Hello all! First I just wanted to thank everyone...
Hello all! First I just wanted to thank everyone who has listed an experience or photos on here, they have helped me SO much in the months leading up to this as I did research. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is a scary and daunting decision sometimes, even though it's what I want, so I appreciate you sharing and I wanted to share in return.
Details: I am 5' 9", 155lbs, 27 years old. I have wanted a breast lift for years, they have never been perky. Over the years I gained a lot of weight (50ish lbs) which didn't help, but I took off most of the weight three years ago and have been at my current weight for a year. I anticipate staying within 5ish pounds of this weight, and figured there's no time like the present for this surgery.
When I was heavier I was a (still sagging) solid D cup but since losing weight I am a deflated C. With this surgery I expect to be a smaller C or full B (I notice my C bras are loose now but only near the top, we'll see how they end up). I know considering the deflation what would really look good is implants, but personally I just can't get used to that idea for me, so I've decided to do the lift and hope for the best shape (and nipple placement!) possible. Honestly at this point my biggest hope is to have the nipples raised with skin visible all around them instead of just pointing down, that's my biggest annoyance, although a higher lift and shape would be great too.
The plan is an anchor lift on both breasts, and my PS pointed out asymmetry on one side which I'm going to tell him to correct. He did say that I could almost get away with a Benelli on the left hand side, but would want an anchor on the right, so for scar symmetry do it on both--which I'm fine with, I've always assumed anchor on both anyway. I did read one story on here about a woman who was marked for anchor, and when she woke up the PS had decided to only do Benelli! So considering my PS's comment I'm slightly worried about that but I think I'll just confirm with him before the surgery.
Ok let's hope for the best for tomorrow! I really hope I like the result and I also hope that I have some managed expectations--we're going for solid improvement, not perfection. Thanks again for all of your contributions, and I plan to keep you posted since one of the biggest benefits of this site is learning how the results improve over time.
8/7/13 - Update, Breast Lift 8/6/13
Hello all! Thanks for the well wishes! My surgery went well yesterday and I'm now 24-hours post op. I changed out my gauze this morning and took some photos in the process just for anyone who wants to prepare themselves for what they may look like immediately after. I would say it's pretty hard to guess at the final results at this point, all of the swelling is in the upper pole and the stitches make the undersides tight, so the nipples are flipped straight down--you'll see from the side angle, kind of funny-looking. :) Reminds me of the nose on Max the dog from the Grinch! My hope is that within a couple of weeks that swelling will drop down, round out the bottom, and the nipples end up in a more neutral position. I'll post more as I see changes!
One week post / First Follow Up
Hello all! It's one week and a day post-op, feeling pretty great! To summarize, I'd say the day of surgery was deceptively good-feeling, days 2-3 were the worst (immobile, in pain, bled when trying to change bandages, and just generally freaked out), but day 4-5 got a WHOLE lot better--I switched from prescription pain pills to Ibuprofen on Day 4, I got a routine down for how to change bandages/clothes, plus regular showers will increase anyone's morale. :) My surgery was on a Tuesday, by Friday night I felt good enough to meet the girls for a short dinner (although I found I couldn't talk as fast with a compressed chest! Shallow breaths...). Saturday and Sunday I incorporated short walk abouts up to three miles (although immediately went home to shower since I'm a little paranoid about infection). This past Monday I went back to work (equipped with an ace compression bandage in case the surgical compression bra got old after 8 hours, but it's been fine). As of today (one week one day post) I feel about 85% comfortable doing things I would normally do. I can lift (light) things down from over my head, I can sleep with one arm above my head, I can walk and stand and bend over. I would still not lift anything heavy over my head, I would not bend over AND stretch forward (yoga), I would certainly not like anyone on the subway to run into my breasts. :) But otherwise, feeling great!
