I can't believe I actually did this. I have been...
I can't believe I actually did this. I have been thinking about it for about 4-5 years before taking the plunge.
Six years of breastfeeding left it's toll.
I liked the size of my breasts in a bra but they were just very droopy naked.
The questions was: do I dislike them enough to opt for surgery and either deal with vertical scar of a traditional breast lift or the perkier fuller option with the Horndeski method that generally seems to come out with a less ideal scar/skin distribution at the arm pit but no vertical scar.
So just 10 days ago I underwent the Horndeski method breast lift.
I am going to keep updating this as progress occurs because I really found this helpful in my decision.
I especially got a lot out of the reviews by PandaBoobs and silverchica
First week woes
So we traveled to Houston and had the procedure. Maybe people generally have a better idea about plastic surgery than I had but I have to admit I had no idea what major ordeal this would be.
So I was in for a shock. After surgery my breasts felt so hard and foreign.
I specifically chose this method to avoid implants so I did not expect this.
Worst of all after taking of the bandages at 1 day post op my first reaction was really a feeling of loss of my own old 'mom boobs'.
No crease, no slope...nothing about the post op boobs looked like me. It was a lot to take in.
I also usually don't take meds so being so tired, vision disturbances and inability to drive due to all of the above was unexpected.
The first week was rough.
I still had too much drainage to take out the drains while we were in Sugar Land so my boyfriend removed them for me 5 days post op at home.
Reading the other reviewers I was kind of glad because if it's painful either way then I definitely prefer to have it done by a loved one etc.
Life with drains was a pain so taking the drains off was the first noticeable relief.
I am noticing a bump under my arm pit on the left. I am hoping it's just remaining fluid and not tissue. Elisa suggested a rolled up sock in the bra in that area to see if it can be adjusted that way.
I am still surprised how much of a deal the surgery is. I don't dare to drive for very long and this times when I overdo it and my chest swells and gets super firm I really feel very sad about it.
Today is day 9 post op though and things have gotten a lot better.
I can drive okay. I no longer take any meds so the side effects from those are gone.
I can go to the restroom again and I can wash my hair again.
I am no longer woozie and I am back at work. I might just survive this after all!
Last day in Steri Strips and what I am wearing
It's been 13 days! Swelling is going down and they are starting to look a bit more like adult human breasts. LOL
Tomorrow the steri strips come off. I am a bit nervous. I've kind of avoided looking at things closely so I don't freak myself out.
I wanted to mention my favorite bra. Some people have mentioned the JC Penney Ambrielle Balconette but it just seems so flimsy to me. Maybe I will like them better later. For right now I am loving the Victoria Secret Mult-Way Balconette. It feels like body armor...nothing moves, lots of boning high up.
Does anybody know how long the nipple sensitivity lasts?
Showers are my only bra free time and I could cherish it much more if my nipples could chill out just a bit.
The water will feel like a gentle rain on the rest of my body including breast but the same water pressure from the showerhead feels like being pelted with sleet on my nipples. Drying off the soft towel feels like I am trying to dry off my rubbing wood shavings over my nipples.
I am grateful I have no problems with numbness of course but this super sensitive stuff is no fun either
Day 16 and it's getting itchy
Healing is progressing well which means I am now entering the part where scars form, it's itchy and the new scars are not yet pliable so everything feels tight again.
I am so, so hopeful that I will get my wish and the bottom scar ends up in the crease...whenever they soften and drop and I actually have a crease again. Right now I still have my tight Barbie breasts.
As long as the bottom scar doesn't end up noticeable on the breast mound I can deal with anything else. Funky scars, dog ears...that all seems fixable. So my sole concern is with the location of the bottom scar and I am feeling really encouraged by it dropping a tiny bit already.
(I am still keeping the bra pretty tight so excuse the skin wrinkles and indentations)
Yay! Closer to old bra size
Since the balconette style suggested for post op goes up so high and is so constraining I wore a 36DD to my initial consultation.
