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View Full Version : Happy birthday to my boobies! -or- Ask the chick who had breast reduction surgery.


Jadis
05-04-2004, 01:27 PM
So, it occurred to me yesterday that it's been almost 6 months since my breast reduction surgery...happy birthday, boobies! :D

In celebration of my new, drastically reduced endowment, I thought I'd start my very own "Ask the..." thread. Here are the basic details:

Pre-surgery: 40DDD
Post-surgery: 38 or 40C (depending on brand)
Total pounds removed: 7 lbs 3 oz (the size of an average baby...egad!)

I'm very happy with the results, but the post-surgical recovery was harder than I anticipated, both physically and mentally. I can totally see why people often have post-surgical depression...I consider myself to be a fairly stable person, and even I had a rough time adjusting to the changes in my body afterwards.

So...if you're curious about the details, ask away. :)

VunderBob
05-04-2004, 01:40 PM
Pictures?

robgruver
05-04-2004, 01:45 PM
Wow! That is a pretty significant change. A couple of questions though...

1) Sometimes people who have had limbs amputated sometimes feel pain, or itch in the limbs that they have lost (my grandfather had this problem with his missing fingers from WWII). Do you have this problem?

2) What is your husband/boyfriend/SO's opinion on the reduction?

3) Do you have any scars?

Jadis
05-04-2004, 01:46 PM
Yes, there are pictures. However, the chances of me posting links to them here are approaching zero. ;)

VunderBob
05-04-2004, 01:46 PM
Now for the serious post.

Do you have problems with scarring or lack of sensation? I've heard of cases where the nerves are cut, and sensation is lost. Scarring is a constant complication with any kind of plastic surgery...

One of my recurrent (and non-sexual) fantasies is I've become a reconstructive surgeon. It would be a blast to repair injuries and birth defects such as cleft palates, and, of course, reverse boob jobs.

Jadis
05-04-2004, 02:03 PM
Wow! That is a pretty significant change. A couple of questions though...

1) Sometimes people who have had limbs amputated sometimes feel pain, or itch in the limbs that they have lost (my grandfather had this problem with his missing fingers from WWII). Do you have this problem?

2) What is your husband/boyfriend/SO's opinion on the reduction?

3) Do you have any scars?

1. No, I don't have phantom sensations of larger boobs...but I do still have some tightness in the scars, so I'm never totally unaware that things have changed.

2. I have none of the above, and to be honest, I'm a little curious to see how they'll go over in person. ;) Most of my co-workers haven't said anything at all, and I'd venture to say that a lot of them haven't noticed. I've never been in the habit of wearing tight/body revealing clothes to begin with, so I think there's a good chance that people just didn't pay that much attention. Also, it's an awkward topic to broach if you're not close to someone, because to say 'Hey, your boobs look smaller!" acknowledges that you've been looking at that person's boobs on a regular basis, and that's not so cool in a work setting.

3. Yes, I have the standard anchor-shaped scars. Basically, there's a scar around the nipple, then in a straight line descending from the bottom of the nipple to the breast crease, and then from between the breasts and along the entire breast crease around to about my armpits. They're fading now, but they're still a little bit red. A friend of my mother's had the same surgery done 2 years ago, and hers have faded to thin white lines, so that's what I'm anticipating as time goes by.

Jadis
05-04-2004, 02:10 PM
Now for the serious post.

Do you have problems with scarring or lack of sensation? I've heard of cases where the nerves are cut, and sensation is lost. Scarring is a constant complication with any kind of plastic surgery...

One of my recurrent (and non-sexual) fantasies is I've become a reconstructive surgeon. It would be a blast to repair injuries and birth defects such as cleft palates, and, of course, reverse boob jobs.

I think that I have pretty much normal sensation now. Immediately after the surgery, my boobs were like baseballs...rock hard and totally numb. For a while, it skeeved me out to touch them, because they were like completely foreign objects attached to my body. Once the swelling went down and they started to soften, they felt a lot better, although putting salve on the scars was really uncomfortable for me a long time.

As for the overall scarring issue, like I said above, there will definitely be permanent scars. However, the majority of them are inconspicuous since they're around the nipple (where you have skin tone differentiation anyway) and in the under-breast crease. It's a trade-off...you're giving up scar-free breasts for smaller, more attractively shaped breasts with scars.

irishgirl
05-04-2004, 02:20 PM
If you could change anything about the procedure, what would it be?
(surgeon, timing, where you recovered, stuff like that)

Are you perfectly symmetrical, or a little "off"?

Have you noticed improvement in your posture, or any reduction in back pain?

Do you like the final result more or less than you thought you would?

Did you consider getting a more/less drastic reduction?

(I'm happy with my boobs at the moment, but I suspect that after a couple of kids my 30Fs are going to need some fairly drastic restoration work, so I'm planning ahead...way ahead.)

Jadis
05-04-2004, 02:35 PM
If you could change anything about the procedure, what would it be?
(surgeon, timing, where you recovered, stuff like that)

Are you perfectly symmetrical, or a little "off"?

Have you noticed improvement in your posture, or any reduction in back pain?

Do you like the final result more or less than you thought you would?

Did you consider getting a more/less drastic reduction?

(I'm happy with my boobs at the moment, but I suspect that after a couple of kids my 30Fs are going to need some fairly drastic restoration work, so I'm planning ahead...way ahead.)

If I had one thing to change, it would be that I'd have done it *years* ago. The criteria for getting this type of surgery seem to have changed over the years (at least in the US), and what used to be an agonizing ordeal of proving that you have associated health issues (such as chronic rashes, back pain, etc.) that are documented by journaling, doctor's visits, etc., there seems to have been a shift to a more quantifiable criteria...which boils down to "If you have x total grams removed, you qualify". I believe that the qualification point for my insurance coverage was 1000 g total. I had 3260 g removed, so yeah...I qualified with no argument.

I have no complaints about my surgeon, the facility where I had it done, etc. I had it done on 10 Nov, so that allowed me 2 full weeks of recovery which then rolled directly into the US Thanksgiving holiday, which is another 4 day weekend...it was nice to have 2.5 weeks to recover, because I was very sore and it took a while to get back to being able to move without guarding against pain.

I don't think I'm perfectly symmetrical now, but I'm not sure that's is possible to be. They're as close as they're going to get, and the differences are probably noticable only to me.

I'm definitely feeling a reduction in back pain, even before I resumed my exercise regimen. I had chronic pain in my upper back, between my shoulder blades. Yoga was helping it, but doing yoga with 40DDD boobs is well nigh impossible to do effectively. Now that I'm down to a normal boob size, I've actually taken up running a bit and I do a lot of cardio...it's amazing for me to be able to buy a sports bra in a normal size.

I'd say the results are exactly what I thought they'd be. I think they look pretty good, in spite of the scarring (which I know will only get less and less noticable as time goes by). There was no way I'd have considered leaving them larger than they are, and I think smaller would have looked disproportionate on my body. My surgeon had huge binders of samples of his work, and invariably, a C cup looked "normal" on pretty much every woman. Very few women in the books who were having reductions stayed at a D or higher, and I only saw a few Bs as well.

Zjestika
05-04-2004, 02:50 PM
I want reduction surgery and I'll always feel just a teensy bit resentful that my mom didn't let me while I was still on her insurance because, as she told me years later, she just didn't like the idea. She has woman-are-goddesses issues, and small boobs, so she has no idea what its like to have serious back pain and constant discomfort because of my beautiful, life-giving mammaries.

Woah... sorry. I've never actually told anyone how dissappointed I was with my mother about that; I didn't mean to hijack.

My question: Did you have good insurance or did you have to pay out of pocket? If insurance, how did you go about convincing them it was the necessary sort of elective surgury and how long did that take? If out of pocket, how much did it cost?

That's all.

Thanks,
ZJ

Oh, from re-reading I see that you have insurance. But if anyone knows what it costs without, let me know.

Jadis
05-04-2004, 02:58 PM
Zjestika, I can't speak of all insurances, but as you saw above, my plan (BC/BS Access Care II) did cover mine. Actually, my specific plan with my employer is a 10% copay, so I'll eventually have to pay for 10% of the covered amount, but I figured it's still a bargain.

As for how much it would have cost without insurance...it's hard to say. When one has insurance, the facilities providing services bill at their "normal" rate, but they actually accept much less as a participating provider for that insurance. So for instance, they might bill out the collective services rendered at $10k, but your insurance provider's "covered amount" for those services might only be $6k, and as a particpating provider, you doctor/hospital/etc. will accept the $6k in payment and agree not to bill the rest.

