Tell me about your breast reduction

After developing some rather severe back pain and being told I have the beginnings of arthritis in my spine, I’m considering getting a reduction sooner rather than later. Right now I am wearing a 38G, although I could probably get away with a 36 (I can get the 38 at Lane Bryant but would have to special-order the 36). Complicating matters is that I still have some weight to lose, but I’ve lost 40 pounds and only went down one cup size, and developed back problems that now require physical therapy. I was a semi-normal size (DDD or E) before pregnancy and nursing, but I don’t think I’ll hit that even at my goal weight now.

How did you pick a surgeon? There are a ton of options around here, but I don’t want to meet with all of them (especially since they all charge consultation fees). Did you get insurance to cover the procedure, and if so, how? What was the recovery like? Do you have any regrets, or are you glad you did it?

I know you don’t post to LJ anymore, but if you still have your journal there, I can give you a link to the entries I posted around the time I had mine. Or you can email me, or ping me on FB. :slight_smile:

Oh, and to answer your specific questions:

  • I used a surgeon that a few other people I knew had used and liked. He was a pompous asshole, but IMO the best technical guy for the job, and I don’t need a lot of coddling, so it worked out for me.
  • Insurance covered mine, I believe I had BC/BS at the time. Obviously, not all insurance plans are the same, but mine had gone to an objective standard of approval instead of a subjective one, so instead of having to prove back pain, etc. it was a straight “Have X grams of tissue removed and you’re covered”. I think it was 1000 grams total, which is 2.2 pounds. IIRC, I had 7 lbs 6 oz removed. Easily covered.
  • The recovery was more painful than I anticipated, and I took almost 3 full weeks off from work (I timed it so I had surgery the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, then took the rest of that week, plus 2 more weeks afterward, off). That said, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
  • Absolutely no complaints. Like you, my breast size never changed significantly with weight fluctuations, and that has stayed the same. I’ve gained/lost a fair amount of weight in the past few years, and my post-surgery breast size hasn’t changed a bit (band size a tiny bit, maybe, but not cup size).

Hope this is helpful!

Thanks! I went back and read the entries and yes, it was very helpful.

Right now it looks like I’ll still have to lose 20 pounds before I can qualify for it to be covered by insurance, which for me is about 4-5 months of weight loss. Bah.

Had an ex-GF who worked in a surgery center that performed hundreds of reductions and implants over the course of a year. They were an odd place insofar as they did long-term followups with a lot of patients, like one and two years later.

I remember her telling me that the split was 60/40 between women who thought the reduction was the best thing they ever did and those who thought it was the worst thing they ever did. The latter group didn’t adequately consider the impact of permanently losing something so significant to their self-image, particularly with respect to their personal relationships.

Granted, they also included involuntary reductions (mastectomies) in that category, but either way, the split stuck with me as dramatically significant: it’s not a no-brainer, and the psychological effects are just as important to consider as the physical aspects.

Just wanted to wish you luck - had two close friends do the surgery and they love the results. One was a 36EE and is now a 36C and the other I didn’t meet until post-surgery. Good luck!

No personal experience, but anecdotally I’ve known a few women who’ve had breast reductions, and while none of them were close enough friends that I have all the details, they’ve been universally happy with the results. (You could also include among the satisfied customers a trans friend who had his top surgery a few years back, but I’d consider that to be irrelevant to this discussion, since it’s a more substantial procedure for very different reasons.)

I had mine at 19 (14 years ago last week!), and I never regretted it.

I have no idea what size I was before - my bras were a 34G, but I wore one plus a sports bra plus a tight tank top every day because I “fell out.” I can tell you that I weighed 115 lbs. at 5’4" and “the girls” (when unbound) touched my bellybutton. After, I was a perky 34B.

I honestly don’t remember things like pain, recovery, etc. I guess it’s like childbirth, and you forget after a while. My insurance covered it all - I remember the doctor sending pictures in, and I was approved based on that. But again, 14 years ago, so things have changed.

Speaking of childbirth, after my kid was born, I didn’t breastfeed (couldn’t obviously), but I have had a lot of weight gain. I’m up to a 36G now, but I don’t have the crazy back pain, and “the girls” are normal shape/sag for their size and my age, so I don’t really consider myself back where I started, and consider the whole thing a positive.

I should mention that I’ve suffered from an eating disorder since I was 16, and the pregnancy/post-baby weight retention is due to my fear of trying to diet and going down that road again.

Good luck!!

You can’t breast feed after a reduction? Why is that? Aren’t all the milk ducts still there?

My DIL’s sister had a breast reduction surgery and I really think she was capable of breastfeeding although the thought revolted her. My DIL (who is a family doctor and would presumably have been aware of the medical issues involved) tried like hell to convince her sister otherwise. In the end there were other medical issues that precluded breast-feeding.

Some people can breastfeed afterwards and some can’t. Often, if the surgery involves enough tissue, I think they basically have to move the nipple and sew it back into place.

This is irrelevant to me, because I’m fixed. No more breastfeeding for me!

Sew the nipple back in place?! I don’t even have sensitive nipples and that made me cringe.

This is what they did to me. They removed the nipples and sewed them back on later.

For me, breastfeeding didn’t work. OTOH, a friend had no problems whatsoever after her reduction, and my cousin only had one work after she gave birth.

(And they only ended up a little less sensitive than pre-surgery.)

Had mine 13 years ago and am still thrilled with the results. Highly recommend it.

I’ve read that it hasn’t the highest satisfaction rate of any elective surgery. I’ve never known of anyone who regretted it.

Do women still have any sensitivity left in their nipples after breast reduction? It would seem a shame to lose an important source of erotic pleasure.

There is a message board called is phenomenal and will answer all your questions, give you guidance on how to pick a surgeon, explain the different techniques, prepare you for the days and weeks after surgery, tips on healing, scarring, everything.

That site recommends consulting with at least three surgeons before deciding on one. (In the breast reduction FAQs is a list of questions to take with you). I didn’t do this and went with the surgeon who my GP recommended. She did a horrible job, and I ended up having to have the surgery re-done a year later. I didn’t listen to my instincts and lived to regret it.

My second surgeon was awesome, though, and fixed her errors as much as could be done.

Mine was covered by insurance. I had gone to my GP with pain in my shoulders and she refered me to a surgeon. I didn’t have any problems getting approva

… approval!

Gah, too fast typing leads to weird key combos leads to posting when you’re not ready!

Ok, here’s the rest of what I intended to post:

I didn’t have any problems getting approval, but every insurance company and policy is different. The website I linked to has lots of good info on how to submit a request for approval, how to appeal, etc.

My first surgery was in a hospital and I stayed overnight (“extended outpatient”), and it was horrible. You get no rest in a hospital. My second surgery was outpatient and I got to go home that day. Much better.

The first time I was back to work in three days. Technically you can do this, but you will be exhausted. The second time I went back after a week and then did half days for another week. Much better. Reduction is a major surgery and I think people underestimate how much it takes for your body to recover. I will say, though, that I wasn’t in an major pain after the first two days. You will have at least a month, IIRC, before full recovery. During that time, I wore a special bra, I wasn’t allowed to lift above… five pounds? I was told to avoid reaching over my head for things, stuff like that.

As to breastfeeding, if you have very large breasts you may have to have what’s called a free nipple graft.

Basically, when you have large and pendulous breasts, you end up with a lot of tissue (including the milk ducts and the structures that make breastfeeding possible) that has to be removed. Not all women have to have an FNG, so some women can breastfeed after. Here is the FAQ on notch-to-nipple measurement, which a surgeon uses to determine whether or not you have to have an FNG.

As to nipple sensation, yep, both of mine still work. Yay! Except that one is now more sensitive than the other, which often results in me having “one headlight out” or looking like a lopsided cyclops. A little less yay, especially at the office. :wink:

Then you probably shouldn’t watch the episodes of the TV show “The Operation” that deal with breast reduction. They’d really give you the heebie-jeebies.

Thanks for this thread. Breast reduction is something I have been seriously considering. In high-school, I was a 36B, I am now a 40HH. It’s like they never stopped growing.

Yes, I am overweight, but I have lost weight (2 sizes) everywhere but my breasts. I can feel the pull in my shoulders and am really tired of hauling these girls around. I’m going to look into it.

Yeah, if your breasts are large due to a lot of breast tissue (as opposed to fat), no amount of weight loss is going to affect them much. In my case, I had ten pounds removed. Ten pounds! Imagine walking around with two five pound sacks of sugar strapped to your chest all day every day. Ouch.