My Second Breast Reduction - Hyannis, MA

You read that right: my SECOND breast reduction...

You read that right: my SECOND breast reduction is coming up at the end of this month and I couldn't be more ecstatic! At the age of 22, I had my first reduction. That was back in 1999. I weighed 127 pounds but couldn't drop the weight and I was VERY active as I was serving in the Air Force at the time and we had daily physical fitness for about 2 hours. But my breasts were just getting larger and larger and they were abnormally heavy. I began to have bouts with acne around the time my breasts started growing. I also began having sporadic menstrual cycles and my skin started to get splotchy, which I later learned was melasma.

Now, before this crazy breast growth, I was a very petite 100 pounds, was a 34B with no skin issues and no irregular periods. But I experimented with Depoprovera and various forms of the pill for birth control and my hormones began to change. Over the course of one year, my breasts grew a whopping 3 cup sizes and I did NOT experience weight gain in addition to this at first. But AFTER I became a 34DD, I had severe back spasms that would put me out of work for days at a time. I lived on medicines similar to oxycodone, trazedone, naproxen, flexeril, etc, all to help ease my pain. But I began to gain weight and of course, my breasts increased in size as well. I did not understand that treating my pain was not fixing my problem. I honestly thought it would eventually go away and I had NO CLUE that my back, neck and shoulder pain was due to my large breasts. I was very young and inexperienced to understand these things. I had no idea how the body works.

So, I finally had Dr. Vikram Zadoo perform my first breast reduction surgery in November of 1999 and I specifically requested to be a large A small B because of my lifestyle-I am very active but couldn't be due to all my pain. Well, he complied with a large B cup. Now here is something odd: I lost 20 pounds within one month of having my surgery. From that moment on, my periods were regular and light. My melasma and acne disappeared within one week of my surgery and I never experienced PMS for years after having my breasts reduced. I was recovering so understandably, I did NOT perform exercises. I did not go on a diet, because I lived in San Antonio at the time and I was addicted to Mexican food and chicken wings. I just lost the weight without even trying. Some doctors may argue and say I am lying, but I am absolutely NOT lying to you. As a matter of fact, I am hoping for and expecting similar results from this upcoming surgery.

What I learned when I researched these odd side-effects of my first breast reduction surgery was astonishing. I had no idea that there are different types of breast tissue-glandular and fat. Remember I stated that my breasts were very heavy. This is a sign of glandular tissue. Also recall that my breasts did not change when I gained or lost weight. This is another sign that my breasts were more glandularly composed.

Glandular breasts will not reduce size when you gain or lose weight. They are often heavier than breasts made of fat that are the same size. In addition, they are a sign of excess estrogen in the body. This would also explain my melasma, my severe cramping during my periods and my acne. I was informed that estrogen can be caused by an increase in cortisol. Then, the more cortisol you have, the more estrogen you produce...followed by increased cortisol and again with increased estrogen. It is a cycle and created a catch 22 of sorts for me. My doctor explained that this could be the reason why as soon as my breasts were reduced in size, my body noticed a significant reduction in estrogen-as it is present in breast tissue-and this decreased my cortisol levels thus reducing my weight and body fat composition.

After polling over 50 other women who have had breast reductions, I discovered 90% of my poll contained women who were aware that they had a lot of glandular tissue in their breasts. In addition, every single woman I spoke with-ALL 50-experienced weight loss in excess of 20 pounds after their reductions. And about 85% of them informed me that they also experienced several other changes such as skin pigmentation and their menstrual cycles normalized and were fraught with less cramping and bleeding.

