I am in the beginning phases of thinking about...
I am in the beginning phases of thinking about getting implants. I actually have been extremely lucky boob-wise. I have always liked my curvy shape, and I had really great, perky 36C breasts until recently. While I still wear a 36C, it seems to take a lot more architecture to give my breasts that round shape they once had.
Of course, breastfeeding a baby took its toll in my early 30s, but I recently lost about 15 pounds--and it all seems to have come off of the upper pole of my breasts! WTF?! I look in the mirror and I just don't look as full and perky as I would like. And I like having bigger breasts to provide a counterpoint to my curvy hips--I LOVED my breasts when I was breastfeeding. They were awesome, full Ds. Those are my wish boobs: a full 36D or 36DD. I want to be an hourglass, not a pear. I like a natural look--full and round--not too hemispheric in the upper pole, but not droopy either. Since I am tall and about 155-160, my frame can pull off larger breasts without them looking out of place.
I am planning on doing the surgery in December in South Africa, with Dr. Potgieter who I met through a very reputable medical tourism company. I live in Kenya, and was evacuated to South Africa for a spinal surgery last year and had a great experience, and the hospital Dr. P works out of is nicer than where I had my facility. South Africa is known for medical excellence and Plastic Surgery in particular. Dr. P has been awesome so far, and in fact, his advice about chin augmentation led me to have a wonderful filler "Chin augmentation" that has been AWESOME.
But.... since it's long distance, I feel like I should see someone in person before finalising my booking. I am going to see a board certified German Consultant PS who comes to Nairobi and holds clinics here (Dr. Stasch with Valentis clinic) for a face to face consultation.
I have a lot of questions:
1. I am pretty sure I want silicon implants, but I want to touch and feel them and talk through the different projections. I think I want moderate or moderate plus, but want to talk about it with the docs.
2. I want to know if I will need a lift, and what kind of lift (I think a crescent lift will do it, if I need it at all... might an implant create the same effect?)
3. I am curious about over vs. under vs. dual plane vs. sub-facial placement and want to discuss it in more detail.
4. I made some rice sizers (and even wore them out--which made me feel like I was twelve and stuffing my bra), but I want to try on the implants and have time to think before showing up in South Africa for the procedure.
So... here we go!
One more picture
I would be thrilled with this result
So...the more I read, the more confused I get.
The only things I know for sure:
I want silicon
I want new boobs for sure, and will probably get them in early December
If I go "under" I will get smooth implants.
Everyone in the US--and in these fora-- seems to be doing "unders," but would those be right for me? There are some doctors with many years of experience who make a compelling case for "overs," on the boards and I believe I'd be a good candidate for a natural result. I want "perkier" but not necessarily Homer Simpson's eyes underneath my collar bones. I am really worried about snoopy deformity...and also about rocks in socks. Do I need a little crescent lift or not? It seems like if you go over, it would be smart to go with a textured implant--plus it might stick like velcro and "stay up" better (do textured implants help avoid rock in sock with overs?--I'm going to ask that on the board). But then you have to worry about a little bit of rippling, which could be worse with overs. If I go "under" then I will definitely choose a smooth silicon.
I am planning on doing the actual surgery in South Africa, and I have loved the interactions I have had with my potential PS, but the guy is "young" (has been board certified for 9 years) and doesn't do a million BAs per day like some of the surgeons we see on this site because he does a whole lot of surgeries for Project Smile and a whole lot of reconstructive surgeries. The aesthetic arm of his practice is a smaller part of what he does. I do know that practice makes perfect, but talent counts too, right? The person who referred me to Dr. Potgieter runs a very well respected, high end, Medical Tourism service and she says that he is really brilliant and that all his patients love him. She would not tie her business to anyone less than excellent. It's hard to commit because Dr. P only shows before and after photos on site--he won't send over email.
In any case, I have more pictures of boobs on my iPad than a porn producer, and an appointment with a Board Certified PS from Germany who runs clinics here in Nairobi TOMORROW to talk things out. Hopefully I will get some answers about what might work best for me to get the result I want, because right now I just feel confused.
