After Months of Researching and TWO Consultations I Have Scheduled TWO More! - Minneapolis, MN

Hi RealSelf! I finally decided to make a profile...

Hi RealSelf! I finally decided to make a profile and post my experience. I have gone through months and months of research and stories from RealSelf.
I'm 29 years old, married, 3 children (all breastfed) & a proud NAVY WIFE! :-) I'm about 5'3 & 155 pounds. I have an athletic build with a round bottom (I love my butt). I'm Puerto Rican, German, African American, Indian ( I know it's a lot).

My husband & I originally wanted 5 children, but after number 3 he retired. The youngest just turned one so we'll see how many years go by before he changes his mind. He plans on having a vasectomy this year. From the beginning we agreed on having children and after we were done I could get my boobs done (& now anything else I wanted). So since his deployment I started researching slowly & now I'm now I'm a research addict.

I'm currently a 36C but that is not the actual size because I have stretched skin. I'm told I'm more likely a B cup due to the loss of breast tissue.. I want to be the 36D I was in my breastfeeding days.

I went on my first consultation about a month ago with Dr. Jennifer Harrington (referred by my hair stylist). I waited for over an hour & had to come back the next day. She got caught up in something. She was truly a nice doctor. She made me feel very comfortable and explained it all to me. However she only recommended a breast lift & if I still wanted implants she could do so at a later date. Not really what I was looking for but okay. After she gave me the price I almost choked! I quickly learned that if your looking for a certain price you may want to find a doctor that uses their own operating room to cut down on "facility cost".

I felt bad for my husband. I couldn't believe it would cost that much. I decided to try to wait to have this surgery done. I couldn't stop researching though. I think he felt bad for me & told me to try to find another doctor. So that's what I did. I scheduled a consultation with Dr. Richard Tholen (found him on this site!), but his first available was a month out! It's scheduled for July 26th. So back to looking for another doctor. I found a David O Smith. He seemed to be experienced a little older so I figured I should give him a shot. I went first thing Monday morning. He was very polite. He answered all my questions, took measurements, & had me try on a bra with "fillers". I liked the way the 550cc looked, but it quickly told me that was not going to be big enough to fit my stretched breast. He told me 600cc with a nipple lift would get the look I wanted. ALSO I would need a lift at a later date (years down the line). I was kind of relieved. The cost was much more fitting. He also did the surgery in his office. I explained this to my mom & my husband. I also had doubts in my mind after thinking about everything I read. So what do I do? Schedule another consultation with yet another Doctor. Dr. Wilke of Edina Plastic Surgery you are the lucky one. He was out of town this week so I am scheduled for next Friday the 19th! I will let you know how that goes!

I could not wait for a whole week so I posted my 2 pics of my breasts & I "asked a doctor". Thanks to all the 11 doctors that answered. They mostly all agreed a nipple lift and 600cc's will not give me the look I am looking for. I hope Dr. Wilke can settle this. I have been to two different doctors & received two different answers (both not what I really wanted).

*One thing* I never thought about how busy these doctors are! I was hoping I could get a consultation and schedule a surgery maybe two weeks later. Before you laugh, the only reason I thought that is because I read several stories on here where they scheduled surgery the next week! I do understand it is summer time. I also thought about traveling somewhere, but I think the safest place for me is right here. :-)

Any tips, comments, or questions I'm open to. Thank you to all the RealSelf members. You have helped me more than you could have ever imagined.

Some pics

Here is what I am currently looking like. 3 children. Each breastfed for a year. (The best decision I ever made).

One of my consults from 7/8/13

This consult shows just a nipple lift with 600cc implants. Those were the smallest he recommended. They looked kinda big, but he said they would be actually smaller. Here is what they looked like on.

Two Consultations over the weekend...

Okay. I know I said I was going to update on Friday, but I honestly was really busy. I did see Dr. Wilke first thing Friday morning. I walked into the office and it was very nice and fancy. The front office staff was very nice and talkative. I didn't wait long maybe 5/10 minutes at most. Dr. Wilke came in about 5 minutes after that. He took a look and said I would definitely need a lift and recommended an implant with 350 cc's on up. I tried on the fillers and I thought 350 was nice, but since they won't actually look that size he suggested I go up to 375-400 cc's. I just didn't want to have the 600 cc's that Dr. Smith was pushing me towards. I also asked about my back fat roll that he said he could lipo with no problem. I also asked about lipo for my stomach which he said I would need a TT. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but lipo would just shrivel it up like a prune. I'm not to interested in a TT for a few reasons. 1) I don't want the scar. 2) I don't like the way the belly button looks because they cut a new one. 3) The recovery time. I think it looks nice on most people, I just don't think it is for me. Anywho, they took some pictures of me and gave me my quote. The quote was about $9,600 (lift, implant, back lipo). Unfortunately he was not available the first week of September. I walked out of Dr. Wilke's office feeling great. He told me exactly what I thought all along and the price was more of what I expected. He showed me pictures and I felt very comfortable with him.

