Procedures Resource Center Plastic Surgeon Info Contact Us Forum Blog Videos Home



LessinAZ Story (Julie)

  • Breast Reduction


Having my breast reduction at age 49 has been a life long dream come true. 


I started to wear a bra during the summer between 2nd & 3rd grade, it was a 34C.  By age 11 I was wearing a full 36C.  On the day of my reduction surgery my bra was an overflowing 42G.


All my life I have hated my breasts.  I was always self conscious of how I looked.  I could not wear a lot of the “cute” things other girls my age wore.  I could not play sports so I became a bookworm.  My breasts drew unwanted attention.  I was stared at, teased and shunned by my peers.  I even had a friend that was not allowed to play with me because according to her mom I must be letting the boys pull my breasts for them to be so huge. 


I now know how ignorant that mother was but at the time I only knew the hurt her statement caused.  Playing Truth or Dare was a nightmare.  The dare was always to let someone touch my breasts.  Feeling so alone and ashamed of my body I found a friend in food and over the years developed a weight issue.  I ate to try and cover up my body.


I looked into having a breast reduction many years ago and was told that I needed to be at a normal body weight in order to have the surgery done.  That was the start of my battle with trying to lose weight.  Over the years I lost a little and gained a lot.  Never able to reach that ever elusive goal weight and unable to have the surgery I so desperately wanted. 


Over the last few years the stress on my body from carrying my 42G breasts started to take its toll.  I had to stop exercising.  I even tried to wear 2 bras at once to help control the movement in my breasts.  I was getting constant headaches, back aches, bruised shoulder divots, and a multitude of other symptoms.  I lived on over the counter pain meds.  My doctor was so concerned by the amount of OTC drugs I was taking he even ran extra tests on my liver and kidneys to make sure they were ok. 


At my physical in January 2008 my doctor questioned when was I going to let him help me with getting my breasts reduced.  Then about 3 months ago the pain in my body got so bad the over the counter drugs stopped working.  My doctor and I decided it was time that went on prescription pain meds so I got prescription for Tramadol.  I took them at night so at least I could sleep enough to be able to deal with the pain during the day.  Again he questioned me, when was I going to let him help me with getting a breast reduction.  I was now ready.


I was having a chat with my younger sister who had reduction surgery years ago when the thought occurred to me that my process of trying to lose weight and then have breast reduction surgery for what ever reason was not working.  So I began to wonder…What if I approached this from the opposite point of view, have the breast reduction surgery at my current weight. Maybe that would be what I needed to help me to get healthy again.   I would be able to exercise and lose weight.  Now I was ready!


I found my surgeon thru my insurance company.  Before I went for my initial consultation I researched the procedure and the surgeon.  Then I researched some more.  I wanted to make the most informed decision that I could possible make.  When I called to make the appointment I asked if the surgeon had experience doing surgery on someone plus size and he did!  I felt it was important to have a surgeon that was familiar with my body type.  My initial surgical consult was in mid August 2008. 


At my initial appointment the surgeon took measurements and advised me of what would take place during surgery and informed me of all the risks involved.  I was a bit nervous when he explained that due to the amount of tissue that would be removed I would need a free nipple graph.  This would involve totally removing my nipple from the breast and reattaching it as a skin graph.  It could mean no feeling in my nipples and no nipple projection.  He assured me the risk of tissue rejection was very low and he felt confident it would be a successful procedure for me.  The surgeon’s office staff took care of putting all the information together to submit to my insurance company to verify that it was medically necessary for me to have this done so the insurance company cover the surgery.  Within 2 weeks I was approved and surgery was scheduled for September 15, 2008.  My ladies would now become girls!


When surgery day arrived I was more than ready.  My friends and family were behind me 100% and ready to help out with what ever I needed while I healed.


Since my surgery I feel like I have been reborn.  The surgery process itself was a breeze.  Surgery was performed at a local surgical center attached to the hospital.  I had prearranged to stay overnight as a 23 hour outpatient with my husband staying in my room with me.  While waiting for the surgery to start my darling husband read me poetry to help keep me calm.  The last thing I said to the surgeon as I was being moved to the operating room was “Make them small, make them pretty!” 


I woke up a few hours later wrapped in an ace bandage with my drains.  The nurse was ready to administer paid meds as I needed them.  The highest my pain scale got was to a 4 and it was more discomfort than pain.  A couple hours later I asked to get up and go for a walk.  I slept thru the night and the next morning I was discharged.


The first couple days I did nothing but rest and more rest.  I really had no pain from the surgery.  I had Percocet to take as needed and I did take them for the first few days to help keep me comfortable.  By the end of the week I was not taking any pain meds during the day at all.  I was not in any pain just discomfort.  As the nerves came back there is a lot of tingling happening but it is nothing I couldn’t handle.  My husband played nurse measuring the fluid levels and emptying the drains.  He doted on me and I loved it.


My first post-op appointment was two days after surgery.  The nurse took off all the wrappings and I got to see my new boobies for the first time.  I was so excited!  They looked so small but in a great way!  I told the nurse I looked like I had man boobs. I had a lot of swelling.  There were also these funny yellow looking pillow things that were stitched to my nipples because of the nipple graphs.  I saw some blistering around the edge of the areolas but I was assured that was normal and would be fine when I was all healed. 


The nipple pads would come off a couple days later.  When the pads came off my nipples looked severely bruised but this is normal.  My drains were removed a few days after surgery.  I was having some trouble with the drain tubes getting clogged so it was best to remove them early and just let the drainage happen naturally.  I was assured that my new boobies would be beautiful and that it would take 6 months to see the finished product.  I am a work of art in progress.  They had removed 4.19 lbs. of tissue from my left breast and 4.38 lbs. of tissue from my right breast.


At about two weeks post-op I developed an infection on my left side incision.  It seems that the surgical tape somehow got jammed into the incision and soap probably got caught up in the area and it made for a nasty infection.  That has been the most painful part of this whole process so far.  It was nothing that being on antibiotics has not taken care of.


At this writing I am now 21 days post op.  I still have not had any real pain.  I do experience some discomfort.  At the end of the day my incisions feel really tight.  Imagine taking your belt and placing it around your ribcage 1 notch tighter than you would normally have it. That is the best way I can describe what it feels like.  My nipple graphs are healing nicely.  They get itchy and I do have to be extremely careful to not bump them especially in the shower.  I have to take my showers with my back to the spray so I do not cause any damage to the nipple till it is fully healed. 


I am so happy that I had my reduction surgery.  I would do this again in a heart beat.  The one regret I have is that I did not do this sooner.  What is more important is that I did do it and I have the rest of my life to enjoy it.



Back to Member Stories