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Second Time’s the Charm: Double Mastectomy and Implant Reconstruction without Nipple

Real Talk

March 27, 2024

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Illustration by Brittany England

Illustration by Brittany England

by The Bezzy Editorial Team

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Julie Scott, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP

•••••

by The Bezzy Editorial Team

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Julie Scott, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP

•••••

After a second reconstruction, she finally has the breasts she’s always wanted.

  • Procedure: double mastectomy, reconstruction without nipple
  • Reconstruction immediately postmastectomy: yes
  • Year of procedure: 2022; reconstruction revision on 05/2023 and 09/2023
  • Age: 34

This article contains graphic, intimate images of a postsurgery body. The photos have been generously shared by a breast cancer survivor so that others can benefit from uncensored visual information that may help them make important surgical decisions for themselves.

image of breast implants with bandages over nipple stitches after mastectomy
Less than 2 weeks postsurgery

I was never happy with the size and shape of my breasts. I knew that after having kids, I wanted to have a breast augmentation, but I wouldn’t have imagined that I would be telling this story.

Only about 6 months elapsed between my diagnosis, chemotherapy treatment, and surgery. I was 33 years old.

Everything happened so fast that I didn’t do my due diligence to choose a plastic surgeon, so I went with my breast surgeon’s recommendation.

In April 2022, I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. My plastic surgeon put in tissue expanders, and I would go every 2 weeks to get the expanders filled in.

Toward the end, my tissue expanders were extremely uncomfortable and painful.

In August 2022, I had second-stage reconstruction and got my implants put in. Almost immediately after, I knew I wasn’t going to be happy, mostly due to the size.

I noticed that my “foobs” were moving too much (the implants were not in place), and I was very unhappy with how far apart they were.

Image of healed breasts with light scarring over nipple
6 to 12 months postsurgery

On my 6-month follow-up visit, I raised my concerns to my plastic surgeon. She replied, “If you want them closer, just wear a push-up bra.” I was shocked.

At that moment, I knew I had to find another plastic surgeon who would listen to my concerns and be empathetic about how I felt.

I spent that month researching and made appointments to see five different surgeons, including some that were out of network.

I finally made a choice and was scheduled for my reconstruction revision in May 2023. I had to get tissue expanders again to make the breast crease look more natural.

Immediately after, I was extremely happy with my results. I couldn’t believe the magic my plastic surgeon had done. In September 2023, I got my permanent implants put in, and I couldn’t be happier.

Image of breast with implants and bandage over nipple stitches
1 to 2 months after second surgery

Bezzy BC and Young Survival Coalition are partnering to create What It Looks Like, a series showcasing photographs of different types of breast reconstruction choices on bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

We’re spotlighting breast cancer survivors’ reconstruction decisions and stories so that other women facing mastectomy surgery can see and hear about many different real-life outcomes.

If you’re a survivor who’d like to share your reconstruction (or flat closure) images and story, we’d love to hear from you. Just have your photos ready and fill out this submission form.

Images and stories will be anonymously published on BezzyBC.com.

Medically reviewed on March 27, 2024

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