Breast Reduction & Tummy Tuck Journey (To Rid Severe Back Pain & Recover my Hourglass Shape)

I have severe back, shoulder and neck pain from...

I have severe back, shoulder and neck pain from overly large breasts. I've had this problem since puberty. I've also had issues finding bras that fit me well since my breasts are out of proportion and one is a couple cup sizes larger than the other. I am pretty sure my skeleton has permanent indentions in the shoulders from bra straps deforming me. It is hard to do much when you are carrying this much weight on your chest every day. I know many of you ladies reading this are or have experienced the same thing!

I am in process of taking care of all the steps needed to get my insurance to pay for it. I have Aetna Choice POS II. I have about 1 month of Physical Therapy left until I can file my case with them (assuming PT doesn't fix me). I have everything else done that they require (and more).

But I am still saving up money just in case they deny me, but I plan to make a few attempts at getting them to help me out. If they approve me then I will be using the money I have saved up for liposuction on my upper abdomen and a tummy tuck. Because I realize now that when my breasts are smaller then my abdomen will bulge out of my shirts way more than usual. I don't know why, but I have more weight in my belly above my belly button than under - isn't it funny how everyone's bodies gain weight so differently?
While I don't have a problem with my lower belly (I think it's cute and feminine like a belly dancer belly) my PS says that if I just get liposuction then I'll have loose skin and so I would need to get the full tummy tuck for best results. And so. My plastic surgeon has an artists eye -in face is an artist as a hobbie- and I have complete trust in her wisdom.

I am 5'4", 175 lb and entirely healthy at this size and comfortable with my body (with the exception of the above mentioned areas) but I am going to try to lose about 15 lbs before my surgery (as my physician suggested), since other parts of me will be smaller this makes sense and maybe I can actually cross my arms in front of me and hug my legs in front of me when I sit, without squeezing my chest to death. These small things mean a lot! It will be quite a change for me though because I've been maintaining the same weight for about 10 years.

I am hoping I can get approved and scheduled by January or February, because I would rather be recovering during the cold season and then I will be healed for the summertime. Nothing sounds less desirable than trying to heal incisions while sweating from the heat.

I will keep a sort of a journal on here of my progress and thoughts along the way.

Belly fat that won't go away

Here is a pic of my abdomen, see how it sticks out? No matter how many crunches or ab exercises I do I can't get it to go away or tone up. Luckily the surgeons on this page have told me I seem to be a great candidate for liposuction in this area because I do not appear to have excessive visceral fat- meaning my Plastic Surgeon will be able to remove much of the fat that you see. If it were fat under the muscle instead of over, then I'd be screwed.

They say that the way you can tell is if when you lie down, if your belly goes flat then you have mostly fat above the muscle and it can be removed.

My Bust Wish List

Here is my wish list for how my bust will look afterwards. Obviously with a more plump body attached ;)

Bra size - Pre Op - Professionally fitted

Today it occurred to me that I don't actually know what my real bra size is. I am always buying minimizers and bras that are snug and small on me so that my breasts are binded in a shape that fits my frame best. I usually wear a 38DDD, but that is not my real size.
So I went to Lane Bryant today and was measured but they couldn't get an accurate measurement because I was wearing a bra that was too small of course.
I decided to try on many variety of cup sizes until I got to the largest cup size they carried. I tried on a 40H and that seemed to be the one that fit best. But my larger breast still stuck out above the bra a little bit, so it is possible I am actual something like an HH...but as I said they didn't have anything bigger for me to try on.
So there you have it. I am a size 40 H. I am 175 lb and 5'4". No wonder my back is killing me.

Losing weight

I am 170 lb as of today! I haven't been under 170 since, well, High School days really. So I am super motivated to lose as much as I can (reasonably) before my BR & TT.

I have been taking vitamins, drinking lots of protein, and pretty much only eating one meal a day but I've been making it vegetables. So far it's working, I am not a big meat eater so the protein powder drinks help a lot. I can't consume as much protein as they say you're supposed to eat as per your BMI but the more protein I eat the more fiber I need or I will get constipated.
I took a food allergy test Friday to see if I am allergic to gluten or other common foods. I get a tender and bloated tummy a lot after eating or drinking certain things so I figure this is a good time to figure out what not to eat for my weight loss as well as general comfort after my surgery. I should get those results next week.

Down to 169!

I am so happy to hit another milestone.
The reason why I am trying to lose as much weight as I can before the surgery....is not because I want to look thinner. In fact, I really like myself with curves and a little plump side, it just suits ME better.
But I am getting scared about the surgery/healing side of the surgery. I keep reading a lot of reviews on Real Self where fat necrosis happens and turns into a living horror movie for some ladies who are overweight.
I feel so bad for them! I don't want to experience that, and in grateful for those who have been brave enough to share their story about it with us. It is truly a wake up call for me, about the danger of being overweight and undergoing such a traumatic change to your body.
I am proud of myself for coming this far and it such a short amount of time.
I try not to feel discouraged, I have hit a plateau, but I will keep trying my best despite the big winter Holidays coming up, to eat healthy and exercise.
It's getting close....2 more weeks of physical therapy and then I will have completed all the qualifications my insurance requires to approve my BR.
Even then, they may still deny so that might add more delay.
But I am hoping that it gets approved and I can schedule my surgery early next year.
Here are some new pics.

Consultation with PS in 1 week

Last week I was discharged from physical therapy which means I finished all the criteria my insurance supposedly requires to approve my BR.

I am relieved, because that was not pleasant. Felt like it did more strain on my neck that anything, in fact my pain level went up from a 6/7 to a 7/8 by the end of my 3 months.

Glad to have it out of the way. In a week, I have my consultation with my PS at which time she will measure how many grams of breast tissue she can safely remove. I'm hoping it's more than what my insurance requires because ideally I want to go down to a D or C. I have a feeling if we only took out the minimum they require, I would be a DD.

After my consultation my PS will be able to submit my paperwork to my insurance so I can see if I get approval.

I included a pic of my ideal size vs my real size. It's amazing how small you can get your breasts to look with a lot of smooshing. Lol.

My Consultation

Had my official consultation with my lovely PS Dr Bajaj today. I am very excited. I love this woman.
She commented that she noticed I had lost a lot of weight, and that that's really good.
She says she will be able to get my breasts down to a size C or a small D, which would be proportionate to my body frame. She will be repositioning the nipple, keeping the nerves attached. I'm glad, I didn't like the idea of free nipple grafting and the possibility of losing sensation and the nipple entirely.
She will be doing a Superior Pedicle on me which will eliminate the boxy shape some women get from reductions, as that was something I was worried about.
What I never knew before I started researching is that a lot of times it's not the surgeons fault if a breast looks a certain way....most of the time it has to do with your age, breast mass tissue, elasticity, and shape of breast. So I am pleased to know that she estimates I will get the look I want with my body type.

As far as the rest of the consultation... We decided I will be getting a full abdomnioplasty with muscle repair.
Liposuction of flanks and axillary rolls, while keeping my hourglass shape.
A mons lift with lipo
And liposuction of circumferential thighs

I know - that is a lot!

This all will require an overnight stay in the hospital. And it is going to be quite expensive, like buying a new car. But my body is more important than a car, and will last a lot longer, so for once I don't have stomach butterflies at the thought of spending so much.

They took the freakshow pictures of my dirty pillows (boobahs) and will be submitting my paperwork to my insurance soon.

So it will be up to 30 days before I get an answer, but I have high hopes. I provided the insurance everything they require and more.

What I will be having done...

* Superior Pedicle breast reduction
* Full abdomnioplasty with muscle repair
* Liposuction of flanks
* Liposuction of axillary rolls
* Mons lift with lipo
* Liposuction of circumferential thighs

Surgery Scheduled for Jan 27

I'm doing it! My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 27!

My insurance DENIED to pay for it! Im probably gonna be spending my weekend making an appeal. Insurance denied my BR even though I spent over $1000 going above and beyond jumping through their hoops meeting requirementsto make sure they would have no reason to deny me. But the Insurance Pre Cert doctor that made the final decision said they would only approve me if I had 850gr of tissue removed per breast. My surgeons assistant told me they can only safely remove 500gr from the smaller one, and 750 from the larger one, anything more would not only leave me flat chested but would also cut off my oxygen supply and cause boob death or something. I I have almost 10 years worth of documentation for back and neck pain, as well as went through 1 year of going through all the remaining requirements my insurance had for me to be able to have them approve to pay 80% of my breast reduction. I even got a mammogram and they didn't even require that. All copays and 20% paid out of my own pocket for physical therapy and whatever else. I've paid my deductible plus over a thousand dollars on all this so it's very disappointing.

So I said HELL with it, I'll pay it myself. I have good credit, I can get funded.

So that's that, I'm just looking forward to RELIEF! Looking forward to being able to sit through meetings and movies without my back and neck shooting pain, being able to comfortably cross my arms over my chest to look like a cool cat, being able to run without risking my life and having to hold them in place. All is good in the force.

Pre-Op Visit

Just had my pre-op appointment. Dr didn't require labs since I'm healthy and don't take any medications or herbal supplements.

Got my payment made, but was a little embarrassed that I had to use 3 payment methods to make the full payment.

Since insurance denied my breast reduction based on the amount of tissue they wanted removed, I have to pay for it all myself, and so I had to cut down on the things I wanted to have done.

I am no longer getting lipo on my axillary bra line, or my thighs. What I am getting is the BR, TT, and Mons lift.

