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Joanne’s Story

  • Breast Reduction Surgery


From the young age of 12, I can recall having to buy a 34 C bra. Although this was no fun in early junior high as the years went on - I came to really love having large breasts. When I entered college I found even though I was losing weight by running my breast were getting larger. At 20 years old I was a 34 D. From that point on I noticed how my neck, shoulders and back would hurt me at the end of the day or if I was wearing a non supportive bra or bikini top.  The pain was manageable until I got pregnant with my first child. My breast grew to an enormous size. Being so short (I am five foot) I was a sight once my milk came in.


Everyone told me once you stop breastfeeding you will lose your breasts and be smaller than when you started. Nope not me.  I lost all my baby weight and then some and was a 36 DD.  At that point my physical pain only increased. Several rounds of physical therapy offered no relief. I found I had to take Advil at the end of the night just to get relief from the shoulder and neck pain I was having. After another pregnancy I found myself again with enormous breasts.  I breastfeed my last child for a year and when I was done I was measuring a 36 DDD. Or at least that is what I was squeezing myself into. I also noticed my breast were so low. Like to my belly low. It was near impossible to find any tops that would fit me. I looked so frumpy, the supportive bras I need were not pretty and cost a fortune, plus the pain was just terrible.


Again I stared more rounds of physical therapy. I had massages, used heat packs and nothing would cure the pain. At this point I knew a breast reduction would be in my future. I started to investigate some of my local plastic surgeons. I went on two consults. Both felt like I would have a slam dunk case with an insurance company to get a Breast Reduction paid for. I went to see my general practitioner who was sending me to physical therapy and asked for a referral to have a breast reduction. She worked with me and also highly recommended a plastic surgeon who she had worked with for years.  


I got a referral within two weeks to see the plastic surgeon. Before going to him I check out his website and was impressed with what I saw. He is a member of American Board of Plastic Surgeons, and had a very impressive resume and clear record from the medical board. Once I met him I found I really clicked with this plastic surgeon and his before and after photos were amazing. It was clear after viewing his photos how skilled of a surgeon he was. I do have to also mention that he is one of the kindest Doctors I have ever met.  My approval from my insurance company came in after only a few weeks of seeing the plastic surgeon. My date was set and I was nervous.


My surgery was at a local hospital where I had had birthed both of my children. I spoke with the anesthesiologist before I went to the OR and told him I was someone who gets very car sick and queasy very easily. He said he would put something in my IV to help me not have nausea or vomiting. My surgery included an anchor lift, and some lip to my side area of my breasts.  In total it was a 3 hour surgery that removed a total of about 1 pounds of each breast. When I woke up my plastic surgeon said I did great and had very little bleeding during surgery.  I did not feel very much pain after waking up and was not nauseous. When it was time for me to go the nurse had me take 2 Percocet. That was the medication I was proscribed for pain. My plastic surgeon had me taking antibiotics post op and three days prior to my surgery he also had me start to take arnica (for swelling) and bromelin (for bruising). 


When I got home I was feeling very sick. The sickness did not stop. My husband called the plastic surgeon and he thought it may be the pain meds so he proscribed anti nausea medicine and a new pain pill called Darvacet.  The anti nausea meds did nothing to help me.  If I ate anything it came back up. When it was time to take my pain pill I took that with jell-o. Within an hour I got very sick.  Soon after I noticed my compression bandage on my left side get tighter and tighter. As the time wore on you could visibly see my left breast swelling.


My husband called my plastic surgeon and told him what was happening. He said to the vomiting most likely caused me to rupture a vessel in my left breast and he would have to operate to fix it. So he told us he was calling the hospital to have them prep a OR room for me and to come back to the hospital. So at 11:00 PM at night I was being wheeled back into surgery. This time the anesthesiologist asked me, “did your anesthesiologist give you a patch to wear behind your ear?”  I said no and he gave me a patch and told me I would be fined and not be sick anymore. This was also the same anesthesiologist who gave me my epidural for my first child. So I felt really good having as my anesthesiologist for my second surgery. My Plastic Surgeon was so clam and reassuring, he also said for me not to worry I would be just fine and heal up great.


This is the part that I was so thankful to have such a caring human being as my Plastic surgeon.  I was needless to say a bit freaked out being wheeled back into the OR in less than 24 hours.  I sailed through the repair surgery and got to spend the night in the hospital. They decided to give me morphine in my IV and I had zero pain and was not sick at all. The next day after lunch I was released home.  At that point my plastic surgeon would only let me have Tylenol for pain. I was also to continue to take the arnica, bromelin and wear my ear patch for a total of 72 hours.  I took it very easy for a full 6 weeks. I had lots of help with my small children. I did not do laundry, dishes or any heavy lifting for 4 weeks. 


I must say I was surprised at how happy I was from the time I first saw my new chest. I feel 100% better. My constant pain is gone, I can wear non insutral bras, they no longer cost me a fortune, clothing shopping is a joy, I no longer have to buy such large tops to hide my chest or two different sizes separates to fit my breast in an outfit.  Working out can be now done with only one bra and not two. I am also able to run again. Not that I do it so much but it is a luxury. 


For the first time since my wedding I was able to go to a formal event in a dress with a built in bra. I am 100% happy with my results. I do have scars of course. Those I gladly take to be rid of all that extra weight my small frame had to carry. My final size is a 34 C. I do see why I kept reading about how happy women are who have had a breast reduction. I feel so much better both physically and emotionally. This has truly been a life changing experience for me. Not only do I feel 100 % better physically, I am thrilled to be able to buy pretty bras and tops again.




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