12 weeks post-op breast reduction

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I wanted to write this to encourage others to take...

I wanted to write this to encourage others to take action and to give them a bit of insight. I am currently 37 years old, Chinese about 5'2"/155cm and weight about 55Kg. I used to weigh about 50Kg.

Many years ago, I was a 10C/32C at 48-50Kg. Then I lost weight due to stress and my boobs stayed the same but when I went back to 50Kg, I grew to a D and then DD and then E. As I gained weight in my 30s over the last 5 years, I grew to a E and then F and am now arounf F/FF. I have been down to 52Kg but with no change in breast size. I haven't gained any weight in the last 3 years.

I noticed that as I got bigger than a D, I started getting intense backpain. The pain got worse and worse and by the time I was an F/FF, I was getting headaches almost daily and sometimes migraines with nausea.

I couldn't find clothes that fit because I am quite short and normally a size 10 (Aust) and I found it hard to do aerobic exercise. I love swimming but finding a suit that fit me was hard. I could not wear one piece as my bottom is quite small (size 8-10) but my top is huge. Bras stocked in department stores were always 12 or 14 D-DD including sports bras but getting a 10/32F or FF was hard. I couldn't buy online because the sizes weren't always the same across different brands. I was limited in bras and sports bras - often wearing a size smaller or getting a too big band.

In addition, my headaches and migraines made it hard for me to focus at work and I was always getting a lot of pain and taking neurofen. Then even medication didn't work and I'd just get sick. I tired accupuncture, massages (remedical, sports, shiatsu, thai), saw a chiropractor, saw a physio, went to the gym... I never lost weight but I would tone up and my legs and bottom got leaner while my breasts never changed.

I have always wanted breast reduction surgery but was too scared of the pain, scarring, post-op infeciton to go through. But finally an opportunity occurred this year. I got some money from my mother, was in between jobs and decided to consult a plastic surgeon.

13 September 2012
I had my surgery. It was probably about 2 hours and when I woke up, I didn't feel any pain. I had two drains sticking out of me and stayed in a private hospital for 2 nights. The nurses gave me meds (no morphine just panadol and codeine and sometimes diclofenac), antibiotics, drained my draines and made sure I was comfortable.

I threw up on both nights; reactions to general anaesthesia and to the antibiotics. I felt sick but otherwise I was not in a lot of pain.

15 September 2012
I was disccharged. The drains came out and I had waterproof dressing/bandages over my breasts. They were transparent and I could see the blood and nipples. I could shower. I went home to rest.

19 September 2012
The pain has actually decreased quite a bit. I have

19 September 2012 The pain has decreased a lot -...

19 September 2012
The pain has decreased a lot - I think that it's manageable. But I get sharp stabs near the nipples sometimes or under the armpits which I suspect are nerve tingling. The other day I had my right little finger tingle a bit. Overall I am mobile and seem to be able to eat normal meals, but sticking to healthy stuff and not overeating.

I will keep updating this post with more pics when I take the bandages off etc but please feel free to ask me questions.

For the Australians who are curious about medical insurance coverage, here is how mine went.

- My doctor is not a GAP insurance covered doctor. Basically medicare has what it believes is the scheduled fee for the surgery. My private health insurance (Aust Unity) also has another set. If my doctor was a GAP covered doctor, the health insurance would give me more back in rebate based on what it thinks the surgery should cost (which is higher than medicare's estimate).

- Basically the overall cost (including the anaesthetic) was $10,000 and I will have to lodge a two way claim with medicare. Medicare plus my private health care will pay about 20% of that cost (the breakup between them isn't clear).

- My hospital bill was covered by my private health cover; all I paid was my excess of $250 and since I didn't have any complications; I paid nothing else. This isn't so bad as I was at a private hospital, shared a room with one person, had good 24 hours care from nurses and was well fed.

So far, my chest feels lighter and I'm not getting bad backpain. I am sore from sitting around the house the whole week and bored because I can't go out and exercise but I do take walks around the neighbourhood and I just have to walk slowly (to avoid bouncing!) and keep wearing the compression suit.

24 September 2012 - saw my doctor to remove the...

24 September 2012
- saw my doctor to remove the transparent dressing and gauze. I can see the stitches and wound. Everything looks good and I have passed the infection period and any possibility of wound opening unless I go horse riding or do something extreme. Overall I am healed and won't need to see the doctor till December.

- I don't need the compression suit anymore, just need to wear underwire-free crop tops to support.

- my breasts are still swollen but the swelling will go done. In 2 weeks' time, I will start the scar management therapy.

- I also have numbness under both breasts that cause pins and needles, ocassional sharp pain and make them feel heavy but the pain really is manageable without any pain killers. Overall I haven't really felt a lot of pain since the op and I haven't taken anything stronger than oxycodone which I am off now.

- I cannot stretch my arms forward too far but otherwise I can do a lot of other things. I walk a lot everyday (though not run) and just keep fit with mild exercise and eating healthy.

- I don't have any severe backpain anymore. I just have stiffness in my back from the cold (I feel cold in Sydney when it's cold at night) and from sleeping inclined for 10 days. But now I am finally sleeping in my own bed and totally flat. I can also lie on my side though not all the time.

More info: Medicare Australia has already paid...

More info:
Medicare Australia has already paid (by EFT) back some of the costs, ~ $1,600. These include op fees, surgery for the breasts and anaesthetist.

My doctor required a $220 upfront consultation fee but all subsequent appointments were free. The pre-op consultation was not charged and the post-op consultation was bulk billed so I didn't pay anything. He has also provided me some tape (to tape over the sutures to protect them for a couple of months) and silicone sheets for the scar management later on.

