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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 (103)

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Thank you SO much for providing this. I relied on it heavily post op days 4-9 when husband (voice of reason) had to be out of town and I was off pain pills and reality check settling in. This site helped tremendously!
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Glad you are here with us:)   
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I am glad this was helpful to you.  How are you feeling now?
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Thank you for posting this, it's great! I'm 3 1/2 weeks out from a BL, and the weird shape and one being slightly higher than the other is about to wig me out! I know it's early, patience is not my greatest strength!
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I know!   It does take a while for everything to shift and settle after surgery.  We are all here for you so hang on tight.
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Has anyone experienced a muscle type pain under their arm? A lot of the time I feel a pulling feeling when I move my left arm and I quickly have to put my arm back down. I also feel it when I am laying down. I am nervous that it's permanent. I just had a breast reduction and lift almost 3 weeks ago. Thank you in advance for any comments.
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How long b4 the tightness went away....I have dissolvable stitches how long before they are gone?
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The tightness lasted about 4-6 weeks for me.  Massaging them twice a day really helped soften everything up.  

My doctor told me that the stitches take 6-8 weeks to totally dissolve.  At the end of my incisions, under my arms, the surgical knots popped through the skin.  They were super itchy and irritated.  I went in and had the doctor pull the first one out and then pulled the second one out myself.  Felt much better after that.
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Omg.... itchy right there so that's what it is a surgical knot...k thank it will be 2 weeks on tightness left from underneath the breast is just right underneath the arm where the tightness is the the numbness in the FulIer part of the feeling again in the nipples
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Once the feeling came back in my nipples I was hyper sensitive for a while.  I couldn't even stand my nipples rubbing in my bra cups.  I had to place small squares of a cut up cotton t-shit in each cup.  

And then the itching began..I walked around scratching like a monkey for weeks.
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Lol...I'm trying not to nipples or extra rite now to...I still use the Surgical gospel my nipples but I guess extra sensitive nipples would be a bad thing when it comes to when ever I can do that
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*surgical gauze
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By massaging you mean the scars right, not the breasts? My PS directed me to do scar massage but didnt say anything re breast massage. Seems I've read some PS posts to not massage post reduction, that this is for augmentation after-care to soften the implants into the chest cavity or pocket they're set in. But that massaging breasts post reduction is hard on internal stitches and loosens stuff they want kept tight. ? Anyone else have directions from their PS to massage breasts not just scars?
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My main focus was on the scars but I did also massage the entire breast.  It seemed to really help me.  Be gentle though..
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That is truly wonderful of you to put that up. Very informative. Thank you so much.
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Glad it was of help to you:)   
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I agree; great reference. I'll check back to this page often. Thank you!
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You bet, let me know if you have any questions.
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Thank you so much for your post. Very informative. I can relate to the funny-shaped and different colors. Mine were Black, blue, yellow, green, and purple for days after the surgery. I had my surgery on Feb 14. They are coming along.... still funny-shaped on top. They are very hard on top. I am doing the massage thing as much as I can. Are you massaging the scars too?? Or just the top? I ordered 4 new bras online. I took a chance and ordered a 36 C. It fits me fine!! I just got them today!! I am sooo happy that I am a C-cup. I feel so normal. What a relief! If my swelling goes down and I end up a B-cup, so I will just buy some more bras. I threw my surgical bra out on March 18 when I went for my one-month post -op appointment. I am wearing a sports bra at night, and I am going to wear the new regular C-cup bras for work. My doc said I can wear a regular bra during the day, just not and underwire bra. I just can't wait for the hardness and soreness to go away. It is going away very slowly.
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What is your recommendation for post surgery bras? The one they gave is making me itch. I have lots of allergies and I am itching along the top part of bra, and underneath the bra around the band area. I just switched to a different bra by Marena, hoping it gets rid of the itching...taking Benadryl too.
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The horrid itching is a part of the recovery, Ugh!

I also wore the Marena bras and loved them.  They were so soft and comfortable for me.  At one point I had to place some guaze squares under the bottom band of the bra.  I needed to protect the incisions under my breasts.  I had some irritation in that area for a while.
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what are Marena bras?
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What are Marena bras?
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I had my surgery on March 18. I was able to take a shower yesterday for the first time. I am wearing a Marena bra, but the band if irritating, so I am using gauze pads to help with it. The tightness across the top and a little bit of pain in my right underarm are the biggest issue. How long do you recommend taking the pain pills. I go about 7 hours now before I really need anything. I have a lot of issues with narcotic meds and not keeping them down, so would like to get off as soon as I can. Any recommendations? I haven't started the oil and massaging as the doc said, I'd do this about two weeks out.
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Definitely take the pain meds when you feel you need them.  Try eating toast with butter and milk 30 minutes before taking the pills.  That would coat your stomach well and help.   I know they are so rough on the system:(
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