My surgeon says to have clean bowels for surgery...so I gotta take Magnesium citrate the night before and an enema the morning of my surgery. I've taken a laxative before, and that sucked bad because I remember having stomach cramps from hell. I've used an enema before but it was a long time ago. Oh fun times. Looking forward to that part.

The surgery is going to be 7.5 hours! So she isn't booking anyone else that day, and I will have her personal surgery facility all to myself! How fun, being the star patient of the day! It's kind of cool because that means I will have more undivided attention. I was like....man, I hope she gets to at least eat a sandwich or something during that time... well not while she is in the middle of operating...you know what I mean lol

To prepare, I rented a lift recliner and bought a leg wedge. I can't sleep on a bed or couch with pillows propping me, because I will toss them off the bed in my sleep and want to automatically try and lay in a more comfortable position which will probably hurt my wounds.

My most comfy sleeping position is flat on my belly, hugging my pillow. Second favorite is lying on my side, hugging a body pillow or my boyfriend. But always lying flat and elongated, I can't sleep sitting up or even just with my back back elevated.
So that part is gonna suuuuuck. If anything, I'm grateful for the pain pills because they will help with my sleeping situation.

One week left until surgery! Huzzah!

Holy crap I did it!!

Operation Day!!!!

Today I got my TT and BR!!!

My boobs don't hurt at all, but my tummy muscles and tummy incision.

I am still feeling pretty mind-fried-rice. So far, I almost passed out from the pain and when I got finally in the bath room I sat there for 30 min and couldn't get myself to pee!! I haven't peed wince I got out of surgery...been drinking a lot of water and I got the sensation that I needed to pee but my bladder just refused to cooperate!

I have 3 drains total - one in each breast and one in my belly. I don't know how I look yet, and won't know until my follow-up on Friday morning.

I am extremely cold also, I can't seem to get my feet and legs warm.

I'm struggling to stay awake to write this, already nodded off 3x now.

I feel bad for my mother cause I am being very demanding and have a bad case of grumpy gills. But the is the best care-giver! She used to be a nurse, and has been in the medical profession forever.

I will try and take pics on Friday when they remove the bandages.

Can't pee

I am on day 2 post-op. The pain is really hitting me now.

I took precautions like having laxatives on hand for constipation, but i would never have guessed that id get backed up in my va-jay-jay.
I was able to urinate once today but it wasn't nearly as much as it should have been.
I hope my PS will be able to take out the breast drains tomorrow. It's hard trying to not snag them.
I know my tummy drain will have to remain for about a week.
Boo hiss!

Post-op day 3 follow-up care appointment.

My PS took off the bandages and removed the drains in my breasts. I have to leave the drain in my abdomen for several more days though because that one keeps filling with fluid pretty steadily. I will see her again next Tuesday to determine if the last drain can be removed at that time.

Looking at my lady lumps, I have total faith they will look really good in about a week. My right one still looks a little larger than my left, but hopefully that will even out when swelling goes away.

My belly incision is nice and straight, which I think is great just in case I want to tattoo over it one day.

My nose has been itching non stop since the surgery, makes me wonder if I'm allergic to something.

Overall I'm very pleased with my results!

When I put my clothes back on I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time, and I look so much skinnier without that protruding size H cup. I'm kind-of in shock.

1 Week Post-Op.

Sorry I've been pretty silent. I've had a lot of pain and drowsiness. And I've been blessed to have many visitors too.

Today, I had my 1 week post-op appointment. She was able to remove my abdominal drain, so I am now drain free! Yay!

First pic I just posted is before I left for my appointment, with my abdominal drain in, my right breast is more swollen than the left and makes my nipple look kid of funny and positioned facing more right, but my PS assured me that will more than likely reposition more similar to the left breast when the swelling goes away.

I was concerned about my left breast because there was a dark spot on my T zone that I was afraid was a split or maybe dead tissue forming. My surgeon thinks it's just dried blood underneath the surgical glue, because it didn't look like fat necrosis or a split to her. But I guess I won't know for sure until that surgical glue comes off...which I am going to try to let happen naturally instead of picking it it like I'd usually do.

I only have dissolvable stitches in my breast and abdomen but I did have stitches take out of my belly button today. My belly is SO swollen! It looks funny (to me) but I am very happy with the incision on my belly and it seems to be healing well. I can almost stand straight at this time, and I am so glad because my back and neck were in so much pain from being in a bent position constantly.

Im alternating from sleeping in the lift recliner to sleeping on the couch with lots of pillows. I was sent 2 flower arrangements from work which was really touching. I've had several visitors too which has been awesome up until the time I almost accidentally flashed a Girl Scout....My friend was visiting me and we were sitting in the living room and I was showing her the new ta-tas and I wasn't really concerned that the front door was left slightly cracked open (because no one would be able to see inside unless they were AT the door trying real hard to peek in). Well as I was about to wrap myself back in all mummified, the front doorbell rings and I proceed to freak out "holy crap! who IS that!! I am tits out! Why is this happening!" My friend was nice enough to check the door (it was a girl selling cookies, and her mom) and she told them thanks but we aren't able to buy any. I know they probably didn't see anything, my back was to the door anyway, but what fricking timing!

