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I recently got a breast reduction at the end of August 2021 and it has honestly Changed. My. Life.
If you’re well-endowed in the breast area like me (God’s blessing and curse) then you know the challenges of having big boobs. Here’s my before-and-after photos, for reference:
Having to buy shirts and dresses a few sizes too big (never mind the fact that you’re completely unable to wear certain clothes, even though you so desperately want to). Looking way too sexy, no matter what you wear. Endless back and/or neck pain. Sleeping with a bra to stop the girls from moving all over the place (or potentially laying the wrong way on one of them *winces in pain*).
It’s not fun and it’s not all cracked up to what everyone makes it out to be. Yes, it’s nice to not be flat-chested but dealing with the stress of having huge breasts is…a lot.
Finding a happy medium is what I was essentially looking for while also being free of pain and being able to wear whatever I want (hellooooo no bra #FreeTheNipple).
I went from having large breasts since I was 12 years old… to being overweight… to losing over 60lbs… to having heavy, deflated breasts… to now: happier, with smaller breasts (still got some nice boobage lol), and out of pain.
Keep reading below for everything you need to know if you’re thinking about getting a breast reduction or if you’re going through the process and still have some questions:
- It May Cost You a Pretty Penny (Even with Insurance)
Yes, if you have great insurance they will cover majority of the procedure (with a doctor referral), if not cover the whole cost.
You have to keep in mind that your breast reduction includes the costs of anesthesia, lab work, hospital stay, pain medications post-surgery, and any other additional fees.
Even with my insurance covering majority of the procedure, I still had to pay about $3,500 out of pocket for what they consider “cosmetic” and not necessary like getting liposuction from my breast and my flank (or “back rolls”), for example.
My surgeon suggested it and without the additional add-ons the results would look kind of sloppy, in my opinion (and that was not an option for me, sis).
- Research Surgeons—Don’t Settle or Rush
Ladies…PLEASE thoroughly research your plastic surgeon.
This is a major procedure and will have a potentially lifelong impact on your self-esteem and how you physically view yourself (also, no one likes to say this but… your boobs/nipples could be lopsided, or you could DIE, so make sure you have a reputable surgeon)!
My plastic surgeon had already done a breast lift on my sister-in-law so I already had a basic idea of his work and how clean/how big the scars would be. I took her results with a grain of salt and then after a fabulous meeting with the surgeon, I decided he was definitely the right one for me.
Take recommendations but don’t base your decision solely on other people’s opinions or results. You could either hate or love the doctor so book a consultation before deciding.
Side Note: If you’re a brown-skinned girl like me (or tan or darker), request to see results of people with similar skin tones. Trust me, having experience working with darker skin tones will hugely impact your results!
- You Will Need a Lot of Tests/Lab Work Done
I had to schedule an EKG, a mammogram, and get blood drawn to make sure my breasts were healthy, and it was part of my pre-operational process to keep my scheduled surgery date. The nurse at your surgeon’s office will give you a list of tests required to hold your surgery date. They want to make sure everything is in good condition before proceeding with surgery.
Schedule your required pre-op appointments as SOON as you get that date so nothing will hinder you from getting the surgery on the date you want. Any pre-op appointments that you don’t get will only further delay the process.
Side note: Your surgeon’s office and the facility where you’re getting the surgery (if they’re different locations) must receive pre-op lab results and sonograms prior to your surgery date! Make it a priority to call and make sure they’re received.
- Scarring is Normal, Focus on Achieving Your Desired Shape
Worrying about scarring is a natural thing to think about but don’t stress too much on that.
I mean, the whole reason you’re most likely getting this surgery is because you NEED it to relieve stress in other areas of your body (keyword: most likely 🙂 ).
I definitely caught myself focusing on what the scars would look like WAY too much during the early stages of healing and I was becoming neurotic about them. Are they going to always be this big? This dark?
Good thing my surgeon schedules weekly visits for the first month or so and he relieved my concerns every time. And it always worked out (everything healed beautifully with time).
Think about being pain-free. Think about how much breast tissue and/or fat you want removed. How you want the desired shape of your breasts to be!
Imagine it and believe in the best possible result. Focus on embracing your new-and-improved, sexiest self (with the best surgeon that you thoroughly researched haha) because the scars will fade away with time!