So... I had a consultation with Dr. Stasch (the German doctor who holds clinic in Nairobi out of Valentis Clinic), and here is what he said:
1. I have a wide chest wall, and a wide breast base (15 cm), which means that there are a lot of implant options that could work to help me achieve my goal of a perkier look with some (but not too much) upper-plane fullness.
2. His first instinct was to do a dual plane 3-4, with a small lift, but when he realised that I wanted some size added, as well as perkiness, he thought the larger implant alone could achieve the lifted look. He said he would use an anchor-type incision if he did the lift, but wasn't sure it would be necessary, and that he would use sizers during the surgery and then make a decision.
3. I tried on the sizers and it seems we are looking at an implant of about 325-350 CC. My left breast seems to be slightly larger and lower, something I never even noticed until I started looking at my breasts all the time! He said he would use the same sized implant for both breasts, as the difference is very small, but that he would position them to be even.
4. He uses Mentor textured implants, with the more cohesive/dense, gummy bear gel. He uses a lot of anatomically shaped implants and some round--all with a more cohesive gel. He said that textured vs. smooth is an American/European preference difference, and the key is to have the surgeon use an implant that they are comfortable with. That makes good sense to me.
5. He suggested that for me he would definitely want to use a textured implant to make sure it didn't slide down (though I have fear of textured implants not dropping enough). We did not talk about projection at all (I was pretty surprised that his preferred implants were anatomical), though he said he would use sizers during the surgery and that he would be looking to make a very precise pocket to give the implant a "hand in glove" fit. He mentioned doing a little trick with the tissues at the bottom of the breast around the crease to make sure we didn't get a "double bubble" and said that he has never had implants bottom out in all of his years of doing BA.
6. He says that my own breast tissue will drape nicely over the implant, and that I have good skin tone to be able to cover it on my chest too (I'm not particularly slim). He said that stretching the skin won't be a problem for me--I think meaning that we will need to fill up the pocket of my emptied breasts. He did say that it would take about a month for the really high swelling to go down and 3 months to see the real result.
Here were some of my reactions:
1. It seems like dual plane is the way to go--both in terms of capsular contraction, rippling, natural slope and upper-pole fullness. The surgeon in South Africa suggested this as well. I am open to whatever placement will give me the best result.
2. I am concerned about my breasts feeling too firm. Dr. Stasch likes the more cohesive gel implants for the look they create, but I am concerned that they won't feel or move naturally--especially since the textured implants are a little bit "tougher" to begin with. When I held the round implant up, it didn't take on a natural teardrop shape--though I suppose that the muscle would compress the top of it a bit. Ultimately, for me, the breasts are about looking AND feeling natural, so that is a concern. My husband is a total hottie, and I really want them to FEEL good and be supple (if that makes sense).
So here's where I am now:
I felt reassured that if someone wanted to do surgery with Dr. Stasch in Nairobi, that it would be safe. He was very competent, answered all of my questions about anaesthesiology etc., and the photos of patients he has worked on were beautiful. He seemed serious and meticulous, and he says he really enjoys the precision and microsurgery involved in the aesthetic arm of his practice. He has done hundreds of breast augmentations for over 12 years and I would have no doubt that I would come out of the procedure with really gorgeous LOOKING breasts. He felt that in my case there were several ways to skin (stuff?) a cat (i.e., lift or not) and he would want me to authorise him to do what he felt was necessary during the surgery to get a gorgeous result (which would be fine with me).
My hesitation about what I heard today really didn't have anything to do with my confidence in Dr. Stasch's surgical abilities, or any problem with his bedside manner. He was very friendly and professional. I felt like we would have a similar aesthetic (i.e. we both felt any implant over 300 cc is a big implant!). I'm just not sure that the implants that he is most comfortable with and experienced using will give me the soft feel and natural movement I am looking for. I want to ask him about softer implants, and do some more research on gummy bears...
I ultimately think that forcing a surgeon to use an implant that is not their "go to" could be a mistake.
Finally, the cost to do it in Nairobi is almost $7000, which is all-inclusive (including a private room overnight, all meds, etc.). It costs less to do it in South Africa. This is not a primary consideration, but it is interesting to note.
Asked a Question!
And the answers I'm getting from the Docs are totally helping my head! I love this website...
