I lost 120 pounds through diet and exercise and had a circumferential body lift and breast reduction with Dr. Shifrin on May 8, 2014, and am scheduled to have a medial thigh lift and extended arm lift in October. Dr. Shifrin was extremely thorough in all of my consults. He responded to my dozens of e-mails promptly, usually within 24 hours. He treats his patients as though you are partners together in a journey. I chose him because I trusted that he could do all of the procedures that I needed which is a big task.
While most MWL patients end up losing much of their breasts and need implants, I still had very heavy, uneven, saggy breasts. They caused substantial back and shoulder pain, which I had come to think of as normal because I had the pain since I was probably 11 or 12 years old. Pain is an interesting thing. Since I used to be much heavier, and my breasts also used to be much heavier, the level of pain I was in prior to surgery was much less than it ever had been. Nonetheless, I felt as though I always had steel rods going through my neck and shoulders, and one huge fist-sized knot between and underneath my shoulder blades. My cousin is a physical therapist, and when I told her that I was going to get a breast reduction, she told me that it would change my life. I thought she was exaggerating. She wasn’t. I knew that I would have less pain, but I don’t think that I fully understood how much I pain I used to be in, and how not normal it was. Even my mood and patience improved drastically. When you are stressed out, you usually end up with tension in your back. But it also works in reverse. Since I had pain and tension in my back, it made me stressed out all the time. The reduction in my stress levels was not something I had even considered as a possibility.
My breast reduction was substantial enough to qualify for insurance coverage. My breasts were extremely uneven, and I was concerned that insurance would say that they would pay for one and not the other, and was worried about going too small, etc. Dr. Shifrin assured me that he would not go too small, and that my case was a no-brainer in terms of insurance. When I went in for my initial consult, he didn’t even bother quoting me for the breast reduction because he was sure insurance would cover it.
Of course he was right. My insurance company took six weeks to get around to finally reviewing my file. I had pulled together doctor’s notes saying I had back pain and prescribing massage, my massage therapist’s notes, etc., none of which were necessary. The insurance company just asked for my pre-op picture and gave the pre-approval two days later.
Dr. Shifrin performed my 8 hour long body lift prior to the 3 hour long breast reduction at Advocate Hospital in Oak Lawn. So after my 11 hours of surgery, I obviously had to stay overnight. Advocate was fine for the surgery and pre-op, but I really was not a fan of my in-patient stay there. At the time of surgery, the left breast was an F and the right one was an H. As I fully expected, I needed an anchor shaped incision for my breast reduction. I asked Dr. Shifrin to make me a full D, which translates to a 3 cup reduction on one side and a 5 cup reduction on the other. I went bra shopping at 7 weeks post-op, and bought two bras in a D and two in a DD, so he made me a perky full D, which is exactly what I asked for. Best of all, my neck, shoulders, and upper back are no longer in one perpetual state of being completely knotted up.
I did have some minor complications. The left breast (the smaller one) healed beautifully, but it does have a little section of swelling which had gone down substantially at some point, but swelled back up when I started strength training (along with a huge amount of swelling in my midsection). I decided to stop strength training last week and have had two lymphatic massages in the last two weeks, and expect that will help with the swelling.
The right one (formerly larger one) did have some openings in the incision at the T-point of the anchor and a little farther to the right. It probably opened around a week post-op. I’m right handed and was probably using my right arm a little too much to help myself get up off the couch or reach to grab thing off the tray next to me, so the steri-strips came off the right side on their own around a week in, but the ones on the left stayed in place until Dr. Shifrin took them off at my 3 week appointment. The picture I attached is of the incision at 5 weeks post-op. It had completely closed up by 8 weeks.
I also ended up with a little bit of asymmetry which is to be expected, not enough so that you can tell in the attached after picture, but enough so that I notice it. I would not specifically go into surgery to do something about it, but since I happen to be having an arm lift and thigh lift with lipo in October, I have asked Dr. Shifrin to do some minimal fat transfer to even them out, and possibly to fill out the tops a little bit. Since I am a MWL patient and my breasts were very saggy, I didn’t have much fullness left in the top area.
Overall, I am positively thrilled with my surgery and my decision to go with Dr. Shifrin. I will update this after I heal from my next surgery with a report on the fat transfer.