Breast lift without implants - my journey -

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I am 35 years old, 157 lbs and 5'9". I have had...

I am 35 years old, 157 lbs and 5'9". I have had two kids and a lot of weight loss/gain over the past 12+ years, so my breasts had lost their former glory, becoming sagged, ptotic and heavy. It has been the cause of the low self-esteem and I often just dreaded taking my clothes off, because the sight was not pretty.

After years of longing for a fix, I finally started with my research. I have to say, this site has been of great help and assistance - all your stories, comments, the Q&A sections, photos - it gave me the courage and hope that even I would have a possibility for a better life with nicer breasts.

I picked my doctor after a two-month research for his experience in the field - I have to say I was a bit scared, but he quickly dismissed my fears and assured that I would be a perfect candidate for this procedure. He did right away mention that my breast tissue is sufficient for building up a natural-looking breast without implants. I had dreaded the implants question, as it seems that a lot of women choose them for upper pole fullness. Whereas I know that the end result will not be as "perfect", I believe minimising risks is a good idea - one less thing for me to worry about. After all, it's all a matter of personal preference and what makes someone happy. Right?

I had the procedure on 9/9/2013 with a anchor lift. My areola size was adjusted and they were moved higher. Everything went smoothly, other than my veins from the IV line being a bit bruised - I wonder if the anesthesiologist squeezed my hand or sat on it :p

Minimal pain and fever a couple of days after surgery, and right now as I am writing this I still get those weird "pangs" of pain as if someone randomly stabs my breast, but I am off any painkillers (only took paracetamol post surgery, anyway). Arnica + D6 for the bruising and continuing with my vitamin C intake as usual.

As far as I can see from the photos I've taken, there is an improvement already with the shape setting a bit better. As my right breast was nearly a cup size bigger, it seems also that now the nipples aren't on the exact same height - I did know that there's slightly less tissue to adjust on the left side but I hope that the difference will not be very visible at the end. In the current sports bra, there's little to no difference in the breast volume and the bra sits equally well. Oh, for statistics sake - I was 75 E/F for the past 5-6 years, going up or down in between the cups if I went more than 20 lbs up or down in weight. Right now I am wearing a support bra size 85 B, and it seems to exactly fit, for now. Interested in seeing how the cup size changes once the breasts finally "set" in their rightful place.

I have my first post-op scheduled for 17/09/2013, so hopefully I can get rid of the old gunky steri-strips and the overall look will be better.

First post-op check, week after the surgery

So, just back from my first post-op and I am so happy! I got rid of all the tape and the dirty steri-strips. The stitches will apparently "fall out" on their own with time, so there's no need to touch them.

I was a bit scared (you know, it actually hurts a bit!) when doc pulled the tapes off, but all the discomfort went away when I saw my nipples. They actually look like nipples now! I'm really impressed. I know that there's still asymmetry between the two breasts but I agreed to it already before that no perfect harmony can always be achieved, and the two breasts were rather different to begin with. Of course, I would like to have it even out a bit more, but we shall see.

I have no nipple sensitivity left whatsoever, but my PS said that you never know, it may even return after a year. I didn't have much sensitivity before, but I'm hoping I'll be at least able to feel hot and cold. Not that I'll go stick my nipples in ice, he hee. Anyone who has similar experience/loss of sensitivity in the nipple - your comments are more than welcome!

Adding two photos - front without the ugly steri-strips and stickytape, and one closeup on the breast for the incisions. Seems like it has been healing real well?

New appointment set in three months, so now it's a waiting game. PS said they're still very swollen so I can expect them to drop to more natural shape. I hope it doesn't mean they drop into droopiness again. Got a scar cream that I need to apply now twice a day, so it's time to start treating them cuts properly.

Also, a minor update with sleeping - I can _almost_ sleep on my left side now, right is still too sore. Can't wait until I can properly do it, sleeping on my back is killing me :p

First day back to work...

.. And it is a bit rough. I have a desk job, but sitting 8 hours in a rather upright position where you can't adjust your clothing according to "tingling sensations going around in your chest area" is tough. Obviously, don't want everyone to know what was done so I've kept it very quiet. Somehow sitting at home is so much safer and less painful.

Not to mention I managed to bang my wrist against the edge of the table at work (the IV drip hand). I have bulgy and very painful areas around the veins, I had two long brown-ish bruises running along the vein like 4-5 inches on my arm, they've disappeared. But the pain stayed. The PS said during the check-up that it'll get better, but right now, honestly the arm/wrist hurts more than the boobs, hah! I guess keeping ice on it helps, as I do not seem to have any other allergic/bad kind of a reaction to anything that was done. Just banged-up veins that I've never experienced before (and oh boy I've had plenty of IV drips in my life).

The scars (especially at the centre of the anchor cut under the breast seem a bit redder than normal - I guess that's the workday strain? I"m hoping to recover enough for Monday, so I could get through the full work week.

/feeling a bit exhausted and under the weather

Healing progress

And now it has been two weeks since my surgery. My left breast seems to be healing well, especially the incision/stitches under the nipple. As my right breast was larger/needed more cutting and stitching and propping, the scars were more severe to begin with (especially if you look at the picture from 8 days post, you can see the scabs. Well, most of the scabs have now fallen off on their own from around both areolas. But the underside of the right areola is still rather stubborn. Yesterday when I was applying the scar treatment cream after the shower, I was sure I saw infection-like stuff there (gooey yellow, but no pus or anything). The wound doesn't extract any liquid or anything else, it just looks plain awful to me. There's no changes for worse in my well-being, I'm not tired nor running a fever - yet I am concerned if it may turn into an infection after all.
Discussed it with my other half as well and agreed that if there's no signs of improvement within next 2-3 days, I'll go visit the PS office to check if anything needs to be done or if I need AB cream/pills to smooth this up.

