I've been heavy-chested since I was 12 yrs old. At...
I've been heavy-chested since I was 12 yrs old. At that point, I was a 34 D, and by the time I had my third child in 2010, I was a 36 G. I've since gone up to a 36 H. I've always wanted to get a breast reduction, but I wanted to be able to breastfeed my children. My husband and I don't plan to have anymore, so I discussed getting a referral with my nurse practitioner. She referred me to Plastic Surgery Associates of Montgomery, as she and her daughter had had the same procedure done. She recommended I see Dr. Robertson, who performed her daughter's reduction. I visited Dr. Robertson on 9/30/14 for my breast reduction consult, and I wad immediately impressed with the facility. The front staff were pleasant and efficient, and the decor was very calming and tasteful.
When I was called back, I actually walked past Dr. Robertson and he smiled genuinely. That made a great initial impression, because most doctors treat patients like charts instead of like people. During the consultation, Dr. Robertson performed a breast exam and took measurements of my breasts. After taking my measurements, his nurse, Melinda, took me into the photo room to take my pictures for my insurance paperwork.
After the pictures were taken, Dr. Robertson was very thorough in explaining the entire procedure, and he answered all of my questions. At no time did I feel as if he rushed the appointment. Even when I had a few last minute questions, he took the time to answered them. He was also upfront about the entire insurance process, and he told me that once they submit my info and photos that I would receive a letter of approval or denial within 2 wks.
The overall experience influenced me to go ahead and get a reduction. I've had back, neck, and shoulder pain for the last 15-17 yrs, so hearing that I was a great candidate for the procedure was definitely a plus. And, just as Dr. Robertson told me, I received a letter from BCBS within 2 wks of my appointment approving the reduction as medically necessary.
Now, in just waiting for 11/17/14 to get here so that I cam get some relief. If you live in Montgomery or in the River Region, I highly recommend Dr. Robertson for a consultation. From my own experience, and from the reviews I've read, he's one of the best in the region.
Before and After Surgery Pics
Yesterday, I visited Dr. Robertson's office to view before and after photos of breast reductions. For some reason, I didn't ask to see the photos at my consultation appointment. I guess I was just that at ease during my appointment. ???? I was very pleased with the results that the patients had in the before and after photos. Some ranged from 2 wks post-op to 2 yrs post-op. I was very impressed with the patient with the 2 wk post-op photos, because her scarring was so minimal. The only thing I didn't like was that the photos weren't labeled with the doctors' names, so some of the photos could have been evidence of Dr. Robertson's work or of the work of his partners. I was impressed nonetheless, and I'm even more excited to have my surgery.
Ideal Breast Size
I just realized that I haven't given any specs about myself. I'm about 5'9" and I weigh 195 lbs. Right now, I'm a 36 H, and Dr. Robertson and I are aiming for a large C cup to a small D cup. We agreed that this would be an ideal size for my frame. I have an hourglass shape, so anything smaller than this would put me out of proportion. I'm on the countdown until I have this surgery, especially since I've been waiting so long to get some relief. My birthday is 11/10, so I'm counting this surgery as a belated birthday gift to myself. ????
Facility Fee and Recovery Instructions
After being surprised by a facility fee that I had to pay upfront before my thyroid biopsy I had back in October, I decided to call ahead to the hospital's outpatient surgery center to see what the fee would be for my procedure. I didn't think it would be much more than the $100 I paid in October, but boy I was wrong! Turns out that my facility fee is roughly $700, or 20% of the total fee. I should have known, but I didn't anticipate all of these extra fees surrounding this surgery. I'm a little disheartened by them, but I'll take having to pay the fees versus paying the total cost of this surgery out of pocket, especially knowing I'll have relief soon! The blessing in this fee is that if I can't pay it all upfront, I can pay what I can and sign a promissory note saying that I'll pay the rest within 90 days. I can definitely do that! ???? If I didn't have this option, I would have to wait until the first of the year to have this procedure, and I just don't want to wait anymore. LOL
I called my surgeon's nurse to ask about some of the things I would need for my recovery period. I've been reading a lot of reviews on here and I want to make sure that I have everything I'll need. I was surprised to know that they don't recommend doing anything extra, but to just let my body heal on its own. She told me that they will give me two bras to wear for 6 wks, and to get button/zip up tops. They will change my dressings when it's time. The doctor doesn't recommend any supplements or other medications because he wants the swelling to reduce on its own. I'll admit that I was a little surprised, but judging by the before and after photos, his methods work, so I'm putting my confidence in his capable hands. My mom is also a nurse, so I know that she'll look out for me and keep an eye on things that I wouldn't catch myself. And, I'm sure that if I require any additional treatments that the doctor and his nurse will make sure I'm taken care of. I seriously have no worries about this procedure. The nurse also told me that he will prescribe me Norco (Lortab), which I've had no problems taking in the past.
I'm on the countdown now. My birthday is Monday, and my surgery is the Monday after. Happy birthday to me! ????
Happy Birthday to Me!
Tomorrow is my birthday, and it marks one week until my procedure, and I'm so excited! I guess it's a mix of giddiness because it's my birthday, anticipation because the pains I'm having now and have had for years will soon be over, and nerves because this is going to be a major change. I think part of it, too, is having my mom back from her week-long vacation. I love my mom! :) Anyway, I have so much to do this week to prepare for this procedure. Two of my children have projects, I have two assignments myself (grad school), and I've got to get the house clean and in order. It's a lot, but I know it has to be done. It seems as if this month has gone by so quickly, but I'm grateful, because it means I'm one step closer to a new me. The first step I took was cutting my hair. After I heal up, I'm getting back into the gym and working my "squishy" off. Thats what my children call my stomach. :)
Now, I have a question for you all. What did you all do to prepare for your breast reductions?
Tomorrow's the Big Day!
Tomorrow morning, I'll be going to the outpatient surgical center for my reduction! I'm excited, but honestly, I'm very nervous and slightly scared at the same time. I've been under the knife twice before for my knees, but this time I'll actually lose a part of me. It's unnerving, and I've even contemplated changing my mind--crazy, I know!--but when I think about how much pain I'm in and what I'll miss out on in the future, I get over my nerves real quick!
I guess part of it, too, is fear of the unknown. How big/small will I be? Will I like my results? Will all of my pain go away? Will I have complications? Questions like these have been running through my mind all weekend, and they're driving me a little nuts to say the least. I figured I'd just try to relax and not think about it so much. What did you all do to settle down the night before your surgeries?
I'll post some before pics later on tonight. :)
My Before Pics
I wasn't sure if I was going to put any pictures up, but I figured if I did then I could be a help to someone else. So, here they are. I didn't realize just how lopsided my breasts are. I knew my left side was bigger, but my goodness! LOL
If the doctor allows, I'll have my hubby take pics of my markups before the surgery. :)
I'm no longer nervous, and just slightly scared, but I've prayed and put it all in the Lord's hands.
17 Nov 2014
Day of treatment
I'm finally lucid enough to write this. I've been asleep for most of the afternoon and evening due to the anesthesia and pain meds. My entire experience at the surgical center was pleasant, and the staff was very professional. I arrived at the center at 6:10a and they finally called me back around 6:45a to fill out paperwork. I was able to make a down payment on my facility fee and I'll make three more payments over the next two months. Around 7:00a, the patient care tech took my vitals. My pressure was elevated due to my nerves, or what the nurse called "whitecoat syndrome." My BP's are usually around 120/70, and the highest pressure they took was 166/103, so they gave me a small dose of Clonidine to bring it down. Then the nurse anesthetist came in and started my IV. Shortly after, the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. He was the same one that did my epidurals for my last two pregnancies, so I knew I was in good hands.
Melinda, my surgeon's nurse, came in shortly after and briefed me on what would go on during the operation and after. Then, Dr. Robertson came in and briefed me as well before starting my markup. He was very meticulous with his measurements, so I know that my breasts will look nice. After he left, the nurse anesthetist and an OR nurse came to take me to the OR. I stopped by the restroom beforehand, and after I got back on the gurney, the nurse anesthetist gave me a sedative. I can't remember the name of it, but said it was similar to Ativan and Valium. The sedative kicked in almost immediately. The restroom was about 50 ft from the OR doors and the meds kicked in about halfway. LOL
Once we got into the OR, I moved over to the OR table. They put the oxygen mask on me and told me to take deep breaths. When I woke up in recovery, I felt like a heavy, stinging weight was on my chest. I didn't think that I would feel any pain when I woke up, but boy was I wrong! My husband and the nurse helped me get dressed. The entire procedure took about three hours, five with the pre-op wait time and the post-op recovery time. My husband told me that my surgeon took 600+ grams from my left breast (my bigger side) and 400+ from my right breast. He told my husband that he left me with "beautiful, perky breasts" that sat "right here" (he demonstrated where my breasts were). That was awesome to hear knowing where they sat previously.
My system is still waking up from the anesthesia. I say this because I can still taste it and I have to make an effort to urinate. My pain level is probably at a 5 or 6 with the Hydrocodone (Norco). So far, I've only taken two doses. The doctor also prescribed me Promethazine (Phenergan) for nausea and vomiting, and Cefalexin (Keflex), which is an antibiotic.
I go back to see my surgeon on Wednesday, and they'll change my dressings then. I'll be able to shower on Thursday. I'm excited to see what my new breasts look like. Judging from what I see now, they are going to look amazing. We were aiming for a large C or small D, but I think when the swelling goes down I'll be a C cup, which is perfectly fine with me. :) I noticed that the head, neck, shoulder, and back pain that I had before the surgery are gone! I haven't felt any of that pain since I woke up earlier, and I'm so glad. :)
I've been asleep in my recliner today, and I think I'll sleep here until Wednesday because its so comfortable. :) I'll post pics on Wednesday after my appointment.
I Love Them!
I had my first post-op appointment today, and I finally got a chance to see my new breasts. Melinda, Dr. Robertson's nurse, changed my dressings and put on my second surgical bra. She also gave me some brief instructions on how to change my dressings and answered some of my questions.
The only issue I have is one spot where my skin blistered from the surgical tape. When I pulled the tape back and looked at it earlier today, it leaked a clear discharge, so I put the tape back down. When the nurse pulled the tape off, the rest of the skin on that spot came off. She told me to put antibiotic ointment on the spot and let it air out for now. I'm just glad the spot is no where near my incisions!
Dr. Robertson came in shortly after and checked my incisions to make sure everything is ok. I do have some slight bleeding on the vertical incision on my right breast, but I think I've been doing a little too much, especially considering I'm right-handed. He advised me to keep the blister site covered from direct sun and to use sunscreen in the future so that it doesn't get darker. I go back to see him in 2 wks to get the tape changed on my incisions.
I have nipple sensation! I'm so happy! I love my results so far. I have a lot of swelling, but once it goes down and my breasts settle they'll be perfect. I think Dr. Robertson knew I was happy with my results, and I think he was pleased with his work. I also have no head, neck, shoulder, or back pain! I haven't felt this great in so long, and I made sure that Dr. Robertson knew. I can't express enough how happy I am! :D
I get to shower tomorrow (yay!), so I'll take more pics then.
I Finally Showered!
After my husband came home from his overnight shift and we ate breakfast, he helped me take my first shower. It was different since I'm unable to move the way I normally would, but I was able to wash myself from top to bottom. I was careful to make sure that the water didn't fall directly on my breasts but run down them. It was so different washing smaller breasts. I haven't been this small since I was a preteen! I will say that I feel a lot better since getting clean all over, but I was worn out afterwards. While I was showering, I actually teared up as I was talking to my husband because this reduction has given me the relief that I've been seeking for over 15 years. I'm just so happy that I'm free from the extra weight and pain my larger breasts gave me. I think a nap is in order now. :) I still have to take more pics, but I'll upload them later after my nap.
I was supposed to post these yesterday, but I started feeling bad from not eating enough with my painkiller. :-/ Anyway, here are a few more pics of my results.
1 Week Post-Op
So, I officially survived my first week post-op on yesterday! *happy dance* LOL I can't say that it was an eventful week, and I've pretty much covered what happened during that week in previous posts, but I just wanted to highlight some things. Here are some things that I've noticed in this week:
1. There was only one spot on the vertical incision on my breast that was draining after my surgery, but by day 5, the drainage had ceased.
2. The swelling has gone down a lot in just this one week. My skin isn't as taunt as it was in the first three days post-op. I can actually gently push my breasts together and see a crease in the middle of them. My breasts are also way softer than they were last week. They're still mostly firm, but they are a lot softer across the tops of them and around the top edges of my areolas.
3. I have numbness in a few places on both breasts, generally in the same spots on each one. The main areas of numbness are on the outsides of my vertical incisions. It feels so weird to feel my breasts with my fingers but not feel my fingers with my breasts. Does that make sense? :) I also have some numbness along some parts of my vertical incisions.
4. Some bruising showed up on my left side along the horizontal incision around the 4th day post-op. I was a little surprised to see it, but then I realized the doctor had to do more to this side. It's starting to fade out, so hopefully it won't be as bad by the end of this week.
5. I stopped taking the Norco around Friday evening since my pain level had decreased dramatically. I've been taking Motrin for the discomfort I feel now since then, but I had to take a Norco yesterday and today because of the pain I've been having under my breasts and under my arms. When your doctor and nurse tell you to rest, DO IT! I'm not used to just being still, so it was hard for me not to do anything.I haven't done a lot, just light cleaning up (e.g. folding small piles of clothes; clearing the coffee table of plates, cups, and trash), but even simple tasks like these make me tired and achy. I had an emotional moment about being so limited, but I got over it quick because I want to make sure that everything comes out nicely.