(Side note, I can recommend the Marena brand surgical compression bras, they close in front, have 4 clasps but you can clasp any one of them by itself which has been a godsend (I clip the top most rung if my incision is sore, clip the bottom most rung if I need more support). The band around the ribcage either extends 1" below breasts or 2" below--I def recommend the 2" especially for the early days because it does not threaten to get near your incisions. But I did buy the 1" as well and use it as an 'alternate' bra to sleep in while I'm washing the 2" one (usually with only the middle clasp hooked))
Finally, I went in for my first post-op appointment today. My PS said everything looked great and the steri strips were 'really clean' so he wants to keep them on one more week. I knew that would probably be the case from other reviews (thanks). So I will see him next week and we'll take the strips off (assuming they haven't come off on their own, which they haven't yet) and he said at the two-week point, I will be cleared for swimming, exercise, immersion bathing, etc. as I see fit. Whee! (Does this include a cocktail? Because I've been avoiding indulging and jeez, August, your temptations...) =)
So, yep! Feeling physically well, which is PARAMOUNT, and as far as final results, who's to know, we'll just have to wait and see. :) I don't expect to see any change until the steri strips are off at least, because they literally hold the breasts where they are for now, and even then I expect it will take some time for things to begin settling. He noted the stitches will be dissolving over 8-12 weeks, so that's another marker to consider when watching the shape change--those internal sutures play a role. I don't know if this view helps any of you, but what I say to myself is, waiting is the only option and it's worth waiting for. Because either the results are great, and I have to wait for them, or they're not so great, but we still have to wait to find out and wait to correct it. In the meantime...patience. In the slow lane. :)
What a mess - 2 weeks post-op, 8.21
Today was my two-week post-op appointment and the steri strips came off.
I have no good things to say about my results. The results are not aesthetically pleasing, and although I will wait for final judgment--December at most--I have no good things to say right now.
Here are the problems as I see them, and if anyone has experienced them in their own surgeries, or has opinions from working in the medical field, feel free to weigh in. (If you're writing in just to agree with my negative appraisal, best to skip it--those comments bum me out).
1. My breast creases are at different heights. Yes, my breasts also seem to be different sizes right now, but I don't think those things are synonymous. Meaning, I've seen women on here with different sized breasts post-surgery--same breast crease--and that tends to resolve itself. From what I've read, mastopexy alone shouldn't change your breast crease, so I'm not sure whether a) this was always the case and the surgery just makes it really prominent, b) it somehow was created by the mastopexy 3) it's a false impression based on swelling right now. Obv option 3 is the best outcome, but honestly, looking at my shape now I can't imagine how the breast crease on my right side will actually lower. Seems unlikely.
2. Nipples point down. This is really discouraging since it's a bad aesthetic, although in theory it could either be improved by breast tissue dropping down and pushing them up; or by a follow-on crescent lift to correct this first surgery. Given those options, I'm still more concerned about the breast crease, which would still affect the appeal of raising the nipples because just manipulating the direction of the nipples on my own, it just seems to draw more attention to the different breast crease / sizes.
3. Dog-eared incision closure. You can see from the pictures that the incision on the left breast looks pretty streamlined, but there's obvious puckering and dog-earing on the right breast. That is depressing, because it's not even relevant to the final shape. It just looks like sloppy work. Weigh in if you think these things tend to resolve--but for me just considering how many surgeries we all go through to remove loose and excess skin, this seems unlikely.
I said in an earlier post that waiting is the only option, and that's still true. There's no way to know how this could improve until the time actually passes. I'm just saying that while I'm waiting, I'm really not happy looking in the mirror.
P.S.--as far as what my surgeon says, frankly he'd rather not discuss it right now. to quote him, he said that the incisions looked perfect but that now it would be a waiting game to see the final shape and size settle. he said if they looked perfect right after surgery then the final result would be too close to the original result and the surgery would be a waste. he said it would take at least 6-8 weeks or up to 3 months to determine the final result. I am supposed to go back in one month.
9.3.13 - 4 weeks
Today is four weeks to the day. No big changes. Follow up appt on 20-something Sept.
23 Oct 2013
2 months post
I can't bother to update photos right now but believe me, nothing has changed. This entire ordeal is depressing enough that I'm not even logging on with any regularity so I will summarize.
My left breast would be acceptable with a crescent lift. That is because the nipple still points down, so barring that changing from more tissue dropping, it would need to be fixed for a pleasing aesthetic. My right breast is horrendous.
I went into this surgeon with sagging breasts with nipples that pointed down, allegedly with an asymmetry that I didn't notice (but did ask him to correct). Now, I have asymmetric breasts that anyone can notice, and both breasts still pointing down. The right breast has essential been turned into a tuberous breast, it's way too tight at the incision which completely does away with the lower pole, and makes the upper pole tip over into this snoopy dog effect.