Next post-op appointment is in 2 weeks, right after I start going back to work.

2 Week Post Op & Seroma

Had to go see my PS today because there is 2 hard lumps in my right breast along with a lot of swelling that hasn't gone down at all in the past 2 weeks.

I was thinking seroma or fat necrosis. My PS said she didn't think it was fat necrosis so she put a needle in the lever lump and sure enough it started draining out, she got about 30cc of fluid which isn't a lot but it sure made me feel better knowing it wasn't anything serious. She then put the needle in the smaller lump under my breast (where a whole bunch of bruising is) and nothing came out... she said it may be clotted blood that hasn't liquified yet, so I am scheduled to return on Friday morning to try to drain it again.

I feel a little relief. I really hope this helps the swelling go down some because I've been a little anxious over the fact that this breast is so much larger and that my nipple is proportioned differently than that of my left breast. I really need them to match up, or I will feel really weird and franken-boobed.

By the way, I found out my surgeon removed a total of 3.5 pounds from my breasts.

Before and after

1 month post op before and after comparison. Looks great!

Help, fellow BR ladies, need your advice!

Have any of you ladies had problems with lumps?

Ive had these large lumps as early as 2 days post op (only in my right breast which I will refer to as the "bad boob")... this was noticed the day my drains were removed). My surgeon thought the lumps were seromas since that breast had more tissue removed than the other, and maybe the drain was kinked and didn't get all the fluid out it was supposed to. So about 2 weeks post-op she stuck a needle in and drained 30cc, which isn't much. The lumps remained, so she said maybe they had clotted and let's wait for them to liquefy again. She said my body would re-absorb it naturally.

1 month has passed and no change in size or texture of that right breast. Yet the incisions are healing great with no problems or splits.

My left breast however is healing normally, the swelling has gone down and it's soft and giving and dropped like it's supposed to. It looks and feels great. Of course that one was smaller to begin with and didn't need as much tissue removed.

Yesterday my surgeon tried to drain the bad boob, and nothing came out. She was very baffled and said "that's so weird, that's definitely not normal". And she could feel the rock hard lumps... there's a smaller one at the bottom of my breast, and one larger lump to the side of my nipple.

I asked her if it's fat necrosis, and she said she doesn't think so. She thinks maybe internal scar tissue.

She seemed baffled and said this never happens one month PO. She wants to wait 3 more weeks and see if there's a change naturally, and if not we may have to discuss another surgery where the scar tissue will need to be removed. But even though she probably won't charge me her fees, I can't afford anesthesia or time off work for another surgery! And it seems like a LOT of scar tissue and even though my boob is larger than the other and looks different, I don't want to make it worse by taking out too much tissue and being even more deformed.

1 - Is it possible for scar tissue to develop that quick (remember I have had these lumps since 2 days PO)? I had a mammogram before my surgery and there were no lumps at all.

2 - See in my pics how in the problem area my right nipple is pointing west? Do you think that is from the lumps, or how my surgeon placed it? I really want proportionate nipple placement.

3 - Advice on what you think it is and what to do? Have any of you had this similar problem and did the situation take care of itself? I'm worried.

7 Months Post Op

Its been awhile and figured it's time for an update.
I have healed very well and they are looking good, the right breast looking better than it did.

I do need a revision for my right breast though. It's slightly larger and the nipple needs to be repositioned. The golf ball sized lump inside the tissue is still there, and that needs to be removed because it feels like I'm lying on a rock when I sleep on it.

But bless her (my surgeon) she feels my pain and understands my concern, so she is not charging me anything but the surgical room fee to fix it.

My revision is scheduled for Wednesday, October 12th. Luckily I have a weeks worth of vacation time saved up, and since I have a desk job I can go back to work after maybe a half a week of down time. I figure since it will be October I'll just binge watch scary movies. =]

Btw I drew on the pic where I feel the nipple needs to go lol

Revision

Had my revision surgery today on my right breast.
She removed the hard lump and adjusted the size and nipple placement.

Won't see what it looks like until Friday when I get my drain removed.

Healed vs Fresh incision

Thought you guys might like to know how big a difference your breasts will look after a few months of healing.

The swollen perky breast on the left is one day after surgery.
The one on the right is the healed breast that's soft and relaxed and that's what they will both look like after healed.

Drain removed

Drain is removed and revised breast looks much more proportionate now. The right nipple will become more full like the left healed one, as soon as the stitches dissolve.
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful