Breast Reduction Q&A
Last week on my Instagram I shared an image of myself in a bikini that showed off my breast reduction scars. So many of you messaged me asking questions about my experience, I thought I'd do a Q&A post to answer all of your questions. I hope this helps educate you on the breast reduction experience but also know that every person's body will react differently. I am totally open and honest and don't hold anything back. Before I get into answering all of your questions, here is a quick rundown of the process.
The first step is setting up consultations with plastic surgeons. They will evaluate you and determine if you would be a good candidate for a reduction. If they decide you are a good candidate and want to move forward with the surgery they will send a letter to insurance saying they recommend you have a breast reduction. For my insurance, this wasn't enough so I went to see a chiropractor a few times and he also wrote a letter to my insurance company. From there, the surgery was approved and we were good to go. When I put it that way it sounds much easier than it actually was. I spent a lot of time on the phone to insurance, and my doctor to make sure everything was on track.
Okay, I won't ramble on here anymore because there is lots of information below. Enjoy!
What size were you before and after?
I was a 36G before the surgery and I’m now a 36DD.
How did you determine the size to go to? What helped you make the correct size decision?
This was tough. My surgeon said pictures were the best way to find a size you like because a D cup, for example, looks different on different women. I wanted to go small enough that the surgery was worth it but I also didn’t want to have small breasts. My sister has a very similar body type to me so I used her to gauge where I wanted to be but I really trusted my surgeon to know what would be best based on what I told him I wanted.
This one is a funny one....are they perkier?
They are perkier than before but in an ideal world, I would like them even perkier than they are now. I went from a 36G to a 36DD so naturally, they are less saggy because they are smaller. They were much perkier right after surgery but they have naturally settled.
Did it hurt more or less then you thought?
It was not as bad as I thought. I remember it being the most painful when I woke up from surgery. After that it was very manageable, I had nearly an entire bottle of painkillers left over because I didn’t feel like I needed to take them. I have a very low pain tolerance so if I can get through it so can you!
Did you have any complications?
I didn’t have any complications during the surgery-- thank goodness! Although, the day following my procedure I was very nauseous and throwing up from the anesthesia. This was probably the worst part of the surgical experience. Another complication was, once I started to heal, I noticed one of my nipples wasn’t centered in my areola, which bothered me. As my breasts “settled” the skin stretched out and my areola was more of an oval than a circle so my surgeon went back in to correct that for me.
What scared you most about the surgery?
I was very nervous that I would regret it or that they would be too small and I'd be unhappy with the outcome. My surgeon talked to me a lot about the mental side of plastic surgery and how adjusting to your new body can be very difficult. It turned out to be just fine! I didn't have any regret and I loved the way I looked!
I was also very nervous for the actual surgery, going into the hospital is scary. You might laugh, but I had a horrible fear that I would wake up during the surgery so I made sure the tell the anesthesiologist to be very sure he was giving me enough drugs!
How to find the right surgeon and what questions to ask them?
This is something I wish I would have spent more time doing. I found my surgeon through a family friend who had her breast reduction done by him. I suggest doing your research and setting up consultations with a few doctors. I think it’s important you have a good relationship with your surgeon. Also, ask to see their book of before and after photos. When I was looking at these images I didn’t really know what I was looking for so I suggest you look at nipple shape, scaring and overall shape of the breast in the after images. This list of questions was also very helpful.
Did you get a lift as well?
I did not get a lift because this would not be covered by insurance. I would have loved one though!
How old were you when you had the surgery?
I was 23 when I had my breast reductions surgery.
What was the deciding factor that made you pull the trigger?
Since I was 23 at the time I was still on my parent’s insurance. They had moved to Australia so their insurance was going to end in a few months so I decided to pull the trigger. My dad had excellent coverage so it was either now or years and years down the road. Basically, I decided to get it before I was kicked off my dad’s insurance.
Did you consider not being able to breast feed your babies?
I did consider this. My surgeon said there was a chance I won’t be able to breastfeed but I thought the other benefits of the surgery outweighed the risk of not being able to breastfeed.
How long was your healing time?
I had the surgery on a Wednesday then stayed in the hospital overnight and went home Thursday afternoon. I only took off work three days (Wednesday – Friday) then worked from home the following Monday – Wednesday, I believe. I was only immobile the first few days after surgery. After that, I went back to my usual routine besides working out. You will experience some leaking from your incisions for a few weeks after surgery so I always kept gauze in my surgical bra. I still managed to complete a sprint triathlon about 4 months after surgery to put the healing time in perspective.
How painful was the recovery?
The recovery was very manageable. I wasn’t in much pain after the first few days, it was really just uncomfortable. Your chest feels very tight and you don’t really want to move much. I struggled with sleeping because I was only comfortable sleeping on my back for a few weeks.
How long were you immobile?
I was only totally immobile the first day or two after surgery. After that, you just modify your movements and take it easy! No heavy lifting and take it slow!
How long did it take for the scars to be less noticeable?
I had my surgery February of 2017 so a little over a year ago now and my scars are still noticeable. With that being said, I have been horrible at applying scar cream. I really haven't been doing anything to help them heal.
Do they grow back? If you gain or loose weight do they change size?
Mine have not grown back but I only had my breast reduction a year ago. I think this totally depends on where you hold your weight. Prior to surgery my weight fluctuations never affected the size of my boobs. I have stayed basically the same weight since I had the reduction and my boobs have stayed the same size.
Did you lose feeling in your nipples?
I still have feeling in my nipples, maybe even more! The months after surgery they were very sensitive, and I mean very sensitive!
Are you happy you had it done?
I am very happy I had it done. I can move better, I don’t have neck or back pain anymore, plus now I can wear off-the-shoulder tops all the time! Now that I have smaller boobs I noticed actually how inconvenient it was to have huge breasts. It really affects so many areas of your life from work, to working out, to dressing yourself.
Did you pay for it yourself? What was the cost?
I did not pay for it myself. I have amazing parents who met the costs that were not covered by insurance. My insurance covered most of it but the out of pocket expense was around $5,000.