6. I also noticed some raised areas along the outer edge of my right horizontal incision, so I called the nurse, who informed that it could be blistering. If this is so, then it'll start draining and she'll have me come in a couple days sooner than my appointment. I'm praying that's not the case!
7. This may seem a little vain, but I still catch eyes! I was so used to my breasts attracting unwanted male attention, so having smaller breasts is a big plus for me. Yesterday at the grocery store, I saw a man checking me out. I've still got it, and they still want it! LOL (See http://youtu.be/7RFeNKLT7JU) What woman doesn't want to look attractive? I'll admit, I was a little concerned about my new shape, but I've grown to love it! The man checking me out was just a bonus. ;)
I don't go back to see my surgeon until next Thursday, so until then, I'm going to behave and take it easy and rest like I'm supposed to do. For those who've already had their reductions, please feel free to comment with your tidbits and advice. :)
2 Weeks Post-Op
Another week down, and everything is healing--from what I can see--nicely. I go to see my surgeon on Wednesday morning to get the tape and stitches removed. I'm a little nervous about the stitches, because I can tell where they are in relation to the pain/discomfort I'm feeling. Here's a list of the things I've noticed in this past week:
1. The deep aches I feel remind me of when I was breastfeeding my children. They feel like my breasts did when I would miss a feeding or two and be on the verge of enforcement. That wasn't the best feeling, but I could tolerate it. I also think these deep aches are where my surgeon attached my pedicle on the inside. I'm just glad the sensation doesn't feel any worse than what I feel now.
2. "Zingers" are not pleasant, and they are definitely unpredictable. However, I'm grateful for them because they're a sign I'm healing properly.
3. I'm more uncomfortable along my scars than I was last week. I think this may be in part to this surgical tape pulling on skin that's tightening as it heals. I'm so happy that it's coming off this week!
4. I'm finding the ends of sutures everywhere now. I found a new one peeping out from under the edge of the tape today. It's amazing how thess tiny threads held me together while my body repaired itself these past two weeks.
5. I'm really sluggish from not doing anything that I usually do. It's sort of driving me nuts because I'm used to being independent and handling the day-to-day things around the house, like cleaning, cooking, taking children to appointments, and running errands. I guess I just need to relax and enjoy this "vacation," but just as soon as I'm able, I'm getting back in the saddle! I've also go to get back into my gym routine. I've finally gotten my thyroid situated (hypo) and this sluggishness is just taking me back to where I was before. It's definitely NOT the business! LOL
6. The outer ends of my scars are slightly raised, and I think this is due to one of two things: a. I'm sensitive to the tape and I've blistered up like I did with my initial dressings, or b. they're irritated and swollen because I'm doing too much with my arms and need to dial my movements back. I hope that it's the latter, because if I get another mark from this tape, I'm going to be upset! I know it's part of the process, but if I can avoid any additional scarring, I'll do whatever I can. We'll see what the deal is come Wednesday.
I'm excited about the progress I'm making, and I can't wait to see what my breasts will look like without the tape. I'll post pics after my appointment. If y'all have any advice or tips, please feel free to let me know! :-)
I Just Paid for a Small SUV!
I just checked my insurance claims list to see if my surgery charges went through, and they did. One word: WOW! This surgery, including the lab fees and the facility fees, which included anesthesia, totaled $24,242! That's a small SUV! I've estimated my total out-of-pocket fees to be $2,563.54 when all is said and done. Thank God for insurance!
First Post-Op Visit
Yesterday, I had my first post-op visit. Melinda, the nurse removed my surgical tape, which took with it a lot of dried shedding skin and blood. Ick! :-X She also clipped the sutures that were left in place. When she took the tape and sutures from around my areolas, my nipples gave a big sigh of relief! LOL The tape added so much tension on my nipples that they were hypersensitive, but they've calmed down considerably since the tape is gone. I would have taken a pic of my scars, but the nurse had put new tape on them. She left my areolas free though, thank goodness! I'll take a pic of my scars when I remove the tape next week.
After the nurse put the tape on, Dr. Robertson came in to check my breasts. He was very pleased with my results and asked if I liked my new breasts, and I told him that I was very happy. The only thing I'm not digging is my areola size, but I think that's because I've been used to my larger ones. At the consultation, Dr. Robertson assured me that they would stretch out more over time, so I didn't bring the issue up yesterday. He asked how I was feeling and I let him know about the various aches and pains I've been having, and I showed him the numb spots on my breasts. He told me that around three weeks is when the majority of these pains peak, but that they should subside in a week or so. He also assured me that the numbness would go away as time passes. He gave me instructions on what to do in the next few weeks, and the nurse reminded me of some things that I need to continue doing for the next two weeks.