If you try to get the surgery without insurance, I think there's room for some negotiation. Knowing that the doctor will accept $6k if you had insurance, why should you pay $10k if you don't?

Personally, the net billing for my surgery (which I had done in a hospital with a full anesthesia staff, so the charges included fees for everyone involved) came to just about $13k. I don't have the net "allowable" covered total yet, so I'm not sure how much I'll wind up paying out of pocket, but I estimate that it will be around $700.

FilmGeek
05-04-2004, 03:11 PM
I've been wanting a reduction. I'm a 38 E to a 40 DD. But, if I lose a little weight and they drop in size I'll be quite happy.

Thanks for this thread, I've been wondering about the operation.

jeevwoman
05-04-2004, 03:15 PM
Jadis, good for you! It is definitely on the books for me. I've put it off because my previous health insurance would still have left me with nearly $2000 to pay, and now that my insurance and finances are better, I figure kids are on the near horizon and I will just wait till they're done nursing (since I will need it even more then!) I am a 36D at 5 feet 2 inches.

Here are my questions:

1.) I could handle the pain, but seriously, how bad was it? My real fear is that if I get it when my kids are still quite young, would I not be able to pick them up, help them dress, etc? You said you had 2.5 weeks of "off" time. Is that how long you were unable to do anything for?

2.) How did you know how small to go? Does the surgeon recommend what is best or did you know ahead of time what size you wanted to be?

3.) When you had the surgery, did you tell people ahead of time what you were having done? How did they react? Have they commented since then?

4.) Have you had to buy all new tops or do you still fit in the old?

I am sure I have a ton more questions but can't think of them right now. I am sure I will pull up this link in a few years when I have a surgery date. I'll bet you look great!

Jadis
05-04-2004, 03:30 PM
FilmGeek, you reminded me of something else I wanted to mention.

Many doctors will require you to get close to your "ideal" weight before you can have surgery, but there are others like my surgeon who lean more towards determining whether weight loss/gain will affect your breast size. When I talked to my surgeon, I let him know that even at my lowest adult weight, my cup size didn't change at *all*, I only went down in the band size as I lost fat in my abdomen.

Apparently, from what I've read, if your breasts have been large since puberty and not because of adult weight gain, then your breasts are most likely composed of more breast tissue than fat, and no amount of dieting is going to radically alter them. If this is the case, you should still be a good candidate for reduction in spite of not being at your medically accepted "ideal" weight.

However, if your breasts tend to change size significantly as you gain/lose weight and you want to have the surgery done and covered by insurance, I'd refer you to my comments about current qualification methods above. Since some insurance companies now use the number of grams removed as a qualifier for coverage, you might want to have it done before you diet down and don't have the breast mass left to get yourself qualifed. Just something to think about.

Jadis
05-04-2004, 03:45 PM
1.) I could handle the pain, but seriously, how bad was it? My real fear is that if I get it when my kids are still quite young, would I not be able to pick them up, help them dress, etc? You said you had 2.5 weeks of "off" time. Is that how long you were unable to do anything for?

2.) How did you know how small to go? Does the surgeon recommend what is best or did you know ahead of time what size you wanted to be?

3.) When you had the surgery, did you tell people ahead of time what you were having done? How did they react? Have they commented since then?

4.) Have you had to buy all new tops or do you still fit in the old?

1. The first 3-4 days were the worst...I didn't do anything at all except recover for those first few days, and you shouldn't be alone. My mother stayed with me (I live alone) from my surgery day on Wednesday through Sunday. I was prescribed Darvocet for pain, but I'm sensitive to that class of drugs and they made me unbearably nauseated and I think I felt worse for taking them than I would have if I'd just suffered through the pain. After the first 4 days or so, I was over the hump, so to speak, and was getting around normally enough but still being very careful in how I moved so as to make sure I wasn't stretching anything. You'll be tender for a long time, and picking up kids will be out of the question for a few weeks. I wasn't completely incapacitated for the full 2.5 weeks, but I was definitely thankful for the recover time. Sitting up in one position for a long time was tiring and made me sore, reaching and bending were hard, etc. so even a desk job like I have would have been a trial if I'd gone back earlier.