After surgery due to swelling I used a 38DD with bra extender (extender was provided by Horndeski's office which was nice since I had brought different sizes but not thought of extenders).
In the 38DD it felt like my bra ended right under my arm pit and my breasts were so high up.
Progressed from there to 38DD without extender and finally this week to 38D.
Ah...this feels more like me :)
I think another week or two I can downsize on the band and be back in 36DD.
So of course if you browsed to read reviews on this method you've seen both glowing accolades as well as rather damning reviews.
I'm not dismissing these at all.
Rather than pretend it's not there I wanted to share how I evaluated my odds.
I asked him straight out if it was possible to predict outcome.
Here are the criteria that up your odds according to Dr H
1) non smoker (helps with wound healing)
2) healthy weight
3) first time breast surgery (not having had other surgeries before)
4) plenty of tissue (for the aesthetic result you want)
I fall into all of these categories. In fact he seemed positively happy about the amount of tissue he had to work with during mark up.
They also mentioned how unusual it was to be so symmetrical starting out. It's not a criteria but perhaps it helps with having a symmetrical result afterwards...hoping so anyway.
Of course ask your own questions and draw your own conclusions.
But for me the answers to what ups your chances for a great outcome were important and I matched them.
Hopefully that means the odds are ever in my favor...????
The crucial months after surgery
Had a really good talk with Elisa yesterday. It had already dawned on me of course that this surgery came with quite a bit of patient responsibility afterwards and a fairly long phase when the results could be in jeopardy but it wasn't really until I talked to Elisa yesterday that I understood what's going on and what needs to happen.
I think having Elisa or someone like her available for the patient BEFORE the surgery decision is made would greatly improve outcomes and patient expectations.
Everybody was so nice at Dr. H's office but when asked: do you have any questions? it's really hard to know what to ask. Or at least it was for me. I didn't even know what there was to know...
The info on recovery and healing and the commitment it takes from the patient for best outcome is probably something that could be addressed beforehand with a patient coordinator.
I think some kind of 'buy in' in the process needs to happen before you sign the forms so that the patient really understands what kind of commitment this will be and that this is not the kind of procedure where you pay your money, get your product/service and walk out with the end result. You still have a lot of room for error afterwards where the end result can be optimized or jeopardized based on how strictly you adhere to things...some things the average patient may not even be aware of matter.
I am going to be more stringent with the bra straps, etc but I am already feeling a tad remorseful over opportunities in the last couple of weeks I may have missed to optimize my results.
PS: This is probably a weird post. I am self employed in the medical device industry. My degree is in marketing. Before I got my degree I worked as a surgical coordinator for a surgeon in a different part of Texas. I think because of that my brain is not just looking at this as a patient but also kind of analyzing what could be improved in regards to how this procedure/service is offered to patients.
And that would be my thing here... I'd love to see more of a pre op counseling by a patient coordinator. Perhaps even to the extend of affecting patient selection. Are you the person can deal with this kind of commitment? etc
Someone that would tell the patient more about what's going on on the inside of their bodies and what needs to happen to ensure it's healing in the best way possible.
I don't think I quite understood how much in flux outcome was after surgery but I am committed to contribute my best to it.
Bra show and tell (what to look for according to their hand out)
Since a huge part of the Horndeski approach is the 'healing in place' that occurs in the months AFTER the surgery I figured I share my experience with the quest for the perfect Horndeski Method post op bra.
For those not familiar with it...basically your breast mush needs to heal in some kind of mold. The bra is the mold and influences your outcome. In the hand out they recommend a bra style called 'balconette' because the wires come up fairly high and provide maximum coverage/guidance for the new boobs to be.
You are not going to have perkier breast than the bra they healed in. Droopy bra = droopy outcome
I am going to add comments to each pic so you can click through.
