Relief after 7 long years of trying! - New York

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I was thinking that since so many lovely ladies...

I was thinking that since so many lovely ladies were brave enough to share their experience and photos of the actual surgery that it may be helpful to others to share the experience of the consultation and the approval process from the insurance company. Obviously, everyone has shared this in their story, but I want to share my experience thus far and hopefully get feedback from anyone in my place.

My story is not unlike everyone else's. I'm 25, 5'0'', 125 pounds, no past pregnancies, and wear a 32G. I've always had large breasts that have caused chronic pain in my neck & shoulders that always results in a headache. When I was a teenager my older sister had a breast reduction that our father's insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield) covered and as soon as I turned 18 I consulted with two different plastic surgeons for the surgery. I was heart broken when both times the same insurance that approved my sister did not approve my surgery. At the time I was seeing a chiropractor for spinal pain who refused to write a letter of recommendation for surgery. I felt so discouraged and heart broken at that time that I stopped visiting that chiropractor, gave up the fight and continued on accepting to live with the discomfort and the rashes. For a few months, my parents sent me to a massage therapist to work out the tension in my shoulders and I started an alternative approach to helping my pain through yoga, which I still do today. Today, I manage my pain with advil, heat patches and yoga. I haven't bought a bra "of the shelf" in over 3 years. My bras are purchased from boutiques that specialize in bra fittings and are usually hemmed to fit my body and always cost a minimum of $100.00.

Today, I've been with a company with an insurance plan that covers breast reduction surgery. In December, I decided that I couldn't take the way I'm living any longer and that its time to try again for surgery. I found a plastic surgeon off my provider list who was board certified and had great credentials (as well as authoring a book on the subject of breast reduction surgery). I called in late December for a consultation and had it booked 2 weeks later in early January.

To anyone who is reading this and considering the surgery or consulting, I highly suggest doing research on the surgery before you consult. My first two consults when I was 18, I didn't ask any questions. I just knew that I wanted the surgery and wasn't mature enough to know what I needed to ask. This time, I researched every aspect of the surgery I could think of and this website was an amazing tool and was the first place that I could really see the real results days after the surgery. I talked with my sister at length about her surgery, her recovery, and her later pregnancies and breastfeeding. I thought of about 12 questions regarding the surgery, wrote them down in a notebook, and took the notebook with me to my consultation. My plastic surgeon let me run the appointment and he gave me honest, straight forward, and lengthy answers to all my questions. He wasn't the warmest man, but I appreciated his honesty and blunt nature more than the rosy, sunshine and smiles I got from the previous plastic surgeons that I met with who didn't do anything to help me win over the insurance company. The doctor approximated 600 grams of tissue to be removed from each breast, which I do know meets my insurance company's requirement of weight to be removed to be covered.

Here's where I feel like I've had to jump through hoops just to file with the insurance company. I feel like every other story I've read on here didn't have to go through all of this work to be approved. To file with the insurance company my doctor requires 4 documents: photos (from the consultation), a letter from my physician recommending me for the surgery, a mammogram, and a radiology report of the spine. For the record, my doctor was not 100% clear about the radiology report. Under its list of documents required for the surgery they said "any" radiology reports, which I took to mean that if you have one send it, if you don't then you don't. I can't say how lucky and grateful I am to have an amazing Internist who no questions asked wrote a letter of recommendation for me and also gave me a mammogram referral as I'm in the process of finding a new gynecologist. I did not realize scheduling a mammogram was such a challenge. At 24 years old, I obviously had no reason to ever have had a mammogram so I did not realize that you have to get a referral and then make an appointment for it. Mammograms are uncomfortable and nerve racking and I really was not okay with being exposed to radiation (and pain!) for no reason at all. I had all of this information faxed to my surgeon's office who I phoned to be clear that they all the documents they needed from me for the insurance company and I was told that I did. Two weeks go by and I call my insurance company to check the status of my claim only to find that they had absolutely nothing on file for me. I called my surgeon's office to find out why they hadn't filed my claim yet only to find out low and behold I still needed an x-ray of my spine, even though they told me 2 weeks prior that they had everything they needed.

