow-up tomorrow, I am only sponge-bathing and not bending, twisting or lifting anything more than five pounds. I was told a few days after that I could drive if I felt up to it, since I was not on any pain meds. For me, the most difficult part of all of this is not being as active as I normally am. I am expecting that I probably will have another repeat of this procedure, and then after all of the grafting is complete, I will be having all of the excess skin removed. That will be a long recovery. Not looking forward to going through that, but I feel I must do it. Onward!
More details after tomorrow’s checkup.