Due to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, I had...
Due to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, I had been seeing a chiropractor for about 18 months. I didn’t always have large breasts. About 3½ years ago my OB/GYN and a general surgeon went in together to clean up a large amount of adhesions and scar tissue that seemed to be attached to pretty much everything. While they were in there, they decided to remove my remaining ovary which threw my body into forced menopause – UGH!
For some unexplainable reason, within about 2 months of the surgery, I went from a 36C to a 40DD. They just would not stop growing. I was 43 at the time so obviously no reason they should be getting larger. Pretty much right away the back, neck and shoulder pain started. About 2 years later I started seeing a chiropractor. I mentioned Breast Reduction surgery to him – his reply was that while it would help he had never seen an insurance company cover the cost. Sometime later I talked with my General Surgeon who recommended a doctor. Around the same time I talked with my OB/GYN who also recommended a doctor – both recommended the same Plastic Surgeon – Dr. David Allison.
It took me close to a year to gather the courage to call and make an appointment to discuss the procedure. When I called to make my appointment I spoke to a very nice staff member and the scheduling process was very easy. When I arrived for my appointment I was greeted by a very sweet woman. I was immediately taken back to the examination room. I am a pretty modest person and pointing out ones flaws and leaving yourself vulnerable can be a bit nerve racking to say the least. I am not sure that I will ever get used to this part of plastic surgery but I am getting used to it.
From my very first appointment with Dr. Allison I was instantly impressed with his personality, knowledge and enthusiasm for plastic surgery. Even through my nervous babbling, he listened to how I felt and what I wanted out of plastic surgery. He was honest with me and addressed all of my concerns, which helped me tremendously.
My surgery was scheduled and his office handled everything with my insurance carrier – I am very fortunate that my Breast Reduction was fully coverage by insurance thus allowing me to use the money I saved/set aside for the reduction for a Tummy Tuck.
My surgery was in mid-July – these procedures combined are definitely not a walk in the park. Dr. Allison is very honest about the pain that you will experience. He doesn’t sugar coat it but he does make sure that it is managed and doesn’t want you to suffer. Right after surgery was probably the worst! It was so bad I couldn’t even speak – not a single sound - and for me, that says a lot. Within 24 hours I was headed home and things had already improved. It is the initial 4 or so hours out of recovery that your body is screaming at you! Each day was easier than the previous.
I am now 13 weeks post-op and things are still progressing in a positive manner! I would be lying if I didn’t say that there weren’t times wherein I questioned my decision – not my surgeon – but my decision to have the reduction. It was such a drastic change – from a 40DD to about a 36B - at one point I became very down about the change and felt as if I had ruined my body. During a follow-up visit, I explained to Dr. Allison what I was feeling and he was great about helping me understand that all of these feelings were normal. He took the time to listen and genuinely cared.
Since I had surgery I have not had a single bit of back, neck or shoulder pain! Even through all of the surgical pain and emotional angst, I do not regret my decision at all and would not hesitate to do it again! As for the Tummy Tuck, LOVE IT!!!!!
Finishing Touches with a little Lipo
30 Nov 2013
4 months post
Prior to my BR and TT surgery in July, I read many reviews, etc. on RealSelf - several people mentioned that after their Breast Reduction they had a noticable under their arms. Something that I would just have to wait and see - after all of the swelling or at least the majority of the swelling, had gone down.
It was at about the 3 month mark that I asked my doc about them - they were so noticable. He explained that it was basically fat - yes fat - lovely - after all of this and I am left with a noticable fat roll under each arm that basically extended around - the bra lone area. I guess that had always that the fat rolls but they weren't as noticable because the girls were a DD - now I am a B. Here I was, having gone through everything and now there were these oh so noticable rolls. Absolutely horrible looking!
I talked with my PS - he confirmed that yes, it was fat. I explained that I wanted it gone and asked about Liposuction. I really had no idea what Lipo was and/or how it worked. We went over everything and that was that - I decided that I would have Lipo.
I did not have any Lipo with my TT - I have read that a lot of people do. In the end, I am glad that I didn't. I think waiting allowed me to really see where it was needed.
My abdomin looked great except for this one area right at my sternum (just under my breasts). Even with having the muscle repair during my tummy tuck and hernia repair, I still had that upper ab fat roll and it was very uncomfortable.
In the end, I had Liposuction done under my arms, the bra line, flanks, hips, waist (not sure the technical name for these areas - are flanks and waist the same - LOL).
About 9 days ago I went in for Liposuction - it took about 2 1/2 hours and was a walk in the park compared to the previous surgery. When I woke up I had some pain but it was totally managable with meds.
Many have asked what kind of Liposuction - I am not sure of the technical term - all I know is that it was Liposuction done in a hospital seeting and I was totally out! I have read about so many different types and I believe that what I had done was more of a traditional Liposuction - fluid injected then everything sucked out.
Of course prior to the procedure, I decided that I just had to see how it was done and watched a video - I highly advise against this! Me and my curiosity - dumb@$$ is all that I can say.
When I talked with my plastic surgeon and told him that I watched a video and was a little disturbed by what I saw he smiled and said without hesitation, oh yes, it is brutal but don't worry, you will be asleep and won't feel a thing. My doctor doesn't sugar coat it at all which I appreciate!
Once I got home the first couple of days were a little rough but again, nothing like after the breast reduction and tummy tuck and managable with meds. I showered the day after and had bruising and swelling but nothing like what I thought that I would have. Some of the photos that I have seen are pretty rough looking.
I saw my doctor for my 1st follow-up 6 days after the procedure. He was very pleased as I was - there was already a noticable difference. He said things already looked better even though I still had lots of swelling. I was told to continue with the compression garment for 4 weeks.
I can honestly say that this was nothing like I expected! I expected or at least prepared myself, for something so much worse. So far my results have been good and will hopefully continue to only improve as the swelling decreases.
I have no plans for anything else to be done in the future. Throughout all of this, the one thing that I wish I had from my doctor was a sort of cheat sheet - some sort of past patient comments, tips, tricks, how-to's for various procedures.
I'm sure that we have all come up with ways or tricks to make certain things a little easier or comfortable, etc. I ran across the following article on RealSelf and it is just dead-on perfect! It is as if this person knew pretty much my every thought and feeling.
Here is the link to a must read for anyone having any sort of plastic surgery procedure done:
Also, it is key that you know who your doctor is - what I mean by this is, know what kind of work they do, the results, reviews, etc. When I was researching plastic surgeons I ultimately went with one whose practice is Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery. From what I read, breast reconstruction after breast cancer is a big part of his practice and that stuck with me.
1 Year Post-Op Breast Reduction, Tummy Tuck with Muscle & Hernia Repair
During the past year I have had many ups and downs, many moments of angst, many questions and too many emotions to count. The one thing that I never experienced was regret. There were times that I wondered if I had made the right decision to have a breast reduction but at the one year mark, I am positive that I made the right decision.
Since I needed to have a hernia repaired I decided to have a tuck done at the same time then just over 6 months ago, had lipo to upper abs, flanks and hips to finish things off. I think the one thing that I would do different if I had it to do over ,,, I would of had the lipo done at the same time as everything else. Just my opinion, but I think it would of made things easier and the results possibly even better.
Things are still changing all the time. It truly does take a year plus to see final results - swelling to go down, incisions to heal, and scars to fade. It has only been just over 6 months since having the lipo procedure and things are still changing.
Over the past year I have received numerous messages from RealSelf users asking for photographs and information about my surgeon. I totally understand the desire to see a surgeons work when considering having anything cosmetic done but am just not comfortable posting photographs. Maybe at some point I will be but have not yet reached that point. Also, unfortunately I did not take photos prior to having the first surgery (reduction and tuck).
When I started receiving messages with questions, I began taking weekly photos. This was about 6 weeks post-op having the second procedure (liposuction), I found that this helped me to see the changes and allowed me to document the second part of my journey. I still take weekly photos and plan to continue until the one year mark.
Each week I weigh myself taking a photo of the scale and then take photographs. I do recommend that you take pictures prior to having any surgery and then throughout the recovery and healing process. There were times that I thought that it would of helped with questions I had for my surgeon - being able to point to whatever I was trying to explain. There have also been times over the past 6 months where it helped to go back and look at the pictures to see the progress in the healing process.
I have said this before and feel that it is very important - make sure you do your research on your surgeon. Ask questions, look up reviews, meet with several surgeons, talk to past and current patients if at all possible. There are numerous online sites wherein doctors are reviewed and rated. It took me almost one year to decide on a plastic surgeon but I am certain that I picked the right one for me. Cosmetic surgery is a very personal and emotional process - read as much as you can about what you are considering having done and be well informed prior to visiting a potential surgeon.
For those who have and still ask for photos along with information on my surgeon. I wish that I could assist with the photos but I am just not yet comfortable posting pictures of this sort online. I can, have and will continue to recommend Dr. Allison to anyone asking for a good plastic surgeon.
I have several close friends waiting to see the final results of my second procedure so they can make their decision on what they would like to have done. While they have definitely made the decision to use my surgeon, they are just not sure what they want to have done. How much they want to spend and go through - just lipo or lipo and a tuck. The tuck is what they are unsure of - the pain part of it and as I said in my first review, it is very painful! The pain does go away, the results appear and in the end, it is well worth it.
The only other advice that I can give is do not be afraid to ask your surgeon questions. If there is something that you don't understand or something looks odd to you or feels odd ask your surgeon. Even with the best plastic surgeon, it can be very intimidating sitting there, on display as I like to put it, while being inspected.
I always try to remember when seeing any doctor that they are just like me - Human. They have good days, bad days and feelings just like anyone. You can ask questions without them coming across as offensive or critical of their work so don't be afraid to ask questions.