This is just based on my personal research, though, and is not scientific per se, but I am obviously a scientific-minded individual, so, I feel confident in the results of my research:

1. that many of the women needing and having breast reductions in my poll had glandular tissue versus fat tissue in their breasts thus equalling what is called dense breasts.
2. that the reduction somehow caused a hormonal shift that resulted in the incorporation of a variety of positive side effects in skin, weight and menstrual experiences

So now you may ask why I am having a SECOND reduction just 16 years later. Well, I had a severe life trauma that caused me to go into a deep depression. I was placed on birth control at the same time that I commenced my anti-depressant medication. Then, my life trauma got worse and I experienced SEVERE anxiety causing me to require medication for that as well. Well, let me be honest, if I had been feeding myself the "good word"-going to church and healing myself the way I know I would deal with my stresses better-then I would not have needed all that medication. But I chose to react to my stress with medicine at the time because it was easier. This created a severe hormone shift immediately, where all my former excess estrogen symptoms returned: weight gain, skin issues, bad periods and gigantic breasts. None of these symptoms would go away even after I discontinued my meds and exercised 3 hours a day, ate healthy and taught yoga. (I am a CPT and a yoga teacher and studied nutrition-so I have a clue on how to handle things.)

So, here I am, back, neck and shoulder pain out of control AGAIN. I can't fit any of my clothes correctly because I am petite but I can't wear a small shirt that fits my arm and torso lengths because it won't wrap around my breasts without busting a button or ripping a seam. I can no longer do certain yoga poses because my boobs are in the way and if I wear a tank top I look like a slut with all my cleavage hanging out and, trust me, people take notice...out loud...with awful comments and gestures. I have had enough. My breasts do not change with weight loss or gain...except they do get bigger. So, I am at my wits end and now back to medicine to help my back spasms. It is time.

I am currently a 34DDD. I WAS 125 pounds about two months ago, but I have been on meds for my back again and I am now 134 pounds just two months after taking those meds. I am depressed like never before and it's all because of my breasts. They are all I think about, all I am depressed about and I can't wait to get a second reduction. My first one was covered by my military insurance and by the grace of God, this one is covered by my health insurance as well!

I have requested to go down to a size 34B. I have shown my doctor-Marc Fater in Hyannis-several pictures of my former breast surgery and the size they were then and he says he can get me down that size again. He was fabulous, supportive and informative with all I needed to know and expect. I have purchased a bra size 34B to take with me to my surgery so he can use it as a guide just in case because I would rather be safe and get down to the size I really want.

Many reviews on Real Self have people stating they wanted to go smaller but the doctor wouldn't do it because it wouldn't match their body. I was very clear with my doctor that this was MY body and I want the size I want, that I am an experienced breast reduction patient and I know what to expect as far as healing and how I could lose breast fullness if I lost weight after a reduction. (My breasts actually stayed the same as they were even though I lost 20 pounds with my first reduction-but remember, I have very glandular breasts.) So, I am determined to get the small size I desire. Luckily, my doctor is a very understanding man and I am confident he will satisfy what I have requested.

So, below are my pictures of how I am now. They are beautiful breasts in shape for sure! I wish I could manage them. Everyone thinks they are fake. They are full and round like tear drops and I don't mind the minimal scarring I have from my first surgery. (BTW, the scarring SIGNIFICANTLY responds to hydrocortisone injections! I was just too lazy to continue my treatments with a new doctor as I moved in the middle of these treatments-only had it done once to a test area and my scar disappeared!)

My breasts tend to grow from my armpits! This is their natural growth pattern. So I am always chaffing. This was the original growth pattern and shape before I ever had any reduction. I expect that you all will see a MUCH smaller and MUCH happier me after my second surgery on March 25th-just 21 days away!

I will explain my healing situation, what you can expect from the procedure and the recovery as well as inform you if my skin, period and weight issues change after the surgery.

My first surgery was easy as pie. I took NO medications to recover. I was not in a lot of pain either. I was, however, very afraid that if I sat up straight, I would bust my stitches open. So I was hunched over for a week. I had my husband and my mother-in-law handle things during this time. They also bathed me as I couldn't not reach above my head. I shaved my hair off entirely the night before my surgery, so I didn't have to worry about washing anything! (I know-crazy, huh?) I did not drive for a week and when I began driving, I could not go over bumps comfortably but it was manageable. I did not lift heavy things for about a month and a half. I was completely normal after a month and a half, though.

I tanned during my recovery because I didn't know that it could impede the skin's healing and the scarring was worse but really not that bad overall. So, don't tan after the surgery if you want your scars to heal well. I used nothing to heal my incisions, but I was young. Now, I will use cocoa butter gel and bio oil.

