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Breast Lift and Reduction Survival Guide

  • 3 years ago

After my breast lift and reduction, I decided to put together a Survival Guide for other women going through it, too. You can read my review here.
If you are considering this procedure that means you are probably fed up with the sore neck, back, shoulders and top heavy feeling. I really hated my breasts for years. And after childbirth, being more than 40, hormone replacement therapy, and just basic frustration with my breasts I finally took action.
By the time I finally got busy, my breasts were hanging to my waist. They were heavy, saggy, and uneven and the nipples pointed in two different directions…..UGH. A breast lift and reduction was something I had wanted for years but it took a while to find that “Perfect” doctor. Please take your time in doing your search for the proper physician. Check credentials, ask to see pictures of patients who have had the same procedure done, get at least two opinions and don’t get frustrated.
I was fortunate that my health insurance paid for everything. Had it not I would have still done the surgery but would have waited a while longer to save the funds. I am five foot one inch tall and was carrying around a size 40DDD. Yes it hurt and my boobs entered the room before I did. I was tired of that being the focal point of me. I wanted to end up a full B or small C and that is exactly what I got.
Really communicate with your doctor and let him know your expectations. A good physician will be honest with you and help you work through your expectations. I ended up with a C-cup immediately following surgery but now I am down to a full B. That happened because of my 70 pound weight loss since surgery. Go figure that prior to surgery I never lost a pound in the breasts. But after I then start to shrink in the breasts. I am completely fine with it though because I love the small and perky breasts. The weight is gone and I no longer have any neck, back or shoulder pain.
Also the bonus was having both nipples facing forward and in proper position. Or as my hubby says “the headlights are facing forward” and not shining the side of the road. All clothing fits on top and I am no longer self conscious about my breast size. I am extremely happy that I went through with this procedure. The surgery itself was very easy with minimal pain. You will have swelling with soreness and a tight feeling for a couple of weeks.
Oh yes and let’s not forget the beautiful colors of the rainbow you will witness for weeks. You will go from black and blue to green, yellow and everything in-between. Your nipples will also look a bit funny with all of the sutures. But don’t worry because this all turns normal-looking soon. They will also have a strange shape for a while but don’t panic. Gravity soon sets in, swelling goes down and you will have natural tear drop shaped breasts. It just takes a while for them to drop.
Questions to ask during your consult:
1. How soon can I exercise after surgery?
2. May I see pictures of previous patients' results?
3. How much breast tissue are you able to remove?
4. How long will I need to be off work?
5. What are my post-op restrictions and for how long?
6. Approximately what will my final cup size be?
7. Where will my incisions be placed?
8. What surgical technique do you use?
9. How soon may I shower after surgery?
10. May I speak to a previous patient of yours regarding their experience?
Just make sure to really communicate with your doctor about your expectations. You need to be realistic but also need to be on the same page as your doctor. Make it clear how big or small you would like to be after the procedure. They will let you know if it is possible. Make sure to have at least 2-3 opinions before choosing your doctor.
Supplies for after surgery:
1. Prescribed pain medication
2. Tylenol
3. Ice packs
4. Surgical bras – you will need at least 2-3 of these. Make sure you wear the bras 24/7 for the first few months. It will help in shaping your new breasts. Only remove to shower and then back on with a clean bra. They are very comfortable and you will be glad to have them.
5. Palmer’s Vitamin E Skin Therapy Oil. To start using two weeks after surgery. This will help smooth and heal your scars. Massage them 2-3 times a day for months and your scars will be nearly invisible.
6. Gauze or cotton pads to place under your bra band and over your nipples. You will have some oozing for 7-14 days and this will help keep your bra dry and clean.
7. Stool softener….yes the surgery and pain meds do a number on your system. I started Milk of Magnesia the day after surgery and did so for five days.
8. Healthy protein, fruits and veggies. You need a healthy diet for proper healing. Also drink your water….
Feelings you will experience before and after surgery:
1. Excitement, you will love the new and perky breasts.
2. Anxiety about your final size and scars. With any surgery there are scars but these are mainly under the breast so hardly visible. The vertical scan and scar around the nipple will heal nicely and will end up a fine and faint white line.
3. You will have that pre-surgery power surge where you want to clean everything in your house. Go with it!
4. Urges to shop for new bras. Hold that thought and urge. Please do not buy any new bras until you are four months post-op. Your swelling will take a while to go down plus you really need to be wearing the surgical bra for as long as you can. It will help your healing and shape of the breast in the long run. And please do not wear any underwire bras for at least six months. They will rub on your incision under the breast and cause it to become thick and irritated.
5. If you have stitches in your nipples I have to say that it hurt like hell when they removed them. It smarts and is irritating.
6. The dreaded drains are a pain. They are not in very long so that is a good thing.
7. It takes the breasts about six months to have a great shape…you know that natural tear drop shape so don’t panic if they look a little odd at first.
8. The freaky looking nipples also tame down once the big black stitches are out. The first time I looked at them I was like what the #$&%. I am pretty sure my hubby had a panic attack when he looked at them. It really did look like something out of a horror movie.
9. My doctor used surgical glue over all my incisions which is really nice. It will slowly roll off over the next two weeks.
Surgery Day:
1. Wear loose and comfy clothes to the surgery center. This will just be more comfortable for the ride home. A zip up sweat shirt is the best.
2. They will give you happy pills and warm blankets…it doesn't get any better than that.
3. The doctor will come in and mark you up. Looks a little bit like a freak show when they are done sketching you up with the purple marker. My hubby enjoyed watching this take place. He kept making crazy jokes and trying to make me laugh.
4. Have your driver take the least bumpy route home. It hurts when you hit bumps and they are jerked around. OUCH..
5. Honestly you will feel pretty good the first day home. You are sore and swollen but not really in any horrible pain. You will feel some tightness but not bothersome.
6. You will be amazed at the perky new breasts. WOW they are right up there and look great.
You will feel so light and free of neck and shoulder pain. Enjoy your new perky rack! You will feel amazing and your confidence will be through the roof. And as usual let me know if you have any questions.

Comments (160)

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Oops...not finished...did the scars under your breasts feel hard? If so, did they diminish with time? Also, did your breasts apprear square? My horizontal scar is rather long (as long as yours was in the picture).
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Hi. Thanks so much for the information. I had an explant and a lift. I am 1 week post op and doing well. My natural breasts are very modest in size. I had tubular deformity prior to implant which made it a challenge for my PS to reshape my breasts with the lift. I know it has only been a week. You mentioned that your breasts will look odd for a while and eventually gravity will come into play and they will fall, looking more natural. I have two questions: (1) did the scars under your breasts
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Yes the scars were hard and felt like a small rope under the skin.  Once I started the firm circular massage with the oils, this helped.  Be persistent with the scar therapy and this will help greatly.  Mine were square looking for about 4 months and then started to take shape when the gravity set in.  They were a little freaky looking for a while.  I called them my franken boobies:)
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I haven't even had my surgery yet and have very much appreciated all the posts here and reading what everyone's comments are (were). It has helped me to prepare and maybe anticipate that I might not see "perfection" in the mirror right away!! lolol... I'm so glad to not have to do this all by myself and other ladies to share the experience with... :) Thank you for this post!!
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Sorry if this is a dumb questions, but what size surgical bra's do you get? I do not have my pre-op until Sept. 3rd and surgery on Sept. 8th. Just trying to eliminate having too much stuff to get last minute. Thanks also for all the great information!
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I'm 7weeks post op now and since the wrapping came off ( 1 week) I've been wearing a sports bra or a workout top. I bought the cup size I'd gone down to and it was fine.
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Not a dumb question at all.   Go with your normal band size.  The cups are stretchy and generally run SM/Med and Med/XLG.   
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Great post - thanks!
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Glad it was helpful for you.
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I am now 17 days post op.... I had a breast reduction and lift done. My question is my right breast vertical incision looks like a canker sore (best description I can come with cuz it is a bit white and some red by the white) in a couple spots. Should I be concerned? I have been trying to keep steri strip on it even though it wants to fall off. Should I just let the steri strip come off? I don't know what to do.
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Hi I'm baaaackkk! :) 6 weeks post op. My PS and nurses insist the narrow at top, linear bottom (boxy, or like a chubby teen boy's pecs look) will soften and drop into a more feminine teardrop shape. They say it takes sometimes up to 6 mos to a year. True? I trust them, but I just want to get feedback on experience of others here on the board. Does it really take that long and do they really ever look round and softer again?
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Hi! Just had my breast reduction surgery today! August 12 is officially a day going down in history for me (: I hv a dumb question which I'm sure my ps told me but can't remember....I left hospital with the surgical bra on that they gave me...now when and how often do I start changing the gauze? I haven't even looked inside surgical bra yet! Trying to follow orders! (: thank u! And sorry for dumb question.
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Not a dumb question at all.  When do you see your doctor next?   I was told to not remove any of the gauze until I saw the doctor the next day.  He said that it may bleed through a little bit which was normal.  And if it did,  I was told to just add more gauze over the original.  

