Breast Reduction Surgery
When Third Love asked to collaborate with me, it was such a gift. Two years ago I never could have done this. I was a different person two years ago and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to talk about my surgery.
The summer before I began 8th grade, I hit puberty and my breasts grew rapidly. I remember vividly the angry red stretch marks that distorted my body as they grew in size. I was a D cup at 13 and they continued to grow. I don’t ever remember a time where my large breasts were not an issue for me. I always felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I despised wearing swimsuits, tank tops, and fitted clothing. Formal wear on occasions like proms, formals and bridesmaid dresses left me scrambling for ways to wear a real bra because strapless wasn’t an option when I needed to special order bras to fit.
After having and breastfeeding three children, what were once just large and cumbersome breasts, became incredibly droopy. My breasts were also two different sizes, with the right breast being much larger than the left. I was so self-conscious about my body. The pain and discomfort were another factor. I had deep gauges in my shoulders from the straps supporting the weight of my breasts. Back and neck pain were constant and headaches from the strain was common.
Getting a reduction was something I had longed for. I recall speaking to my gynecologist in my 20s and her encouraging me to wait until after I had children to ensure I would successfully be able to breastfeed. Knowing that was important, I agreed. When my second son was about five, I went for a consultation with a plastic surgeon. He assured me that I was a primary candidate and that he would do everything he could to ensure insurance covered the procedure, but reminded me that insurance companies could deny the claim. He was correct, despite the photos and the list of complaints, my claim was denied. The only condition that was covered under my insurance for a reduction was if it were related to cancer. While insurance companies used to be more flexible with this procedure, they now deem it cosmetic and rarely cover the costs. I was defeated and discouraged.
With my third pregnancy I reached my largest breast size, I was up to a 34J. I am 5’2 and while with pregnancies I did gain substantial weight, I was never more than 160, my breast size was so disproportionate to my body.
I decided at the age of 41 that it was time. While I knew the cost would be high, I just couldn’t carry on feeling the way I did. I met with a surgeon and scheduled the procedure. On June 14 2019 I entered the surgical suite in DC and a few hours later went home with a different body! It was so exhilarating! I had longed for this and it was finally a reality.
My surgeon and staff were amazing and I’d highly recommend them if you are local: https://www.davinciplastic.com/
The cost of my procedure was approximately $10,000 from start to finish. It’s a lot of money for sure, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!
The method: The surgeon used what is known as an anchor incision. The areola size was adjusted to be more proportionate, an incision was made straight down and then an anchor under each breast extending to the armpit.
After my procedure I was bandaged only at the incision sites and given a surgical bra to wear. I was provided with a small supply of pain killers to use for the first three days. I was fortunate to not require drains at all, which I have heard are much more uncomfortable. All in all, they removed four pounds of tissue from my body. I really thought it would be much more, but go pick up a four pound bag of dog food next time you are in the store - it put things into perspective for me!
I was sore and uncomfortable for the first week. Sleeping was difficult as I had to be semi-upright. I slept in a recliner for a few nights and then created a nest of pillows around me on my bed to prevent myself from rolling onto my side.
It was difficult to lift my arms so I did require help with basic things like showering and reaching for anything. My parents came to stay with us for a week and it was honestly so incredibly helpful to have them around. They helped with driving, cooking and caring for the kids while I recovered. I went to a post-op appointment a week after the surgery and they removed the bandages and reapplied steri-strips. While my breasts and incisions were still sore, I could not get over how different I looked and felt. Once the bandages were fully removed I began using silicone strips and creams from my surgeon to aid in the healing process. I continued to wear the surgical bras for about a month and then was able to purchase non-wire bras for the first six months. After that I could wear any bra I liked. It was amazing to purchase a bra from any rack in a size 34C!
A year after my surgery I opted to have a revision procedure. Due to settling, my scarring on the bottom of the breast had shifted upward and the breast tissue had drooped a bit below, making the breasts seem heavier at the bottom. The revision procedure lifted the breasts a bit to adjust the placement. The revision was more painful than the surgery - but that was because I was foolish and opted to do this with just local anesthesia, to avoid the added surgical fees. This procedure was done free of charge (however, an addition of an anesthesiologist would not be covered), as a continuation of my initial procedure.
I wish I had done this sooner. I have heard many stories of women who were able to go on and breastfeed babies after reductions. I can’t tell you how this procedure has transformed me. My confidence is so much higher, I am comfortable in my skin and not hiding behind baggy sweaters. I can wear a strapless bra and bikini tops. I can buy a bra off the shelf at Target rather than special order bras that are well over $100. My shoulder pain is diminished and back pain is decreased. It was truly a life changing procedure for me! This procedure along with loosing weight, made me feel good in my own skin again. It led me to creating this blog and my Instagram account!
The transformation: I went from a 34J to a 34C
Here are some before photos - forgive the horrible quality of the selfies. These were the fanciest bras I owned, each special ordered, each over $100 both of them were 34J
Bare Necessities and Her Room were the places I most often ordered from. One of the greatest struggles was that I was not plus size with large breasts. While my weight was higher at this point than it is now, I was still relatively petite in size.
After - wearing my new Third Love No Show set. Interested in trying Third Love? Use code SEAMLESS to get 20% off your first purchase.
The set I was gifted has plunge style cups that stay hidden under my lowest necklines and stitch-free underwear for zero VPLs — this is my go-to for invisible support. This bra is comfortable, beautiful and provides a lift. The interior padding is removable which I always appreciate.
I love that Third Love is by women for women and they work to ensure that we are wearing the correct size, even offering 1/2 sizes! Did you know that the average woman will fluctuate between SIX sizes in her lifetime? Let Third Love's fit quiz help get you in the right size, and if it doesn't work out, you have 60 days to make a free return.
So while my body has been changed, it has been a gift. Is my body flawless - no way! I still have scars and stretch marks but I am a 44 year old woman who is confident in her body for the first time in a long time!
Some of my other favorite everyday bras: