Summary Procedure: Breast Uplift (full anchor...
Procedure: Breast Uplift (full anchor lift)
Travelling from: London
Consultation room: London (Harley Street)
Surgery clinic: BeClinic in Brussels (Belgium)
Surgeon: Doctor Frank Plovier
Prices: surgery: £2,900; taxi + 3 nights hotel with breakfast (two people) + medicine: £480 (optional). Total of £3,380 to the clinic + train tickets London-Brussels-London and meals.
Surgery date: 03 October 2013
Patient age: 37 years old
Bra size pre-surgery: 30G UK
Bra size post-surgery: not sure yet, sill wearing my surgical bra which is 34C UK
Tip 1: I used the all inclusive package (medicine, taxis and hotel included) as I didn’t‘t want to worry about logistics during such an important and potentially stressful event. I‘m now glad I did that and I recommend it to anyone thinking about going ahead with the procedure.
Tip 2: Even though the normal package is two nights hotel I choose to say three nights as I worried about travelling back still in pain. That made the procedure a bit more expensive, and even tough I was just being extra-careful I now think it was worth it.
Tip 3: I didn’t’t particularly love the Panorama hotel for various reasons. First of all is a bit remote and the closest supermarket is 30 minutes away walking distance. I advise you take some food with you for first dinner after the surgery in case you don’t feel like eating in the restaurant the first night. Secondly, the beds are not really that comfortable, and when you need to spend most of your time in bed for recovery that’s important. The good thing about the Panorama hotel is that is close to the clinic and it’s quiet. But I now think I would have preferred a hotel near the shops where I could go for a walk and do some shopping a bit more easily.
My first consultation - 17th July 2013
After extensively scouting the internet and thinking and re-thinking it over and over again, I finally decided to book and appointment with Doctor Plovier in the London consultation room at Harley Street.
I had read a lot of good things about him, so I was quite at ease when I met him. The consultation was quick and matter of fact; just talking about the procedure, price and other practical aspects. The truth is that I had read so much on the issue that I didn’t have that many questions for him. Doctor Plovier told me that I would probably get a lollipop scar, something I was very pleased to hear as I had already resigned myself to and anchor scar.
My impression on Doctor Plovier was that he was serious, caring and professional, so I was happy as that's all I want in a surgeon.
After that first consultation it only took me a couple of days to decide to go for the surgery. I then emailed the BeClinic and started making arrangements. It was really easy dealing with the BeClinic team, they replied to all my emails really quickly and efficiently and were always very pleasant to deal with.
I have a more or less healthy life style, so the only change I had to do before the surgery was to take the vitamins that the clinic recommended. Other than that, I continued attending the gym and eating as normal.
Tip 4: If you can, please run a blood test at least a month before the surgery to detect any deficiency in vitamins, iron, etc…
I didn’t do it and I suffer from anaemia episodes every now and then. It turned out I was low in iron at the time. Something I could have easily avoided. Thankfully, it didn’t have any major impact in the recovery.
D-Day - 03rd October 2013 (surgery day)
I travelled by train with a friend. We had to leave London very early as the surgery was scheduled for 1 pm. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be, and as soon as I got there (about one hour earlier than expected) they promptly took care of me. Everything was so quick and well executed that I think I didn’t even have the time or opportunity to stress out. The clinic can’t be faulted, it’s clean and peaceful and the staff are lovely. I was quickly taken me to my room where they gave me some aroma therapy scent to help me relax, then Doctor Plover came in and did all the necessary drawings on my breasts. Before I knew it I was in the operating theatre where the staff tried their best to help me stay calm.
The operation took about three hours. I remember I woke up shaking uncontrollably as I was freezing. I was quickly moved to my room where they turned the bed heating on. I was really sleepy at the beginning and was finding a bit difficult to come out of the anaesthesia. Thankfully my friend and the nurse did a good job of trying to keep me awake. The pain was not as bad as I had expected, if anything it was more like a stinging sensation than anything else. Still, I had some discomfort, so the nurse gave me some pain killers before the pain could set in. I had woken up with my surgical bra already on, and even though I couldn’t‘t see anything underneath it, I could immediately see that my breasts where set a lot higher up that they had been before the surgery. Happy smile there. J
Doctor Plovier came to check on me soon after I woke up, it was then that I found out that he had had to go for an anchor scar as my skin elasticity wasn’t good enough for a lollipop scar. I was a tiny bit disappointed, but in a way I had expected it, so it wasn’t that bad. The good thing about the anchor scar is that it provides longer lasting results. Besides, I was so glad that the surgery was over that I didn’t really care much about anything at that point.
It took me about three hours to completely wake up from the anaesthesia, so it was seven thirty when they were finally able to get me in the taxi and take me to the hotel.
At that time I felt well enough to seat for a few minutes with my friend in the hotel outdoor terrace. I think I could had stayed there for a while if it wasn’t for a yellow pill that the nurse had placed under my tongue just before I got in the taxi. To this day I still don’t know what that pill was made off, but I suddenly couldn’t keep my eyes open and my friend had help me to get to the room, which was actually great, as I then slept for two or three more hours.
