I started the process when I was 17 years old. My pediatrician recommended that I see the breast surgeon within the medical group. I was having severe back pain and had indentations from my bra straps on my shoulders. It was the best thing I ever did!
I went from a small E to a full C. The surgeon said he took out just about 2 lbs. from EACH breast and I also had a slight lift! I'm only 5' 1'' and having huge breasts always made me feel extremely self conscious. My insurance company covered every penny, that's why my process took so long.
I went to the breast doctor for a consultation in July 2006 and the insurance finally approved my claim in March 2007. I had the surgery in May 2007. I had it done right after my first year of college. I was the first case that morning and spent the night in the hospital. They gave me a few shots of Demerol (more painful then the surgery to be honest!) and a few Percocet during my hospital stay. My surgeon had put drains in right before stitching me up and I had hardly any fluid to drain. When they pulled the drains out I barely felt it.
The first 6 weeks were the hardest, not pain wise, just restriction wise. You cannot lift anything heavier than 8 lbs. (which is roughly a gallon of milk). The pain was fairly mild. I was given a Darvocet, as a pain reliever but stopped taking it 5 days after because I didn't really need it. Advil worked just fine. I was able to engage in active activities (other than lifting heavy objects) by July 2007. When I went back to college that August I was able to lift weights (at a comfortable weight).
The worst part of the surgery is the phantom pains. The first year they were fairly frequent. Sharp pains that last anywhere to a few seconds to a few minutes. They would come and go all the time. They come out of nowhere and were pretty painful. According to the doctor, it has something to do with the nerve endings settling. They dissipate after a time. Every once in awhile I will get them now.
They say there is a 50/50 chance that a woman will be able to breast feed after having this surgery and also losing sensations. I have no children so I cannot comment on that. I do have some numb spots around my breasts but my nipples gained sensation back a few months after the surgery. It will also depend on when they start the surgery itself, some woman have more fatty tissue than breast tissue. I had more breast tissue than fatty tissue. I think it takes a good 6 months to a year for your breast to "settle" into their new shape after the surgery. They change in the time frame. Mine dropped slightly and gained a more natural shape.
I had "butterfly" style incisions done. They start at the fold of the breast and go to the areola, from the cleavage side of the breast to the areola, he measured from under the breast (directing under the center of the areola) and up to the areola, then they went all the way around the areola. I had this type of incision because my areola had to be made smaller inorder to be more proportionate to the rest of my newly shaped breast. I was given dissolvable stitches and they placed compression tape over the incisions to help flatten them. After the compression tape came off (falls off on its own after a few days) I had to apple neosporen over my incisions for a few months.
I used vitamin E (pierce the capsules and apply oil directly to skin) to help fade the scars faster. It's been over 4 years since the surgery and my scars are still there but fading. My surgery took 3 1/2 hours. They say the only thing that will cause my breasts to increase in size dramatically would be if I gained an extreme amount of weight.