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Brava Machine, fat grafting reconstruction update.....

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi all,

I got the Brava machine on Friday and am on my third time of wearing it. I wore it during the day once and at night once. During the day is going to work out best for me because the suction broke on the seal last night and I didn't even hear the alarm. So I didn't get a full night of suction last night. That's 10 hours wasted. I didn't see any redness on my skin so it must of been off for awhile.

The dome is tricky to get used to putting on. You really have to pull around the edges to get a good seal. I have a concave area left over from my masectomy and it is giving me a hard time getting a good seal on that area.

I was worried about the adhesive on the domes, like being allergic to it. I have trouble with adhesives and so far so good, no irritation.

You really need two people to do this. MY fiance attaches it while I hold it in place and then he has to help me put the special bra on too.

I am wearing it now and I can feel the slight suction on my breast. Not uncomfortable, just can feel a slight pulling on my skin. That is how you know you have a good seal.

Well, that is what is going on now with it. Will post more and answer any questions anyone has for me about this.

I have to wear it 10 hours at a time for three weeks and then for 3 straight days and nights before my surgery on the 25th.

Love and Light,
Vicki

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

I have read your other posts about this Vicki and found it so interesting. Praying it goes well for you and will be watching for more updates!

Susie

New Flower
Posts: 3989
Joined: Aug 2009

I am praying it will work for you. Thanks for sharing

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Long time no see Vicki! Praying this works also!

Lex

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

yes, I have been out of the loop for awhile. Nice to see you too!!!

dealdale
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2011

Vicki,
I am sending you much support and hope as you proceed with this method.
thank you for keeping us informed with your process.
I am currently on a wait list for this clinical trial but the clinic is still waiting approval to proceed.
My thoughts and reconstruction wishes are with you daily.
D.lee

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

I will tell you that it is getting easier each day. At first, I had pain around my rib cage from the suction of the dome but now that isn't bothering me anymore. I just positioned the dome differently so that it didn't lay right on my ribs.

I put it on around 8 in the morning and then it can come off at 6 p.m. and I can have my night free of the dome and can sleep well. They say to wear it at night but when I did, it popped off and the suction broke. It has an alarm and makes a buzzing sound also when the seal is broken, but neither of them woke me or my fiance up. I don't work outside the home so I can wear it during the day without worry. I have a concave area where my surgeon took to much tissue out and that is giving me some trouble with getting a good seal. Now the dome seems to be conforming to the shape of my body and it is staying adhered. Yesterday, it never lost suction once.

I am thinking of trying it on at night again to see if I can sleep on my back and have the suction stick now that my body is more adjusted to it.

You can feel a slight pulling when wearing it but it is not uncomfortable after a couple of days. First days were the worst. The skin is loosening up and I can see a swelling happening like is supposed too so it is doing what it claims to do.

Thanks everyone for your kind words and for cheering me on while I walk this road.

Love and Light,
Vicki

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Vicki,

Good luck on the BRAVA wear!

Just came across this website. I had a BX in June 2010. Was BRCA2 positive...and DCIS in one breast. Anyway, I found out about the BRAVA suction/fat grafting method and have had two surgeries by Dr. Khouri. I did have radiation on my left breast about 18 years ago, but you can still do this method. In fact, the fat actually has helped my L breast to improve. My right breast is completely done...I had a partial skin sparing BX...but no nipples were saved. My right breast is now about a B plus or C minus...love it (my originals were a small B...well, the left who knows, as I had a lumpectomy 18 years ago with that radiation I mentioned). The left breast will have one more fat graft April 8, then I should be finished. There is a very good website of Dr. Khouri and other Brava patients...if you are interested it is: http://www.fatgraftpatients.com/forums/ There also used to be quite an active thread on the subject at the Susan B. Komen forum.

Some of these ladies are not cancer survivors, but the process is pretty much the same...they describe their experiences. It helped me before I had my first round.

I had considered implants and flaps, but ended up deciding all of that was not for me. I was going to just go flat, but then came across this option. Thought it sounded too good to be true, but my husband said let's go check it out. We flew down to Miami and met with Dr. Khouri. Then the rest is history. I can't believe how good this procedure is! I was a little worried at first, as I am not a large lady...not overly skinny, but not a lot of spare fat...but my doctor just took a little here and there and built my new breasts! The great thing is that they have feeling. Haven't thought too much about what I will do for the nipples, will wait till the breasts are done first.

Anyway...if you have any questions, just PM me or something.

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

Vicki,

Me again...I noticed you are trying to use the BRAVA at night. I thought I could never sleep with those things on...also....I have a tendency to perspire and that doesn't help things either. I have had them lose suction and I, too, didn't hear the alarm for a couple of nights, but you are right..after awhile they adhere better. I found I could actually sleep at night and not lose my BRAVAs! So...I usually put it (now only the L side) on around 7 or 8 pm. and take it off 10-12 hours later. Curious...are you using the sports box pressure for the whole procedure? Dr. Khouri has me use another hand bulb pump off and on for a little additional suction. Just wondering.

Again, so glad you found someone who is using this approach to reconstruction!

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

So happy to hear from someone who is doing the same procedure as I am. I was going to post today because I have to start using the hand pump today. They said after a week (it's a week today) that I have to use the hand pump along with the sports box, 3 times a day for 3 minutes at a time, for an hour each time.

Thanks for the website that I can go to for further encouragement and to read incase their are questions I have that need answered.

I am amazed that you are getting almost a full C for your size afterwards. I can see the skin stretching and my belly is what they are going to use to fill my breasts with. Also, skin from my chin, as I understand it. I think he is doing the chin for me as a favor to get rid of my double chin.

I am the 4th patient for my doctor using this procedure. One dropped out so far but the other two are doing good from what I have heard.

I have my surgery on the 25th of March and he is going to do a breast lift on my left side and then try to match the right side with the left with the fat grafting procedure. Liposuction on my chin and belly. How does it feel after the liposuction, pain wise? Did you have to wear a compression garmet afterwards? They say I will wear one for 3 weeks straight and then for 1/2 a day the next 3 weeks.

Off I go to check out that website link you gave me. Thanks so much for sharing about your surgery with me. I appreciate it more than you know.

Love and Light,
Vicki

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Vicki,

Oh...I made a mistake on one of the websites...wasn't Susan Komen...it was BreastCancer.org where there used to be a lengthy thread on the subject.

Well..it is a very full B or a small C..depending...Sounds like you are going to look great! Won't lie...the lipo hurts a little (afterwards), but the doc gives you pain pills...only needed them for about 5 or so days. My routine is that I would fly down to Miami on Wed...surgery on Friday, follow up on Tues., and fly back on Wednesday.

Dr. K had me wear the BRAVA for 24/7 after the surgery for three days...well, on the first trip back, I decided to wear them to the airport, through security, then take them off right before my flight...I had to go through that new screening booth and then a pat down on top of that!!!! What an experience! Didn't do that again...anyway...you will be spared ALL of those kinds of experiences since you won't have to travel for your surgery. I am SO glad this procedure is being offered at more locations by more plastic surgeons!

Right after the lipo you are a little soggy..as the lipo holes will drain...this is a normal and good thing....first time, he took the fat from the two "saddle bags"....so my butt ended up looking pretty cute....I did have a lot of bruising, but it went away rather quickly to my surprise....I was also quite stiff but that goes away over time. I used arnica gel on my bruises and stiff areas, avoiding the lipo holes until they were healed. Haven't had any fat removed from the belly area yet...think he will be doing that this time...and maybe some more from the thighs. His rule of thumb on the compression garment...1 week for every decade of age...I'm 59 (60 in May..can't believe it). So I wore it 24/7 for 5 weeks. This last time, he took more from the thighs and I ended up wearing some tight lycra capris after my 5 compression garment weeks. I also just had a massage and found that really helped to release excess fluid that I had in my thighs...maybe from the lipo, but maybe not.

I'm thinking everything should be easier for you since you only need to have enough fat for one breast. I am so excited for you!

Did you have a nipple sparing mastectomy?

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

I didn't have a nipple sparing mastectomy. My Plastic surgeon says he makes the nipple right there in the office after all the fat grafting is done and then they tattoo the aerola on. These are the last two steps.

Have to go and put my machine on!! Have a great day today.

Love and Light,
Vicki

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

How neat....about the nipple....

