Breast Reduction at 29, a Decade of Waiting - Christiansburg, VA

I'm scheduled for a breast reduction in March 12,...

I'm scheduled for a breast reduction in March 12, 2014. I've waited for many years to get this procedure, but I'm still becoming a nervous wreck going over the potential complications in my head and on paper. I've wanted a breast reduction since I was around 19 years old. At 5'3", I've fluctuated between 115 to 135 lbs, but always remained a 32DDD/E or 30G (depending on brand and style). My quality of life has definitely been affected. While I rarely have sharp pain, I have a near constant dull ache in my upper back and shoulders. For awhile I thought this was normal, but I have since found that most people do not have the type of constant pain I experience. I feel restricted when participating in physical activities, especially when I am wearing a daily rather than sports bra. I have some psychological issues around my breasts as well. With my peers I tend to be defined as the "big boobed" one who doesn't fit properly in most store-bought clothes and bras. My students (when I taught high school) were often distracted by them and I felt the need to cover up with multiple layers even in warmer weather. For these various reasons and I'm sure a few more I forgot, I asked my gynecologist about a reduction after my new better insurance kicked in last year. She directed me to my PS.

I initially met my PS in September to discuss the possibility of a breast reduction, my candidacy and insurance coverage. Several weeks later, I found out that my insurance would cover the procedure. Yay! But I wanted to wait until after the holidays, then I couldn't get off work. Finally, now in March, I have time and bite the proverbial bullet.

Today was my two week pre-op appointment with my PS and the hospital. He did some more measurements and concluded I could go for either a superior or inferior pedicle procedure. I believe that decision will be made the day of based on what he sees. If anyone else has had that option, please comment below. I signed all the paperwork, gave a blood sample and all the rest. I'm extremely nervous now. I simply can't believe that it is finally all happening, but still my mind is racing. It seems entirely unfair that I can't have booze at a time like this.

[Pre-op images to be uploaded later.]

The Nights Before

So Sunday night, I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep, just kept moving. This was not a good thing for me or my husband. Therefore, he wanted me to take an ativan (prescribed by my PS for anxiety related to surgery). It was like a mild benadryl, but could have been worse. I slept somewhat better last night. Then, today (of all days) I began to feel a pain in my ear, like an infection had just set in. Well, damn. I took my lunch to visit the local urgent care where the doctor ruled out a bacterial infection, but said my lymph nodes were slightly bigger than usual, indicating a viral infection. My PS said he and the EMT would look me over tomorrow before continuing with surgery. As useless as it is, another ativan may be in order for tonight.

on the smaller side

Hey everyone! Everything went great. I'll have more of a update when I get home from the hospital.

Day of Surgery and One Day Post-Op

First off, anesthesia definitely gives you a warped sense of time. I'm told its Thursday, but I honestly couldn't tell you myself. Overall, I was at the hospital for more than 23 hours, but I probably didn't stay more than the 23 hours after the surgery was finished.

Yesterday morning I arrived at the hospital around 9am to be preped for surgery, get a pregnancy test, and answer those "embarrassing" questions. An doc who speciallizes in ear, nose and throat issues came in to see me with my PS around 11am. He said the pain in my ear was likely caused by grinding my teeth at night rather than an infection of any kind. It was a relief and we could move forward with the surgery. My husband and I watched Tom & Jerry cartoons (what else is on at 11am?) and talked for a few more hours before I was moved to a pre-op area.

We talked with the anesthesiologist, my PS, nurse and anesthesia nurse in that order. I had brought pictures of breasts (from here and other plastic surgery sites) which he was hesitant to look at. Turns out, he thought they were pornography rather that surgical photos. At that point he found them extremely helpful, especially where shape was concerned. He got our his sharpie and wrote "32DDD -> B" among other markings. I was wheeled into the operating room, gave my glasses to my husband, and lost consciousness.

Getting to my hospital bed is really fuzzy, but I do remember them wanting me to participate more than I though I could. My husband was allowed in. He says I was extremely groggy and the little bit of broth made me nauseous. Closer to 8pm, I felt as if I could have the rest of my food. I husband went home and left me in the care of the nurses. I kept falling asleep and being woken up by a nurse coming in to check my blood pressure, temp and otherwise. They also gave me this breathing thing to exercise my lungs. I feel as though I need to bend over slightly, due to the tape. Hopefully, as things heal, that will be less of an issue.

In the end he performed a superior pedicle and took out around 400 cc from each. x My left was slightly larger, so that had more taken out. First off, anesthesia definitely gives you a warped sense of time. I'm told its Thursday, but I honestly couldn't tell you myself. Overall, I was at the hospital for more than 23 hours, but I probably didn't stay more than the 23 hours after the surgery was finished.

Yesterday morning I arrived at the hospital around 9am to be preped for surgery, get a pregnancy test, and answer those "embarrassing" questions. An doc who speciallizes in ear, nose and throat issues came in to see me with my PS around 11am. He said the pain in my ear was likely caused by grinding my teeth at night rather than an infection of any kind. It was a relief and we could move forward with the surgery. My husband and I watched Tom & Jerry cartoons (what else is on at 11am?) and talked for a few more hours before I was moved to a pre-op area.

We talked with the anesthesiologist, my PS, nurse and anesthesia nurse in that order. I had brought pictures of breasts (from here and other plastic surgery sites) which he was hesitant to look at. Turns out, he thought they were pornography rather that surgical photos. At that point he found them extremely helpful, especially where shape was concerned.

In the office, I had about 15 oz of fluid on either side come out of my drains, which allowed the nurse to take them out. OMG that was super painful. I do not recommend. They are covered up in ointment and gauze at the moment. There is also gauze in the bra to soak up any fluid.

So far, I've been watching TV, eating and walking around fairly normally. I haven't needed any extra pain killers since this morning's morphine IV. I'm very please with the results so far. My little hoodie already fits better than it did on Wednesday morning.

Recovery Period (Do your breathing exercises!)

Compared with actual sickness the recovery period has been fairly easy. The first day back I didn't do enough of my breathing exercises which resulted in a high (100 degree F +) fever. I took one of my pain meds and slept for far too long. After a call to my PS and a more regular breathing schedule my temperature has gone down to normal. My husband helped wash my hair and shower yesterday as well. Never underestimate the power of feeling clean.

Today, I'm eating and using the bathroom as normal. I haven't needed any pain meds either. There is some soreness and mild bruising on the underside of each breast, right where the drains were. So, I'm not surprised by it.

I'm still in my PS-provided bra. The ones I bought pre-op to anticipate a 32B to 32D reduction seem too tight. I've found that I'm much more sensitive to a tight band than I was and the girls don't just fall into bra cups like they used to. They seem amazingly self-supporting. I think I might have to go up a band size for comfort during my recovery period. Did anyone else have this experience?

One Week Post-Op

My first week has gone quite well. Other than my second day post-op, I haven't needed pain killers for anything reduction related. It's been very manageable. I was able to drive an go back to work on Wednesday and had my one week follow-up appointment on Thursday. My PS was very satisfied with how both breasts turned out and their healing so far. After clearing me for alcohol, Advil and mild activity that has no impact on my upper body, the nurse cut the suture knots and took off the surgical tape on my incisions. Honestly, I was a little disheartened by the look of the incisions on my right one, they look raised already. Hopefully care over the next few weeks will help with that.

Unlike so on this forum, I do not have to go back to have any sutures removed. I do have to keep tape on the incisions at all times and replace it every 2-3 days. Also, to promote healing, I have to massage the incisions several times a day starting next week.

Overall, I feel great. I've been able to wear some of my non-button down shirts. The difference pre- and post-op is just amazing. I feel "normal" like the shirts were designed for a body like I have now and I'm not showing off or being overtly sexual when I walk about in a pajama shirt that isn't an XL. It's incredibly freeing and I can't wait to be cleared to exercise come early May.

Comparison Photos

Now that I've been healing, I realize how helpful it was to see photos of others pre- and post-breast reduction without bras. It helped me understand how significant the scars and healing can be. So, I've decided to post one pre-op and how I am today (11 days post-op) with and without the tape to cover my incisions. There is still some buckling of the skin.

One fun thing I noticed is my chicken pox scar on my right breast is still there but slightly closer to the nipple now.

6 weeks Wednesday!

It's been a few weeks now and I'm generally up and about like normal. I try to keep from picking up anything heavy, but otherwise life is back to normal. My clothes generally fit better and are thankfully much less revealing than they've been in more than a decade. ^_^

I've been dealing with the tape and massaging pretty well, but I'll definitely be happier when that is no longer necessary. I think it did a good job making the scars minimal though. I haven't experienced any unexpected pain (other than sensitivity around the incisions).

Questions for those further along:

1) I have a slight bump at the end of my anchor incisions on my right side, kinda like a zit. I imagine this is a "dog ear". What are the chances of it going away on its own?
2) I am now the reverse of the asymmetry I had before the surgery. My right side is bigger, extends more under my arm and its nipple is lower. I really hope it goes away on its own, but what are my options if it doesn't? Are those typically covered under insurance?
3) I want to start exercising again. What were your experiences with beginning again after BR surgery?

7 Weeks PostOp

I had my 6 week exam and all is going well. I no longer have to use tape all the time and I am free to exercise provided I use a good bra. Still on 24-hour bra usage for the next 5-6 weeks, but that's fine.
My PS prescribed a topical silicone ointment for my incisions which was custom formulated and shipped to me, which is a new thing for me. I'm used to going to the local pharmacy for all prescriptions. Hopefully, it will improve my scars

Itching and Suture Removal (with pictures)

I took some photos at 10 weeks post-op (May 21st). I've been feeling good with very little pain, just a lot of itching where my top layer of sutures are being rejected. When I have pain these tiny threads are almost always the cause. When I called my PS's office, they were very insistent that I come in that day to have them removed in case of infection. One that the nurse was able to remove was coming out underneath my left areola. I think it might have messed up the look a little bit. The others were either still attached a bit too much or under the skin. (What I thought was a dog ear is likely a knot near the surface of my skin.)

I also went to VS at the mall, just to see. (I haven't been able to fit into their styles for a LONG time.) It was really nice to be able to fit into the styles they had. The breast lift part of my surgery has left me with "self-supporting" breasts that don't fit quite right into their bras yet, unfortunately. I question whether I will patron them given that they suggested I get a 34 band bra, despite the fact that I can fit into my old 32s and 30s again without pain.

Overall, I am really satisfied with how the whole thing has turned out. While I haven't started exercising regularly yet (other than daily 1.5 mile dog walks), I am less hesitant to be active and social. And that is a significant change for the better.
Virginia Plastic Surgeon

After one appointment, he did all the necessary research and submitted for insurance approval which was successful. He has a rye sense of humor but is very personable and has high standards for his own work. Extremely nice and supportive office staff. I was seen within 10 minutes of my appointment. They were very willing to answer my questions and help me through the recovery process. I played a lot of phone tag with the office, but they always got back to me even if it took a few days (for non-emergency questions).

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (19)

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I'm Glad that you are doing so well ! You look great !
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Lovely result, few people manage to get so small. Who needs a bra!!!!????
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Well, I still need to be in a bra 24/7 for the next 2 weeks or so. And I still feel a psychological need to have a bra on after really needing the support for so long. But you are right, I should try to enjoy it after no longer have to for medical reasons.
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Still early days, massage your bump, reserve judgment on size as you will still have swelling. 25% of woman naturally have a difference in breast sizes. Exercise should be OK by 8 weeks post op.
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Looking good. Please do not stress about the scars at all. It gets better and better each day. Im 5 weeks post op and cannot believe how much better my boobs look. Im slowly but surely falling in love with my post op breast, which is hard to do at first because its so much of a shocker to see your boobs in that state. You're doing good, we just have to be patient. Overall, I am so happy That I finally did it. Happy healing to you ;)
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you are doing great, just let the healing happen. i would not be making any judgements about things before about 8 weeks and ideally, 4 months.
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Thanks. I am trying not to worry too much at this early stage. It's definitely a challenge though.
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Really happy everything went well and you're happy on the smaller side.
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Yes, I tell everyone pre-op to buy a post op bra one band size bigger than they normally wear. Bromelain between meals is superb for reducing swelling. It sounds like you are having a great recovery, as you say, it is not an illness. Most people have a fairly pain free, easy time if they do the right things. I am 7 weeks and feeling completely back to normal.
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I don't want anything tight either. I got something bigger around so it wouldn't rub.
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Congratulations!! Hope you are feeling good!
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Congratulations, take it easy and keep those arms by your side!
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Hope everything went well. X
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Hope everything went well for you xxx
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How did everything go!!!??
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what a nuisance, my surgery was put back 3 weeks due to a nasty cole. let us know how you get on, hopefully your next post will be from the smaller side!!!
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Ok first off just breath and relax hun... Lol. I was a nervous wreck before my surgery ALL FOR NOTHING. I promise you'll ne fine. Just think about how good it's going to feel when your back pain is gone forver. I was instantly relieved. It's a lil scary, but its the best decision I have ever made seriously. I automatically got a flashback when you said that you covered up a lot. That was me, but girl i'm so looking forward to wearing strapless dresses without a bra, I cannot wait!!! Lol im 9 days post op and my breast are still really swollen so i'm being patient. My insurance paid for mine too, so that's a blessing within itself. You'll do great ;) relax and think positive. In the meantime since you can't drink, i'll have a glass of wine for ya since i'm off of my pain meds. Lol. You're going to do good.
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Thank you so much! I've talk with my MIL a bit and that has calmed me down as well. I'm trying to think positive and about how good it will eventually feel. :-) Thanks again and enjoy the wine!
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Lol. You'll feel great afterwards and this will be behind you in a few weeks. Remember to relax and i'll check back with you in a few days. Good luck!
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