Now Saturday morning I got to meet with the guru Dr. Tholen. The office was empty as he is only in on Saturdays to see patients he operated on Friday. He welcomed me with a warm smile and had me fill out some paperwork. We went to a room and we began talking about my expectations right away. He had already seen my pictures and answered a question for me on RealSelf so he knew exactly what to expect. I got to hear in depth all about the procedure and why a lift and implant will work for me. He also explained to me why just implants or just a lift would not work for me. I was able to ask anything I wanted and I felt like I got the best answer. He recommended me at 400-450 cc's to start (he must have spoken to my husband lol). I even asked about my tummy which he told me a TT also. I felt like I've known him for years. He was so open and so honest, I didn't feel like just another patient. I felt like a friend. He still did look at me and took measurements. He did have a sample quote ready for me with the information off of RealSelf. All in all I was in there about an hour and a half or so. I didn't feel rushed and I got the sense that he really wanted me to know what I wanted could be achieved and it's not rocket science. Now since I didn't get to meet the staff or try on fillers he urged me to stop in anytime with my family or even make an appointment to try on fillers. Also Sonja would call me with an updated quote.
I will make an appointment to try on fillers and also ask about my back fat roll because I totally forgot. I was really amazed by this consultation.

I didn't just want to come out and write about the reviews. I wanted to sleep on it, take it all in and then make a decision. Dr. Wilke and Dr. Tholen are going to be the best options. I just believe Dr. Tholen cares about how I feel and helped me be more realistic about my results. I'm not sure about his scheduling but hopefully I can get in in the beginning of August or Mid August. Sonja is supposed to call me back with a quote today and I can also ask her about his schedule.

P.S. I also got to ask Dr. Tholen about a TT for my mom. I passed on the information to her and she is now considering getting a TT from him. She didn't think it was possible because she had a vertical incision (3 times). From my understanding this is easier than the horizontal incision. She has a perfect body but her incision is kind of messed up and it keeps her from wearing a bikini. I hope she goes through with it.

Just received a call from Sonja...

Perfect timing. Sonja gave me the quote of $9,930. If I paid cash, check or money order I would get a discount and the quote would drop to $9,633. His first available is August 12th! I feel like this is meant to be! I just need to talk it over with my husband and my mom. I'm so excited!

Scheduled!

I'm scheduled for August 12th at 8 am. The total operation time is about 4 hours. I have to call Sonya on Monday to go through check in, payment, and do's & don'ts. I'm so nervous & excited I can't believe it. My husband is even flying in for a week. I feel so blessed. Thank you all for your support as well!

New Bras

I wanted to go looking for a couple new bras to wear right after surgery. Does anybody have any recommendations? I see many women using sports bra's. How small should I get without knowing my actual size (including swelling)? I'm so excited!

I've been away.

I'm so sorry that I have been away so long. After posting and researching all day on the 30th I received a call from `my father informing me that my best friend who is also my cousin committed suicide. It's really been a rough week for me. With family coming into town & trying to plan his services I haven't had time to log on. It's so hard for me to talk about this because this was the only person that knew everything that was going on in my life. If it wasn't for him & his wife I would've never even of built up the courage to go on a consultation. My husband is flying in today, I am excited about that! This is the first time I have even had a chance to think about what is about to happen to me on Monday. I'm not nervous, I'm not scared, I'm just starting to feel some excitement about the surgery. Dr. Tholen's office did call me and let me know that they called in my prescriptions. They were ready yesterday and I am going to pick them up now and stop at Walmart to get some bras with the help of you ladies!
Also Dr. Tholen's office is also running a promotion. I get a choice between a free 20 units of Botox or a box of Latisse. It also extends out to a friend or family member. I am getting Latisse and my mom is getting the Botox! Lol. Now I can get her in to the office and hopefully talk to Dr. Tholen about a TT. I am going through with surgery on Monday!!! My cousin would be proud. Thanks so much for your support Real Self family.