Important side note: disregard the shape of my boobs. They are only 1 month post op and still unnaturally firm so look the same in any bra. My boyfriend calls them 'the coconuts' just to give you an idea)
Again keep in mind I am only 1 months post op, doing my best. If my selection turns out to be terrible and my boobs are awful ...well then you'll know I was wrong. LOL
1 Month Boobaversary!
I love em. :)
Way, way better than before.
In the center the incision is still above the crease line but they are also still fairly big. We will see where everything ends up.
As long as volume distribution doesn't go all wonky I'll be okay with scars slightly high.
Pros and cons of silicone sheets
So I started silicone sheets at 4 weeks post op and apparently it was a bit too soon for a little spot that was a bit behind on healing.
The sheets are amazing at softening the scars. Very impressed.
Unfortunately also great at softening areas that weren't fully healed yet.
So for now of course no strips on that spot and treatment with betadine ...hence the orange color
My thoughts on scars, volume and why I chose this method
I am writing this here but really it's kind of for myself to remind me of my goals and give me something to measure success or failure by.
These are my thoughts and my ideas of success and failure so if they don't overlap with yours please don't be offended. I am just sharing my own thoughts on what works for ME... perfectly fine if you feel differently.
I have super pale, thin skin. It stretches easily and doesn't have all that much elasticity. I know with a traditional breast lift that relies on the skin envelope to keep things perky, I'd be back to droopy in no time. :(
I chose the Horndeski method because it gave me hope that by attaching things to the muscle and gathering up things internally I'd have a better chance of staying nice and full longer.
So that's what I am hoping for: I will consider this a success if I can keep it perky and not be all sad and droopy again in a year.
I knew from other's pictures that scar placement was likely to be not perfect with this method.
There's significant trauma to the internal tissue during a super long surgery (4 hours versus the usual 2). With swelling and putting things in places they've never been before I guess it's a bit of a guess to where the incisions go and how each person's skin will stretch.
I am at peace with scars not being perfectly in the crease. In fact I am pleasantly surprised with how close he got it.
I also have the advantage of having that stupid pale, thin skin which tends to scar really well...meaning thin white scars on thin white skin...it tends to blend in.
I believe that as long as the cone heals tightly in the current position and stuff doesn't slide down and bottom out the scars will be on the bottom part anyway. Plus had I chosen a lollipop lift I'd have the vertical scar...so nothing much lost in giving this a shot.
One of my favorite reviews on the Horndeski method was by Twoplusone who did such a fantastic job documenting progress.
One of her scars is really high up...not ideal at all. But she kept the fullness and perkiness and the scars faded and I think she looks fantastic.
So having made peace with the scar thing my main focus will be what they call 'healing in place' meaning keeping them tightly packed into a supportive bra with high wires so that all scar tissue that forms internally will form a breast internally that won't fall flat.
So far so good on that. I am thrilled with the bra I chose. It's $58 so not cheap but so worth it. It even has boning on the side so it does a good job squashing the scars flat without having to stick anything in the bra. If anybody wants to check it out it's by Victoria's Secret and it's called the Dream Angels Multi-Way Balconette. Hope you can see in the attached pictures how ridiculously perfect my breast match the molded cups of the bra right now.
I am sure by month 3 when things soften up it will change but right now my breasts are like I shoved play-doh into the bra cups and got a perfect model of them. I feel confident I have a good starting point...now that stuff better sticks together. It's easy peasy now but when you are sore and swollen during the first 4 weeks squeezing them tightly into such a constraining bra is o fun...there better be a pay off (with awesome boobs) lol
I love them ! (almost 6 weeks)
I can't wait for my little trip to the mountains with my sweetie next month right after I am past the 2 months mark and can actually take the bra off.
Doing a little outfit test run and I am thrilled. I have never been able to wear something like this before. Droopy boobs would have made anything without underwire look really, really sad.
And here I am: no underwire, spaghetti straps!
Month 3 will be when tissues soften and the breast falls into a more natural position...I am kind of scared. Now I have gotten used to my gravity deviying torpedo boobs!