So i ran into Dr Stasch today and told him i was uncomfortable with the super firm implants and he said: "then we would use soft ones!" He just didn't have an example of the softer implant in his office. Alrighty then... (But still going to South Africa). I didn't want to misrepresent a very good PS.
I have a date: October 9. Holy Crap. I can't believe I am doing this.
Ok... so I'm having a totally weird (and nice) thing happening, and I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience. As soon as I decided to do a BA, and set the date (October 9!!!) I found that I totally started enjoying my body more. I'm appreciating the lovely (if a bit too soft) breasts I have, and I'm just sort of embracing the lusciousness. I think deciding to do this is a declaration of physical independence, and it's having an interesting halo effect on my self-esteem--without even doing surgery! Is that completely bizarre?
New Year, New Boobs!
Ok... so I got all excited, and even planned the date of my surgery and then.... I chickened out! I just wasn't in the financial place I wanted to be, and I didn't feel sure that my decision was coming from a place of confidence. I'm still not sure that it's not motivated by a photo-shopped culture. But this year for some reason, I feel ok with that. I'm going for it. I am very confident in my decision to go to Dr. Potgieter in Johannesburg. He and his assistant, Alana could not be nicer. They have answered every single questions I have had, and were extremely understanding when I cancelled the surgery. I will still also work with Lorraine Melville as a "Medical Concierge." When I do it, I will have to stay in South Africa for 10 days, to have several post-op appointments, and I will stay with Lorraine the entire time. She was very wise in advising me as I was thinking about it the first time. I was thinking about taking my family for a vacation in South Africa at the same time as I did the surgery, and she really discouraged me from that saying I should make this my own journey about myself and my own healing. I thought that was wise. I will take my husband with me for the surgery and the first couple of days afterwards, then he will probably come home to be with the kids (who are 9 and 14). They also keep you in the hospital overnight (which I'm actually really glad about)--rather than sending you home right away. When I went under general anaesthetic a year ago, I felt like CRAP right after the surgery. So... new year... and this year will be THE YEAR. Here are a few more wish boobs...
18 Aug 2015
10 months post
So... A year has gone by. I have dyed my hair red, started doing fillers in my chin and cheeks, and am about to enter the DECADE OF POWER. New tatas are in order, and I want to do them in STEALTH mode before moving back to the US in the summer of 2016.
So... I am currently debating going to the UK and seeing Dr. Jonathan Staiano who has done about a zillion breast implants. He is a true specialist and he suggests overs for me. I have a lot of confidence that with him all would be roses. At first I was uncomfortable with the 'overs' suggestion, but have become convinced that it is probably right for me, and that American surgeons have an 'unders' bias based on using saline implants for so long while other parts of the world carried on with silicones. But the logistics and expense of the thing are much more complicated in the UK.
My other option is to go to South Africa and do it with Dr. Anton Potgieter. He seems like a darling, and is highly credentialed, but he has nowhere near the amount of experience/specialty as Dr. Staiano. He is more of a generalist Plastic Surgeon, and less of a specialist. His instinct, looking at my pictures, seemed to be "unders" and I think he has an "unders" bias (I am open to either which will achieve my desired look, I REALLY don't want a lift). I have just sent him my 20th email filled with questions, and these new wish pics.
So... this is it! This is a difficult decision.
Around the World for Tatas
18 Sep 2015
11 months post
As a medical tourist, having a world of options for surgery can be a bit overwhelming. Over the last 1.5 years as I have considered doing this surgery I have consulted:
1. A German PS doing clinics in Nairobi (Seemed competent. Very academic approach. Wanted to get me "PERFECT" boobs (in clothes) of a 20-year old with dual plane and a lift. $8000.)
2. A UK-based PS who is a super-boob specialist (Wonderful bedside manner, lovely practice. Not at all set up for medical tourists. I would have no support structure in the UK, so cost would be very high--over $10,000 for everything. He was totally convinced that textured silicone overs are the way to go with me and convinced me. I had total confidence in him technically, as he has done thousands of breast augmentations and really specializes in them)
3. Phuket International Aesthetic Center (PIAC) (Amazing service for medical tourists. Low cost (about $3000). Very responsive. Ultimately, I am uncomfortable meeting a surgeon and doing surgery the same day, though I am sure they get beautiful results)
4. Dr Potgeiter, a PS in Johannesburg (more below).
You guys should see the decision matrix. It includes: Cost, Aftercare, Hospital comfort, PS experience, PS bedside manner, Timing convenience... etc. Each factor is weighted and scored
Well, I finally met Dr. P in person yesterday, and he's The One.