Tomorrow is the day!

Its almost midnight. I'm rushing to drink down my last glass of water lol. I have to leave my house at 6:15 to be there by 7 am. I'm so excited! Hopefully I will be able to post something tomorrow. Thank you everyone for your support! It really means a lot.

It is done!!!

Right now I'm feeling great! There's a tad bit of pain, & mostly pressure. Dr. Tholen was right on time this morning. I went in & signed my paperwork. Took a few pics & got changed. Dr. Tholen came in & wrote all over me lol. I was so comfortable, not a nervous bone in my body. He took his time drawing, maybe 15 mins. I waited for my husband because I forgot my care credit card & he had to go home & get it. Once he was there I walked back to the operating room. The bed was heated, it was so nice! They put those things on My feet to keep the blood circulating. They asked me if I was ready & I said yes & I was out. I felt like I woke up 20 minutes later in no pain. Very foggy, but the nurse's were amazing. One was Dr. Tholens wife! Very sweet woman. I was in & out of sleep & finally I was woken up to go home. They wheeled me out & helped me get in the car. They had to keep reminding me not to use my arms to pull up. My husband got me a malt & brought me home, put me in the bed. I fell asleep for 2 hours & now I'm up watching a movie. I did take some muscle relaxer & vicodin. I feel nice. I am sitting up right with like 10 pillows. I will post what I can. I go in tomorrow for my first sneak peak. Thanks everyone!

Wrapped up

A call from Tracy

I received a call from his assistant in surgery Tracy. She was absolutely lovely. She said my breast were beautiful & she was jealous (nonsense ;-) It was just a check up call. She also let me know I could call Dr. Tholen at home in the middle of the night if necessary & will answer. I forgot to add earlier that he couldn't get in 450 cc's. He could only get in 420 cc's & used the moderate profile. I can't wait to see!

1st day post op appointment

I got to look at the girls up close and personal! They look awesome. Not perfect because obviously they need to heal & fall into the pocket. There's not much bruising, he said I hardly bled at all. The nurse today, Lavonne, was very sweet & removed the dressing so Dr. Tholen could observe his work. I don't have much feeling in my nipples which may or may not come back. Only time will tell. He showed me how to massage the implant. I need to lay down & move the implant up & down every 3 hours (once I take my muscle relaxer). He said no sign of dog ears, but I do have on a special thong bra with gauze in the middle to keep it from forming a bubble in the middle. I uploaded pics from today. My first shower is tomorrow! I can't wait.

I feel great!

So 3 days after surgery I'm sleeping like a baby. My husband has been great giving me my medicine on time. I don't wake up for it in the middle of the night. Yesterday was the height of my swelling. It has not gotten any better today. I finally got to take a shower and that was the best! The massaging is going well. It actually helps relieve some of the tightness. They're easier to move as the days go by. On my right a side I hear little water farting sounds when massaging them. Its weird. My husband tries to keep me in the bed but I am able to move around quite a bit. I took some new photos but not much has changed. You can really see the swelling though.

Day 7

Today is a much better day. Day 4, 5, &6 were days I'm glad are over. I didn't realize how much of a side sleeper I really am. My husband woke me up a few times to get me off my side. I had to call the doctor because I thought it was ok (even though I read stories on not to). Sure enough Tracy said no side sleeping but I can kind of tilt to the side. Days 5 &6 I'm tired of the tightness. I also was thinking are they too high, when will they look like all the boobs I read about. Patience Patience Patience. . . My husband had to go back to work so he left yesterday. Today I was alone with the kids, but they were great. My son picked up the baby anytime I asked. I only took muscle relaxer once today. I'll probably take it before I go to bed. Massaging still. I haven't been good at the 3 hour mark, but I set alarms for every 3 hours so tomorrow will be better. I'll post some pics. They have started to look more like the boobs I wanted. I'm so happy. I know Dr. Tholen did the best job! I love the cleavage already! I will probably do a short post on my check up. Thank you all so much! I really can't say that enough.

