Patients Share Post-Reconstruction Sentiments


I had my stage I DIEP in Charleston with Drs. Kline and Craigie this last May 25th. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate my experience a 12! Before I go into more detail about my Charleston experience though, let me go back in time a little bit. I had my first unilateral mastectomy in 1998 (right side) with a reduction on the left side and immediate expanders.

A while later, I had the exchange for the permanent implants. This was all done in Atlanta, Georgia. The process was painful and inconvenient, took over a year, and was a complete flop. My right breast was half the size of the left, terribly scarred and deformed. The left breast was oddly shaped and had a very bad, fat scar underneath and was hard.

The consequences of my low self-esteem led to intimacy problems with my husband which resulted in divorce. Several attempts by different plastic surgeons only made the appearance of my breasts worse. The emotional consequences became compounded. In short, I felt like a freak. Dating was a concept I couldn't even fathom, I was so self conscious about my looks.

One day, 13 years after my first botched surgery, I saw a program on T.V. that discussed new procedures for reconstruction surgery after mastectomy. I immediately went online to research the DIEP procedure and decided to look into the facilities in Charleston. I was certain that Charleston was the right fit for me. Drs. Kline and Craigie are artists, and their highly trained staff made each and every step of the procedure flawless. Their attention to detail made me feel secure before, during, and after. I'm about four months out from Stage I now. In those short months, my life has been transformed.

I haven't had my stage II yet, that comes next month, but already I'm walking around with my head up, and my shoulders back! My breasts look great, are soft and warm, and it's great to have those implants out. I would also like to add, if you are a single woman contemplating a location for reconstructive surgery, I highly recommend Charleston. The entire staff has a special sensitivity for those of us flying solo now.

- B.L., Thomasville, GA

I had a bilateral mastectomy with SGAP reconstruction done two and a half years ago. All done at the same time. Dr. Kline was my primary and his partner, Dr. Craigie assisted. They did all the stages and I am very happy with the results. Dr. Kline is an absolute perfectionist as anyone can attest. I had previous radiation treatment but you would never know it. FYI, when they do the nipple reconstruction they will ask you what you want, so in that regard a picture would be helpful for color, amount of projection and so on. Their office staff is incredible; friendly and very helpful. The care is phenomenal. I would be happy to share my experiences and answer any questions; just ask for Chris and she will pass your number to me to call at your convenience.

- C.P., Mt. Pleasant, SC

I am doing well. I still have stitches, but am getting better and better every day. The swelling and bruising have all but gone. I am really pleased with the final results. Thank you all so much. I had no idea how much this whole process would effect me emotionally. I never thought of myself as being vain. With the process of each new surgery I found myself being more and more upset at my appearance. It was with this last surgery that I find I am whole again. For the first time in two years I feel as if I am moving forward.

- A.M., Prosperity, S.C.

I am so thankful to Dr. Craigie and Dr. Kline and you Christina for making me feel at ease. Meeting someone for the first time and having surgery the same week was a lot to take in but thanks to everyone including your staff that I met Christine, Gillian and a special big Thank You to Gail for helping me with my insurance and all the conversations we had prior to my office visit with Dr. Craigie's. Gail, thank you for making me feel like a person not a number, you are a wonderful!

I cannot say enough about the results from my surgery! Absolutely fantastic to say the least! I am amazed on natural I look! I really am excited to have my follow-up. Can it get any better? I do not have the pain in my breasts or the hardness and pulling from the implant anymore. I can lift my arms straight up over my head now! I notice don't have the (flu like) feeling anymore, it's gone!

Before coming to Dr. Craigie's office, I have had five painful surgeries with implants and expanders going wrong with infections plus lengthy hospital stays and home care. This was over a period of four years. Four years taken out of not only my life my but my family's life too. Just think on how much time and money was wasted on paying insurance companies when I could have had only one surgery and a follow-up! If I only knew there was an alternative option before having my first implants.

My goal is, to get the word out. Women need to know that you do have an alternative beside using implants. Utilizing the body's own tissue! Again, I was never given this option.

