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Mel272's Story

  • Breast Augmentation

  • Full Anchor Lift


My story begins in 2002.  I was watching the news while fixing dinner one night.  They were doing a medical segment on breast lifts.  I had never heard of such.  I watched intrigued.  I had always complained to my husband that I would love to lift my poor, saggy boobs back to where they belonged.  But after going from a B to a D while pregnant/nursing, I thought there was no hope.  I realized that night there was indeed hope.


I started researching on the internet.  I also researched the plastic surgeon that they had mentioned.  I talked with my husband and showed him what I had found out.  He was able to watch a repeat of the segment on Saturday morning.  He said “if it’s going to make you feel better about yourself or sexier, then let’s make an appointment and see what he says”.


When we went for the appointment, I was uncomfortable.  It was bad enough for my husband to see them.  Here I was showing a complete stranger what I felt like was the worst part of my body.  He examined and measured, making notes.  He said I had a moderate to severe ptosis.  He also began to tell me about the different lifts, saying that he would recommend a full anchor lift.  At this point he asked about implants.  I was so surprised.  That thought just hadn’t crossed my mind.  I just wanted them up, I hadn’t thought about bigger.  He asked me to look through some magazines and bring him pictures of what I liked and didn’t like.  Then the nurse took pictures of me. 


At the end of the appointment, the office manager showed us a notebook with before and after pictures of his patients.  We asked her to point out the patients that had just a lift and those that had a lift and augmentation.  Slowly we began to be able to tell ourselves.


My husband went that night and got some magazines.  We looked and looked through them.  At first I was afraid to pick any out because I couldn’t judge the size.  I was uncomfortable with the thoughts of implants and not sure I wanted to do that. I finally just started cutting out what I liked and didn’t.  When we went back for the second consult, I gave him the pictures.  We talked through what I liked and didn’t like about each one.  He made notes on the pictures.  We talked again about implants, but I still wasn’t sure.  At the end of the appointment, the office manager gave us a quote for the lift and augmentation (if I decided on that).


The next step would be to schedule the surgery.  I really was struggling with the thoughts of the incisions and my boobs looking all cut up.  I also couldn’t decide about the implants.  It was just not something I ever saw myself doing.  Eventually, I just let it drop.  I was too afraid of the incisions, what I would look like afterwards, if I did the implants would I be too big, etc, etc.  I just continued to live with and complain about those saggy boobs.


Fast forward to 2007, I remember just out of the blue one day telling my husband I wanted to have the surgery.  He said “go for it”.  He asked if I’d do the implants, I still wasn’t sure.  But one of my best friends had gotten implants about a year before.  I talked to her and that helped some.  I made an appointment for a consult with the same plastic surgeon.  It was late July.  He asked why I didn’t go have the surgery before.  I told him I chickened out and why.  He asked what changed my mind.  I told him I’d “decided I either needed to do it or shut up complaining about it so here I am”.  I noticed he still had the pictures I’d brought him years before in two envelopes.  We looked at those and my thoughts were still the same.  He asked me to find more.  He measured again and took more pictures. 


At the next appointment, I again was uncomfortable.  I had so many fears about the outcome and still struggled with the implants.  That day he earned his entire fee.  He spent a long, long time with me.  He explained each of the lifts and what the incisions would be.  He showed me on my breasts.  He talked about the results with and without implants.  He said without the implants I would appear smaller because the loose skin was taking up bra space.  I was a full 34 B or small C depending on the bra.  He thought I’d be a small B after surgery.  He also said I wouldn’t have a lot of upper fullness after the swelling went away.  He was very thorough in his explanations.  That convinced me to go with the implants.  I didn’t want to be a lot bigger, but I surely didn’t want to be smaller.  Once I made that decision, I felt relief.  He examined me again.  He told the nurse to order 3 sizes.  He wanted to decide during surgery what size to use.


I can’t explain the peace of mind I had after that appointment.  I totally knew we were both on the same page.  He knew what I wanted so I could trust him.  I scheduled the surgery that day.  It would be Thursday, October 18, 2007.


I found another forum about 2 weeks before surgery.  It was wonderful to be able to see pictures of what I was going to do.  I also showed my husband to help with the shock of how they would look.  It really prepared us both for what to expect.


The morning of the surgery, I made the bed and then turned it back – all ready to climb into and left my pj’s (button-up top) laying on the bed.  I wore a jogging suit that had a zippered top.  We took a pillow; trash can lined with a couple bags, club crackers and ginger ale in a cooler.  We had about an hour and fifteen minute ride.  We got to the surgery center early (you always have to plan for traffic in Atlanta). 


They took me back almost immediately.  He was running ahead of schedule.  I changed and the nurse did her thing.  Then the anesthesiologist came in.  He asked a few questions and told me about what he would be doing.  Then Dr. Rudderman came in.  He measured again and marked me up.  My husband joked that I looked like a jack-o-lantern.  We all laughed.  Dr. Rudderman said I seemed relaxed and I said I was.  He asked if I had any questions.  I told him no, he’d really answered everything I was concerned about.  He said “Good, we’ve done our job”.  As he walked out, he asked what he should do if he had to decide bigger or smaller.  I said “you decide what looks best on my body”.