Since I have no crease yet I marked the crease with eyeliner
I know I said no update until the 2 month anniversary but a couple people mentioned they wanted to use my review to check on during their own recovery so I am adding this 'just past 6 weeks' scar/crease picture post.
Since they are still too perky to have a real crease I used eyeliner to mark where the crease would be.
I am using the underwire as my guide. Basically I marked where the straight rib cage turns into the curve of the breast.
It felt like for a little while the scar came closer to my future crease but as swelling went down it actually decreased more in the ribcage than in the breasts themselves which may have let more skin go towards the breasts away from the ribcage. I love that Dr H managed to use so much of my under arm fat/breast tissue. I think my band size might actually end up being 34 instead of the old 36.
Gravity will win eventually and I will have a crease again (most likely starting around month 3 or 4)
Then if all goes well breast will drop and scar will go below.
I know some people do not believe that the 'healing in place' is a crucial thing and it's just something Dr H's office made up to blame patients when the outcome is not ideal.
I do NOT agree with that. In my experience healing in place is the crucial component to this method.
(for those not familiar with it: healing in place is practically the 8 week time period after surgery where the breast mush heals together and the scars inside your breast form the permanent new breast. For this to occur the healing breast needs a good mold and very little movement so for 2 month you wear a balconette style bra with the straps set as tight as you can stand it)
I spoke to Elisa and mentioned something about activities and she genuinely was freaking out about the possibility of me ruining my results by trying to rush it - especially the bra part. I don't think it's an act. They want you to be successful but they may not always do an adequate job ahead of the surgery in letting people know how crucial the healing in place part will be.
As a result people may not follow the rules as strictly as they should and the cone heals not as tightly as it could have. By the time someone tells you how crucial those first few weeks were, it's too late and you end up losing all of the benefit of upper pole fullness.
Understandably if those rules are presented after the results have been shaped, patients easily feel like they are being blamed for the failure.
So...just for the record: my boobs have been plastered to my chest for 6 weeks. I DESERVE perkiness! LOL
If the cone falls apart I can honestly say it's not because of me.
Why is the cone so crazy important to me?
For one that is the big advantage of the Horndeski method over regular lift for me. Love the look of it.
Another reason though is that when looking through the reviews it's so noticeable that people that for whatever reason lost the cone/upper pole fullness look way, way worse even in regards to scars than people who may have scars not placed perfectly but retained the fullness on top.
Even if the scars won't fall into the crease by 6 months I will be okay as long as I manage to keep some fullness and most of the volume above the scar lines.
Hope the pics help others that are comparing their progress with those of us that came before.
Just a quick note to say even though they still feel super firm and tight they must have softened a tiny bit.
They used to not move at all but now when I lie on my side they move enough to barely touch each other. I'm really excited. Lol
I may have cleavage again at some point
Stuff I have been using and Check in from Dr H's office
Somebody asked about silicone strips and I looked at the wrong box so I figured I'll just take a picture.
My favorite item in this is actually the Povidine ointment...much more convenient than the liquid iodine!
I used it when I had that little open spot and I have been using it on the areas where stitches came out but more on that in a bit.
As for the strips, I buy the sheets and just cut them in half. They last a week. I only put them on the ends because only towards my sternum and towards the arms pits do I have roping/pleating.
So that makes it 1 sheet or 2 strips per breast and underneath I use either the gel or nothing.
I have NOT been using the nipple silicone things. Or actually I used it once. It sticks really tight and you have to take it off once a day. Since I actually don't even see any scarring around my nipple it seemed more trouble than it was worth.
I should have waited to order these and saved myself $45. :/
Elisa from Dr H's office contacted me yesterday which was nice. I wasn't really expecting them to check up on me but she said she hadn't heard from me in a bit and wanted to check in.
I really haven't had much going on other than a few minor things:
1) I noticed my nipple is still normal pink but my areola has lost pigment and seems more pale. I had already read up on this here so wasn't too worried about it.