I'm trying to be patient and understanding because I keep getting on the phone with a new office employee at the surgeon's office and she just didn't know what information she needed from me. As frustrating as this was, she's new and is making mistakes and I understand she's just learning the ropes. Needless to say, my doctor got me a referral for an x-ray for the next day and the results were faxed to the plastic surgeon the day after I had the x-ray. My results came back abnormal with my cervical spine showing Lordosis. My Internist called me about the results of the x-ray to explain that the results are nothing to be worried about are often a result of poor posture. Is that enough for the Insurance Company?

It's now February 21, a month and half after my consultation and my paperwork was filed today with the insurance company. I'm feeling so nervous about the outcome of all this. I'm afraid of being denied a third time and the helpless feeling that comes after a denial. I'm afraid that after unnecessarily exposing myself to radiation twice was all for nothing and that all my supporting documents won't be enough. I'm hopeful that third times a charm considering I have all these documents and the support of a physician that I didn't have the first time around, but there's still a huge fear of rejection.

When my sister had the surgery almost 10 years ago, all she had to do was have a consultation and the insurance company approved her in a week. Just like that. Now the insurance companies are stricter with their approvals and I'm scared that I don't make the cut. I would love to hear back from anyone what their experience was to get approved and the emotions they felt. Anyone have experience getting approved by United Healthcare? Even if I don't get approved, the lesson here for anyone considering this surgery is to be prepared with lots of questions and any documents that will support your case.

Just called my insurance company to check on the...

Just called my insurance company to check on the status of my pre-authorization and they said they have absolutely nothing on file for me. My plastic surgeon's office said they were submitting my information on the 20th of February. It's March 1, I don't understand how they have nothing on file for me.


March 19
After 2 weeks of playing phone tag with the surgeon's office, they called on the 16th to let me know they resubmitted my paperwork to the insurance company and confirmed its arrival with a reference #. My paperwork is in review and they said they would hear back by the end of this week, but I'm not going to get my hopes up about hearing back that soon. Trying to stay positive and hopeful!

Please pleeeease please send good vibes this way!

I got the phone call yesterday that I've been...

I got the phone call yesterday that I've been waiting for for 7 years! I've been approved for surgery! I guess when they submitting my information to the insurance company they had to provide a surgery date, which was April 6. They called again last night to move it a day early to April 5 due to Good Friday. I won't know for sure if that's my date until tomorrow though. My procedure will be done at a hospital and I guess they have to request the date for surgery and wait for a confirmation.

I am so excited and can't help but think that for whatever reason I was meant to have this surgery here and now. It didn't happen in the past, because it wasn't meant to be. I'm beyond ready!

I'm going in tomorrow to pay my balance and get some paperwork. I'll know my date for sure! Yay!

I went to the Surgeon's office today. I signed all...

I went to the Surgeon's office today. I signed all the consent forms, paid my balance, and got the paperwork for the blood work I have to get done. They still aren't 100% about my surgery date and have moved it forward to April 3rd now, which is so amazing if they can secure me a spot at the hospital. Otherwise, I think it will get pushed back to the week after Easter. I will probably call the office to check the status of that tomorrow.

I'll be spending Friday buying whatever I need for post op care and groceries and hopefully I'm all set for Tuesday!

I still can't believe this BUT I had my surgery...

I still can't believe this BUT I had my surgery today!! I called the office yesterday to confirm my surgery date for next week and to my surprise they had a cancellation for today and wanted to get me in!

I'm so ecstatic and I'm having a hard time believing this has FINALLY happened!

I got to the hospital around 10am this morning to do my blood work and went into surgery around 2:45. I think it lasted just about 3 hours. I woke up great from the anesthesia without any nausea or headache. My breasts were however burning around the incisions but a Percocet did the trick! I got home tonight around 9:00 and I feel absolutely amazing! I just finished up some soup and crackers and I'm just now relaxing! The timing worked out perfectly, I think. I got home late enough so that my sleep schedule won't get altered.

My first post op is on Monday and I'm so excited to see the results! The relief is immediate which is so amazing! The doctor used a lollipop incision and to my surprise I don't have any drains, thank god! Im using Arnica to help with the swelling/bruising. I was asked what cup size I wanted to be after and I said a C cup, but I won't know how much weight was removed until my post op.

I feel so lucky! I had a really great experience and really amazing nurses who were so warm and comforting. I hope all you ladies out there have a smooth and great surgery. Photos and more updates to come!

Post Op day 2! Day 1 went really well. I...

Post Op day 2!

Day 1 went really well. I definitely keep trying to do things I'm not supposed to do because for the most part I feel really good. I went for a short walk with my husband while he walked our dogs yesterday and that was probably not the best idea. I also keep trying to clean and straighten up around the house...

I took about a 4 hour nap yesterday which was probably taken more out of boredom than anything else. I'm not experiencing any pain but I am very sore. I'm still taking my pain killers every 4 hours just to stay on top of it. Which, speaking of, these pain killers make me constipated! I have a prescription for Miralax because I have IBS and I took a dose last night before bed and I haven't had any help yet. Bummer!

I think the only thing I'm having trouble with is sleeping, but only because I'm a stomach sleeper and I'm having trouble getting comfortable on my back.

Two of my girlfriends are coming over to visit today which I'm so excited to have some company! I'm making my husband give me a sponge bath today because I cannot stand not showering and having dirty hair. My first post op appointment with my doctor is tomorrow and I'm so excited/nervous to see my results! I don't know how anyone is brave enough to sneak a peek. I'm too afraid I'll mess up something up!

All is well here! Hope recoveries are going great with everyone else!

Day 3 Post Op! Bah! I can't sleep any longer...

Day 3 Post Op!

Bah! I can't sleep any longer today I'm anxious and excited to see these Frankenboobies for the first time today! Plus, I'm still in all of my dressings from surgery and they are starting to itch me like crazy! I'm ready to be out of this surgical bra!

No pain at all this morning and I think I can actually switch to Tylenol now. Do far I'm just super itchy and dying to move into a sports bra. I am so swollen! My boobs look like implants and feel like rocks! I feel like my cleavage is up to my chin! I'm ready for these bad boys to drop! Hopefully I'll start to notice change by week 1.

I'm so nervous to see them for the first time today. I'm nervous about seeing the stitches and the bruising, and most importantly, I'm nervous to see the size. I mean, I do feel lighter and feel the difference in my shoulders but I'm still afraid they're monstrous. I'm sure everyone had this fear too.

I'm posting a photo of my surgical bra day 3 to show the swelling. Maybe it's just all in my head-who knows...

Okay, I've nervous about posting a "bare" photo,...

Okay, I've nervous about posting a "bare" photo, but with much debate and thought I think I have the guts to share my Day 3 Post Op. My surgeon and his assistant (and the office staff) were really proud and really happy with my results!

Day 5! Today, I have felt the most discomfort...

Day 5!

Today, I have felt the most discomfort in all the days so far. I felt like some of the swelling eased up yesterday but then I feel as if I've ballooned up today. I wish I could fast forward a month already and be over this balloon stage. I really want to see what the end results are going to be because I keep fearing that I've been left a bit larger than what I would have preferred. I know a lot of it is swelling and that I'm just feeling anxious about the results. I am very happy with the work though and I think they're going to settle into a shape, so I'm thankful for that. I think it's just every bodies fear they'll end up too big and left with the same problems that started this journey in the first place.

I feel so emotional today!

Does anyone have tips for dealing with the sutures? I won't post op again until the 16th and realized I still have my tape on over my sutures. I called my PS's office and they told me I can remove them but then I completely didn't ask about washing the area when I shower. I'm terrified of removing the tape! I'm kind of just waiting for it to lose it's stickiness before I take it off, but should I be gently cleaning the sutures once I do remove the tape or avoid getting them wet? I'm so paranoid! I just showered for the first time today and it felt great and yet oh so awkward. My boobs just stick straight out and I felt like they were just barely held together by the stitches and tape. I was so afraid they would come undone! Oh, my stitches are dissolvable, so please if anyone can share their experience with caring for the incision sites fill me in! I'm starting to get really nervous!

I just want these bad boys to drop already.

Okay! I'm starting to freak out a little about...

Okay! I'm starting to freak out a little about these steri strips. I really wish that my doctor would have just removed them for me because every little thing I find makes me nervous and I don't know what to do. It's not an emergency, so I don't want to call my doctor, but I just want someone else to deal with it. I started to remove some of the strips that we're loose (which made me super light headed and nauseous) and I discovered dried up clumps of my blood near my incisions. I was able to just peel them off, but they took a layer of skin with it like a scab would. Did anyone else experience this?! Is this normal? Now I'm so worried that I'm going to have all these scars around my incisions. Only a fe pieces of the strip were loose enough to peel off and I just got too freaked out to pull off the rest. Now I'm obsessing over these stupid strips and whether or not it's okay to pull them. My stepmom is a RN, so I'm just going to call her for advice. Am I obsessing too much over something silly?

I feel like week 2 seems to be rough patch in my...

I feel like week 2 seems to be rough patch in my recovery. I feel great, but I'm starting to feel unsure about my results. I know it's a process and what I see now aren't my end results, but its hard to keep reminding yourself that. I feel like my nipple placement is a little too low and I feel bigger than what I had hoped for, so I'm worried that instead of the breast mass continuing to drop below the nipple and perk them up more, it will just sag my nipple downward. It's amazing how much a procedure that was done to help with a physical problem has become so much about the cosmetic results. I feel so much relief, so I don't know why I'm feeling so emotional about the results. I'm so afraid I'm just going to end up right back where I started. Did anyone else turn into such an emotional wreck during week 2?! This healing process is really hard emotionally, I'm learning. I'm having a really hard time convincing myself that my results today, at day 9 post op, are not going to be the same results at 1 month. Like I said, I'm so happy that I did this because my back feels so much better, I just didn't expect to feel the way I do about how they look.

I also bought some "bralettes" for my recovery that I've worn the past three days and I'm starting to worry that they weren't supportive enough at such a crucial part during my recovery that they caused my nipples to move downward. Is that crazy? I just switched to a more supportive sports bra, but I'm so worried that the bras I wore for the past 3 days only did damage to my recovery.

God, I just want this to be over already! I can't get out of my head and I'm just starting to get neurotic and obsess over everything.

2 weeks today! I really had an easy recovery where...

2 weeks today! I really had an easy recovery where pain is concerned, but I am moving around so much better in week 2. I'm starting to go out of my apartment, but I'm pretty low energy. I've been raising my arms without problem for a few days now and only experience discomfort when I over extend. I've been able to sleep on my side this week as well and I desperately try to flip to my stomach but I always regret that decision. My nipples are absolutely killing me! I think I got back sensation the end of week 1 and it's been hell ever since. The worst is when I get out of the shower and the fabric of the towel is way way way too coarse and then also when I get really cold. They are overly sensitive right now! These steri strips are still driving me mad and I want to rip them off! I've taken off a few and attempted to bite the bullet and just rip them off today but immediately stopped when the first one I picked still had a little flab of skin trying to go with it. Freaked me out! My next post op is in 3 days, so I'll let the good doctor deal with them. Some of the stitches on my nipples have dissolved and I'll be happy when they're all gone!

I'm still oh so nervous about the outcome of my shape and size. I wish they had placed my nipples just a tad higher. My side shape is so weird and I'm trying to tell myself everything will settle into a tear drop shape below the nipple, but I'm so worried that it's just going to sag the nipple down instead. Only time will tell and anything is better than what I had before! I haven't experienced any pain in my back or neck these past two weeks so I'm so grateful for that considering that was the whole point of the surgery.

Happy healing!
Name not provided

I love my doctor! He was very professional, didn't rush me, and listened to all of my questions and answered them thoroughly. He does really great work and his operating team were all warm and comforting. The only reason i didnt give him 5 stars was because I had some communication issues with the office staff. They weren't the best at returning phone calls but otherwise they were incredibly sweet and great to work with.

4 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 Time spent with me
3 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
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