I take my new tape off next Wednesday, December 10th. December 15th marks 4 weeks post-op and I'll be able to start sleeping on my sides and begin scar massage. I'll be released from all of my restrictions on December 29th (e.g. 24/7 bra wearing, back sleeping). I'll see Dr. Robertson again at 10 wks post-op, which will be the first week of February 2015.
I'm excited about the progress I've made so far! I can see that my breasts have dropped and softened a lot since my surgery. I do have some work to do with some of my scars, though. The scar around my right areola is raised, and the vertical scar on that breast is slightly raised. The outer ends of my horizontal scars are a little raised, too. Dr. Robertson suggested using vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, or lotion on my scars. If you have any suggestions about what worked best for you, please feel free to tell me in the comments. :)
First Post-Op Visit (cont'd)
Here are some pics I took after my first post-op visit. The scars under the tape are basically flat except at the outer ends under my arms where they had to cinch my skin in. They're dark as well, but I expect them to lighten to my skin color like my surgical scars on my knees did. I'm really hoping my areolas stretch on out just a little because they look small compared to my breasts. If they don't, I won't die over them. LOL The trade-off is so much better, anyway. :)
3 Weeks Post-Op
I'm so late posting this! Monday, (12/8) marked my third post-op week, and I have to say that things couldn't go any better. I'm able to do more for myself now that my scars have had time to heal some. I took the second round of tape off this past Wednesday, and I was so happy at how nice my scars look. Granted, there are some raised areas along with some slight occasional stinging, and there are still some numb areas, but I couldn't ask for better healing. I do believe being in tape for 3 wks made this possible. :)
The only issue I'm having now is what my nurse called gravity drainage. I have an area on my lower ribcage directly under my left breast that is slightly swollen and very tender. I noticed it last Saturday, and it had grown larger by this past Monday. I recently noticed a small site of tenderness under my right breast and in the middle of my abdomen, too, so I think residual fluid from my breats has drained to these areas. My nurse told me that if the spot under my left breast doesn't resolve itself by next Monday then give them a call.
I'm praying it goes away on its own, but if not, I won't stress about it. I haven't really been taking any pain meds for the tenderness, but if it gets to hurting beyond my pain threshold, I take a Motrin 800 mg. I'll update you all on Monday if I'm still having this issue.
I'll post pics of my scars tomorrow morning. I can't help but thank Dr. Robertson again for his amazing handiwork. I'm am beyond happy and grateful! (*???*)
4 Weeks Post-Op
Monday (12/15) was my official 4-wk post-op date. Yay! I'm so thrilled with the recovery I've had so far, and my scars look really good. I started sleeping on my sides on Monday, and I started scar massage today. Although it wasn't pleasant, I got through it. About half of my horizontal scars are raised some, but the scars around my aereolas are basically nonexistent and the vertical scars are all flat. I've posted pics of them with this review. I have another 1.5 wks to go before I'm free from restrictions. *happy dance* Until then, I'll be here! :)
5 & 6 Weeks Post-Op
Week 5 Post-Op
Week 5 was uneventful. Everything is still healing well, and I have minimal pain, if any. I also haven't had any zingers in the past couple of weeks either. The only thing that's been bothering me is my nipples and areolas, but I chalk it up to the skin being thinner. My scars are still looking nice, and they've even started fading in some spots.
I'm still numb on the lower outer sections of my breasts, but I'm sure the sensation will return. My breasts have dropped considerably in the last two weeks, and they've gotten softer. They're still sitting high even though they've settled some, and they have a slight flatness underneath, but once they settle in, I'm sure the flatness will round out.
Monday (12/29) marked my official 6 wk post-op point. I was so glad to be able to sleep without a bra, and it felt GOOD! LOL I went to Zumba on 12/30, and everything felt great. It was the first time that my back didn't hurt during the class. *shakes a shimmy* I did reach a little too high once and my horizontal scars reminded me that I just had surgery last month and to take it slower. I hope to go bra shopping within the next month or so, and I'm excited because I'll know what my new size is. I really don't need a bra, but I know I need some kind of support, especially when I go out on special occasions.
I'm so happy with my new breasts! I couldn't have asked for a better doctor and nurse. :) I'll update again at the 10-wk point when I go to see Dr. Robertson again. Happy New Year! :D