35 Years Old, 5'8", 150 lbs, BL/BA Due to Weight Loss. Denver, CO

After spending many hours doing research and...

After spending many hours doing research and reading other women's stories, I've decided to share my breast lift/breast augmentation (BL/BA) experience on RealSelf. Hopefully this information can help someone making a similar decision or looking for a surgeon.

I have struggled with my weight all of my adult life, bouncing between 175 and 140 lbs (I'm 5'8" tall). Gaining and losing that several times has taken a toll on my breasts, and I first considered getting a lift when I was 28 years old. I held back, because I thought I should wait until after I had kids. Now I'm 35, with a great career, no kids, and still single/dating. I've waited long enough to fix something that I'm very, very self-conscious about. Now is the time to act.

I decided to have a BL/BA in February 2015. During my research phase, I visited two Denver surgeons and two Washington D.C. surgeons, all of whom had strong online reviews and specialized in breast surgery. I chose Dr. Steven Vath of The Cosmetic Surgery Center in Denver based on his excellent reputation, his cost (mid-range for well-regarded surgeons: about $9,000), and pictures of his work. He seems to consistently produce results that have the slope, shape, and nipple placement I'm looking for.

Dr. Vath has an enthusiastic attitude; he speaks quickly, and answers questions thoroughly. During our initial consult he didn't use a book of photos, or ask me to pick out "what they like" (a couple of the other doctors did that), but he did draw and point out the characteristics that make an attractive breast, and a successful BL/BA. What he drew, and how he spoke, told me we were on the same page regarding what looks good.

Just to be sure, I scheduled a follow-up consult to re-try sizers and to bring in some photos. I didn't want to order a set of boobs out of a catalogue, but I did want to point to what I liked/didn't like. I put the photos on the desk and asked Dr. Vath to educate me about what achieved certain looks, and to find out if what I want is achievable. We looked at each picture, and I felt like this helped me communicate what I wanted. However, it also gave him a chance to explain how much a woman's body and original breast shape influence the BL/BA end result. He believes he can help me achieve the most attractive result for ME, which I totally appreciate. If a doc told me he could make my bust look exactly like Scarlett Johansson or Rosie Huntington-Whitely, I'd be suspicious.

Bottom-Line: if someone goes in seeking porn star boobs, or a chest exactly like movie star X, I don't think Dr. Vath is their man; but for a "natural plus" look (like God intended, but a lot better), I think he's the guy.

My stats: I'm 5'8", 150lbs, with a medium frame, and I carry weight in my thighs and butt (kind of an athletic pear-shape). I currently wear a 36B bra (Victoria's Secret sizing). I tried a range of sizers from 375cc to 450cc, and settled on 415 HP Sientra round implants. They look proportionate on my body, and balance my pear-bottom.

A word on High Profile (HP) versus Moderate Profile (MP). When I started this journey, I thought HP = porn star, and MP = natural looking. However, when I actually tried on the sizers I realized that the MP gave me a slight "side-boob." Some people might find it curvaceous/hourglass-y, but on me, it looked a little matronly/heavy. I liked the narrower diameter of the HP.

Also, back in my first days of research, I thought I wanted as natural a look as I could possibly get. Really, really natural! But in looking through pictures online over the past few months, I realized I like a little upper-pole fullness at the top of the breast. It seems younger, more modern, more sexy. Particularly if the bottom of the breast has the right, rounded shape to balance it... and that's a Dr. Vath specialty. So between the narrower diameter, and wanting more fullness on top, HP felt right.

Before Photos, 36B, Pre-Surgery (BL/BA)

It's a little bit scary, but I'm going to share the "before" photos taken during my consultation with Dr. Vath. In an odd way the exam was comforting; Dr. Vath said they looked very typical of women who had lost weight, and that he saw no obstacles to achieving a lovely result. Again, I chose 415 HP Sientra round (textured) implants. One week until my surgery...

Before Pictures With T-Shirt and Bikini

I wanted to thoroughly document my "before" look in a simple tee and a couple of bikini tops. After all, I don't usually run around naked, so I'm curious to compare/contrast my look in clothes and a bathing suit.

Only Four Days to Go...