I went for a second opinion this week. She stated that 1) too early to tell final result but 2) she would likely do a crescent lift at 10mo-1year to both reposition the nipples so they're higher and not pointing down, as well as flatten the breasts altogether because it is more noticeable that the right breast is flat underneath because it projects outward so far. If you minimize the projection, there's less of a flat slant to see. She clarified that any lift she did involving re-positioning the nipple would be done in the OR, not in office, because it's more sterile, allows her to be more precise, and she would use a permanent suture to avoid stretching.
The problem is this--likely I will need a crescent / periareloar lift to even hope for an acceptable aesthetic. In a perfect world, I'd be able to choose the surgeon with which I did that. But the cards are all stacked, so that doctors get the most money and least amount of lawsuits. With a new surgeon, they want to charge full price, ($6k again, just to correct this?) plus I'd probably have to wait longer for the revision because they wouldn't do the surgery for at least 10 months or a year. Staying with the same surgeon--he might operate sooner and likely wouldn't charge full price / or anything, but it probably would take place in an office setting (is sterility and stretching a legitimate concern?) and the million dollar question--if he couldn't get it right the first time, what makes me think he will the second? Is it crazy to stick with the same surgeon for a secondary surgery?
It is infuriating / depressing / life-altering that something that was supposed to improve my life, has cost me much of my savings and made me look worse than when I walked in the door. I'm left with the options of either draining my savings with a new surgeon or rolling the dice on getting acceptable results with the same surgeon. I don't have the medical expertise to make the call on whether the second attempt will turn out any better than the last. Furthermore no other surgeon is willing to actually say whether they think the first surgery result is a fluke, or that it's likely to happen again.
Meanwhile, I feel this is wasting my life--I wouldn't even go to a general practitioner looking like this, let alone date anyone. In the back of my mind I'm always aware of the situations I have to avoid because now I look like a freak. It's one thing if you have saggy breasts--at least then you can explain it with gravity. It's another if you just look like a botched surgery. I can't wait a year feeling like that. I might have been prepared to work through a year waiting period if my breasts looked better and it would just take a year to look great, but if from day one you feel they look far worse than they ever did, it is not sustainable.
***Also on second opinion--I asked if she would recommend an entire revision vice a touch-up correction. She said likely not--firstly because if the tissue and skin is removed, you can't put it back. If it is not removed (some surgeons tuck excess tissue up into the breast in a more compact way), a surgeon could try to unpack it during a revision to have craft a new shape, but she as a surgeon new to the case would not attempt that, because you risk not knowing where the tissue came from and could risk loss of blood flow. She said only the original surgeon--who remembers what they did exactly and from where they took the tissue--could attempt that.
Good News for the Holidays!
21 Dec 2013
4 months post
Some good news! I was thrilled early this month when my surgeon told me that he'd be willing to do a revision as early as the next week. He said it was clear the results were not what we wanted, and they weren't getting to where we wanted. He was confident that he could get rid of the flattening on undersides by pulling breasts up and in, fixing nipple position at the same time. (see previous pictures) I was over the moon to hear this after four months of feeling deformed, but also worried since there was a chance things wouldn't be improved (and it didn't help that this revision happened while awake, under local anesthesia). But, concerns aside, the revision happened in-office last Friday and I am so, so pleased with the results! I think it looks great and you could tell that same day what a difference it made, it's like night and day to me, there are very few similarities between what I looked like going in and coming out. I will post my pictures from last Saturday (24 hours after revision). I am so thrilled that the revision went well and if possible, MORE thrilled that we could do it December and not wait 10 months to a year (as I'd been told by another surgeon in second opinion). I really don't think the situation would have improved an acceptable amount even given 10-12 months, and I'm happy my surgeon was aware of and responsive that.
Good news for the holidays and peace of mind is a fantastic Christmas present! Thanks again to all for your support through this roller coaster, and especially to recent posts from patients and doctors who have emphasized the importance of frequent and non-combative communication with your surgeon. That was the second-hardest part of this process because I don't think it's easy to stay calm or positive when you're very disappointed--I really appreciate the posters who tackled that issue in their updates and gave me more perspective.