All worries, doubts, and confusion are resolved. He spent over 2 hours with me discussing breasts and chin liposuction and was both meticulous and kind. He is a gentle soul. He walked me through his thoughts around developing a surgical plan, and since he knows I'm interested in the medical nitty gritty he went into a lot of detail about the procedure itself, how he manages Capsular Contracture risk, why he uses drains, why he doesn't use the funnel for placement, etc. etc. etc. He gave me a detailed tour of the topography of my breasts. He actually made me feel beautiful, which is a pretty amazing thing when you are in a PS's office! He is so authentic and honest. I loved it when he told me flat out that he refuses to do any sort of neck lift on me and then walked me through many other options.
Also, the aftercare plan is pretty awesome. Outside of the US they never discharge you the same day as your surgery. You stay overnight. The Sandton Mediclinic has an "executive/luxury suite" rooming option, where you have a private room that is kitted out like a hotel room, with a comfortable recliner, a jacuzzi tub, and a sleeper bed for a guest of your choice. Posh. All of this is the price of a local hotel room, which my husband would be paying for anyway. That was exciting, because I totally want him close the day of/night after the surgery, and this way he'll be really comfortable. Once I'm discharged I will stay at Lorraine Melville's Surgeon and Safari guesthouse. It is really homey, with a kitchen full of food, a constant stream of eccentric guests recovering from various medical procedures, and Lorraine herself who is one of those wise women.
So the surgical plan is this:
Textured Silicon OVERS (which I have gotten excited about!), fold incision, 375cc moderate (or mod+) profile. If I need it, he may do a little 1 cm crecent lift above the areolas, but he'll decide on that in the operating room. I will also do some chin liposuction at the same time.
I've scheduled it for January 11th!
1-Month to Go!
Surgery is on February 15th!
I had my mammogram and ultrasound scans last week, and all is well! I wish I were a little nearer to my "ideal weight"--it would have been nice to use this surgery to kickstart a great fitness routine, but between the holidays and work being completely overwhelming right now, it's not happening. Sigh. I just printed off a bunch of consent forms, which I accidentally left sitting on my desk at work--doh! Good thing my office door closes, and I hope they are at least under another sheet of paper. I am not telling anyone I am doing this other than a few close friends. Everyone else thinks I'm going for a different medical reason. ;)
Any other ladies heading towards February surgery? I'm starting to have surgery dreams! How are you feeling?
Surgery is Tomorrow!!
Feeling a little bit nervous, but it seems like it isn't really happening. They want me at the hospital at 6:00 a.m., I'll be the first one in at 7:30. I am going to take a really thorough shower tonight with antibacterial soap, and another one first thing tomorrow morning. I am really happy my husband is with me. Here we go...
24 hours since surgery
Feeling good, all things considered. Dr. P continues to be awesome. Springing for the posh private suite at the hospital was a great decision. I was the first surgery of the day. Pain is manageable. Sort of like a bad toothache when I move in the "wrong" way. Or like that feeling when your milk comes in and you are hugely engorged. I have asked for heavier pain management twice: about 4 hours after surgery and then at 11 pm when I was awakened with pain. Both times it was quickly managed with a shot of Demerol.
Sneaked off the bra and...
Ta da!! Or should I say Ta Ta!! We are swollen and engorged but painkillers are doing their job. Sleeping a lot today. Pain is there at the end of med cycles but manageable. I have feeling in my nipples--not too sensitive right now.
Some things that are helping:
1. I had a divine manicure and pedicure yesterday with an amazing foot massage. Coupled with a salon wash and blow dry. It all felt so good. Especially because I can't shower for 7 days.
2. The Madena bra is nice. Front Zip and comfy. I expected my surgical bra to be a nightmare. Not so.
3. Gel "ice packs" sold for breastfeeding women. I used them when I milk came in and they are helping me now. They look like thin donuts and don't freeze your nipples.