Wish me luck and I will post photos and update you with my results!

Gina

A response to a private message you may find helpful

Thank you for your message! My first reduction was also long ago-16 years. I had an excellent recovery from it at that time. I met with another PS about 2 years ago who said he would never operate on someone who already had the surgery and provide them with a second reduction, but that he would give me an augmentation and a nipple reduction if I wanted. WHAT? That made no sense to me. He said my nipples could die. Well, my original surgeon-I contacted him after all these years but he's so far away-said there is that risk in ANY reduction surgery, whether it be your first or third. He said he would do it again for me no problem but he is all the way in Kansas. So he couldn't understand why the other doctor wouldn't perform it as the risk is actually low since the nipple blood supply is well healed and structured after so many years.

So, I am a 34DDD right now. I could fit some styles of 34DD bras though, just to give you an idea of how large I actually am. My photos do not demonstrate that heaviness of my breasts and because they do not sag, my breasts don't look as large as they actually are. I cannot fit small or medium size shirts. Only large and extra large. So maybe that gives you an idea of my actual breast size in reality. And at this time, I have just gained 8 pounds because I threw out my back again and it is spasming like crazy, so I had to have medication which packed on some pounds I don't normally carry. So I weigh 132 at this time, but am normally 122 (to 125 when I am on my period).

I PREFER smaller breasts for my normally active lifestyle, so I in order to have insurance cover things, we had to state that we would like to remove a minimum of 275 grams, however, I prefer 300 grams to put me at a 34B. I expect that since I have such high estrogen levels, and with my family history of this issue with large breasts on my mother's side, my breasts should grow back to some degree yet again as the years pass by. So I am very comfortable with this size. It took 13 years for my breasts to grow back to a 34C from the 34B the first time I had the surgery, so I am basing my expectations on this.

I originally had the traditional anchor and my incisions were very large due to the large size of my breasts and how they are shaped-like gigantic teardrops whose girth begins out of my lower armpits. So my scars were very wide, but they healed very well and didn't bother me at all. So, this doctor says he will actually correct that scarring by performing the anchor incision again and reducing the length of the scars.

Breastfeeding after a reduction???

I wanted to further inform you all that it is a MYTH that you can never breastfeed after you have a reduction. This really depends on your body and the surgeon's techniques. I had my daughter 8 years after my reduction and I was able to produce milk for her for several months. Albeit my quantity was small-only a few ounces at a time-but I was never able to produce much before I ever had my reduction anyway. I know this because I had a son when I was 18 and breastfed him, which was 4 years before my reduction.

So be informed. Be aware that you may or may not be able to breastfeed and if you do, you may not be able to produce enough milk. No one can tell you for sure.

Surgery is DONE!

I am so excited to finally have my second breast reduction completed! Dr. Fater and his office are an amazing team. His skills were bragged about all over Cape Cod and I was happy to hear that he did such a great job on all his patients. It took me 6 years to find someone who would perform a second breast reduction and who would accept my insurance. And two doctors that I had booked appointments with actually cancelled on me because their licenses were revoked! So Dr. Fater is like a miracle for me! The process of finding him took so much patience and diligence, so I encourage all of you to not give up if you are facing obstacles when it comes to getting a procedure like this.

So, my surgery went well! I made sure to follow all the directions to prepare for it. Cape Cod Hospital was the venue and they are truly a professional team with such amazing bedside manner. I was so blessed to have my doctor operate on me there. You may want to research the hospital your doctor operates in because it makes a humongous difference in your recovery. I was held for an observation period and stayed overnight because my surgery occurred past 5pm. I felt like I was in a luxury hotel! The staff was fabulous and very accommodating and the facility gave me a private room with a futon for my fiance. My doctor did request this for us. :)

My recovery is going far better than I expected. I was very nauseous and still am 24 hours later, but it is mostly due to the pain medication. It's a side effect. I chose pain medication that does not make me itchy. Percocet and Vicodin have itchy side effects for me and the last thing I wanted was to have my incisions be itchy. So I received shots of Morphine in the hospital which is why I was so nauseous. You will want to cover the right recovery pain medicine for yourself with your doctor.