When I woke up after that I was feeling pretty well, with no pain at all. I then had some dinner that my friend had bought while the surgery was happening. High five to him, that was an very good idea. I was still quite sleepy, so after having dinner, watching some TV and taking the painkillers that I had been prescribed, I went to sleep. Again.
That first night I slept more or less well. I woke up with some discomfort about every four hours, which was the time I had between takes. I would take the pills and go to sleep again, so that was fine.
In fact, that day in general had been better than expected and my friend’s support just invaluable. So happy so far I was!
Tip 5: I strongly advise that you take someone you trust with you if you can. It's so important to have some help you with simple things like carrying your luggage, getting your socks on, or going to supermarket. Also to offer you some moral support and company.
If for whatever reason you must travel alone, please try to travel as light as possible, you don't want to be lifting a heavy suitcase around after the procedure.
Also, try to wear comfortable, easy to change clothes and shoes. Beware that you upper body movement will be somehow restricted for a few days.
Tip 6: Probably better not to buy the silicone sheets before the operation unless your surgeon is confident on the type of lift that you'll get. I assumed that I would get a lollipop scar but ended up with a full anchor scar so the sheets I had bought were not exactly what I needed. Since you won't be able to use the sheets for about three or four weeks anyway, there is really no need to buy them in advance.
Remaining days in Brussels - 04th October 2013 to 06th October 2013 (1st to 3rd day post surgery)
The first few days after the surgery went better that I had expected. I was a little bit soared and tired, but more than anything I was terrified of moving too much or too fast. I have to admit that I’m a bit a apprehensive, so I might have obsessed with doing my best to help the healing process. I didn’t want to take any chances with the scars so I kept my upper body movements to a minimum. I wore the surgical bra all the time, and even if the doctor said I could take it off for showering I didn’t. I just washed myself around the bra with wet towels. As I said I’m very apprehensive, and I actually didn’t dare taking that bra off until the tenth day post surgery.
I have to say here that I had caught the flu (or a really bad cold) before the procedure, and that the symptoms started to show on my first day post surgery. I suspect that that made me feel more tired than you’d normally feel after the operation. Even tough, on the first day post surgery I was able to walk for about an hour (from the hotel to the supermarket and back), and the second day I was able to visit Brussels (if only for a short walk and lunch). I was tired and had to take a lot of breaks, but I managed.
Besides those two mini excursions, those two days went by while taking the prescribed medication, eating and lying in bed, reading, sleeping and watching TV. Sleeping on my back was awkward, but with two pillows I managed well enough.
Regarding the pain, the chest discomfort wasn’t so bad with the medication, but… I had quite a bad back ache. I still don’t know what caused it (maybe the flu?), but it wasn’t nice for the first two to three days. A few times I woke up in the middle of the night and had to seat in bed as the pain was so bad I couldn’t lay down.
I still don’t understand why my back was hurting so much, I don’t know if it was the pressure of the bra, a bad posture during the operation, the bad hotel bed, or the fact that I was sleeping on back and not changing posture much.
Anyway, day three arrived and before I knew it I was on the train back to London. As I said I had a bad cold, so the trip was a bit tiring, but boy, was I happy when I got home? I was so glad than I actually think I felt much better immediately. From this moment on the worst was over for me!
Recovery at home
I had two full weeks off after the surgery, so from the day that I got back to London I had plenty of time to myself. I tried to take it easy, which was actually really good for me. I had a lot of rest and ate all I wanted. I kept taking the antibiotics until they were finished and the vitamins for a whole month. I didn’t’t need painkillers from day five after surgery.
There is not much more to say about this period except that every day I felt a bit stronger. I was sleeping better my upper mobility kept improving.
Day seven after surgery. It was a milestone for me, I felt well enough that I considered going back to work a week early. In the end I decided against it as I didn’t want to take any risks with the recovery process.
On the tenth day after the surgery. I finally summoned the courage to remove the surgical bra for the first time. It was nerve-racking, but I was well impressed with the shape (photos attached).
The thirteenth day after the surgery. It was an important one, I had a consultation with Doctor Plovier in Harley Street.
Finally all the strips and bandages came off. I was scared but it wasn’t painful at all. I was impressed with the state of the scars, but Doctor Plovier warned me that they were going to get worse between the second/third and seventh/eighth month. They will then start improving again until the twelfth to eighteenth month when they will look their best.
Doctor Plovier then advised me not to use the silicone treatment for ten more days as the skin was still very sensitive. In the meantime I was to use bio-oil, which I stated using every morning and evening without missing one turn.
I left the consultation room happy and spent most of the day walking around, but I have to say that by the time I got home, my right nipple was killing me. I think that the friction between the scar scabs and the bra was irritating my skin. I had to use dressing gauze to cover the sore spots (nipples and anchor scar) and that did the trick. I kept wearing them for some time until one day I noticed that I didn’t need them anymore.
Regarding the results, well, have a look yourselves, I have attached photos as of day fourteenth after the surgery.
Tip 7: If you love your surgical bra as much I did, you might want to ask the clinic to sell you and extra one. I did just that and Doctor Plovier brought it to Harley Street for me. I hadn’t been able to find it anywhere online, and since I love the support it gives me and I’m planning on using them quite a lot. I think they are going be great for the gym.
