Today is day 12. For 12 days, I’ve been recovering from a breast lift with augmentation. For 12 days, I’ve been adjusting to what feels like a brand new body. And for 12 days, I’ve been wanting to shout from the rooftops that this is the best decision I’ve ever, ever made.
Before I go any further, this isn’t meant to be medical advice in any way, shape, or form. It’s not meant to convince you to believe in something you’re against. It’s not meant to make you feel bad about your body. And this isn’t a decision that will be right for everyone. But my goal in sharing anything and everything about this procedure is to allow a behind the scenes look into something that can be scary, vulnerable, and life-altering. I questioned myself so many times before doing this, and I was always looking for more real-life experiences that allowed me to see the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that I could make my own informed choices with realistic expectations.
As I started writing and sharing, I found that so many people had so many questions about this process from start to finish (or I guess, current, in my case), that it just reaffirms how little this is being talked about in a neutral tone. Of course, we all hear the really unfortunate circumstances that have happened to people (which is totally possible with any procedure, by the way) and most of us have a gut-reaction image of huge, porn star boobs when we think of implants – at least I always did. But what about the girls who just want to feel beautiful, comfortable, natural, like themselves again? That’s what this is about. That’s why I’m here.
I’ve talked to so many ladies about such a huge variety of things that this “story” is going to be in multiple parts. So let’s start from the beginning, k? Today’s post is going to be all about the before.
One of the questions I’ve been asked the most is why I decided to have surgery, and why I opted for implants. I’ve always had really big, uncomfortable boobs for my 4’10” frame. At my biggest, I was a size DD. Heavy, sweaty, and in the way. Slightly graphic, but in the summer, I used to develop rashes underneath them. My back and shoulders hurt, and I had large, almost constant indents from the bra straps that were working so hard to hold everything up. When I decided to change my lifestyle and nutrition, I lost weight. And a lot of that came from my boobs. But as anyone who’s lost weight knows, just because the “fat” goes away, doesn’t mean the skin disappears. I had a lot of extra sag, with tons of lost breast tissue. Before surgery, I was very uncomfortably wearing a size C. Because there was too much skin and not enough tissue, I was somehow overflowing and under filling my bras at the same time. Sports bras were home for me. It makes it pretty difficult for a 20-something who works really hard at keeping an athletic body to appreciate or embrace her figure.
When I went in for my consultation, my original request was only for a lift. I honestly didn’t go in with any thought of getting implants. I wanted smaller boobs, and like I said earlier, implants made me think of Pamela Anderson. My surgeon explained that while he could do the lift and put my breasts back where they would naturally sit (before gravity and weight loss), he couldn’t replace the lost breast tissue or redistribute the tissue that I had. Since breast tissue falls naturally, I would have all of my tissue at the bottom of my breasts without anything to fill out the top. We talked for over an hour about this. He showed me photos. And he was very honest and realistic about what my results would be. He told me to think of my future breasts as ski slopes instead of full circles. I don’t know if that’s the result that everyone would have, but with my anatomy and the way my breast tissue had fallen, that’s what he predicted I would have as my final result.
Insert implants. Like I said, totally not my plan. It wasn’t even on my radar. But, he explained that in order to see the results I wanted, (I brought in TONS of example photos of what my ideal chest would look like) I would need implants. He told me that there was no “one size fits all” implants and that I could choose how full I wanted them to be, and what size (approximately) bra I would wear ultimately.
Because he would already be doing a lift, he would be able to remove a lot of the fallen breast tissue from the bottom of my breasts, and then put the implants in to “create” the tissue that was no longer in the top. Perfectly round, non-sagging boobs, which was exactly what I went in searching for.
A lot of people have asked how I found my surgeon, and I’m about to recommend something that will be an incredible resource for anyone who’s considering any type of medical procedure: realself.com. This website provided me with so many reviews, questions and answers, transformation photos, and real women sharing real experiences. Because we’re still new to the area, I didn’t really have anyone to ask for recommendations, so I was incredibly grateful when I found this website and was able to see all of the surgeons in my area, as well as the real feedback from their patients who had the same procedure I was considering. I got to see the type of work the surgeons did as these women so graciously shared their journeys publicly.
I went to two consultations and ultimately decided on the first doctor I met with, Dr. Angobaldo at Renaissance Plastic Surgery. I chose him because I was so happy with his honesty about how to achieve my desired results, and the time he took explaining every possible outcome to me. If he hadn’t been so honest with me, I probably wouldn’t be as happy with my results. The office and surgery center was extremely clean, the staff was incredible, and I know it sounds crazy, but I liked that I had to wait about 6 weeks to have my surgery. If you call the most popular restaurant in town and you’re able to get a reservation the same night, something seems off about that, right? While the wait was a little draining, it gave me plenty of time to do my research and prepare.
About 2 weeks before surgery, I went into the office for my final pre-op consultation. This was when we ironed out all the final details about my surgery. I’ll be honest with you guys; I let him make most of the decisions. In my research, I read about so many different techniques, incisions, placement, and materials. It was overwhelming to say the least. I’m not educated enough or qualified enough to make a lot of those choices, so I felt that it was best to be completely honest with him about my expectations (I know I keep saying that, but you guys, this is not a hair cut, it’s for realsies), my lifestyle, and preferences.
