First off, thanks Realself for creating a community where women (and men!) can share PS experiences with each other. This site has been/is super helpful in the journey to replace and lift my 14.5 year old implants and I hope my journey can help others. Let's see...where to start: I had my first breast aug. in Oct. 2000 at the age of 24 years old. I was a mother of a breast-fed 2 year old at the time and had never even thought of plastic surgery prior to becoming a mom. As you can read from my review title, I am 6 feet 1 inch tall and was sporting tubular A Cup breasts pre- surgery. Breast-feeding took my somewhat small perky tube sock boobs into deflated Nat Geo tube sock boobs. Not that it matters, as I did the surgery for me and me only...but I was a single mother (and by single- I mean single. Not divorced and completely financially independent), 24 year old wonder woman that was missing and wanting one thing exercise couldn't bring me: boobs! So after meeting with about 5 docs (4 out of 5 said get a lift- I chose the one who said I could get away without a lift- as I didn't want all that scarring being so young- and knowing I would have to eventually replace them anyway) I made my decision and had my first breast aug. 470cc Mentor Saline on Right and 440cc on left to even out uneven breast size. My PS did a "crescent lift" which made areolas even bigger than before. Keep in mind, that was nearly 15 years ago- and the same PS has come along way in his art and would probably never do a crescent lift these days. (Side note ladies: if ANY PS tells you they want to do a crescent lift on you in this day and age- that is NOT the PS for you!) Other than that- the transformation of my boobs was pretty magical and I enjoyed them for many years- albeit, insecure about areola size and weird crescent scar.
Fast forward to present days….I am now 38, have lost about 15-20lbs of fat over the past 2.5 years due to running and changing my diet. Well, my old implants were finally starting to scream for mercy as they were tired and done. Over the past year, I feel like my implants became more rippled than ever (had rippling for years- but no where near as bad as this past year). They felt like sad old half filled water balloons attempting to make a run for it vis a vis my armpits each time I laid down.
How I chose my Plastic Surgeon this time around: I first visited my original PS in Newport Beach as he really is talented. His before and after pics are amazing and he is highly touted in the media for working on the OC Housewives (yuck). I told him I wanted a lift and to switch to silicone. He said “Ok” and took my measurements. Here is where he somewhat lost me: He didn’t suggest what type of lift I needed, nor why/what/how he planned to achieve success. That is probably fine for many folks, but I am a big old NERD who likes to know how, why and research way more than any human should that does not have an MD attached to their last name. Then I was sent to the sales lady (who has a LOT of work done on her face and body- fine, but didn’t make me feel excited) who mentioned I could go way bigger because of my tall broad frame. Hmmm, sure I could- but what about the science behind big implants and big gravity? Plus I have thin skin, very little breast tissue and a fear of knarley rippling. I didn’t want to be sold on Barbie doll status….so I continued my search. Next up- I spoke with my dear friend and acupuncturist who had breast cancer at the age of 39 which caused a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She was referred to Dr. Andrew Smith MD FACS, to reconstruct her breasts. He did an amazing job and despite her situation, had an amazing experience with him and his team. I looked him up online as I was fascinated by the fact that he devotes much of his time helping women achieve beautiful breasts after having them removed due to an extremely ugly Cancer. That was really important to me and I made my appointment for a consultation. From the moment I made contact with his team, to the moment I met with Dr. Smith and Katrina- I felt extremely comfortable. After doing a full exam, Dr. Smith suggested a donut lift and explained why. I booked the surgery that day. That night and weekend before my pre-op appt. I read for hours about donut lifts vs. lollipop lifts and about gave myself a heart attack thinking a donut lift would simply not cut it! (Mind you- Dr. Smith had not seen my breasts without implants- but I sure had…scary) When I entered my pre-op appointment, I unleashed all my fears/anxiety to Dr. Smith. He calmed me down and let me know that he could not tell me what was best until I was on the operating table and had a full visual of what he is working with (makes sense)…and from there- he would make the choice, all the while being as conservative as possible to keep my nipple nerve sensation in tact etc. Dr. Smith quickly figured out that discussing ALL details of the surgery and implant type was exactly what I needed. I suppose most people choose a board certified PS and leave it to them to do their job…but I need a little more than that- and nerded out with the doctor. (if you are reading this, Dr. Smith- thanks again for your patience with me) I felt completely relieved after that visit and super confident to have surgery that week.
The surgery: My surgery was scheduled for 12:30pm, check in at 11:30am. Dr. Smith performs surgery at the surgery center the floor below his office and next door to Hoag Hospital in Irvine. I had spoken with the anesthesiologist the evening before to make sure he was aware of all my health needs. The nurses were all super nice and humored me by laughing at my lame jokes. Things were not quite so funny when two of them could not get the IV to thread in my vein. This is going to sound odd, but I am dead serious when I say, that was the most painful part of the entire surgery procedure. Third times a charm when Dr. Gully, the anesthesiologist (who I absolutely adore and made me feel super comfortable) made contact immediately with my dehydrated vein. Next thing you know- I was out. Next thing I knew, someone asked me my dream tropical vacation destination and I was back with new breasts! I felt great immediately. Dr. Smith ended up doing a lollipop lift and internal sutures to tighten up my breast pockets. I have Sientra “gummy bear” 5th generation (newest on the market approved by the FDA) smooth moderate plus profile. 625cc on right and 575cc on the left. Sounds huge, but not when you are built huge. ? My goal was upper pole fullness, lift my bits up a bit and smaller areolas. SUCCESS!!!!! Today I am 10 days post-op and loving the results thus far. As far as bra size- not sure...my old bras fit with great new full boobs in them. Anything from a 36C, 36D to 38B or 38C. On a pain scale of 1-10, my pain has not gone past a 1. (the first time I had boobs done- it was pretty painful for a few days) I took Norco when I got home from surgery, Extra Strength Tylenol once the next day- and nothing since. I was on the antibiotic Keflex for three days post-op and that gave me nausea and made me extra tired. Considering I am recovering from a major trauma to the body, the nausea and tiredness was a blessing in disguise to force me to just rest. I went into the surgery in top health, running 50 miles a week etc. and that has been super helpful to quick recovery. Still taking it easy (walking daily and small house chores) as I have the bilateral internal sutures. Have been taking Arnica Montana, Zinc, Pro-Biotics, B12 (I take B12 daily regardless and recommend you do too- miracle vitamin), and Bromelain daily. Eat tons of vegetables/fiber, so didn’t experience any constipation that others have experienced. Phew. Biggest challenge for me will be NOT running for 6 weeks. Not only does it help keep the body tuned, the mind too. My breasts are already feeling soft, enjoying their new home and sure hope the sutures heal strong. I have had two post-op appointments and all is well. While the circumstances for finding my plastic surgeon were not ideal, so blessed that I did and highly recommend Dr. Andrew Smith. I will keep this post updated as my recovery progresses. Cheers!