Week 1 check up

I had my week one check up yesterday and unfortunately I am still wearing the thong bra. I did some research on the thong bra and symmastia & got scared. I know I am only a week out but the thought of something wrong scares me. I know its so early and I'm still swollen, that relieves me. I trust Dr. Tholen knows exactly what he is doing so I will happily continue to wear the bra. I read a review about a girl in Germany who had a revision because of symmastia. After her revision she wore a thong bra for 3 months 24/7 and then only at night for 3 months. I will just continue to follow orders and see Dr. Tholen in 2 weeks. He really is a sweet guy. He did tell me to still take it easy as day 10-21 are the heightened days of bleeding. I do not want that. I am taking it easy.

I forgot to mention the 10 lbs I gained after surgery lol. I found out it was just retention, but my husband thought it was SO funny. I'm just 2 lbs of being my pre-op weight. I will post pictures of my stomach and belly button in reply to my earlier post of not wanting a TT. And I am posting pics of my cleavage to show you the reason for my symmastia fears.

Tummy Photos

So here is my tummy. I really don't want the TT scar or the recovery time. My stomach is somewhat flat, but as you can see the wrinkles around my belly button. I did have an umbilical hernia repair right under my belly button. The scar is almost invisible. I plan on using skin firming lotions religiously for 6 months. I started sunday (Aug 18th) with Palmers skin firming lotion. I know people say its not going to work, but I'm willing to try anything. Once I get the okay I plan on working on my abs as well. Thanks for reading.

3 weeks & 3 days

It's been a while since I've posted. Sorry, its been chaotic the past week or so. My husband is set to deploy again after being home for only three months. I did see Dr. Tholen for my three week check up & everything is moving along great. It couldn't be better! I DO NOT have symmastia (in regards to my last review. I was overly paranoid lol). My birthday wass on Aug 23rd & I went out but I was careful. I did take off my symmastia bra for a few hours but I put it on as soon as I got home. I am still wearing the bra. Not even so much under his recommendation, but because its weird being without it now. I told him I was still wearing it & he said good. Even if I don't wear it in the day at least at night while I sleep for up to a year if necessary. I was told to massage my scars with Vitamin E oil. Just at night before bed 5 minutes a day. I'm going to purchase Scarguard MD & sheets. After reareading another review, her scars were invisible after using these together. I did get the ok to wear a bra, just no push ups! Which I don't need anyhow. Also still massage, but outward. They have great movement. In just 3 more weeks I'll be back working out. I'm so excited. I'm so pleased with my decision & choice of surgeon. I just recommend doing in depth research. Thanks RealSelf for being an outlet for me.

Here are a couple of pics (sorry about the quality) I took just now after rubbing the vitamin E oil on.

Just a quick photo

I just wanted to post a pic of my breast in clothes. I am wearing a strapless bra that is not doing much but covering my nipples lol. ;-)

Layered Camis

I wanted to post a few pics in my tank top with my nipples showing through lol. It might be hard to see because of the color shirt but they're there.
Richard H. Tholen

He is truly an amazing doctor. He did not rush through any appointments. He did not keep me waiting. He thoroughly explained everything to me & gave his opinion when I asked him. His staff made me feel like family. I LOVE this place. I'm even sending my mother & a dear friend to have consultations here. You can not go wrong with Dr. Tholen!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (82)

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Thank you so much for the detailed review. I had a consult scheduled with Dr. Smith but cancelled it because i didn't see any reviews for him on facelifts...which is what I want. I just scheduled a consultation with Dr. Wilke so will see what he has to say. I have already talked with Dr. Tholen and agree with everything you said. He really knows his stuff...so much experience too. I also met with Dr. Ness and liked him as well. Just like you, I am researching, researching, researching. I appreciate the time you took post for all of us who are considering plastic surgery. Carol
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Sorry so late, but have you found "the one"? It's hard, but you get to make the decision, you know what you want and its your money. The surgeon's will always be there so take your time. Best wishes!
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You are looking marvelous!!! Feeling good too?
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I feel wonderful. The incision scars can be tender at times. Otherwise everything is perfect!
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So awesome to follow ur whole story! Thanks!