I showed him the #1 picture I had settled on – like my dream boobs – and asked him how to show me how he could best achieve that look. I voiced that it was really important for me to stay at a size C or smaller (and was definitely okay with being smaller). He was aware of my exercise routines. I explained the types of outfits that I wanted to finally be able to wear, you know the dresses that go allllll the way down the middle, or the one piece bathing suits that show off that great side boob? Yea, those. I got to feel both silicone and saline implants, see photos of each, and read about the pros and cons of each.
Ultimately, I decided on silicone implants, because seriously, I couldn’t stop squishing them in the office. They’re so nice. Like I can’t wait to play with my own, because they’re just… so nice. He decided that high profile would be best because of the photos I showed him and the perkiness I described wanting. He also suggested placing the implants under the muscle because it would give me the best chance of avoiding future sagging while still providing the most natural look. I think that the trust between a patient and a surgeon is crucial, and because I decided to trust this person with my life, I also decided to trust his knowledge and expertise. Also, his PA was incredible, and re-assured me that she would be in the OR to make sure everything looked like what we talked about, from a woman’s perspective. Together, we decided on 200cc implants, the smallest ones possible, because I was only trying to replace and redistribute the amount of tissue he was going to be removing, (as explained 7 million words ago in paragraph 6ish).
Where my story differs from most who are considering implants only versus a lift with implants is the type and location of my incisions. This was honestly the biggest thing I had to make peace with; the scarring. Because I required a lift and wanted so much of the tissue removed from the bottom, my incisions were going to be much bigger than those who are only getting implants. Also, because of the sagginess, my nipples would need to be moved up on my “new breasts”, which meant that I would have an incision around my nipple and a straight line down from there, and then underneath the crease of my breast (also known as the anchor lift). There are many different kinds of lift techniques as well, but this was going to be the one that worked best for my overall appearance. Unfortunately, that meant that it would also involve the most scarring. My surgeon has assured me that the scars heal and lighten, and with proper care and treatment, will become less and less noticeable. Even if it doesn’t work out that way, the benefit for me far outweighed the negative, but I still had to set the expectation in my mind that I will never take off my bra and see perfectly, unaltered breasts.
I’m sure we’ve all seen a lot of info on the negative impacts of implants – breast implant illness. I absolutely cannot speak for those who are experiencing any of the symptoms that have been shared and I’m certainly not qualified to give any feedback on the validity of breast implant illness. What I can say is that I’ve done research on research on research, and I personally didn’t feel that the risk of developing any of these symptoms was large enough to keep me from moving forward with the process.
With that being said, I have a medical background, and I understand that complications can be a part of any medical treatment or surgery. All prosthetics have a certain lifetime and carry the potential to affect the body. When I was in nursing, I worked in orthopedic surgery, and I saw hundreds and hundreds of successful knee and hip implants, but every once in awhile, we saw a patient who needed a revision of that implant, whether it was 20 years after the original implant was placed, or just a few weeks. I’ve had cavities filled when I was younger that have fallen out and needed to be replaced. Foreign substances come with flaws. The only 100% perfect things were created by God, and the things that weren’t, have the potential for complications.
But as far as being concerned about the general risks, I felt, and still feel personally, that they’re very low. Like I said, I took my time in between my initial consultation and my surgery (about 6-7ish weeks) and I educated myself as best I could. I didn’t just rely on the opinions of the FDA, who does not link any illness, especially autoimmune, to breast implants. I also read through many reports from doctors who have performed successful explant surgeries and those who have studied these cases. And I talked to women who have implants, both silicone and saline, for years – some just for a few, and others for decades. There will be opposing information to this out there – I’m not arguing it, I can’t do anything to prove it or disprove it, nor do I want to. All I can do is share what made me feel the most comfortable making an informed choice for my body. Do your research based on both science and personal experiences, hear both sides openly, pray about it. For me, that was enough. Here are a few more articles that I found helpful – PlasticSurgery.org and Dr. Sowder’s Blog Post.
One last thing to remember; the FDA recommends having implants screened through MRI once every 2-3 years to check for rupture, which can be a complication of breast implants, but a completely separate issue from breast implant illness. Yes, it’s a pain to think about having an MRI every 2-3 years, but it was just another opportunity for me to ask myself, “is this worth it to me?” and the answer was still a resounding yes. It’s also a pain to check my breasts for lumps every month, to move myself away from my current Netflix binge into the gym, and to fill my body with kale when donuts are just so much better… but I believe that taking those necessary, somewhat annoying, steps are a huge part of living a long, healthy life – with or without implants.
This is a lot of words and details, probably too much to absorb already, so I’m going to start working on some future posts about what I did to prepare for surgery, the day of surgery, and my recovery, day by day. If I haven’t answered your question yet, I promise, it’s coming! Thanks for hanging with me during this journey and sharing your support! This was scary, no matter how excited I was, and seeing so many sweet messages and so much encouragement has been more helpful than you know!
You’ll see photos sprinkled throughout this post, they’re all before photos for reference so y’all can see what I was working with leading up to this!
Pic #1: 2011 at my heaviest weight
Pic #2: 2017 at one of my biggest differences in weight – you can see the huge boob transformation between the two
Pic #3: 2018, when the girls hit their all time low – literally
Pic #4: August 23, 2018, hours before going in for surgery