2) I had 4 areas where stitches were still poking through skin (feels like fishing line by the way). I had been dapping the povidine ointment on these spots and figured I'll wait it out but Elisa thought it would be providing an entry for bacteria and I should pull them out with tweezers and then cut them close to the skin so that the remnants remain under the skin and the skin can close.
Wasn't as tough as I imagined but don't be shocked if you pull out what seems quite a bit of length.
I think out of the 4 I managed to get 3 to be completely under the skin. I will try again on the last one.
I am back to coaching soccer and think I will work up to riding horses again by the end of the year (lifting saddle on the back seems like the biggest obstacle right now)
8 weeks! Sleeping without a bra is now allowed
It took some time to get used to wearing a bra 24/7 but now it is over! I hit the 8 weeks mark today!
Somehow now not wearing a bra feels weird.
But I am getting comfy with cats and Netflix and NO bra! Yay
Abcess! Boo :(
So right before my 2 months mark I developed an abscess along the nipple suture line.
It felt like it came on really fast going from nothing there to ouch that hurts to draining and feeling much better in just 24 hours.
Elisa with Dr H's office called in antibiotics for me but even before I picked them up at the pharmacy in the morning everything felt much better since the abscess drained overnight.
Now I have a small hole and a depression where the abscess was but that will fill in as it heals.
Elisa is worried that whatever caused this might cause another abscess but I am hoping it's just a fluke thing maybe from me trimming spit stitches last week.
She mentioned Montgomery gland but I haven't even googled that yet.
I am hoping she's wrong and it will just be a one time thing.
If it comes back of course I will drive down to Houston to see them.
So here are some gross pics from the abscess before and after.
Just posting it to give the complete picture in my journal
2 Months post op and IMPORTANT bra update
I learned something super important this week! Even though the post op instructions say: wear the bra 24/7 for 8 weeks you really should not stop wearing it after that. They may rewrite it to make more clear that this is a minimum and most people will require longer for the mound to completely heal.
Up to a D cup it's 4 months total, over a D even longer.
I am so glad I found that out now rather than later. Dr H should give Elisa a raise. Without her I would have been kind of lost and much less successful in this.
All of the 'bad' Horndeski outcomes in my opinion have one thing in common: cone collapsed, no upper pole fullness, bottomed out and because of that scars and nipples higher than they need to be.
Therefore MISSION: must preserve cone and upper pole fullness at all cost!
Since I am coming in at 34DDD right now my plan is to stick to wearing bra 24/7 for another 4 months for 6 months total. (unless I am down to a D cup by the 4 months mark)
So the braless TV watching was utterly short lived.
I just posted a small update in regards to the abscess on my nipple.
Can't wait till that's behind me. Was so excited to post the 2 months update for you all and now it's kind of tainted by the nipple hole. LOL
Weird thing about the abscess is that after it drained even the unaffected nipple on the other side seemed softer and less stretched so there may have been bilateral swelling due to the infection before I even noticed it.
Progress during the last month has been:
My nipples function! When I lather up in the shower they pucker up. left nipple 100%. right nipple about 75% (could have been impacted by swelling from abscess). Hypersensitivity is completely gone at this time. YAY! Welcome back nipples!
As is typical for the 2 months mark the scars are hardening in some places (towards the arm pit) and that can feel tight and uncomfortable at times. Hoping in another month they will relax.
The pleating towards the sternum is resolving super fast. I am excited about that.
I fell like my life has been revolving around my boobs and I am glad soccer season just started so I have something else to think about.
Overall I am glad I did it and can't wait to see what changes months 3 brings!
switched scar stuff
Switched scar stuff for now. The scar away product was making the incisions so purple. This Skinmedica stuff calms it right down and makes them lighter/less noticeable. Not sure if the long-term effects are different but right now I am liking how this makes me look best. Got to get ready for date weekend! ;)