This real patient’s experience was told to Carolyn Hsu
I developed breasts at a younger age than the average woman, which is not necessarily a positive thing when you’re only 7 years old. Fast-forward to the teenage years, and I was already experiencing volume loss in them, I was never able to walk around without a bra, and it was something that really bothered me—a recipe for a constant state of self-consciousness.
During high school, I experienced a pretty big growth spurt and my weight started redistributing in awkward ways. I lost fat in my breasts and gained in my hips (thanks genetics), and by the time I was 18, I knew I wanted to have a breast augmentation. It was something that I continued to debate for years after: At such a young age, I was afraid to have scars—not to mention, surgery is expensive, and when I started off in my career, I couldn’t exactly ask for weeks off of work. But a decade later, it was still bothering me and I finally thought to myself, “What am I waiting for?”
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It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned there were doctors performing body procedures that were not board-certified in plastic surgery. That was shocking and after learning that, filtering out those doctors was the first step in my research. I ended up booking three consultations with three different plastic surgeons. The plastic surgeon I chose was actually the last one I met with. I told him my concerns and what I wanted and asked him what type of incision and implants he recommended.
When having a breast lift, it was explained to me that there are a few options with incisions, depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed. The first is when the incision goes around the areola to shrink it in size. The second is what they call a “lollipop” incision, which goes around the areola and straight down the bottom of the breast, forming a “lollipop.” The third is the “anchor,” which circles around the areola, going vertically down the breast and horizontally under the breast fold. I was told in each consultation that the “lollipop” was the best choice for what I wanted because it gives a natural, full look while using a smaller implant. Furthermore, this method helps to relieve some tension along the incision lines, allowing the scars to fade and become less visible. We decided on Sientra implants—my plastic surgeon prefers to use “Gummy Bear” implants.
The big question of course, was size. I was between a B and C cup, and I wanted to be a full C. Surprisingly, he suggested that I might want to go a little big larger in order to fit my wider frame and give a more proportional look. We ended up deciding on going between a C and a D cup, and that ended up looking perfect for my body and not too big at all.
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As the surgery date got closer, I started feeling both excited (it was finally happening!) and nervous (it’s not like I’ve done this before). I wasn’t allowed to do any strength training or exercise that could stress or swell the muscles the week before my surgery. My anesthesiologist called me the night before to brief me on the next day and reminded me not to eat or drink anything the morning of the surgery. Thank goodness she was so good at calming my nerves.
The day of the procedure, the doctor met with me and drew all the surgical lines on my breasts that he was going to follow during surgery so he could see what everything looked like when I was standing. We walked into the surgical room and I laid down on the bed. After a few seconds, I felt my lids get heavy, and then I woke up three hours later with new breasts (yes, it basically felt as magical it sounds).
After waking up, the doctor spoke to me about how surgery went. I was so excited to see that my breasts already looked so much better. I was walking and talking all day immediately after surgery, but I felt sore so it was hard to get up from laying down without someone helping me. It was a little scary for me to see stitches, but luckily, I wasn’t in pain and I kept reminding myself of what the final results would look like.
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Honestly, my breasts looked funny for the first few weeks because the implants were placed high under my breast muscles. My plastic surgeon explained that in a few weeks once everything healed, the implants would drop into the position they should be in. It took about five to six weeks for them to drop into place, but when they did, they were beautiful. One thing I totally didn’t expect? My left implants dropped into place much faster than the right one because I’m right handed and use the muscles on that side of the body much more. When the right place did fall into place, though, it was perfect.
The hardest part about the surgery was the recovery. I was not able to lift my arms for about three to four weeks to prevent the stitches from re-opening or to prevent the stretching of my scars. I started using a scar gel after the stitches dissolved, which was about two to three weeks after surgery. It was frustrating because it was staining my clothing, so I ended up not using it as often as I should have. That when I did some research and started using embrace Active Scar Defense. I placed the embrace strips right over the areas of incision and they were so great because they relieved the tension from my everyday movements, which helped to prevent more scarring. They also had silicone in the tape to help soften the scars. I didn’t have to worry about remembering to apply gel or damaging my clothes, and my biggest fear of not having the surgery done in the first place, was no longer a problem. Now, months after the procedure, my scars are all white and barely even noticeable.
I am so happy I finally got this procedure done. I look and feel better now than I ever did in my early 20s! Having a breast lift with implants has completely changed the look of my body, yet I still feel and look natural, and mostly importantly, I still feel like myself.
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