I have my surgery in four days. I'm not nervous; at this point I feel like it's a job I have to get done. Here's my list of pre/post-surgery supplies:

1) Wedge pillow to help me sleep in an elevated position
2) Travel neck pillow to keep my head supported
3) Arnica Forte (Dr. Vath doesn't prescribe this, but he doesn't discourage it either; I'm giving it a shot)
4) Prescriptions (Percoset, Valium, Colace) and extra strength Tylenol
5) Two Under Armor zip-front sports bras in 36C and 36D (not sure which size will fit!)

The day before surgery I'm going to prepare some meals for the recovery period. I plan on following a low-carb, low-fat, high-protein diet (i.e., lots of whey powder smoothies, chicken, and veggies) during recovery to balance out my inability to hit the gym. (Gaining weight in the aftermath is a big concern for me, especially given my history of struggling with extra pounds.)

It's interesting... for all the women in the fitness industry I KNOW have had breast implants (with or without a lift), there is very little information on how EXACTLY to diet and exercise when recovering from surgery. Dr. Vath's nurse said as long as I keep my heart rate around 90 (below 100), I can walk during the two weeks immediately after surgery. At two weeks, I can take it slowly, and start to elevate my heart rate, and/or do lower-body exercises (bodyweight only squats, lunges, etc.). At four weeks I can test out more comprehensive workouts, using my body and discomfort level as a guide.

I'm going to track my recovery fitness regimen, and post updates on RealSelf. Again, hopefully my experience can help someone else trying to plan their recovery.

One Day Post-op!

The procedure went well, I'm home, and (thank god) my mom, a retired nurse, is here to help take care of me. I'm taking Percoset and Valium as scheduled, an I'm determined to proactively manage the pain so it doesn't get out of control

Also, I snuck a look and the girls this morning, when I straightened out the support bar. There's swelling, of course, and slight asymmetry, but that's just part of recovery (it certainly was when I had my rhinoplasty three years ago).

One thing: despite having surgery before, I was not exactly prepared for the pain of my pectoral muscles/chest. Makes total sense to me: I have silicone balloons under the muscle, stretching them. Still, when I woke up from surgery I was surprised by the level of discomfort. So prepare yourselves, ladies... and stay on top of your meds schedule!

BEFORE and AFTER COLLAGE

They're so high!! I'm psyched!:-)

Day 3 - 55 Hours Post-BL/BA Surgery

Day 3: A solid 55 hours after surgery, and things are going well. No new pictures, because the girls look pretty much the same as yesterday, but I feel more alert, and have cut back from two Percoset and one Valium every dose to one Percoset and one Valium every six hours. The Percoset is definitely important, but I find the Valium (muscle relaxant) is really the key.

BLOATING: YEP, it’s REAL! My abdomen and lower back are both super swollen (seriously!), but I know this will go down in a few weeks. Also, haven’t even bothered to step on the scale; that would just be cruel!!;-) I’m hoping tomorrow I might be able to get back on a treadmill, meander at about 2.0 mph, and get my metabolism started again.

RANGE OF MOTION: Again, can’t state enough how important it has been to have my mom here to help. Getting in and out of bed, sitting on the toilet, rinsing off in the shower, and having someone else to track my meds is SO helpful. I can definitely handle the pain, but my range of movement is severely limited.

ACTIVITY: Took two short walks outside today. Trying to focus on relaxing my chest and shoulders as I gently stroll, and definitely keeping my heart rate around or below 90 beats per minute. Inside, I’ve been doing “laps” around my kitchen island every chance I get, just moving slowly, gently, and steadily. I think it really helps.

One Week Post-Op

One-Week Post-Op: Several (more!) lessons learned…

1) NAPS. I wildly underestimated how long a week of recovery (never mind two!) would feel, and how tough it would be to sit back and just allow myself to heal from this surgery. For a go-get-’em, take-charge gal, this has been really hard! I tried going back to work after four days, and was defeated—had to take more leave. During this first week my body has simply been tired, and naps have been a requirement, not a luxury.

2) These babies are hard! Seriously, I feel like I have two boulders sitting on my chest! I’m really curious to see how much of this is swelling, and when they’ll “soften up.” Also, other RealSelf members always referred to “dropping and fluffing,” but I have textured round implants, so I’m not sure how much drop and fluff I’m going to see.

3) Except for an occasional ½ Valium at night, I’m down to simply taking extra-strength Tylenol… and it feels wonderful to have a clear head again. Except for little zingers along the sides and around the nipples, there’s not much discomfort.

4) On a very positive note… I really like my new proportions. Looking at my full body silhouette in a mirror, there’s a balance there I haven’t had before. I’m pleased!

That’s it for now; I have my first post-op visit tomorrow… and hopefully a few more pictures to share!

10 Days Post-Op (BL/BA)

Just a quick picture update: 10 days after surgery, and everything is healing well. In the last 2-3 days I have really seen the swelling begin to subside, as well as an improved range of motion in my arms, and the crazy abdominal bloating has eased. We do heal:-)

Three Weeks Post-Op (BL/BA)

Exactly three weeks post-surgery! Feeling very good, back in the gym (power-walking, incline treadmill), and finally worked the steri-strips off (I've been trimming them off slowly over the last week or so). A few thoughts:

1) Symmetry: so the "nips" aren't exactly the same, and to my eye (which can spot a crooked picture on a wall at 50 paces) that's a little aggravating, but I'm actually ok with it. They weren't perfectly even/symmetrical/level before, and expecting perfection from cosmetic surgery is asking to be disappointed. Overall, I'm really happy with them!

2) The HP implant look: so, there's still quite a bit of top-o'-boob swelling that I don't love, which makes them look pointy, rather than having a more gentle slope to the nipples. But I asked the staff at Dr. Vath's office, and they said wait until 4-6 weeks after surgery for most of the swelling to go down. So I'm being patient;-) Also, the HP look GREAT in t-shirts, and when I've caught sight of myself at the gym this past week, I'm SO pleased! Suddenly my boobs match my butt! Things are proportional! It's awesome.

3) Scars: I'll admit, it's scary to see them. But I think Dr. Vath did a great, neat job, and I've ordered the Embrace scar system (straight from the website) to use on the vertical (nip-to-crease) scars. For the areola I have Prosil silicone stick, and for the crease scar (which is pretty wide on me), I'll probably use the cheaper Scar Away silicone sheets. Just going to wait one more week until everything is dry, and I'm sure the scars are fully-healed.

Three Weeks Post-Op (BL/BA)

Before vs. three weeks post-op!

Four Weeks Post-Op (BL/BA)

Four weeks after surgery, and I'm on a business trip, so I'm sorry for the terrible hotel bathroom lighting in these pictures! In fact, in one of the photos the bottom of my breasts appear a little bit square-ish, but that's just a trick of the light. Dr. Vath achieved the lovely, rounded shape on the lower breast that I was so focused on.

Swelling continues to drop, and breasts are softening up slightly, although they're still very firm. Scars are completely healed, and I'm going to start using Embrace scar treatment tomorrow or the day after. One boob remains a bit bigger than the other, but that may be swelling; the larger one is also still more tender, with the shadow of a bruise.

I thought I was going to be a 36D, but as the swelling continues to subside, I may end up a full C (which is fine... but I'm definitely glad I didn't go any smaller on the implants). I bought a few pretty bras right after surgery, then returned them; I want to be sure of my new size, AND right now the thought of wearing an underwire sends chills down my spine! (Ouch!)

Overall, I feel great. Zero regrets, although there have been some emotional ups and downs lately. I think it's always important to remind yourself that plastic/cosmetic surgery should be done only to please YOU, and although we focus on it SO much right before and after surgery, it doesn't change much in our lives. I'm still me, with all my weaknesses and strengths, insecurities and strong-suits... exactly the same person, but with perkier boobs!

I went to Dr. Vath for a breast lift/breast augmentation to achieve a "perkier," more youthful breast appearance. My surgery is complete, and I am 100% sure I chose the right doctor for me. He is a precise surgeon with an artist's touch. He took time to speak with me, and answered every one of my questions, including an additional consultation I set up before surgery just to make sure I knew what I was getting into and he knew what I was looking for. His sutures are clean, neat, and with a breast lift (where there is inevitable scarring), I think that's tremendously important. He also views women (and their breasts) as individual, unique cases, and does work that is absolutely tailored to us. No cut-and-paste boob-jobs here. His staff is wonderfully professional, and his offices (particularly the Golden, CO facility) are pleasant, inviting, and confidence-inspiring. I give five-stars across the board with the exception of aftercare/follow-up, and that's only because there wasn't much required. A clean surgery has resulted in clean healing thus far, and my post-op appointment was simply with one of his nurses to make sure everything looked good. Overall, Dr. Vath is excellent at what he does, has great experience, and yet I believe he's also still young and energetic enough to be innovative, listen to patients, and to be motivated to build/earn his reputation.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 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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