I cannot thank you enough Dr. Craigie and Dr. Kline for your Skilled Surgical Talents and dedication in this field that made me look and feel like a women again!


- D.N., South Amherst, Ohio

Dear Dr. Craigie,

At the time I came to your office, I was unsure that I would ever feel normal again. I had undergone a bilateral mastectomy in 2013 and had expanders put in at the same time to plan for my implants. After waiting for about a year and a half, the surgery for the implants was performed. Within three months, one of my breast implants had to be removed since the skin would not hold due to the radiation I had received. My plastic surgeon told me it was possible that I might have to live with only one breast. He told me I was not handling things right and sent me for counseling. My counselor said my feelings were normal.

I decided to do some research and found you on the internet. I liked the fact that in your website you said you used my own tissue and muscle. I think what was most important was that your website said that you understood and saw my situation as a unique individual. You actually cared about my feelings and that was something I did not feel my plastic surgeon cared about.

You accepted my insurance and an appointment was set. From our first meeting I felt very comfortable with you and your staff. I felt I had been guided to your hands.

Now after two surgeries I am back to “me”. I have my body and my life back thanks to Dr. Craigie and The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. If I had known about you and your procedure in the first place I would have been there sooner and saved myself several surgeries and disappointments.  My husband and I would both like to thank you so much for being there for me.

- D.S., Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Dear Dr. Kline,

Thank you so much for allowing me to be one of your reconstruction patients.  When I found you, I had given up hope that I would ever have a left breast again. As you know, my reconstruction journey has been long and hard. After a bad mastectomy and two disappointing reconstruction surgeries, I really did not believe there was anything anyone could do to give me back my left breast. 

I thank God (and maybe Al Gore) for the Internet; otherwise, I would not have been able to find you. You have given me much more than a breast; you have given me hope and a renewed sense of femininity. The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction is like a lighthouse, a beacon in the dark for those of us who want to use our own tissue for reconstruction.  

From the first contact with you, everything has felt welcoming, comfortable, and right. You have carefully explained my options and told me my expectations were not too high. You have offered and provided results that are way beyond all of my dreams. The ladies in your office are outstanding in the way they worked miracles with my insurance, calmed my fears so nicely, and promptly answered my gazillion emails and phone calls. They are an exceptional group of women. Again, like a guiding beacon, you all have carefully helped me find the way to being whole again.  

Now I am embarking on the next stage in my reconstruction, the "fun part" as you once said.  I am nervous, yet confident it will allow me to finally feel feminine again.  It is my belief that you and Dr. Craigie are truly blessed by God! You are the BEST!

- Mary, FL

I am so excited. This evening when I got home from work and was changing clothes, I look downward and what I saw was so great. Apparently, my flap is beginning to drop some and what I saw was a breast. I pushed up my right breast and they looked like kissin'-cousins.  I've not noticed this before and I have to admit this has brought tears to my eyes. What a welcome site. I never thought this day would come. I can see all the potential and I am more excited than ever. I keep looking down just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  I even have cleavage. What a wonderful change. Miraculous. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

- M.H., Ormond Beach, FL

Today is six weeks post op for me. Drs. Kline and Craigie did the surgery in Charleston. I have to agree, Dr. Kline is a perfectionist!!! Dr. Kline now does his surgeries at East Cooper Medical Center and the floor is dedicated solely to women. They have a maternity side and a side for breast reconstruction patients. The nurses are specially trained in breast reconstruction and one of my nurses actually had DIEP surgery four years ago.

I had the most wonderful experience with my DIEP surgery. Dr. Kline is absolutely wonderful and his staff is amazing. I thought that I would be in terrible pain and that I would end up with a Frankenbody. I couldn't have been more wrong! I haven't taken any pain meds since three days post op, was able to return to work 12 days post op (desk job), and I LOVE my new noobs. They are soft and squishy and I say a prayer of thanks for them every single day. Dr. Kline did such a wonderful job on me that I really don't NEED stage 2. I just want a little lipo done here and there.  LOL!!!

- S.M., Lynn Haven, FL

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