Oh my, today on the dot it’s already been 3 whole months since I had my breast reduction surgery. I’ve been scratching my head whether to write this post or not, but at least I found great comfort and intrigue in reading other people’s experiences of the surgery. So, here’s mine to add to the mix for those who are interested.
The Why. When I hit puberty at the age of 11, it came in hard. I mean the whole shebang and my breasts went from non-existent to massive in what felt like overnight. Thanks to society for over sexualizing large human female mammary glands, I had to deal with my fair share of harassment and catcalling from a young age.
Despite all the unwanted attention, the more pressing reasons for getting a breast reduction were related to all the health problems 80E/F-sized breasts caused on my 167cm body. With constant headaches, migraines, sore neck muscles, to upper back pain, the hefty girls reminded me of their presence. Exercising became increasingly painful as no sports bra could keep them in place. Even just finding clothes that fit and didn’t make me look like a massive box was a mission impossible.
Research. Most plastic surgeons recommend that you wait until you’re well in your twenties to undergo a reduction. So whilst at uni, I began my thorough research into the process and what goes on behind the scenes. I probably watched all the surgery videos on YouTube to the point where I imagined I could do the whole surgery myself 😉 But also, hearing and reading other people’s experiences online helped me understand the potential risks and what recovery would be like. I hope sharing my experience could ease someone’s nerves a bit before their surgery.
Consultation. After doing my research, I took the plunge and booked an initial consultation with a plastic surgeon for the end of May 2020. During the consultation, my to-be surgeon said, after weighing my boobs, that I was a clear case for the surgery. It was such a relief like someone finally understood, or I guess validated, my uncomfortable co-existence with overly large ta-tas. She outlined some of the potential risks, which lead us to share a discussion about society and, well, boobs.
Apparently, some surgeons are unwilling to do a breast reduction on women who are in their “ideal window of having children”, because there is a chance you cannot breastfeed naturally after the surgery. To this, I say, hello, some women can’t breastfeed even without the surgery. Anyway, I digress. My surgeon said that if I wasn’t planning on getting preggos within the next 2 years, she doesn’t see why I couldn’t have the surgery, because #mybodymyrules and my overall quality of life could improve significantly with smaller breasts.
Surgery. I booked my surgery for the 17th of August 2020. Going into surgery I felt really calm, and like I was just getting ready for a nap. As I arrived at the hospital I was given some trackies to change into, a painkiller, and then showed to a bed to chill in for a bit. At 9 am my surgeon came to take measurements and draw markings all over my chest, which was going to be the roadmap during the surgery. I was then called into the operation room, and a few nurses started placing various monitors and whatnots around my body. Then an anesthesiologist came in to place the cannula, and ever so slowly my eyesight began to blur and before I could blink, I was out.
What felt like 10 seconds later, I woke up from the anesthesia as I was being wheeled out of surgery. The surgery took about 3 hours and altogether I was 700 grams lighter on the chest area, bringing me down to a perfect C-cup. A breast reduction with the anchor incision (where the surgeon cuts around the areola, down the middle, and horizontally under the boob) comes with a breast lift at the same time, as the areola is moved about 7 – 10cm higher from its original place depending on the size of the reduction. So the scars that are left on the skin are in an anchor shape. For the next few hours post-surgery, I was in and out of sleep, and around 4 pm on the same day, I was sent home to begin my 4-week recovery.
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being excruciating pain, the highest level of pain that I experienced during the whole process was about a 2 – and that was more of an uncomfortable feeling than actual pain. That being said, I do have quite a high tolerance for pain :D. In other words, my recovery post-surgery went smoothly. I took a few painkillers during the first two days, but after realizing I didn’t really feel any pain, I left them out. During the first two weeks, I wasn’t allowed to move my hands above my head, lift anything heavy/exercise, or sleep in another position than on my back. Otherwise, I could do all the normal daily activities, like go on walks, cook, and shower. Apart from when showering, I was advised to wear a surgical bra 24/7, even whilst sleeping, to help support the breast tissue with its recovery and shaping.
After about a week I had to start changing the surgical tapes that were on my scars every three days. Now this, if anything, was the annoying part of recovery because I kept fainting every time I removed one little piece of tape (there were altogether 10 tapes I had to remove and replace). So what should’ve taken about 2 minutes, for me, it took about an hour to switch out the tapes on my own. I don’t know what it was, because I’m not usually squeamish, but I think just seeing my boobs in that state was a little overwhelming or then I was just being a bit dramatic, probably the latter haha.
Results? Regrets? Final thoughts?
After 4 weeks I went in for my final check-up with my surgeon. Everything had healed perfectly, and she just removed some last stitches that hadn’t dissolved fully. At the check-up, I said that these feel more like my breasts than my ‘old’ ones ever did. Therefore, it’s safe to say I am super happy with the results. My body feels more in balance and just my level of confidence has grown exponentially. It feels like I have my own body back and my breasts don’t run the show anymore regarding how I can exercise, what to wear, or how to carry myself in public to minimize any unwanted attention.
I have no regrets regarding the surgery. At first, I thought I should’ve gone even smaller in size, but now I am happy with the C-cup, as it’s still small enough so that I can go around braless (the PERKS!) – pun intended. I didn’t lose any sensitivity anywhere on my tissue or skin, and the scarring isn’t even bad, and most of them are already starting to fade away. All there really is left to do is wait and let time do the rest of the healing, whilst I enjoy this new chapter.
I’m really grateful to have had this opportunity, and whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with having large breasts and I admire women who embrace theirs fully, as an active and sporty person, my large breasts were more of a nuisance and a health risk than anything else to me. In fact, I still need to go to physiotherapy to fix the damage on my back their weight caused.
If you have any questions about my experience, I’ll gladly answer them. I’m happy to talk about the procedure openly, because, as I said, I found massive support in reading other peoples’ experiences online as no one in my circle – that I knew of – had undergone the surgery.
What are your thoughts on plastic surgery?