Well...you must be Brava free now...I'm going upstairs to put mine on, since I wear it at night...am getting a late start...usually start at 8pm...went out to dinner tonight.

Have a great Brava Day tomorrow!

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

All of this is so amazing. I am so happy that progress is being made to help bc survivors. Thanks Vicki for sharing this with us and good luck!

Leeza

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

I had thought about the surgical nipples too...also the 3D tattooing. Right now I have some prosthetic nipples that were made for me using my own impressions (done before my BX). They are very real looking....in fact, I was one of the live interviews at one of Dr. Khouri's conferences, and I wore my prosthetic nipples....don't think any of the surgeons could tell they were not real. I was fortunate enough before my BX to have connected with another lady who had done the BRAVA reconstruction and she and her husband started a prosthetic nipple business. They sent me materials to make my impression and then sent me my two new nipples...So far, I've just been playing around with them ....waiting until my L breast is completed to really wear them. If the nipple reconstruction doesn't work out for you, you might want to try these. Right now, they may still be willing to provide it for free. Their website is NaturallyImpressive.net. My friend said she has even showered with them and they will stay on for several days.

Well...you don't have long to go...before you know it, March 25 will be here!

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

never heard of prosthetic nipples before. I do still have my nipple on my left breast so they could use that as a mold for the new one. It's nice to know that their is this option, incase the nipple making doesn't work with my doctor.

Thanks for the info.

Love and Light,
Vicki

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

Oh...by the way..the website for NaturallyImpressive.is NaturallyImpressive.com (not .net)

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

I had a lumpectomy, so, never looked into anything like this. But, this is so interesting. Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

DebraLynn
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi,
I hope you are well and still checking posts. I am one year into bc with multiple failed reconstruction attempts. I also have discoid Lupus and had thinning of the skin from cortisone shots. Messy to say the least!

Just wondering how you are doing, did the BRAVA system work for you. Would you recommend it?

Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 870
Joined: Jan 2010

My question is. "Is your insurance company paying for everything with the Brava and fat grafting by Dr. Khouri?"

This is an important question for me. I find the the Brava and fat grafting to be extremely enticing and am curious about what the insurance company's attitude is regarding it? Did you have any trouble submitting the billing to them?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of Hugs,
Janelle

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

the Brava machine. Mine was $1,000.00. I got it through my plastic surgeons office and they ordered it from Dr. Khoui after taking my measurements. They are letting me make payments. Paid for the first half and then $100 a month for the next 5 months. I am so glad they financed it for me or I wouldn't of been able to get started right away.

The reason insurance won't pay for it is because it hasn't been approved by the FDA yet. The data is in their hands, so pretty soon it should be paid for by insurance.

Hope this was helpful.

Love and Light,
Vicki

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

My insurance pays for everything too, as it is breast reconstruction. In my case, I also had to pay for travel and lodging since I'm having it done out of state. Don't think anyone in my state was doing the procedure when I started.

Will be nice when the the BRAVAs are covered, too. Dr. Khouri is hoping that they are approved soon for this use, but sometimes the government is slow.

Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 870
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Vicki and Dustylady.

Thank you so much for responding to my question.

Just out of curiosity how did you find Dr.Khouri and his Brava machine?

Dustylady, I am assuming that your Brava machine also was $1,000.

Lots of Hugs,
Janelle

dustylady
Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2011

Overall, yes....but I paid less for each pair...I had to have several pairs, as during the expansion process, I would outgrow the domes. So I ended up with 3 pairs and all tolled, I probably did spend around $1,000 for the domes.

I found Dr. Khouri by looking through some of the discussion boards...think there was a thread on BreastCancer.org or the Susan Komen site....then I googled the Miami Breast Center...from that point, I called and made an appointment and had a consultation with Dr. Khouri. I had also found information on his clinical trial.

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

When I went to the plastic surgeon that my general surgeon recommended, he offered the Brava machine method. He is just starting to use it so I am in a study for it. I will be his 4th patient. My doctor's nurse told me to go to the Miami Breast Center site and to read all about it, she also gave me a CD to watch that explains how to use the machine and how to put the domes on. I went in for a consultation with her before I saw the doctor so that she could explain all of my options to me and I could make up my mind somewhat before I saw the doctor. Then when I met with him, I told him I wanted to do the brava method and he explained it to me in more detail.

When you go to the Miami Breast Center website, look at the reconstruction pictures they have on there. That is what helped me to decide to use this method, seeing the results that other patients got. Plus, I didn't want my stomach muscle cut like they do for the tram flap procedure and I didn't want implants. Those were my other options.

Since I am only using the machine for one breast, when they ordered my domes (it comes with 2) they got me one in my size now and the other one, the next size up so that I don't have to spend more money on domes. Hopefully, 2 is all that I will need.

I also read the testimonials on the Miami Breast Cancer website too and all about the trials. There is a lot of info. there.

Sincerely,
Vicki

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

I just found Miami Breast Center has a Facebook page. There are excellent before and after pics using fat transfer. Up at the top of their page click on the banner of before and after fat transfer pictures and then you can view them. Very impressive proof of how this procedure works.

Thought I'd share,
Vicki

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

Well, I have been wearing the machine for two weeks now and I have to tell you, I can pinch skin and when I take it off their is a definate round circle of raised skin. So it is working.

It has gotten a lot easier to wear and getting ready to put it on has turned into second nature.

Tuesday I start wearing it for three days straight because my surgery is Friday. You wear it into surgery and the doctor takes it off when he is going to do the fat transfer.

Hope this helps someone considering this method.

Love and Light,
Vicki

ladybug22's picture
ladybug22
Posts: 647
Joined: Sep 2008

May i ask you what u are having done. you had i b c right. i am wanting have reconstruction now been 3 years. i hadf i b c

thanks

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

chin and upper body with the first fill. That is to get the fat to use for the fat transfer that goes into my masectomy side. They are also doing a lift on the breast I still have so that they will match when we are done.

Ladybug 22: Yes, I have IBC and it has been one year for me that I waited to have reconstruction. You wear a dome that applies suction to the masectomy side and stretches the skin out so that they can get some fat transfer in it.

Their are reconstruction pictures on the Miami Breast Center website or at their facebook page if you want to find out more information. They also have info on the brava machine that I have to wear at www.Brava.com

Haven't seen you on here, as of late, how the heck have you been? I hope you are doing good.

Love and Light,
Vicki

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Vicki, I find this so interesting and am ignorant as to how it works. Thanks for letting us all go along with you during this.

Good luck,

Megan

dealdale
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2011

Vicki,
I have been thinking of you and hoping all has gone well post surgery 3/25.
I have a hard time figuring out how to find the latest posts from you on this site.
Thinking of you and appreciate your sharing.
I wonder if there is a better way to stay in touch since I will soon begin this procedure and am anxious and in need of support and information.
Blessings,
Diana

Reikigemgirl's picture
Reikigemgirl
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

You can always private message me through CSN chat. I sent you a message so that you can see how it works. I'll be happy to answer any questions or to lend an ear, anytime it is needed.

I go to the doctor today for my surgery follow-up and I can't wait for him to see how much breast I have grown already and to find out when my next fill will be. I am sitting here with just a t-shirt on and it looks like I have two breasts, the brava one has grown so much since I had my surgery.

Feel free to contact me anytime.
Love and Light,
Vicki

jnl's picture
jnl
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

An amazing procedure! Wishing you luck Vicki and I keep watching for your updates.

Hugs, Leeza

dealdale
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2011

Hello Vicki,
Well I just figured out how to locate your posts and I believe this is the last one I located. So I now know you are in Florida and how the post op has gone. I am so happy for you!!! I hope since this posting of 4/5 all has continued smoothly.
I can feel the joy of seeing two breasts while you are wearing a T-shirt.
Funny how it sounds that the breast has grown. Does it continue to grow post the fat transfer?
Thank you for your courage to proceed with this method that is still in clinical trial but is a step toward offering us all more options to choose from.
I did send a personal email asking some questions to help me consider how I may plan for a leave from my work to undertake this clinical trial as soon as it approved in the hospital of my hometown.
Thanks again and wishing you many blessings,
Diana

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

Diana is so right about thanking you for your courage to go thru this Vicki. I read your posts in amazement and am praying it all works out fantastic for you.

Hugs, Angie

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