When I hit puberty I developed mild tuberous breasts with large herniated nipples and a wide space between them. I had fairly significant ptosis, and was mostly unhappy with the 'hanging' sensation. It seemed particularly unfair because I my breasts are reasonably small, a medium b-cup. I was upset push up bras never 'helped'. They just pushed my tissue backwards into the skin and put them at the place where a well developed breast starts at! I could never achieve a full 'cleavage-y' look, not even in HS when I was heavier, on birth control, and had fuller C cups. My breasts have looked the same since I first developed. I was born with sag & ptosis. Boyfriends/my Husband- they NEVER had a problem with my breasts. I HAD THE PROBLEM. I've wanted/prayed for them to change my whole life. When I was 17 I visited a plastic surgeon, and he advised me to wait because as I got older they might change/ 'fill out'. After I got married, I figured I might have kids soon, so I thought I should wait after kids to do something about it. The marriage didn't work out. I'm 30, I'm single, I'M TIRED OF WAITING!!!!
About a year ago I posted some pics on RealSelf asking advice about my candidacy for a breast lift with no implant. I got a few responses from Real Self docs that were very helpful. The opinions were pretty even, with a little more than half recommending an implant to go along with the lift. I'm not terribly comfortable with the idea of an implant, mostly because to me, no matter how beautifully done, they always look fake. This has more to do with movement than shape. They are always stiff looking. Maybe not to men, but women know. They don't jiggle. They don't bounce. I like softness and bounce. Maybe if I DO have kids and they deplete all my tissue, an implant might be an option then, but for now, its not for me. I wanna work with what God gave me.
I decided to visit a few docs in my hometown (St. Louis, MO) to weigh my options. I live in NYC and the location alone triples the price.
These are the St. Louis Stand-outs, in the following Order: the WORST, the Runner Up, and the BEST!
The WORST: The first Doc I visited had awful bedside manner, made me feel deformed and crazy. It was clear he was an implant man, plain and simple. He kept talking about my 'terrible skin, weak ligaments and poor 'presentation'. That what he kept calling my breasts. My 'Presentation'.
DOC: "Women with your (insert pretentionous voice).....Presentation... ALWAYS want an implant. ALWAYS."
I asked if I could see pics of standard lifts on breasts that were maybe not exactly like mine, but sort of close to mine.
Doc: "I have none to show you. No one with your .....Presentation ever doesn't want implants"
I said I didn't want implants for the reasons stated above. But I was there asking his professional opinion. If he really thought implants would yield a better outcome, I wanted to discuss it.
Doc: "Clearly you are not mentally ready to accept an implant as an option."
HE WOULDN'T EVEN DISCUSS IT AS A HYPOTHETICAL.
I left feeling deformed, worthless & a little crying. The only light at the end of this tunnel is while he was bragging about himself he mentioned a colleague who was very conservative and ALWAYS staged his lift/augmentation patients, not only because its less complicated and safer, but also just in case the lift alone was pleasing to them. Needless to say, I left with this docs number.
The Runner Up: Dr. David A. Caplin was a wonderful man who had a very modest office that was relaxed and down to earth. No Real Housewife looking staff. Lovely family pictures he took on Safari. His info packet was mostly about his overseas foundations and charitable work. He considered himself primarily a reconstructive surgeon. Lots of cancer patients. Beautiful subtle work. Wonderful bedside manner and answered every question without rushing me. Did not think an implant was necessary to help me. Discussed all options and found pics of women similar to me (although they did eventually opt for implants after the lift). He was great. He even offered to introduce me to colleagues in NYC if I did not wish to travel for my surgery. Had I not met my final surgeon, he would have been my guy.
THE BEST!!!! Dr. Judith Gurley
As soon as I walked into Dr. Judith Gurley's beautiful office I KNEW I was in the right place. Design wise, it hit all the right notes. Wonderful Lighting, decor that walked the line between Zen Spa and Mod. Simplistic and welcoming. Dr. Gurley's staff is comprised of beautiful, girl-next-door looking women of different ages and backgrounds. Everyone is EXTREMELY gracious and helpful. There is comfortable seating, good magazines & a bangin' coffee/tea bar. All of her procedure info pamphlets in the waiting area were comprised of HER OWN ACTUAL WORK & PHOTOS. This might be a strange thing to call out, but to me it shows a type A eye for detail that I think is ESSENTIAL in a person who is in the business of aesthetics. All other docs had standard boilerplate info pamphlets. THIS IS ATTENTION TO DETAIL. THIS IS WHO YOU WANT REARRANGING YOUR FACE. It takes extra effort to tailor your whole environment to reflect who you are, and that is what I want in this sort of doctor!
When I was taken back to the exam rooms for my consultation, I was struck by the fact that they all faced HUGE windows, filling the office with Natural light. Not the rooms themselves, but the hallways. This is rare. It's invigorating. In an exam room, you WANT light you can control. Not only for one's ego, but for continuity regarding photos, follow up exams, close inspections, etc. The office was so cheery and different.
The lovely Courtney escorted me back to the room and took the initial photos. Another interesting part of Dr. Gurley's process is she takes the standard front/3/4/lateral views, but then also takes a shot of you wearing a simple white triangle bikini top. This is GREAT when it comes to looking at before and afters, visualizing and seeing the difference when you are clothed (if only a little).
When I finally met Dr. Gurley, she immediately put me at ease. The first words after the customary introductions were 'You don't need an implant'. WHEW! I was able to achieve a level of communication with her that I had not yet reached with other doctors. Maybe it's the fact that women in general are better communicators, easier to relate to another woman, etc, or maybe we are just of similar minds, but she immediately understood what I was looking for in a final result. During the initial examination, she said she was gonna take one or two more photos, and after that was done, she asked me to stand still for a moment so she could make some quick SKETCHES. I about fainted!!! To me, to be a GOOD plastic surgeon, you MUST consider yourself an ARTIST. This really pushed any hesitation I might have had about going forward with this procedure off the cliff. I was all in.
Dr. Gurley was also the first doctor I was comfortable enough to show my 'secret weapon' to- the BareLift Lift Stickers. If you are considering a basic no implant mastopexy I urge you to go online and purchase some right now! Don't get the imitations- BareLifts are more pricey, but the BEST, adhesion wise. They will last through a backyard dance party BBQ in the middle of Summer! Trust me, I know. Google it if you have never seen it. Anyway, I showed Dr. Gurley what I looked like with the stickers and told her that's ALL I WANTED! Just a simple rearrangement of my own tissue, with a slightly smaller aureola, placed higher on the chest. I have a slight asymmetry, I didn't even care about that, just give me what the stickers do. She assured me, in person & via an extensive (and I'm sure annoyingly in depth) follow up email, that we could easily achieve the 'sticker' look.
I booked my surgery the same day I got the reply to my obnoxious email. It was one week and a few days ago, on April 29, 2013.
Well I can now look back on that day as the day (actually the day following, when I got my first look at my new rack) as the FIRST day in my ENTIRE Boob-having Life (since age 12 or so) that I absolutely LOVED MY BREASTS. MY BREASTS. MY own actual living non artificial tissue!!! They are so so SO LOVELY!
Looking at my photos, I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who would not call my result 'perfect'. But to me, they couldn't be MORE perfect. It's still me. I decided to keep my asymmetry, cause I didn't want to sacrifice volume. To me, #1 priority was shape change. I wanted a high, perky breast with a centered nipple/areola, central chest (cleavage) improvement (I knew Christina Hendricks level cleavage was not possible given my natural shape & volume obviously ;) and a beautiful contour UNDERNEATH the breast. A pretty, round shape that would allow me to have the (Very Occasional- I want these puppies to stay put!) Bra-less day. Even though I have a lot of healing to go, I can already see that my aureolas are slightly different. I don't care. primary objective was shape of the breast MOUND, not perfect nipples. To achieve perfect shape, different amounts of skin had to come out of each breast, so a little asymmetry is OK by me. The shape she was able to achieve ASTOUNDS ME. I was not prepared for what I saw when the bandage came off!!!! They aren't as good as the stickers, they are WAY BETTER than the stickers!!!! I wanted to cry, they are just so so pretty now. The central chest improvement and nipple placement is so perfect. Although the aureola are slightly different shapes, the placement is perfectly symmetrical. Also, she offers scar revision for a year following the surgery, so if I wanted to get a light tweak, I would be able to, free of charge!
When I was a teen, my breasts looked like I had already nursed a few babies. I FINALLY have the teenagers body I ALWAYS WANTED!!!!! I brought the whole office cupcakes and Dr. Gurley flowers at my first follow up appointment. I'm so incredibly thankful.
Would do it again in a heartbeat. Had a bilateral Donut/Benelli style Mastopexy. This somewhat controversial style worked well for me because of my distinct anatomy. Dr. Gurley did a lot of internal suturing to maximize the longevity of the results, but the only external scars I will have is around the aureola!!! I had very little pain- in fact I'm having a hard time forcing myself to 'rest' cause I feel great! The worst of the pain was the day after surgery. And even that was minor. I'm sure with a full anchor style lift it's more intense.
I'm so happy with how they look now! I included photos Pre Lift, with Bare Lift Stickers and Immediately post surgery. Will definitely be updating as they heal and get even prettier!!!! I really hope I'm not too swollen, I'm in LOVE with how they look right now, I peek several times a day!!!
The moral of this story is YOU CAN GET A GREAT RESULT WITHOUT AN IMPLANT!!!! A lot of tuberous breasts are much more severe than mine and require one, but a lot of you ladies are like me, and don't really need them. Try the lift first and then see how you feel. Don't get talked into implants if you aren't sure. You can always add them later, but ex-planting is a much more involved experience. It was next to impossible to find photos of smaller breasted ladies who only had a lift with no implant, let alone a tuberous case. That's why I want everyone to see this AMAZING RESULT!