So, throughout this whole enthused about surgery shindig, I haven’t ever really disclosed the details of the specific procedure I’m bound for - the “double incision mastectomy”. With this method, incisions are made horizontally across each breast below the nipple:
For the first little bit after surgery I’ll have “drains” consisting of long tubing exit my body through a small incision hole under each armpit, which will be attached to a small plastic bulb on either side:
The surgery itself should take about 4 hours and it is done under general anesthesia. There are usually at least two post-surgical follow-up visits to remove drains and sutures (usually within the first week or so), and to check the overall healing progress of the chest. A binder is usually worn for one to three weeks to aid in healing, but I’m not sure if this local surgeon I’ll be going to requires this… I need to ask.
Anyhoo, I’ll be very careful to give my body all the room it needs to heal properly so I don’t end up increasing the risk of scarring and complications. For this reason, I chose August 11th since I’ll be all finished with summer research by then and back from presenting in Berkeley. And this date is right before Fall classes start. So no bicycling or heavy-lifting for me!
According to Hudson’s FTM Resource Guide, potential cons of this particular method include prominent scars on the chest, loss of nipple sensation, tissue death in nipple grafts, uneven nipple placement, “dog ears” under armpits, puckering along scars, numbness in armpits, and usual surgery risks.
Which reminds me. I should for sure ask my surgeon if revisions are included in her fee, which they should be. Just in case.
If you’re interested, here’s a graphic video of this surgery being performed by Dr. Daniel Medalie in Cleveland, Ohio. He narrates the procedure throughout the entire surgery. To be honest, I haven’t built up the nerve to watch it… yet. I probably shouldn’t until post-surgery.
Here are a couple pictures of friends of mine who have had double mastectomy top surgery procedures: