Definitely Worth Doing!!

You can read my background under the SmartLipo...

You can read my background under the SmartLipo review.

Because I was so thin and athletic, I had pitifully small breasts.  Nobody ever complained, but I felt like my clothes didn't fit properly and hated bikini season (even though the rest of me looked great, I always had to use a padded top). 

In June 2004, between job changes and interstate moves, I decided to finally have this done.  I had spent several weeks researching saline implants, lived on the message boards and asked questions, then researched the various surgeons in Texas who could do it.  I chose mine based on his before and after photos, and I'm glad I did.  You really need to see the work that person has performed in the past and remember that NOBODY ever gives a bad reference in their resume (even you readers).  If the doc's before and after photos don't look so hot, remember that those were their BEST results!!

CONSULTATION:  I sent photos and background info via email to the surgeon I chose in Houston.  We had a telephone conference as well to get on the same sheet of music regarding my expectations.  I flew in and had the procedure done the next morning after a brief in-person consultation to confirm.  During this consultation he took "before" photos and had me try on different implant sizes.  I brought a sweater and a workout top to try with the implants during this "fitting" to see how each one looks in a different type of top.  I liked the look of the 325s, but I FORGOT one important thing!!  In my excitement I forgot to ADD 25-50 ccs to the implant size that looked good at the fitting!  This is important when you go submuscular (under the muscle) because you lose about that much volume with the implant getting squished under the muscle.  So they don't look the way they did at the fitting but they are a LOT larger than before!

THE PROCEDURE:  I had general anesthesia for the surgery.  I only remember them giving me something "to relax" right before, then I was on the table and I remember someone joking about using 500s.  Next thing I remember I was waking up post-op.  Mine were Mentor 325s overfilled to approx. 345 cc.  Honestly, they discharged me too soon because I still had the shakes from the anesthesia.  My chest was wrapped in an ACE bandage with my new LARGER sports bra over it.  There was tape over my incision sites.  When I got to my hotel room (luckily someone was there to drive me) I passed out from too much anesthesia still in my system.  The pain meds made me nauseated, so I had to take Zofran (prescription) to keep from vomiting.  I was really jazzed up with excitement about having it done, and had a hard time sleeping that first night.

POST OP DAY 1:  A nurse came to my hotel room to take the ace bandage off and show me how to massage.  She stressed that I need to massage DAILY to keep the implants from hardening (from scar tissue) and that I needed to keep wearing a sports bra for a couple of weeks.  She checked my incision sites (a single 1.25" long incision in the crease under each) and said I was good to fly home the next day.  I went shopping immediately!!  I also went to dinner with a friend of mine that evening.

POST OP DAY 2:  I flew home but still had a 1.5 hour drive to make.  By the time I got home I was swelled up like a vienna sausage and in a lot of pain.  I took my pain meds (hydrocodone) and crashed. 

POST OP DAYS 3-5:  I had significant abdominal swelling. In reality the fluid was supposed to be going to my chest area but you know how gravity works!  I had to take a lower dose pain med because the hydrocodone was making me sick.  I was supposed to avoid carrying anything heavier than 5 pounds for the next few weeks, but unfortunately I had a house-hunting trip that weekend in another state and so I broke that rule.  THAT WAS A MISTAKE.  See my notes for the reason.

POST OP MONTHS 1-4:  I had my stitches out by another doc (local for me) after about 10 days, everything looked good.  I wore a sports bra for three weeks before transitioning into a regular one.  It really takes months for these things to settle into position, no joke.  After the first month things look decent, but you are still settling.  Massage is critical, I believe.  And even though you look like you don't need to wear a bra, WEAR ONE.  It helps.  I remember I could feel my new boobs pulling on my NECK skin, of all things! 

THE REST OF THE STORY:  Overall this was probably the single best investment I made.  It was a great confidence booster, and you just can't beat the new wardrobe that became essential post-op!  The profile you see in my profile photo is exaggerated due to the pose I had to assume for the Figure competition, but it gets the point across.  I am four years out and everything is fine with the exception of the possibility of a redo due to nerve entrapment.  When I was lifting those suitcases (and later, the boxes when moving) and breaking the "nothing over 5 pounds" rule, it appears I screwed up and injured myself and had additional scar tissue interfere with a nerve in the area just under my left breast, very close to the incision site.  For three years I couldn't bench press because of it, and to this day if I press that one pea-sized spot it will drop me like a water buffalo.  The doc also suggested a redo to silicone gel because when my body fat drops below 12% I get rippling pretty bad all around the underside.  We'll see.

NOTES AND SUGGESTIONS:  Research the surgeons thoroughly, and pay attention to the photos!  To approximate what the implant will look like, buy the bra size you think you want to fill and use a baggie filled with rice (trick I learned on the message board).  No ibuprofen or similar drugs for 2 weeks prior to surgery to minimize bleeding.  Show the surgeon photos of what you like / don't like to give him or her a clear understanding of your goals.  HAVE REASONABLE GOALS!  Too big is obviously fake, unless that's what you want for the next few decades.  I went from an A to a large C / small D, which was borderline.  The bigger you go, the more you will feel the effects of this mass on your chest (and yes they WILL sag over time, mine have dropped about half an inch in four years).  That said, if you go submuscular to get the look you like when trying on implants you need to increase that size about 50ccs.  MASSAGE these babies daily for like at least three to four months if you want them to look and feel more natural and to help avoid a redo due to capsulized implants.  Wear the sports bra, the time does pass.  DO NOT LIFT ANYTHING HEAVIER THAN 5 POUNDS for the first few weeks, or whatever time frame your provider suggests.  They are not kidding.  I was lucky that all I had was a trapped nerve.  I could have bled out.  By the way, I've noticed when I'm in a cold place (skiing in Colorado, on a river in Alaska, etc) my implants feel like ice bags under my skin.  Makes me get cold easier, so I just wear an extra layer (like a down vest) to help minimize the effect.

Most importantly, ENJOY them!  : )

Dr. Patronella

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Comments (2)

this is the best review i have read on here so far...very accurate!i am a fitness fanatic, and still can't work out my chest-it feels very strange when i try to-how long did you wait before resuming your gym routines?
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Hey! I'm so sorry for the massive delay, it has been a couple years since I logged on. I hope you are doing better now! I resumed my gym activities after about four months. I can bench press now (summer 2011) no problem BUT will have to go through this all over again when I get my gels.
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