My breasts were very heavy and much of my girth was extending from my armpit area. My doctor recognized this fact and removed a majority of my tissue from this region and he made sure to slim it down so I didn't have large fat pockets still on my side. I am not sure how much we removed as of yet, I believe he said 300 cc but I could be mistaken. I will find out for certain tomorrow at my follow up and let you all know.

My worst pain comes from my nipple hardening. It is very painful! But my back pain is gone! My neck and shoulder pain are non-existent as well. I hope it remains gone like it did for my first reduction.

As you can see in my new photos, my breasts may still appear large but this is due to the incisions. The side view demonstrates that they lay quite flat against my chest and I requested to go down to a small B. I am still swollen so I expect even further reduction as I recover. But I feel that the shape and size are perfect for me! I also expect that since my breasts are smaller, I will be more able to perform my physical fitness comfortably as I could no longer do certain yoga poses because my chest got in the way...and I couldn't run anymore either because my chest was so heavy my back would spasm severely. More exercise means loss of fatty tissue which I carry not so much in the breasts themselves but under my armpit region and this makes my breasts look larger. I am a bit chubby all over at this time because I have been on medication for my back being out since January! So 2 months of immobility only made things worse. But now, after my full recovery period, I expect to lose weight and expect that doing so will help my breasts shrink even further. I am a swollen large B to small C cup at this time.

I will keep you up to date on my healing process and I hope all I have posted is informational for you to make your breast reduction decisions in a balanced manner!

Recovery Issues: What can you expect?

Well, my chest seems to have a lot of gas in it. Strangely enough, it sounds like an internal fart when I move certain ways! And my appetite is completely gone. I am bloated like crazy from the pain pills which cause such constipation that not even two enemas in a row could alleviate me. So beware, this is common and will probably happen to you as well.

My nipples are creating the most pain for me, though, as they keep hardening from hypersensitivity and it hurts so much! Besides that kind of pain, I just feel like I did a crazy chest workout and it's really manageable.

I cannot raise my arms over my head so my neighbor is coming over to help me shower. I can't lift heavy objects or drive yet, even though I think I could get away with driving like an old lady if I had to.

My neck muscles are a bit tight because I am tense and protecting my chest so much, but that pain will go away as I heal. I know this from my first reduction. But my typical back, neck and shoulder pain from the weight of my breasts before my surgery was gone immediately after I awoke from the procedure.

My breasts are very flat compared to my previous ones and this is what I requested. I told my doctor, "When in doubt, make them smaller!" And because my original reduction was done so fabulously, my breasts were pretty symmetrical. So we took 310 grams of my left breast and 312 grams off my right breast. Since 454 grams equals 1 pound, I had 622 grams removed total equaling 1.37 pounds of breast tissue removal. I am 5 feet tall even and was a 34DDD bra size. My breasts are now a swollen small C cup but will reduce to the small B cup after things settle down.

Luckily for me, I found a doctor whose skills were impeccable! I told him my previous reduction size and that I desire SMALLER breasts and I explained how they fit my lifestyle. I also showed him pictures of me back when my breasts fit my body frame and life. He was very accommodating and did such a beautiful job.

I know my chest looks like it was destroyed right now, but as they heal, I will be treating my scars this time around. I did not do that after my first reduction. So I will have perfectly sized breasts as well as minimal scarring. My doctor offers scarguard treatment for scars and I will have this performed by him.

In the meantime, I am resting on my back with tons of pillows. I am not icing things but I have heard that helps. I am really bruised but I can manage just fine. Recovery is not so bad at all. And I have a little leakage but it's not much at all. I have no drains and didn't the first time either. I was sutured but also glued closed. Today, I am authorized to take my first shower and I can't wait to be clean and fresh!

Weight loss after surgery

It has been 3 days since my surgery and I am up and moving around with no issues. Granted I cannot reach high or carry heavy items or sleep on my side or chest, but I am definitely mobile! This recovery is actually better than when I had my first reduction 16 years ago.