Overall I feel great, like a million bucks compared to last Friday - I'm well eased back into my job, too. Able to sleep on my side mostly, so the only worry is the right areola and sometimes I get these stabbing pains and feel discomfort, as if the support bra is chafing too much against the stitches that poke out of the areola.

It seems the areolas/nipples have their sensation returning slowly - they do react to cold now! I guess you can call this slow improvement. As a first-timer for such a surgery I am sure I worry about silly things but life has taught me one thing - better safe than sorry!

Added two photos from today - front view (check out my ugly scab!) and side view - left side.

Dealing with setbacks

Had a check-up at the doctor for the weird scab/redness I had under my right areola. And surely, it was a stitch abscess. Seems it did not do too much damage, I had the culprit of a stitch removed (those are the 'dissolvable' sutures) that was poking out of my skin. I asked him to remove also the other ones that were visible elsewhere in the incisions, to minimise the risk of this happening again. He seemed adamant that at this point there is no need to treat with anything, yet cautioned me to not use the scar cream until it has fully healed. Bummer - the healing might take 2-3 weeks for it and it may or may not leave an extra scar. I have scheduled a follow-up next week, to keep tabs on it and make sure it is healing the way it should.

I know that the healing process is never symmetric, yet I am now so disappointed that this has happened. I know it was a risk and he also said this is quite normal - and easily cureable/treatable if needed, but still.

There's a lot of pain in the breast around that area, especially when drawing a deep breath. Yet no extra tiredness or any fever whatsoever. So I guess it's just wait and see. Adding a photo of the breast - so if that happens to you - it's nothing deadly, but please go see your PS for advice. Quick reaction = healthy healed breast. Hopefully I can post an update in a week with a more positive note.

Three weeks - picture update

My third week update photo - you can see the healing of the stitch abscess. Overall it seems like the incisions and redness has improved.

Four weeks - photo update

So the stitch abscess wasn't healing the way it should have, still. I saw my PS again last night, he managed to pull a whole lot of more threads out (go figure, I almost passed out at what I saw!). Antibiotic salve on it for 2 days, and a clean bandage. Advised to clean it with Sterilon (wound cleaning ointment) every time I shower and keep a clean bandage on it. Back to the PS if it hasn't healed/closed up in 2 weeks. I am disappointed it had to come to this, but of course I knew it's a common risk. Just sucks that my body reacted to it so... badly.

Other than that everything else (read: the left breast) seem to be peachy. Hopefully the wound now does close up and I can think back to it, remembering of this just as a bump in the road. I am so happy of the new shape and size (only sized down by one cup initially, did some vanity shopping and helloo UK size 32D!) Adding a bra profile photo just for the hell of it.

I am now using the scar cream again on everywhere else other than the direct unclosed wound, skin started to immediately peel off again. It feels and looks like they've now set more down, from the front view the horizontal scar is not so visible and the bottom of the breast is also a lot softer. Can't wait to be able to start doing some form of sports again, my arms look way too flabby on the photos!

Healing - not always as fast as you wish

I know I haven't been updating this as I originally planned to, but I have to say that healing does take its toll on you.
Word of advice - take the extra time to talk to your PS, think/talk things through with your loved ones, never assume anything. It will make it all easier.

My stitch abscess at the right areola has now almost closed up - the meticulous wound care and using iodine cream seems to have done its magic. In the mean time, quite upsettingly I've had a few more stitches "spitting" to the surface - a sharp stabbing pain during the night and there you go. Still, they're minor and my PS assured me I'm doing all the right things to make sure they heal. The upset incision on the right horizontal scar seems to have also reached its peak tonight - after almost three weeks nurturing the upset wound, the stitch knot finally surfaced enough for me to remove it. After three weeks of struggling with wound care I do hope this will be my final whiny post about the issue.

On a more brighter note, the swelling seems to be completely gone. The breasts are soft and their shape so natural - it's almost deceiving - they may not look that big, but that D cup fills up real nicely. As the magical 6 weeks went past, as per my PS suggestions I've now swapped my sports/post surgery bra to a regular (underwire) bra. Getting rid of my 20+ nice bras will be almost sad, but the thought of it feels already so good! I will follow up with some photos hopefully later this week.

7 weeks - photo update

So I've been stricken with a bad cold and have had a lot to do in general during the past few weeks. Posting a photo update from 7 and a half weeks - front and the sides. My initial big stitch abscess on the right breast is healed, you can see a darker spot there. The breasts are soft, all the swelling is gone. Wearing bras (underwire) is comfortable and gives no pain. And I realised that the 'pencil test' is no longer possible for me! So pleased with the results despite slight asymmetry - but that's what I had before and on a far greater scale - the difference now is absolutely minor. Can't wait for the scars to fade more! So happy :)

Nearing the three month mark

I know I haven't been updating this for a long time, I just feel that not much has changed. The scars seem to be healing all right - still a bit slow in my opinion. I've seen this said before that between 2 and 3 and 7 and 8 months the scars look their worst - I do hope that this is the case.

I battled so many split stitches in between that I lost count. The horizontal incision under my right breast still looks angry and ugly, I am not sure if this will develop into a keloid or not. Comparing my scars with others they seem way too red.

Despite that negative part (I always knew there would be big scars) I do not mind them, I am just a bit bummed. I would not change it for anything else, and love love love them. Worth the pain, and worth it even if there will be very visible scars.

And the photo - I managed to press 'post' too fast :)

L. P. van der Weij

4 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
4 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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