4. Awesome husband. I am lucky.
Pain is about the same as yesterday. Worst when I wake up in the morning and when it's time for more meds. I can find positions to lie in where I have no pain. Meds do make me drowsy and a little loopy.
HOLY BLOATING BATMAN!
Um... yeah! Went to the mall today to check out some new tops, and my lower tummy looks downright pregnant. Jeez! I'm eating really well, staying hydrated and taking the laxatives each night, but MAN~!!!
How long until your bloating subsided?
Hi ladies--any words of comfort about how long it took for bloating to subside? I am able to go to the bathroom, but not really well (if that makes sense--sorry to be indelicate).
Right on schedule: booby blues
I so hate being a cliche. And yet... Here we are with some booby blues! I am worried they are too big. I am weary of being constipated and hugely bloated in spite of eating healthfully. I need a shower and to refresh my hair color. My husband returned home and I still have a week of recovery in front of me. I know that these blues will pass since they have for everyone else. Thank goodness for RS and knowing what to expect! I am looking forward to being comfortable in my body again. ????
1 week review: incisions, shower, unexplainable tears!!
So I have my one week with the with the doctor today. It went really, really well. Very happy with everything. I have basically no bruising. My left breast is a little bit more sore than my right, I think it's because it's slightly smaller than my right breast and was roughed up more when they got the implant into it. The incisions look fantastic. They're only a little bit black and blue because of the pen marks, not because that's their actual color. I started using some sort of scar system where you put tape over the scars and then rub in a cream on top of the tape. It was fun because the doctor himself seem to be very pleased with his handiwork. I also got permission to wear a softer bra, which will be nice for sleeping. The implant definitely did give me a lift. He wants me to just press down on top of my chest like a compression band for about 60 seconds several times a day. That's to start pushing the implants down into position. I know that they will drop. I suspect the left will drop slightly slower because that breast is slightly smaller. On the emotional front it was both good and bad. I did get to shower which was fantastic. The pain has really faded to discomfort. I do, however, I feel like I'm still really getting used to these new breasts. I'm starting to feel paranoid that they're too big. I think that I needed to purge out all the nasty medication and everything and I ended up having a really big cry and feeling rather down. I do know that the anesthesia causes some depression as does going off the pain pills. I also got cleared to go home. Yay!!
Side by side pix
One day before surgery, 7 days after.
Glad for RS: no Surprises
So... Again, RS comes through. No surprise that at day 12 I have very sensitive nipples and breast skin. Swelling dropped way off now and pain has basically faded to discomfort. Still trying to figure out both how I look and how I feel about how I look!
Back at work
...and I have found it to be surprisingly tiring. My breasts ache a bit at the end of the day. I just ruined a perfectly good bra trying to take the underwires out. That poor bra....terrible! Back to my front zip.
Almost 4 weeks post-surgery and still surprisingly tired
Somehow I thought that 3-4 weeks after surgery I would be feeling normal. Well.... not so. I am not in pain per se, and I can certainly function, but I still tire more quickly than normal, and I don't feel ready to return to the gym. My breasts still have achy times--especially at the end of the day. I had an internal stitch dissolve and a tiny opening at one end of one of my incisions. It's nothing to be alarmed about, but I called my doc who said to stop the scar tape for a couple of days (it could be pulling new skin off when I change it) and instead put antibiotic ointment and post-surgical style dressings again for a few days, changing every 2 days until it clears up. My nipples and breast skin have been crazy sensitive for about a week. I used "soothies" over my nipples. That seems to be fading a bit since yesterday. I would love to hear how others feel at 4 weeks post surgery....
6 weeks and finally feeling much better
So for some reason I thought I would feel great at 2 weeks post surgery. Well it has taken more like 6 weeks. So hang in there! I am loving the girls! They look totally natural. Like me only better! I can dress them up or down and really make them pop. I'm very comfortable sleeping. I can wear underwires now but they aren't all that comfortable. Looking forward to being back in the states where I can find some adorable wireless bras. I may also need to be resized. I think I'm a 34DD. Loving my curves again!!
Just about 2 months
All is well! The girls are comfy and soft. Zingers are gone and weird sensitivity too. Scars healing nicely (but still more purple than I would like). Tiny pieces of stitch did work their way out like little pimples almost. They move naturally and look great in everything I put on them. So happy I did it!!