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Thanks Joy! I hope to help others who may need just that little extra info they may be missing. Thanks so much for reading it all!
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Wow you really look great!so perky now!
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Thank you! Definitely perky compared to before lol
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Mrs. Williams, you have awesome cleavage going on now, and the best part... you don't ALWAYS have to wear a bra ; ) p.s. i posted a link to the silicone pads i am using
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you're looking good! Your scars are healing nicely :) you may want to look coco butter or bio oil, they are fabulous on scars- they did great on mine. Not quit as oily on the clothing either :)
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Thanks D! I actually thought about purchasing pure coco butter or shea butter because my grandmother always made me use that on my legs for scars and my scars look great now. I'm going to look at your posts now. Thanks for coming by!
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i think ya look great! and your incisions look so thin and almost invisible. My surgery was in April, but i had a problem where my stitches spit (slit up at the top and bottom of the vertical incision) It took 2 months for them to fully close before i could start scar therapy and they seem pretty reddish still, but i'm doing the silicon and the vitamin E every day, although i have a wierd kinda "gap" at the end of my incisions, the outside end, instead of it "dog earred", it's like i have an extra belly button, idk, but he's gonna need to fix that.. lol, i guess i will have to wait to see if i need scar revision : /
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Thanks for commenting again! I'm sorry you had some complications but its good to hear your optimistic. I'm hoping they will heal nicely even though your a few months out, my surgeon said scars can change for up to a year plus. What silicon are you using? I want to buy some.
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I found these on Ebay, they are not expensive, can cut one in half and use half for each side, they seem to keep it smooth, my dr. gave me a silicone liquid that paints on like nail polish but it's hard to SCRUB off... so i use both depending, here is the link, or you can google them direct PediFix Visco GEL Silicone Scar Therapy Treatment Sheet http://www.ebay.com/itm/190520114270?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
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You look fantastic - what a transformation! So, how are you doing during the day and do you look 'normal' in clothes?! The reason I ask is because I am scheduled on Sep 26 and I have to travel by plane 3 weeks later, and go to a course for work! My surgeon said I would be fine but I'm freaking out a little because here you are 3 weeks and you're still wearing that thong bra....which can I ask why you have to wear that? I don't recall seeing any other ladies with it...just wondering. Anyways, you look fantastic!!!!
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Thank you! I do look normal in clothes besides the fact that my nipples are always out lol. I was told to layer my camis but that doesn't help. I need to go find some bras that don't push them together. I started lifting my one year old who is 23 pounds. Then I had to move some boxes and bags. It didn't hurt but my muscles would tense up & get tight. I would just try to relax and immediately message them. I still try not to lift anything heavy but sometimes its impossible. I think at three weeks you will be fine. You will know when it's too much. The thong bra is to help prevent symmastia. Symmastia is basically when your implants touch & you get a uniboob, where you would have cleavage the breast are one. I didn't think of anything going wrong when I decided to have the surgery, so the possibilty that something could after its already been done freaked me out. I reserached symmastia for days. I didn't want my boobs too far apart, but I never thought they could be too close together. Thank God for the thong bra. You should research symmastia, just to see an example. I am posting a pic in a dress I'm wearing right now w/ a strapless bra that really doesn't do anything for me but hide my nipples lol. I am going to post on your page to get alerts when you update. I'm excited for you. I wish you all the best!
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Thanks so much!! I'm really excited and I think you look great!
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I found (on Ebay, cheapest) little "Petals" they are flesh toned and they cover just the nipple/areola area. I bought them after my first surgery because like you, i didn't want to have to layer my clothes. They are reusable, washable, and only about $4
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oh my gosh sweetie look at you! looking so beautiful! im glad your happy and now you finally have the boobs you deserve! xxxx
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Thank you Sarah! Thank you so much!
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Yes!!! Looking awesome!! So when did u start massaging? I dont have my post op until tuesday...and they didnt say anything about massaging.
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Christy, generally NO massage or creams or ointments of any kind until your incisions are completely closed... i been thru this twice now, but esp if you've had a lift you don't want to put any stress on those incisions.
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Christy, my surgeon wanted me to start massaging the night of my surgery. It doesn't hurt too bad. I can really only massage the top half, sides and middle. It's harder to massage from the bottom because of the skin they cut away, but I'm trying. Good luck!
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I just read how several girls said not to massage near the scars, so I will leave the bottom alone and just massage the top. My dr called last night to check on me but I was sleeping. I will ask him today when he calls.
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Thanks Christy! I started massaging the next day at my first post op. I basically just moved them up & down. I held my hand like I was saluting & right under my incision I gently pushed up & let them drop & repeated a few times. I did it every three hours with my muscle relaxer. Worked out perfectly. At my three week check up I got the go ahead to massage my scars with vitamin E oil nightly. I can't wait to see your progress!
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