I honestly think that the worst part for me during my recovery is that you can only sleep on your back for *weeks*. I sleep in all positions, and being forced to be flat on my back to sleep was torment. Shifting in my sleep would wake me up, and I couldn't even lay on my side. As I healed, I started contriving ways to semi-prop myself up with pillows to sort of fake lying on my side, which helped a bit. The sleeplessness really did a number on my mood, too, which I think contributed to my post-op depression. I wasn't in constant agonizing pain after the first day, but the chronic level of discomfort really wears on you.

2. As for what size I wanted to be, I pretty much looked at the books of pictures my surgeon had (and any reputable surgeon should have lots of work for you to look at) and compared my body type to women in the pictures and sort of went from there. As I said above, pretty much every woman I saw post-surgery looked normal at a C cup. My surgeon pretty much just asked me what I had in mind and when I said C, he said OK. One of the funniest parts of the process was when I went in for pre-surgery markings and he wrote a big "C" in black magic marker on each boob as a reminder of what to do during surgery. :D

3. I told all of my friends/family that I was having it done, but only 2 co-workers. No one at work has commented at all. Everyone I talked to was very supportive and happy for me that I was finally able to have it done...I've wanted it since I was a teenager (I'm 33 now).

4. I haven't bought too many new clothes...everything's just a little bigger in the chest now. ;) I haven't even replenished my bra wardrobe much...they recommend that you don't go all out buying new bras until at least 3-4 months after surgery, to give things time to take their final shape. Immediately after surgery, you're going to want sports bra type garments that zip up the front (no way you're struggling into a compression bra that goes on over your head, trust me), and then something soft but supportive after that...it was months before I could look an underwire in the eye. My sister gave me a gift card for Victoria's Secret for Christmas, but I haven't spent it yet...I'd like to lose a little more weight before I get that ambitious.

Jadis
05-04-2004, 03:59 PM
Another thing I forgot to mention...if anyone has questions they're too shy to ask in this thread, my email addy is available in my profile. Feel free to drop me a line. :)

whiterabbit
05-04-2004, 07:55 PM
I had this done six years ago. Best thing I ever did for myself. I will volunteer to answer questions as well, if anybody wants.

JRootabega
05-04-2004, 08:09 PM
Yes, there are pictures. However, the chances of me posting links to them here are approaching zero. ;)

<Jon Lovitz>
From the positive or the nnnegative?
</Jon Lovitz>
:D

Vision of Love
05-04-2004, 08:14 PM
I don't mean to sound pervy, but I'm actually interested in seeing how big DDD's are. Do you have any pictures? Clothed, of course.

I can't imagine living with boobs that big. Sometimes I can barely stand my C's.

Jadis
05-04-2004, 08:32 PM
I had this done six years ago. Best thing I ever did for myself. I will volunteer to answer questions as well, if anybody wants.

Actually, I have a question. :D

At the time you had your surgery done, had they developed the technique of leaving the nipples attached from the underside (so that you don't lose sensation), or were they removed completely and reattached?

My surgeon left mine attached, although they were resized and moved up about 4", so I have normal sensation in them. Actually, since they're about 1/3 the size they used to be, I think I actually have *better* sensation in them than I did before.

whiterabbit
05-04-2004, 09:20 PM
Mine were nowhere near big enough for them to have to completely detach the nipples -- my surgeon told me that that's only done if your breasts are really, really, extra extra big. They want to avoid that, since it ups the complication rate. So mine stayed attached. It sounds like we had the same procedure, which I think is the most common one anyway. My nipples are a little smaller, and it took close to a year to get full sensation back in them, and if anything they're a bit oversensitive now. They must be handled very...gently. And I've got some loss of sensation on the undersides of the breasts themselves, but that's not a problem.

The scars are fairly visible, though mine have faded a lot -- it took a couple of years for mine to really start fading, though, patience is called for here. Anyway, anybody who's going to be seeing them will presumably know ahead of time about the surgery. And if they have a problem with my having had that done, then they're not seeing them at all!

I'm very very short, and while I was only a D (shoulda been a DD, I'm pretty sure, but at the time I refused to consider moving up another size), I was so far out of proportion it was ludicrous. Now I'm a big A or small B, though I haven't found a B yet that isn't just a hair big.

Now if the bra companies hadn't decided that nobody wears a 36A so we'll just not make them...grrrr...