I am still waiting to see if my private health insurance (Australian Unity) will pay any gaps between the medicare scheduled fee and the medicare rebate. Eg, if the cost of the surgery for one breast is $3,500 and the medicare scheduled fee is $800 but I only get $700 from medicare, I'm hoping that the $100 (difference/gap) is covered by the private health insurance. I didn't have to pay any fees for the hospital except an excess of $250.

I am pretty happy with Dr Jeremy Hunt. He has told me that he does breast reductions a couple of times every week and has not have a patient whose skin and/or nipple died. I still have full sensation (or more sensation) in my nipples.

14 October 2012 - It's now over 4 weeks since I...

14 October 2012
- It's now over 4 weeks since I had my breast reduction. I've started scar therapy; which is basically massaging the scars about 10 mins twice a ay and wearing some silicone sheets that my doctor provided. The scars are still a bit sore if rubbed against.
- I went to a specialist bra shop and got measured to buy a non-underwire bra which would give me more support than a crop top.
- I was very disappointed when I was given a "14DD" size (is equivalent to a 36DD size) even though my band size is only about 26 inches and my cups are about 27 inches. The lady at the shop mentioned that sizes do vary with different bra bands and that particular size was a smaller cut (maybe she was trying to not make me feel so bad). She did say that I probably could fit into a 12 DD (34DD) but she didn't want to irritate the scars so she got me a bigger size.
- I feel as if my breasts are very full at the moment - so I hope that over the next few months, they reshape a bit and decrease in size. The reason I got the surgery was to get rid of my back pain - and to be honest, anything bigger than a D will still cause me backpain (I only started getting more severe pain when I got bigger).
- The discrepancy in dress sizes is just amazing; in some brands in Australia, I can wear a size 10 dress with no problems (size 10 is a sort of medium, where 6=XS, 8=S, 10=M, 12=Large and 14=XL). So even though I wish I had a smaller bra size, I do recognise that maybe it's just the brand.

I have friends who are bigger than me and wear size 14, and they tell me that there is no way my band size is a size 14!!! The bra sizing just doesn't make sense!!!

For now I'll continue the scar therapy and hope that the breasts resize smaller in time.

It's over 9 weeks post-op and I'm doing well. Got...

It's over 9 weeks post-op and I'm doing well. Got a bit lazy with the massage on the scars (I know I shouldn't be) and I don't wear the silicon strips over 20 hours as I'm meant to; rather they irritate my skin so I keep them to 12-14 hours a day.

Overall I am happy with the breasts but I keep fearing the they will grow. I'd like them to shrink a bit more as I still get backaches and migraines because I'm a D-DD. Sadly as I lived abroad before, no one has seen me beforehand and I don't get any compliments on "having" lost weight ... either that or they think that I look fat! I basically get comments like "Well, they are proportionate to your body...". I know that I don't exactly have a flat stomach but I still wouldn't mind a bit smaller boobs.

When I see my plastic surgeon, I will ask him about it. I still find clothes I can't fit into due to their size and they feel very full compared to just post-surgery. I worry that they'll grow again so I watch what I eat and walk a lot. I intend to start swimming again soon now that the weather is warming up in Sydney.

8 December 2012: Saw my Doctor today for a...

8 December 2012:

Saw my Doctor today for a follow-up. He was surprised at how great the scars are healing. He said that I don't have to use the silicon strips anymore and can just keep to massaging the breasts daily. I'm going to keep doing that with oil and moisturisers.

I've noticed comments/queries in this forum about what types are good and in my personal opinion (and background as a pharmacologist), it's the ingredients that matter more than any specific brand of cream, oil or lotion. My doctor agrees; in that anything containing Vitamin E is great for the skin. Most creams and moisturisers have Vitamin E in them. The main thing is to keep massaging!

I also discussed with him my final size and he did say that they will shrink a little more; viz the bulk on the outsides near the torso will go away because his aim when he did the surgery was to have them sit within the torso. However I do have a wide breast bone/sternum and my breasts will never be superclose. I am happy though as they don't sit more than a finger apart and they can't be seen from the back. Given my big arms, I doubt that I'd ever wear anything cleavagy and I'm more than happy with that (not the arms, but not showing any cleavage).

Also I am now officially fit for duty; I can do vigorous exercise and buy underwire bras if I desire. Funny enough I find that I like wearing soft cup bras and I feel like underwire are a bit compressing. I hate the ones with paddings too as they just make me look bigger. I am going to start swimming in the pool again. I need to get back to being fit and healthy as I really can't afford to gain weight; not because I don't want to be fat but all the fat goes to my breasts!

I guess this is pretty much my last post. What I can say to those who read this, it is worth it but it does take time. Give yourself the time to heal before you start exercising. Be patient, eat healthy, do moderate exercise (walking), wear comfortable clothes and bras and don't rush to get the underwire straightaway.

I might post photos down the road if the boobs change but it will be another 2 months to 4 months before I see more differences, I think. I'm not going to see my doctor for another 9 months anyway!
Sydney Plastic Surgeon

I googled him and found him, saw him and thought him to be reasonable, reputable and didn't bullshit me. He gave me the best case and worse case scenarios that can happen. I also asked him what would happen if something did go wrong (eg post-op infection) and he basically told me that if I needed to see him at 3am on a Sunday morning because something went wrong suddenly he would be on call. I also felt confident knowing that he does breast reductions every week and so he is quite experienced in it.

5 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 After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 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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