41-year-old Julie Brown is grinning from ear to ear not just because she's a successful legal analyst, a real estate guru and a proud mom of two, she's happy to be alive.
"I've been through a lot over the years," said Julie.
She may only be in her early 40s, but Julie is a two time breast cancer survivor. Her first diagnosis came at the age of 29.
"I was...completely blown away," said Julie.
She had the lumps removed and opted for saline implants to reconstruct both breasts. That was back in 2001.
"Surgery back then it was, I don't want to say barbaric but it kinda was. It was also a little more taboo I would say."
Fast forward to her second diagnosis more than a decade later and Julie is happy to talk about her adjustable implant.
"I didn't feel the pressure, I didn't feel the pain, then they were slowly filled over six months so I could decide what size did I want? What shape did I want? How far did I want to go with it?"
Doctors say the implant can actually be expanded inside the body and tailored to the patient's own taste.
"We allow our patients to test different sizes. Take it for a test drive.. see how you like it," said Dr. Joseph Mazza of Mazza Plastic Surgery in Fort Myers.
He says the procedure has actually been around since the 70' as a way to help stretch the skin for mastectomy patients. It's also an option for cosmetic purposes.
The implant is filled through a port so the doctor can fill it at the patient's pace or take it down if it's too big.
Julie said the option has been a blessing, "Being able to adjust up or down I think is a wonderful thing. You can try different outfits, you can see how things look."
The implant is filled with saline and Dr. Mazza says you can keep coming in to adjust for about 6 months to a year before making your final decision on your implant size, but Dr. Mazza warns once you pull the port out, that's the final size.
Julie said playing an active role in deciding how her body will look is crucial.
"I think it's better to go in there and be a little bit smaller and enlarge yourself over time than come out and feel like you've done something horribly wrong. I would say with the adjustable implants, the benefits are far, far, better."
Dr. Mazza says the only downside to the adjustable implant would be that it requires a minor procedure to take out the port.
According to Dr. Mazza, silicone implants are still the most popular.
For more information log on to: http://www.mazzaplasticsurgery.com/
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