Back to work - 21st October 2013 to 12th November 2013 (17th to 39th day post surgery)
I have attached some photos on exactly the 4th week / 28 days after surgery. This is before I started the silicone treatment and only 4 days after I started massaging (I elaborate on massaging later on in the blog)
I went back to the gym on week 5 after the surgery. For the first week I only did some bicycle exercises and some stretching. I was still a bit worried of high impact sports like running. On week six I was finally back to normal sport wise.
Tip 8: I advise you to wrap up warm around the area for the first three to four weeks. After I started wearing a warm adjusted top underneath my clothes I felt a lot less irritation on temperature changes.
Please allow me here to share with you what I have learnt on my research about scar management. I will also explain in detail how based on that research I have designed my own scar treatment routine that I’m hoping will work. Please be aware that I’m not a professional in the subject, and that I have compiled this information from the web. Do not assume that this information is 100% correct, this blog is based on my own particular experience. I strongly encourage you to do your own research and / or seek professional advise if needed.
Bearing that in mind, please feel free to read the main conclusions after my “research”:
Exercise and rest
To accelerate the healing process of any kind of wound (including the scars left by surgery) it’s recommended to keep a good balance between exercise and rest. For me that meant not laying down all day during my recovery, but do my best to move as much as my body could take without straining myself and then have good long rests. Exercise increases blood flow and therefore oxygen flow around our body which is essential for the body’s recovery process.
Warmth and moisture
Scars will heal faster when kept moist and warm. On this regard, I used bio-oil twice a day as soon as my doctor told me it was safe (that day 13th post surgery in my case) and wore warm underwear at all times.
According to what I have read, when scar tissue is formed by the production of collagen. Sometimes however, your body can produce too much collagen too fast, which could result in raised scars. By breaking down this collagen through massaging the area, you can help a more even distribution of collagen and help decrease the chances of raised scars. You are also increasing blood flow around the are which promotes healing. Massaging is performed by applying gentle pressure along the incisions with circular movements.
I started massaging with bio-oil twice day, 24 days after surgery. At first really gently and then increasing the pressure as time went on. I have to say that I noticed a huge difference in the bumps that were started to form in the horizontal scars. Also, the vertical scars started to feel much softer to the touch after only a few sessions.
Pressure therapy, silicone gel or silicone sheets?
What I dilemma, I really struggled trying to decide which treatment was the best. I found plenty of studies that concluded that all of these treatments work to some degree, but I wasn’t able to find a study that compared the three of them and clearly rated them in comparison with each other. I wanted a clear winner to follow, but I just couldn’t find one. I was confused and without knowing where to turn as I wanted to make sure I was choosing the best available treatment. Unfortunately, after many hours of study I concluded that I wasn’t going to get the assurance that I was looking for and decided to mix all those treatment together on my very own daily routine.
Conclusion, my very own daily routine
Every morning I clean my breast with wet towels for sensitive skin. I then use a bit of bio-oil that I put in my finger tips and massage my scars with gentle circular movements around the incisions. I apply as much pressure as I can without causing pain or straining the skin. I clean the oil from the scars with the wet towels again and dry with a clean towel. Next, I apply the silicone sheets and put by surgical bra back on.
In the evening, when I get home, I clean the area again, apply oil and massage, then clean again and apply the silicone sheets under the bra. The sheets will stay on until the morning when they will be replaced by clean ones.
Every now and then, when I’m at home, I apply the silicone gel and leave it to dry without the bra. I like how the silicone gel works better than the sheets, but it’s really messy to apply specially if you are going out and have to wear a bra. I actually think it gets wasted on the fabric of the bra even if you wait for it to dry before putting the bra on.
My theory is that by wearing the bra at all times I’m applying pressure to the scars, therefore complying with the pressure therapy treatment. Additionally, using the silicone sheets constantly as the instructions recommend, will apply extra pressure to the wounds.
By using the silicone gel and sheets not only I’m using the benefits of the silicone treatment, but I’m also keeping the scars moist which is beneficial.
Massaging twice daily with the bio-oil will help with abnormal scar formation and with keeping the area moisturised. It will also bring an increased blood flow to the area that will speed up the healing process.
In addition to all this, I attend to the gym and exercise regularly, try to eat as healthy as possible and keep the drinking to a minimum. I keep taking the vitamins that the doctor recommended and wrap up warm at all times.
I’m really hoping that all this efforts will make a difference in the end, but for now, only time can tell.
Tip 9: When applying the silicone treatment, please follow the instructions explain in detail how to get your skin used to it. If you don’t do that your skin might get irritated.
Tip 10: It’s a good idea to keep the silicone gel in the fridge as silicone dries faster when there is a contrast of temperature between your skin and the gel.
13th November 2013 (6 weeks post surgery)
3 months after surgery
4 months after surgery
Doctor Plovier is a truly amazing surgeon and I feel incredibly lucky that I found him. The clinic is pristine and peaceful. I never imagined that having surgery could be such a positive experience. http://www.harleystreetguide.co.uk/doctors/find-a-specialist/?entryid43=28928