…I’m not just saying that they’ll fade, either. My mom had a breast reduction when I was 9 years old and her scars were damn-near undetectable when I became an adult!
Also…remember when you were a kid and scraped your knee and now 20 years later you barely even glance at it? (Yes, all millennials had the same childhood #The90s). Remember that, because scar healing works the same on all parts of your body; they all fade 🙂 .
- You’re Going to be Sore For Awhile
Four months later…and I’m still sore (not complaining because I think my boobs look phenomenal)!
My breasts aren’t sore every day. I really only have soreness on my sides (which is to be expected) but it’s not something that can’t be managed. It’s nowhere near how you feel 1 week out from surgery (it’s a bitch but you’ll be sooo glad you did it, sis).
If you’re wondering, “how long does soreness last?”
…Let’s just say, be prepared not to wear an underwire bra for at least 3 months because
1) you’ll be so sore and in pain from doing it
2) underwire delays healing from resting on your incisions (if you opt for the traditional anchor method, like me).
Just listen to your body and focus on healing. I’m living in sports bras and those little camisoles/tank tops (sometimes going braless now because I cannnnnn woohoo lol).
It’s a good deal 🙂
- Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
Your doctor knows what’s best for you and has done this procedure time and time again. You chose them for a reason so trust them and LISTEN to them!!
My surgeon’s office kindly gave me a folder that included a checklist and plenty of details on what to expect with recovery (first day, first week, second week, first month, etc.) as well as what abnormal things you should be on the lookout for.
Be as careful as you can with movements and rest (on your back) but remember to walk around every hour or so, so that you don’t develop blood clots.
Essentially, just listen to your surgeon if you want the best possible results. If you have concerns, you can usually call your surgeon’s office and they can address them without an appointment.
- No Exercise—It’s Not Worth It
You may be able to start your exercise routine after 2 weeks of recovery but if you feel any extra tightness or soreness then take another week or two to heal some more.
There’s no rush!
The gym will always be there and it’s not worth it to put stress on your stitches or potentially open an incision because you were an eager-beaver whose body wasn’t prepared for all of that activity.
If your body feels great and your surgeon clears you for working out, just make sure you wear a tight sports bra to hold the girls in because any shake or jiggle will have you honestly in immense pain (don’t say I didn’t warn you).
- Wear Your Post-Op Bra!
Wear your post-operation bra (or any bras recommended to you by your surgeon) for at least 3 months after your surgery if you want your breasts to heal properly and sit up nice and high for a longer amount of time.
Post-op bras do wonders for healing and support the overall beautiful shape you’re aiming for (don’t half-ass your healing process just because you want to go bra-less)!
These are the bras I used after the first two weeks of recovery and they were PERFECT for post-op healing and making me feel comfortable, yet “sucked in” (#IYKYK #IfYouKnowYouKnow).
If you do want to go bra-less (or if your outfit calls for it), limit it to special occasions or a girls’ night out. It’s best not to do it all the time until 6 months or so.
- Ask for Help
There is no shame in asking for help while you recover.
I’m not going to lie to you, it sucks when you feel like you can’t cook or shower for yourself (I had my babe bathe me for 2 weeks until I felt comfortable lol what a saint).
Asking for assistance from close family and friends is the best way to ensure you heal properly and you can rest when you need to (especially if you have animals who need to be taken care of, too).
Since breast reduction surgery is one of the surgeries with the quickest recovery time you may only need 1 or 2 weeks max of being a damsel in distress lol, so take plenty of time to rest and soak up all of the love and being doted on.
It only lasts for so long haha.
With any surgeries, weigh out your options and do what’s best for you. If losing weight has decreased your breast size and you don’t “need” surgery, then pass on it if you want to.
If you can’t see yourself with your current breasts anymore because of the pain and just being exhausted, then get the damn surgery, sis!
Or maybe you want to wait until after you’re done having children, then wait (it saves on costs so I feel you lol).
There is always time to do it later in life…just make sure you’re going to be 100% happy during the time that you don’t have the surgery (I’m happy and speaking from experience…you won’t regret it 🙂 ).
If you have a breast reduction success story, please share in the comments below (I would love to hear them and I’m sure other readers who may be thinking about getting a breast reduction will benefit)!
If not breast reduction, what’s a plastic surgery procedure you’ve gotten done (either necessary or purely cosmetic) that has made your quality of life better?