If you notice any heavy bleeding please call your doctor ASAP.  Doubtful this will happen though..
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Thank you! My appt to see my PS is next week Aug 19th. In his directions it says after 48hrs to shower, dry area well, put A&D ointment and clean gauze. I was a bit concerned because I took off the surgical bra they gave me from hospital yesterday (1 day after surgery) because it was uncomfortable. I took off the gauze (no heavy bleeding) and put new gauze when I put on my comfy marena bra. The ps office did call me yesterday to follow up how i felt after surgery. I told her I felt ok and what I did and she said that was fine. I guess all ps do things different! But I do not (thankfully) have bleeding. I had vertical lollipop procedure done. Now I'm just coping w constipation and breast swelling ): hopefully the colace will help soon and ibuprofen will help swelling. Thanks so much!! I appreciate all ur posts!!
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You are doing well, as long as you have your doctors blessing on what you are doing, all is good.

I only had to wait until the day after surgery.   He cleared me to shower the very next day which was so nice.  

Hang in there and keep taking the Colace.  If that doesn't work try the Milk of Magnesia.  That helped clear me right out.
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I was told not to remove the gauze or get it wet for 7 days so that meant no SHOWERING which was a little hard at first but you adjust and I got used to using " BABY WIPES" instead and smelled beautiful, just like a baby after a bath! Incidentally keeping the gauze/ wound dry for one week was a massive success and after the gauze came off the scars were dry, healed fantastically , no pain and had the couple of external stitches taken out then which didn't hurt. In fact off pain meds by 4 th day, I'm now 6 weeks post op and the only annoying thing is I'm still wearing the sports bra 24/7 but it doesn't really bother me and for the last week I have been able to lie on my side to sleep without any pain or discomfort at all. I hope this has been helpful to you?
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Thank u chicochico59! Yikes 7days seems so long! My PS gave me the ok to shower after 2 days. My sister is coming over to help me w this! My ps instructions were just to clean the area and put A&D ointment (used for babies) and put gauze and sports bra back on. I had the lollipop incision. Thankfully I feel no pain. I have been taking my meds as told. This is my 2nd day post op. I'm hoping to stop my meds by day 3/4 like u did! Good to hear u were able to stop meds by day 4. Thanks! I'm excited to post results!
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It was a relief not to take the gauze off and just leave as I was very nervous of looking at the result in case I was disappointed!! Even when the ps took it off a week later I wouldn't look!!!! I showered the next day and didn't look in the mirror then! It took a further week for me to look in the mirrow and I wasn't disappointed with the results. Still have to be patient though as it takes up to 6 months to get the final shape. My nipples are still too high but still wearing a sports bra 24/7 so they haven't succumb to gravity yet!! LOL!!! Glad you're not in pain, it does help. I was very weak for the first couple of weeks and did as I was told and did practically NOTHING!!! Oooh that was HEAVEN!!! Hope all this helps?
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Lol! Trust me this does help! I love to read other women's stories...and I'm laughing cuz I can totally relate to u in not wanting to look at your incisions or breasts! That's how I feel. I didn't look at mine either just quickly took off gauze and my hubby helped put new gauze and bra bk on! Today after I shower my sis will have the honor cuz I'm still a little freaked out about what I'll see! Especially since I'm swollen I feel like they're still huge. But my family says they look much smaller and I look much narrower...I guess time will tell! I'm glad it's done tho an I'm glad to hv all of u ladies to share stories with! Thank u (:
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I am 11days post op. I had a breast reduction and lift done. My ps really didn't tell me to anything but I have been reading about massaging and scar stuff to put on. My question is when do I start massaging, how do i do the massaging (I know sounds dumb), and what is the best stuff to get to help with scars?
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My PS didn't want me touching my incisions until after 6 weeks, in fact I had to leave the steri strips on for that long. It takes time for all the incisions to heal . I would definitely call yours and ask if he or she has a protocol for this...your still quite early in recovery :))
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Bebe51. Agree. Keep the steri strips on until they fall off for nice thin scar.
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Make sure all incisions are closed and totally healed before applying anything.   I used Bio Oil as well as Palmer's Vitamin E Skin Therapy Oil.  I applied 2 times a day and used a firm circular massage method.   My scars are about 95% faded.  
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Don't do anything for at least 6 weeks, let the scars settle themselves. That's why a sports bra has to be worn 24/7 for MONTHS, to let the breasts settle before any movement. Patience is needed but I'm sure we'll all be satisfied in the end IF WE DO AS WE'RE TOLD. I'm only 6 weeks post op but feel fantastic and can now sleep on my side without any pain or discomfort whis is BLISS!! Hang in there.
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