I do have some leakage from under one of my breasts, but this is to be expected. I did not have drains put in and every time I move when I am lying down, I hear and feel a little sloshing inside my chest, but that is normal because I am swollen with fluid. My body will absorb it and things will be fine.

I am very constipated and my appetite is non-existent because I feel so full due to both the constipation and the swelling. Also, my body is working overtime to heal itself physically which means it is burning more calories, so I have lost 4 pounds since Wednesday without even trying. I expect that I will lose more weight more easily because my back is no longer in pain and because my chest is the size it should be which means I can get back to exercising like I used to. I am an avid runner so I can't wait for 8 weeks to pass that way I can return to my running routine!

My hormones are also changing resulting in skin changes such as my melasma disappearing. Melasma is present due to an increase in estrogen and it is hard to get it under control. But, just like my first reduction, my estrogen is now decreasing due to the smaller breast size, resulting in less hormones, so my melasma is disappearing already! I really like this side-effect.

I'll post more pictures in a few days so you can see the healing process and what to expect.

The 2 Month Mark

Here are a couple of close shots of my breasts at this point in time. They are still a bit swollen and the right one is particularly sore, but I saw my doctor today and he says everything looks great. Personally, I feel he could have taken another cup size off. I prefer much smaller breasts than this. And I am concerned about them growing and getting back to a 34DDD soon enough, so I fear a third reduction might be at hand.

That being said, I am going to try to reset my hormones with a special "diet" which is really no diet. Instead, I will be eating properly and fasting occasionally to assist my body to detoxify as it is severely laden with all sorts of crap...including crap itself that I just can't get rid of! If you have symptoms like I mentioned in my earlier posts such as constipation, heavy periods, acne, melasma, weight gain in specific areas like the breasts that does not reduce with weight loss-like you lose weight but not in your breast area-, etc, you may also have a hormone imbalance like me and want to reset your hormones.

So, this is not an easy task as I love all things junk! But I must do this for my health as my estrogen is severely out of control and I don't want these ta-ta's to grow back!

The photos look large but I am a 34C...wanted a very small B cup. But all my research and my body indicates that I can remain swollen for up to a year. My lateral walls on each side are definitely still swollen and sore when I press on them, so I am hopeful I will shrink further.

Right after surgery, my melasma did start dissipating. My next period was much less heavy. I lost 6 pounds without trying. But I went on medication that brought it all right back! So I am devastated...but not down for the count. I will regain control over my body and get back in shape now that I can exercise again. I will fast to help detoxify my body and I will cleanse regularly to reset my hormones. I will eat MUCH better and I am very excited about this new turn!

I use scarguard and scar away at the time for my healing and my scars are responding excellent in some areas and ok in others. Hydrocortisone injections work exceptionally well for keloid type scarring just in case you have those. This is an option for you. Do not tan! Your scars will be worse if you do. Mine are reddish at this time but all closed up with good, solid tissue regrowth. I will post future photos after another month of using my scar treatment.

Good luck and God bless you all!

P.S. No more back trouble like before

My back pain is not what it used to be. Now I only have back pain from all the hunching I do in my garden! So this definitely cured my back problems...for those who doubted.

5 month mark

So here is what things look like at 5 months. As you can see, my doctor kept my original breast shape and just reduced the size. They are still all me! I personally think they are too large for my taste and they have gotten a little bigger since the surgery, but they are a nice shape. I was told I am no longer swollen, so that's no excuse. I just have to pray they don't grow back again!

My doctor does augmentations all day so this was small in his eyes, and yes, I was smaller once I got off his operating table, but like my first surgery, my fat from the perimeter of my breasts settled into my breast area causing them to grow a little. But, I must admit, they are very nice and when the scars heal better, they will be amazing. So I am pleased but we could have gone down one more cup size for my personal liking.

My doctor is awesome at what he does. He was born to do this and that is apparent. I will use him for other things if I choose to do anything in the future.
Hyannis Plastic Surgeon

My doctor was born to do this! He is truly talented. I have been blessed to have him operate on me. The office staff are so amazing and accommodating. Dr. Fater was hospitable and really listened to my desires for this procedure. He also offers financing for those who need it.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 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
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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