Instant Relief - Hartford, CT

I've wanted to have a reduction for years, but had...

I've wanted to have a reduction for years, but had to wait until I had weaned my children. Then to my surprise, I had to fight my insurance for the procedure. After a year, I was approved, and within a month, I was in the OR! I felt INSTANTLY better. My back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain - all instantly gone. Even though I'm not healing as quickly as I had hoped, there is NO doubt in my mind this procedure is going to change my life - because it already has. YAY!

Why the Delay?

Obviously I'm beginning this review process almost a month after my surgery. I had known that I wanted to share my experience, but then the first sight of my breasts at 2 DPO really caught me off guard. They looked horrific! I knew time would make them better, but it seemed like so many others, as seen in their pictures, seemed ready for a magazine photoshoot!

But since then, I've really been helped by the brave souls who've shared their not-so-pretty pictures - delayed healing, busted t-junctions, necrotic tissue - the works. And pictures really do tell a thousand words.

I am so grateful to those women, for their help when I needed to learn, for their willingness to make themselves vulnerable to strangers, and for the motivation they provided to start sharing my own experience.

Hopefully now I'll be able to set a few minds at ease with my story. :)

The First Few Days

My surgery went very quickly (1.5 hrs?!) and all the people I worked with were very upbeat. My pain was well managed, I experienced no nausea at the hospital and they stuck a motion sickness sticker behind my ear as I left, just in case. I had reported to the hospital at 8 am and left by 12:30! Got home, rested for a bit, and felt well enough to go for a drive that evening to see a beautiful rainbow that we could only partially see from our house. Felt great! Slept in my bed on a recliner pillow (not comfortable) and in our recliner (better.)

1 DPO I just slept. Took it easy and just cuddled with my ice. Hung out most of the day on the recliner and slept there that night too.

2 DPO was another story. I was allowed to shower today, which meant taking off my wraps and getting to see the girls. I was excited, obviously, and then dismayed at the first sight. My breasts seemed like slabs of meat! And such bruising!! AND THE SWELLING!! My doctor had told me, although at the time I forgot, that my breasts were stitched, glued AND taped - and that tape had a lot of blood on it, making everything look worse. I am SO thankful to my husband who took it all in stride!! If he had even flinched, I would have lost it. And if you look at the picture, you can see - it doesn't look like I have any nipples! I wondered if they had already fallen off due to trauma. I didn't voice that fear aloud, but there was a chill in my heart.

As I tried to shower, I almost fainted twice. It could have been from the exertion, or more likely, it could have been emotional, recovering from the sight of them. Either way, it wasn't the best time for me!

And then it was time to leave. We had decided to go up to a cottage on a lake. I figured it would be a nice spot for me to rest, easy for my husband to care for/entertain our kids, and I'd already checked in and prepped/unpacked before my surgery, so it was mostly ready for us. We still needed to pack up some food (foolish on my part!) and visit my parents, get our children, and manage a long drive. Needless to say, I over-did it. I was sore, cross, emotional and tired! Not my finest day.

However, the vacation worked out well overall. The kids were happy, the hubby stayed sane, and I stayed inside and slept the vacation away, putting in appearances occasionally during the day. I even slept through many meals! I was crazy tired.

Takin' it on Faith ~ 7-10 DPO

I had my one week appt and the PA was pleased with my progress overall, although my swelling was quite significant. Here are some pics of my incisions. I was pleased with the side incisions (especially since I had great mobility with my arms!) - they're so 'tucked in' to my natural creases, they might be invisible! But the vertical incisions aren't sexy at all. I'm taking it on faith they'll improve with time!

Oh, and my stats:
* age 35, non-smoker, overweight
* had about 2,000 grams removed, which was much more than I expected, but it was welcome - my goal was to get down to a full C or a small D.
* I was originally a 42G, depending on the bra

And sensitivity:
I had full breast sensitivity right away. I had sensations in my nipples within a few days, but my right nipple is still numb most of the time even now (25 DPO). I think of it as its sleeping (which is kind of a blessing!!) and think it's related to the continued swelling issues in that breast. My left nipple had full sensitivity by about 5 DPO.


By day 10, I was beginning to realize that my swelling was a problem. It wasn't improving, I was almost solid up to my clavicle on my right side, and I could feel my stitches straining. I booked an appt for the following day. I was worried I had a hematoma and needed surgery (I would have welcomed it, honestly, to decrease all that pressure!) but we decided to try in-office aspiration with a needle since my doctor thought it was a seroma (a build-up of serous fluid). Unfortunately, all that fluid was in a viscous state in my actual tissues and despite two attempts, we couldn't get it out.

My doctor advised me to stop icing and use heating pads instead to help liquify the 'fluid' so my body could absorb it, and to use my ace wrap that I left the hospital in to compress the TOPS of my breasts, to keep the fluid from seeping up. I was excited to have an action plan. Hot water (shower and even baths!) was also recommended.

The Shelf

When you go in for a breast reduction, you have a couple expectations, and for most of us, I imagine we share an excitement about getting rid of The Shelf. I know I did!

So you can imagine my surprise when 12 DPO, I'm relaxing in my recliner, quite drowsy, when one of my kids comes up and wants to play restaurant - and delivers my "meal".... on my shelf.

REALLY!?!? I mean, come on!!

Grr... My T-Junction

With all the swelling, my right t-junction has been under a LOT of pressure. As soon as the tape fell off, I could see there were going to be issues.

Because when the tape fell off, I discovered black tissue (NECROTIC!) and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning researching things. I found one brave woman who shared her horrific story (warning: VERY graphic pictures!!) at (GRAPHIC. Do not look if you don't need to!). I realized that even if my tissue was necrotic in that spot, it was okay, it would heal. I knew the skin in that small spot had been struggling and the black wasn't growing.

However, that area has continued to get worse. White, gooey ooze. I was growing more and more concerned - and then about 21 DPO, a tear opened. You guessed it - more panic! (I mean, how can you not?) I was sick with dread.

But at my follow-up appt, my doctor told me to think of the white ooze, of which I had a lot of, as a wet scab. And while that my t-junction had opened a bit, it was still within normal and still healing well. No signs of infection.

Oh, and while many doctors like their patients to tape, my doctor does believe in open air getting to the wound. At least I was doing something right!

I'm including this series of pics so you can see how it's changed over the course of ten days. (Sorry it's out of order. Forgot day 19.) Obviously, it's gotten bigger and grosser. In the newest pic (taken 25 DPO) I can see that a stitch is working its way out, and I've heard that stitches can cause/increase these pockets of irritation.

I just wish I had been taping myself in such a way to better have supported my tissues. I knew that breast was strained with all the swelling, wish I had done more.

The 'irony' - the silver lining - is that, as my PA pointed out, now that it is open, the serous fluid can better drain and as annoying as that is, it's true - it's really draining now and the swelling is going down, allowing true healing to begin.

So I guess all this is okay after all. Maybe. ;)

What's in a Dressing?

This is for the ladies about to get a reduction...

In the beginning, I didn't understand all the different types of dressing and why it mattered, but after an accidental wet-to-dry dressing (ouch!!!), I learned!!

Most ladies will come home in a giant gauze pad, which while bulky, is quite comfortable and absorbent - and, if you try to buy one on your own, rather expensive! I only bought one box of post-surgery dressing pads before down-grading.

So a good substitute is probably sterile gauze squares. You'll use a lot of them, depending on your bleeding/oozing, but they're a good size and reasonably priced. You can also use rolled gauze too. You'll need paper tape (not necessarily the scar kind) to hold these in place.

However, as your wounds begin to heal, you'll need to switch to a non-adherent type of bandage, otherwise the gauze will bond with your scabs and OUCH! I left my gauze bandage (& antibiotic ointment) on too long on 19 DPO and it fully dried out. I pulled off my bandage - and ripped off a bunch of scabs and even new tissue!! It *hurt* and set off days of new bleeding, too. What a mistake!

So I learned my lesson and stopped using gauze, but really hated the new pads - they essentially seemed as absorbent as wax paper - ugh!

And then I remembered that someone had once mentioned breast pads, commonly used for new mothers who leak milk when they are nursing. PERFECTION (for me, at least!) They are sterile, contoured for the breast, quite affordable (36 pieces for $5), quite absorbent, non-adherent, and come with tape on the back to attach to your bra. They are all I use now! (For my t-junction, I fold it in half and wedge it in. The extra material serves as extra padding for that sensitive* area.)

* The t-junction is sensitive for me, at least. I have all my nerve endings working in that raw wound and man is it the weirdest sensation to apply my antibiotic ointment!

5 weeks already!

I've been doing too much this past week and I've felt it, so I worked hard to sloooow down. Even had seeping blood from my t junction (YIKES!!) when I irritated it. Thankfully it responded to rest & a return to stricter care. I need to remember that I'm healing at my own rate - cant compare myself to anyone else.

Changed my tape tonight and I was SO THRILLED with the progress my vertical incisions have made!!! When I compare them to just 2 weeks ago, I am just blown away.

Watching My Wound Close

My T junction finally healed around at 9 weeks and since then, I haven't thought about my surgery. I can't believe it's already 3 months!

It was fascinating to see my wound close and I tried to keep an accurate photographic record. I did reiki on my wound which really seemed to help, although my doc says at that stage, wounds tend to close quickly.

Here are the pics.

I should take some current pictures of that area, but it would require good lighting. It's quite smooth but bright red. I'm looking forward to it fading somewhat! :)
Hartford Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Schreiber is such a warm and welcoming man! He instantly puts people at ease, even nervous husbands.. :) He has a genuine passion for what he does and his PA and office staff are very approachable, too.

5 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
4 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
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful