Category Archives: Surgery

My Legal Settlement – An Update

I finally found a way to login on the complaints board (see the first part of this posting below) and post a response to the accusation that, it appears, was most likely made by him or a member of the surgeon’s staff. I also sent an email to his office through his website letting him know that I knew about that comment.

In addition, I let him know that, because that comment was so obviously written by someone in his office, I considered that a breach of contract. On the down side, our lawyer has said that just because someone on his side broke the contract, that doesn’t mean that *I* can. So I’m just going to keep linking back to that initial post I made before the contract was signed whenever I need to reference the surgeon.

[Editor’s Note: This post has been edited and certain links removed on the advice of my lawyer. Please visit here for details]


My Legal Settlement

Earlier today I received the following email from a regular reader here at the blog. For personal reasons, the reader has asked that they be kept anonymous.


In your blog, you said you signed papers with your doctor not to name them.  Did you have a settlement?  Did you have the option not to settle, instead spread their name all over? Or did an attorney advice you about libel or defamation?

If you can comment without naming the doctor, much appreciated.

I have written before about how I tried to deal with the legal ramifications of what happened to me. I also wrote about the settlement that currently binds me from mentioning the name of the surgeon. HOWEVER, before I agreed to the settlement that prohibits me and my “agents” from mentioning the surgeon’s name, I wrote a few posts. Those are listed below in my response to the reader’s questions.

Dear Reader;

I am, unfortunately, also bound from talking about the terms of the settlement as well. I DID have the option not to settle. At that point I was deeply clinically depressed and traumatized. I didn’t want that person to have anything to do with my medical care any more. I would start shaking every time I had an appointment. I just wanted it to be over with so I went with the first available way out.

People keep telling me that I’m brave. This is one of those instances where I was not. I DID put up a synopsis of what happened on the Complaints Board [Editor’s Note: This post has been edited on advice from my lawyer.Please visit the link for details]

I never spoke to a lawyer about defamation, but I was a journalist so I know that once I signed those papers, I am legally bound, along with my “agents”, not to reveal his name. HOWEVER, those two links were written up before the contract went into effect.

Here is where things get interesting. I just happened to notice that a person I am presuming is the doctor in question or one of the 2-3 staff members familiar with the case (aka one of his “agents”), made a brief response to my initial post on the Complaints Board. I am presuming this because of the use of the phrase “ridiculous herbal remedy’ in the response. That is FAR too personal to have been written by someone just reading entries on the complaints board.

And so, dear reader, I am going to war. For some reason I am having technical difficulties logging on and making a response to that accusation. Once I do, you all may want to stop by for a look because I can guarantee that things are going to get very, VERY interesting.

This surgeon does not know with whom he is messing. He’s about to find out.


My Breasts – One Year Later

One of my regular readers asked for what amounts to a critique of The Twins from both my perspective and my husband’s. So here we go: What I think of my boobs almost one year after reconstruction.

They’re BIG. I know we’ve been over this before, but DAMN. They’re still really big. Those of you who have seen the breast reconstruction photos know I’m not even half kidding. Those are ALL me. No implants. After all the problems I had related to implants, I insisted that they not be used.

They look natural. They bounce, they sway, they’re not plastered to my chest like a pair of angry headlights. They even do that fallout thing. In other words, when I’m laying on my back naked, they migrate towards my armpits like normal boobies do.

In a push up bra I have cleavage for DAYS. AND they pass the Pencil Test with a 4.0 GPA.

I love the Twins and I’m beyond grateful to have them so please understand that the critique I am about to give is in NO WAY meant to imply that I’m not happy with what I have. These are observations on my own reconstruction that other women may or may not experience.

There are really only a couple very minor things. First, on the cleavage side of my right breast there is this one little spot where the flap was sewn in that looks just a little bit uneven. The only angle that can be seen from is the top and in this photo you have to look very hard to see it. The right breast is the top photo.

You can see a tiny bit of lumpiness where the green intersects with the breast. It is also a little flat on the front from that angle making the breast look slightly squarish.

The left breast, pictured below, is a better example of the slightly squarish look shown here. This HAS improved over the past year.

There is also a very minor indent where the scar is but that’s just what happens with any scar.

As far as the feel goes, they are pliant, yet firm. Since *I* know how they were constructed I know that firmness comes from the transplanted latissimus flap muscle. On the bottom outside edge of both breasts, if you probe, you can feel the outer edge of the muscle flap.

When you do a full on grope, it’s the muscle that makes up the firmness and the fat that makes them soft and pliant.

Many of you have asked for the perspective of my husband, Ken. I will be asking him to write guest articles on the more emotional aspects of necrosis and recovery from that in later installments. In the mean time, here are a few of his comments on the Twins one year out from surgery.

Ken: “Due to the procedure, there are some areas that are a little squarish. Considering what Dr. Elliott started with, they’re AMAZING! They also came out much bigger than both of us expected but that’s NOT a bad thing.”.

When asked about what my breasts feel like, he comments, “They feel amazing and they fit my hands well. They’re big, they’re full and they have a nice heft to them.”. He thinks that, appearance-wise, the Twins are a good size for my frame.

In general he reports that he can’t feel the flap. If he feels in detail, he can feel the scar tissue (the scar lines where the flaps were inserted) but nothing unusual.

Tomorrow I will post detailed photos of what the Twins AND my back look like exactly one year after reconstruction so stay tuned.


Why I Had A Boobjob

This is the week of my one year breast reconstruction anniversary. To celebrate, I’m telling it like it is. In today’s article I’m giving a no-holds-barred account of why I had the initial surgery that led to losing my breasts and the subsequent reconstruction.

