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Cheryl’s Story

  • Breast Augmentation - January 2007

  • Breast Cancer Diagnosis - November 1, 2007

  • Bilateral Mastectomy with immediate breast implants - Skin Sparing Mastectomy December 1. 2007

  • Bilateral Capsulectomies - August 28, 2008

  • Nipple Reconstruction - December 2008



My breast augmentation with Dr. Restifo was January 19, 2007. (I had a mammogram every year since 1992 and prior to my augmentation 10-16-06. All were negative.) The breast augmentation surgery included Mentor HP Saline Implants 380 ml. filled to 400 ml. - with a post operative size of a very full 34D.


Oct 9th 2007 I had a routine mammogram which showed micro calcifications at 1 or 2 o’clock above the nipple on the left. A stereotactic biopsy on 10-29-07 yielded a diagnosis of a small area of DCIS. I received the breast cancer diagnosis on 11-1-07. There was nothing else visible on the digital mammogram. It was my decision to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I told my breast surgeon Dr. Nina Horowitz, I was on the one time plan and never wanted to face breast cancer again. I told her I could take a hint.




If this had to happen to me it was never going to happen a second time! On 12-10-07 I had my bilateral mastectomy and immediate implants. On sentinel node biopsy resulted in 1 of 3 sentinel nodes was positive on frozen section. Because of this diagnosis, I was scheduled for an axillary dissection. On permanent section all 3 sentinel nodes were negative, and all axillary nodes were negative as well. The pathology of the right breast was clean but in the left breast in the inner lower quadrant showed I had a 1.5 cm area of invasive ductal carcinoma and in the lower outer quadrant a .18 cm area of invasive ductal carcinoma. These areas were not visible on the mammogram.


I had an implant reconstruction after a skin sparing mastectomy. I had Mentor HP 500 ml silicone gel implants placed at time of mastectomy instead of an expander which is more common. Remember before surgery I had a diagnosis of DCIS so my goal was to get my body back ASAP and Dr. Restifo said about 50% of the time he can get the implants in at time of mastectomy. The decision comes down to how good the blood supply is to the skin flaps that remain after mastectomy. If the blood supply to the skin was to compromised he would have had to place an expander. Over time new blood vessels grow into the skin flaps but initially the blood supply is only coming from the periphery because all blood supply in the center of the breast is lost when the breast tissue is all removed.


The breast surgeon is as important as the Plastic Surgeon in this type of surgery. It was my wish to be the same size or larger but not smaller; so Dr. Restifo had to make a decision based on what was medically reasonable due to the condition of my skin and what he knew I wanted. I did have some blistering in some areas on both breasts due to a temporary decrease in blood supply to the skin in some areas.


My skin sparing mastectomy with immediate implants placed was December 10, 2007. On Jan. 30th 2008 Dr. Restifo had to re-close two areas, one on each breast that blistered and did not close on their own. On the right side he temporarily raised the right implant slightly to take pressure off the incision and re-closed the right side. My Oncotype DX score was a 23 so chemo was suggested. I then started chemotherapy on February 8, 2008 and continued to April 11, 2008. I did 4 cycles of TC (Taxotere and Cytoxan) My stitches remained in from 12-10-07 until 3-29-08. Dr Restifo wanted to take no chance that the incisions would open which would put me at risk for infection during chemotherapy. Because of the healing issues and then the effect chemo had on the healing process I was not able to massage my implants. I did develop capsular contracture in both breasts but much more on the left side. I had Laparoscopic oophorectomy on May 5, 2008. I returned to work on June 1, 2008.

On 8-26-08 I had bilateral capsulectomies, had my pockets worked on to perfect the shape of my breasts and Mentor HP 550 ml gel implants. He revised both mastectomy scars and removed some skin that was compromised some during the healing process. The photos I posted were right after this surgery. I am due to get my nipples the week of December 7th but the exact date has not been scheduled yet. So far I am measuring a 34DD with these new implants.

I think I explained everything and took you through my whole breast cancer journey up until now. My goal is to complete my reconstruction by the end of this year which will allow me to put this breast cancer nightmare behind me. It has always been just as important to me to look good again as well as rid myself of the cancer!!


Carol (Cheryl on the forum)




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