Good to hear from you again! May be we can sort out how to message some time, but the good thing about doing it on here is that you might get other replies as well - and we're all different. My story is a bit different because I always felt the first implant was too big and uncomfortable, and after about a year I asked, and my surgeon agreed, to change it for a smaller different shape. It was well worth it and now - 8 months after the change - it feels so much better. My surgeon kept offering to do a reduction on the healthy breast so the implant could be smaller and still look symmetrical, but I'm dead against anything which might damage sensitivity in my remaining breast, so I always turned that down. My implant side is now a bit smaller but it looks ok to me (and hubby!) and feels so much better. In the early days, after the mx and recon there was a lot of swelling and fluid. My surgeon said not to worry how it felt at first - she said it would be 2 - 3 months before I "knew what I'd got". I think it was even longer with me, but gradually the scar flattened out and faded and the scabby bits fell off. The scar looked like you describe, but it improved - probably talking months rather than weeks though. The tattoo people say you have to wait at least 6 months before they can work over a scar. I remember I was doing most things carefully and driving after about 4 weeks, but it was longer before I could really use my arm properly and I had physio which helped. I think a lot of people recover sooner but I'm over 60 and things take longer! I know exactly what you mean about "carrying the breast". The two most helpful things I did were to see an NHS physio attached to the hospital who specialised in post breast surgery and also I got some good bras. Physio was aimed at helping the pectoral muscle recover from being lifted and stretched over the implant and was an enormous help. She also stressed the importance of a good bra to help support the implant so, even though we don't need pockets for a prothesis, I went to a specialist shop - Nicola Jane and they were great. I also wore a comfy stretchy bra at night, otherwise in the morning the muscles really ached from the weight of the implant and with the first implant I seemed to need that permanently. Now with my smaller one I don't need that - hooray!
My tattoo covers part of the scar and draws attention away from it but the scar is much longer, but it is still improving. With both implants I've found they have got much softer over about the first year and now it feels much more like part of me. I still wonder occasionally whether one of the big "own tissue" recons would have been better, but I am glad not to have had other bits of me cut about and I don't really have enough spare flesh anyway! Sorry this is so long - you are probably worn out just reading it! I got a lot of help reading posts on here in my early days, I've tried to be honest about how long it took with me but I really hope this helps encourage you that it does get better. Lots of love xx
Oh me either Hun, that's why I hoped you might be able to message me!
no worries, I'll do it here then!
can you remember when you new boob started to feel normal/part of you? Mine feels like a bowling ball strapped to my chest! I tend so walk about with my arm under my new boob to support it.
when/has your scar smoothed out at the ends yet? How long did it take? Mine has pointy ends, the nurse that changed my dressings today said they are called dog ears?!?! To me it looks like the end of a school PE bean bag!
does the end fill out and look breast shaped ever again as mine is looking very flat where the nipple used to be.
has your nip tattoo about covered your scar? It looks to me like it's way to long/ going to have at least an inch sticking out each side....
Many thanks in advance xx
Hi Bluebell I would love to ask loads of questions as I to had a one side mx with implant reconstruction 13 days ago! Not all related now to stick on nips lol I'm not sure how to send messages on this forum but would be very glad if you could message me please xx
No surgery, the idea of a 3D effect is that its an alternative to surgery, so you have no actual bump for a nip, but it looks as though there is, by clever shading. I think it varies between NHS hospitals as to what can be done, my surgeon offered a nip recon followed by colour tattoo from a BCN, but she said their BCN did not have the skill/training to do the whole thing with a 3D effect.
I went to "Finishing Touches". They have a private clinic in London but also a small HQ in Haywards Heath in Sussex where they do training courses in all sorts of medical tattooing. I had the option of being a model for one of their courses, which means its done free of charge. The trainer did all the actual work and the trainees were 3 lovely breast care nurses, so I felt very comfortable. I had mx on one side (with implant recon) so she had to match up with my natural one. Its very effective, a bit too pale at the moment, but they say this is normal and I go back in December for a "top up".
There are some other firms that offer this but it depends where you are in the country and I liked it that this one specialises in tattooing for medical purposes, helping people with burns, scars etc. Hope this helps, feel free to ask anything else!
Oh Bluebell tell me more about 3D tattooing and where you went please?
Did you need to have the nipple reconstruction op before the tattoo?
thanks for the info about the stick on nips too!
I also asked at my hospital, mine does not do "made to measure" on NHS but my BCN had a selection of sizes, colours etc and we chose the nearest match, which was then ordered and arrived in the post! Mine is made by Trulife. I think this was a few months after surgery, when the scar felt comfortable enough. Those offered by my hospital didn't use glue, just designed to cling on when made wet or with a layer of vaseline. Very comfortable and stayed in place under clothes, but it fell off rather too easily when naked!! I was grateful for it, but I've recently had (privately) a 3D tattoo which I'm pleased with.
Thanks PoopyJ not TMI lol but good to know!
thanks again for taking the time to reply, I'll ask at Addenbrookes at my next appointment xx
I think it was several months before I saw the specialist department that makes them, but as it was 3 years ago I can't exactly remember. As to wearing them every day, there isn't any reason not to, but it does take a bit of practice to get the adhesive in the right place so probably better not to try for the first time when you're hurrying off to work. Once they had the right colour (mixed specially for me) I was able to order replacements, as the edges can tear after a few wearings. I have also got them in "erect" and "soft" versions. (Hope that isn.t too much information!)
Thanks for your reply!
sounds like they're not for every day wear then and liable to detaching easily?
can you remember how soon you could start wearing it after reconstruction- I guess I could ask at my next appointment but I'm impatient
I was offered them by the hospital breast unit.Took a couple of attempts to get the right colour-match, and they do look quite realistic. The only drawback is that you have to wait a couple of minutes for the adhesive to settle before attaching them, but they will sometimes stay on for a couple of days (have to be careful not to "disturb" them in the shower. I don't wear them every day as waiting for the glue to set isn't good if you're in a hurry.
I know it's incredibly early to be thinking about nipples as I only had mx & reconstruction 9 days ago but have started wondering when I might be able to start using one and where others have had theirs made?
Also how have others got on with theirs - do they stay on well? Feel comfortable?