This isn’t an easy article for me to write. I’m definitely not the same person I was then. Not by a long shot. Of course something like having my breasts basically rot off was going to have an impact. I would like to believe that it changed me for the better.

Now I’d like to take you on a trip in the Way Back Machine (My thanks to Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman) to 1981. I was either 13 or 14 and in Junior High. That is, of course, the time when little girls start developing breasts. I was no different.

I had no idea that I was developing. I just didn’t notice that anything was different. Neither did my parents. I had to be told by a friend of mine that I shouldn’t wear a sheer dress shirt because boys could see my boobies. So because I didn’t know what was going on and neither of my parents paid attention to my development, I went without training bras for much longer than I should have.

Fast forward to 1983. I was 16. We were at the only decent women’s clothing shop in Powell, Wy. My mother had dragged me there to go bra shopping. The woman doing the fitting said I had pendulous breasts. Of course I had no idea what that meant then and there was no real way to look it up. There was no internet and research materials were really limited in a town no bigger than a hiccup. But that stuck with me. Somehow I knew from the tone of her voice that there was something wrong with me.

Fast forward to 40 years old: Two children and two decades later my breasts looked like flat wedges of flaccid flesh and my nipples pointed at my toes. I HATED my breasts. So I started looking for a plastic surgeon to give me perky boobs. I had two consultations and both said the same thing. My breasts had degraded as far as they could go. They weren’t, at least, going to get any worse. Both gave me a presentation about the anchor lift type of mastopexy because of the degradation level of my nipples. After a few days to research and review the information, I showed it all to Ken. Along with the price.

Here’s where my judgement went south and obsession set in. Ken said he didn’t think we could afford it. I told him the stories that I have written down above. He told me if I could find a way to do it for less, than I could do it.

That’s when I found the guy who did the initial surgery. He was part of our barter network. He offered his surgical fees on barter. All we had to pay for was the implants and the clinic fees.

Yes, I was so desperate and so obsessed that I went against all advice and had the surgery done by a doctor on barter.

I DID have the forethought to investigate him and there was nothing negative in his record. There was no indication aside from his abrupt, borderline-rude bedside manner that he was inept.

I say this with tears in my eyes: I just wanted pretty boobies. Every woman I had seen in magazines and on TV had pretty breasts and I just wanted that to be me for once in my life.

So I did something insanely stupid and it cost me dearly.


Nerve Damage With Breast Augmentation

With any type of surgery you can expect to lose some sensation. Sometimes it’s just temporary. Sometimes the nerves are just so damaged that there’s no way you’ll regain all the feeling you had before. Breast surgery is one of those situations where you will never be the same.

Even if you have a transumbilical breast augmentation (TUBA) there will be some nerve damage. Nerves get torn, cut or separated causing a loss of sensation. There can be wide swaths of numb areas. It depends on what type of surgery you have as to how much nerve damage and loss of sensitivity there is.

There are three major types of incisions used in a breast augmentation:

Periareolar – This incision is the most concealed, but is associated with a higher likelihood of inability to successfully breast feed, as compared to the other incision sites. The incision is placed at the bottom half of the areolae. Consider that there will most likely be severe reduction in nipple sensation with this type of implant insertion.

Inframammary – This incision is less concealed than the periareolar and associated with less difficulty than the periareolar incision site when breast-feeding. This incision is placed in the underside crease of the breast. The reduction in nipple sensation probably won’t be as severe with this type of implant insertion. Consider that a big bag of water is being shoved up under the muscle or skin. There WILL be some reduction in breast sensation.

Axillary – This incision is less concealed than the periareolar and associated with less difficulty than the periareolar incision site when breast feeding. This incision is placed in the armpit. The loss of nipple sensation won’t be as severe as with the periareolear, but again, you’re having a big water bag shoved under the skin or muscle. There will be loss of sensation.

No matter what type of insertion you have for breast augmentation, there WILL be some nerve damage. Whether it is temporary or permanent is an individual experience.


Erect Nipples

I just got an email from Dr Elliott at Atlanta Plastic Surgery regarding the articles I sent him on cartilage banking. If you’ll read the banking article I wrote you’ll see that I expressed big concerns about nipple collapse.

I have read that in many cases, within 2 months reconstructed nipples flatten out. I’ve reported this on this blog before so of course I’ve told Dr. Elliott my concerns. He addressed them in this latest email.

According to him, he makes the nipples twice as large as normal in order to combat the shrinkage issue. He said that he had never had to use cartilage and he reassured me that this procedure will be much easier than before.

He also made a point of telling me that in 90% of the cases, the nipples he does will not flatten. Of course, being the skeptic I am, considering everything I have been through, I’ll be holding my breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The good news is that I won’t have to undergo anything as invasive as harvesting rib cartilage. I’m just going to have to wait for the results after I’ve scheduled surgery. I’m just frustrated, sad and angry that I and my family have to go through all of this in the first place.


Woman Jailed For Fake Breast Fraud

A SoCal woman plead guilty to charges of burglary, grand theft and identity theft. She committed these crimes in order to obtain a $12,000 line of credit for liposuction and breast implants in September of 2008.

The 30 year old woman received 180 days in jail and three years probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution but the amount wasn’t made clear according to the article.

What does this say about our society when women are committing grand theft level crimes in order to obtain plastic surgery?  Was this a greed issue? Was it driven by extremely low self esteem issues? Is the media driving women to the point that they feel they have to commit crimes in order to have that perfect body?

What do you think?


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