They rolled me into the operating room.  I remember the guy by my head had a Georgia Tech "doo rag" on.  He told me he was starting the meds and what was in it.  I remember saying the anti-nausea med burned.  He said it would stop.  That was it.  The next thing I remember, they were rolling me out of the OR.  The Georgia Tech guy said "you’re going to be very happy”.  Next I woke up in recovery.  My husband came in and helped me dress.  He went and got the car and the nurse wheeled me out.  He put me in the back seat because of advice we’d gotten from the hospital when his brother had open-heart surgery.  The thought was that in the rare event of an accident on the way home, you wouldn’t be hit by the airbag.


I don’t remember the ride home that much, just bits.  I got home and went to bed taking the meds.  I slept the rest of the day pretty much.  Dr. Rudderman had put on a sports bra at the end of the surgery and I had drains.  My chest felt incredibly tight, not painful, just very, very tight and I couldn’t take a deep breath. 


I took the pain meds on time even during the night.  I went to bed with a little snack on my nightstand to take with the meds.  Friday morning I had an appointment with Dr. Rudderman for a follow-up and to remove the drains.  I couldn’t stand the smell of myself.  I ran just about 3 inches of water in the tub.  I sat on my knees and gently washed my lower body and arms.  I was extremely careful not to splash or in any way get that bra or the drains wet.  At least I didn’t smell so bad and it made me feel a little better.


At the plastic surgeon's office, they took me right back.  Dr. Rudderman came in and took the sports bra off.  When they didn’t fall, I started crying.  I think that kind of startled him.  I thought they looked great even then.  There was white tape over the incisions.  He touched both my nipples asking if I could feel.  I could in the left one, but not the right.  He was pleased with the little amount of drainage and said all looked good.  The nurse came in and took out the drains.  For some reason I was really scared to death of this, but it was over very quickly and not a big deal.  He said to keep the bra on 24/7 except to shower (which I could do the next day) and wash it.


That day I was very emotional and cranky.  I would cry or get angry at the smallest thing.  My husband said he thought it was the anesthesia.  I stayed in bed pretty much the rest of the day.  I took meds, ate and slept.  Saturday morning I got a shower.  My husband stayed in the bathroom with me.  He helped me wash and rinse my hair.  I washed the bra while I showered.  I had to wait a little while for it to dry, and it felt really good to get it back on.  Sunday I was up and moving around more.  I worked on some laundry and even ironed a little (dear husband set it up for me).  I moved slower, but was able to do some things. 


Monday I really had to step back into my routine more.  I had to take my son to school, take the dog to the vet and a couple other errands.  I was home by lunch and exhausted.  I ate and took a nap before I picked my son up.  That routine went on for two or three weeks.  I didn’t vacuum or grocery shop by myself for awhile.  My husband would vacuum for me and my son would go to the store with me.  He was great to push the cart, get the heavy things, load/unload the car.  You can tell when you try to lift something you shouldn’t.  Just stop and get someone else to do it.  It’s not worth the potential complication.


I had a follow-up at 1 week.  He said everything was looking great.  He left the tape on and said to keep the bra on.  He did say I could wear a non-wire bra for a few hours the next day for a wedding I was to attend.  I did fine at the wedding.  I took pain meds with me and of course no alcohol.  About this time I also started sleeping on the sofa.  DH wasn’t sleeping.  He was afraid of rolling over and hurting me.  I really preferred the sofa.  I got the pillows right and just left them.  I slept there for about 3 weeks. 


At the 2 week follow-up, they took off the tape.  The nurse washed the incisions (that felt great).  Then she put micropore tape over the incisions.  I asked about other forms for scar treatment.  He and the nurses said he only uses the micropore tape.  The slight pressure of the tape helps keep the incisions flat and from spreading.  He gave me a roll of tape and said to replace the tape every 4-5 days.  The incisions were itchy and he said I could take Benedryl for that.  I could also use Advil for pain and it would also help with swelling.  He said I could wear any non-wire bra that was comfortable. 


At 3 weeks, he said I could walk - only if I didn’t sweat, get out of breath, or get my heart rate up.  That’s pretty slow walking.  I couldn’t walk that slow and when my heart rate got up, it made me hurt.  My husband went and got the car and picked me up.  At 6 weeks, he said I was still swollen so no exercise.  He also said I didn’t have to use the tape anymore and took it off.  By the time I got home, by boobs ached.  I put the tape back on and within 30 minutes I felt fine.  That little bit of support made the difference.  I kept wearing the tape.  At 7 weeks, the swelling was gone.  I could exercise, but no arm or upper body.  He said to work that in slowly the next week.


I was hoping to wear the tape for 6 months.  But around Christmas, I started having a reaction to it.  I switched to the one for sensitive skin.  That worked for awhile, but eventually I reacted to that too.  By mid-January I couldn’t wear it anymore.  I could see the scars widened a little bit after I stopped.


Dr. Rudderman continued to see me every couple months.  I recently went for my 1 year.  He wants to see me in 4 months and then 6 months.  He asked if I was glad I did this.  I said “Oh yes, 10 times over!”  I love my new girls.  My husband says I have “big, beautiful boobs”.  I wish I’d had the nerve to go through with it the first time.  It just took me awhile to really be at peace about it.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t have concerns, anxiety, the last minute jitters – I did.  But that’s all normal and part of the process. 


Cosmetic Surgery Forums has been an incredible source of information and friendship.  It’s wonderful to have a place to come and ask questions and understand that what’s happening is normal.  I stay because I enjoy the friendships I’ve made with these wonderful ladies.  But I also want to help you ladies who are just beginning the journey.  I want you to know in spite of the nerves, the surgery, the pain (that’s not as bad as you expect), the recovery, the disruption to your life and your family – it’s all worth it!!

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