Booker57
05-04-2004, 10:58 PM
Another thing I forgot to mention...if anyone has questions they're too shy to ask in this thread, my email addy is available in my profile. Feel free to drop me a line. :)

Your not new to this board. Shy and SDMB do not go together.

Good for you. How is the back, have the strap marks faded yet?

N. Sane
05-05-2004, 09:00 AM
I'm another member of the happy smaller boobs club! I had my reduction done in April of 2001, and like Jadis, only wished that I had done it ten years earlier! I went from DDD to a nice C cup. I also flashed my sister about once a week for the next two or three months, because I was so delighted with my cute perky boobs. We work together, and every now and then I would say, "hey, look!" She got really tired of it. ;)

On the insurance question, I can just add that we had IIRC United Healthcare POS at the time. They did cover it, although it took a few months to get the full approval. I also had a history of doctor visits for back pain, as well as physical therapy for back pain as well.

This truly is a lifechanging procedure. My husband was really opposed to it, but he has since regretted his attitude, because he sees how much better I am physically.

N. Sane
05-05-2004, 09:03 AM
One more thing . . .

Here is my before picture: (.) (.)

Here's my after picture: (*) (*)

whiterabbit
05-05-2004, 09:22 AM
We did have to fight the insurance company pretty hard, but my mom is an expert at that. Over the eight or so years prior to my having had it done, two other surgeons had said I'd be a candidate when I was eighteen or so (unless you are endowed with truly ungodly huge breasts they avoid doing the surgery until you've quit growing) and while yes, the doctors want to make money, still I'd believe them over a peon at the insurance company looking at headless pictures of my torso to determine if I really needed it. :rolleyes:

There was a scary miscommunication between the insurance company and the hospital that ended up with my getting a $7000+ full itemized bill several weeks after the surgery. Actually, the bill made for some interesting reading, but you people can just imagine the heart attack I had when I got it! ($50 for a pregancy test...on a virgin. Yes, I was old enough they do it routinely. Yes, it was still funny.) We got everything straightened out finally.

As far as recovery times go, I heal fast. Two weeks out I went out of town for a weekend. I was only on serious pain meds for three or four days; I hated what they did to my head, but I did need them. I made the mistake of trying to switch to plain Tylenol a day too soon. After several hours of horrible pain, the lesson was learned. Under the right circumstances, Vicodin is my friend.

I'd been wanting something done since I was 14. When I bloomed, I BLOOMED. But no more! Ha! :)

Carol the Impaler
05-05-2004, 03:15 PM
I found breasthealthonline (http://breasthealthonline.com/) the best website I've ever seen in educating and supporting women (and men!) who are planning on having a reduction surgery. It's in message board form, where everything you ever wanted to know (and I mean ever) is asked and answered. I highly, highly, recommend it.

They also have sections for augmentation, breast cancer and reconstruction, etc.

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled thread.

Ruken
05-05-2004, 05:04 PM
Bra sizes completely befuddle me (I don't have breasts). My friend is is a 36 C, so I have an idea of what 38-40 C is like, but how big is 40DDD? I'm not sure if there is any good way to describe it, but I figured I'd ask.

Congrats, Jadis, on everything going well.

Jadis
05-05-2004, 07:15 PM
Ruken, bra sizes aren't all that difficult, honest. [url=http://biggerbras.com/index_sizecharts.shtml]Here's a link to a basic bra sizing method[/b].

The essense is, the numeric portion indicates how big around your torso is just undreneath your boobs. The cup size indicates how much bigger your measurement around the fullest part of your bust is than the band size (numeric portion). So, an A cup is 1" bigger at the fullest part of the bust than the band, a B cup is 2" bigger, etc.

You'll occasionally see DD and DDD referred to as E and F cup sizes instead, which correspond to 5" and 6" bigger than the band, although some wonky bra companies go D/DD/E/F, which is logically wrong and messes some people up (see chart on linked page).

It's always annoyed me that porno stars with enormous boobs are billed as silly things like 52G, because if the woman really had a band size of 52, she'd be enormously fat in the torso with not very proportionally large boobs. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a porn star who's band size is above a 36 or 38, since they're usually pretty slim in the rest of the body. It's the cup size that should be inflated (ha!), probably up to something insane like a J or so (10-12" larger than the band).

Does that help? :)

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