The Story of My Breast Reduction: From a 32DDD to a 34B
My name is UH. I decided to get a breast reduction 3 years ago because I had a lot of body image insecurities with my breasts growing up. I developed breasts at 12 years old and they grew from a 34B cup to 32DDD cup within a 3-year time frame. During my high school years, I was an active cheerleader and found it very difficult to fit into my uniform properly and perform many stunts because my breasts were so large. I made an appointment with my pediatrician about the back, shoulder and neck pain I was experiencing because of my large breasts. My doctor recommended a local bra shop and did not give me a referral to a plastic surgeon for a consultation. Once I was 20 years old, I began researching surgical procedures again. I watched many YouTube videos on breast reduction surgeries, compared local plastic surgeons in my area, and found out which doctors and facilities were covered by my insurance network.
On May 28, 2014, I went for my first breast reduction consultation with Dr. John W. Zinsser at Zinsser Plastic Surgery in Richmond, Virginia. The office was spectacular. It had a beautiful, comforting interior and amazing customer service. There were short wait times and I could get an appointment scheduled in a timely manner. Dr. Zinsser is a very reputable plastic surgeon in Virginia. I was very confident in his work. During the first consultation, he showed me the various procedures and types of breast reduction services that were available. He shared the benefits, risks and photos of previous clients he has worked with in the past. He allowed me to ask as many questions about the process as I wanted and never rushed me. He filled out paperwork to be submitted to my insurance company for approval for my breast reduction surgery since I did not have the money to afford the procedure out of pocket. My first consultation cost about $221 and my insurance covered this. Dr. Zinsser sent my insurance company my pictures, height, weight, breast size, and health complications my larger breasts were causing me. My insurance company required this before approving my surgery because they needed to know this surgery was medically necessary. Breast reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure, so my insurance claim had to describe in detail why it was medically necessary for me to get it. I would recommend keeping a running log of complications your large breasts cause, and the dates and times they happen, so that you may share it with your doctor at your initial consultation. I was approved for surgery within 2 weeks of my first consultation.
Once I was approved for surgery, we took a look at Dr. Zinsser's calendar to find the best date for my procedure. I would be attending school in August, so I wanted to allow enough healing and recovery time before starting school. There were 2 days available for my surgery. Since my insurance premium would be starting over in July, I scheduled for June 26, 2014. That way, I would not have to pay an out of pocket deductible. Since I did not have to pay for my deductible, it my surgery came out to about $2,000 in upfront costs. Before surgery, I purchased my surgical bra for $50 and my prescriptions for about $35. My insurance did not cover the surgical bra but it did cover the majority of the cost cost of my prescriptions.
My pre-operation appointment was June 12, 2014. This is when I received my pre-operation checklist. It included my date of surgery, hospital location, type of surgery, and length of surgery, who would be driving me to and from surgery, etc. You may have nothing to drink or eat after midnight prior to surgery. This is important. You do need to take a shower on the day of surgery but avoid sprays, deodorant, lotions, perfumes, makeup and nail polish. You may wash with your normal soap or body wash. On the day of surgery, wear a button-up shirt or cardigan and loose fitting clothing. Someone from the office will call to check on you after surgery. You will receive JP drains and instructions on how to operate them on the day of surgery in recovery. You will have a log to record the output. After surgery, you will wear a surgical garment (compression bra). The prescriptions that I was prescribed were antibiotics (Cephalexin) to be started the day after surgery, anti-nausea (Promethazine), and pain (Percocet). To be picked up at pharmacy were the following: prescriptions (as listed above), stool softener (one per day/start the day before surgery), gauze/maxi pads, antibiotic ointment (5 days only), and Aquaphor. You will also receive a breast reduction packet with information about instructions before surgery, activity after surgery, incision/dressing care, what to expect and contact information.
My surgery was June 26, 2014, at 9 am. I was required to arrive at St. Mary's Hospital Outpatient Surgery facility by 7 am. When I arrived, I was checked in by the surgical facility's staff. I had to remove my clothes and wipe down my body with an antiseptic wipe. I was then transported to another room, where I met with the anesthesiologist. My sister came and took pictures and right after hearing the anesthesiologist's name I woke up in another room very thirsty. The surgery was done. They did not allow me to drink right away. After 30 minutes or so I was given a light snack and water. My family came in and received all the instructions for my after care. I felt pain and it was difficult for me to lift my arms, so I kept them down.
Once I was home, I laid down in bed most of the day and slept, even though it is recommended to move around every 1-2 hours to reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. I only got up to use the restroom and shower for the first 3 days. It was difficult to shower because I couldn't get my JP drains wet. After showering, I pat dry my incisions and applied the antibiotic ointment for 5 days and then I began using Aquaphor after that. I recommend getting maxi pads for your incisions because it is easier to stick it on your surgical bra and have it stay in place. You will wear these for the first 72 hours after surgery or at least until your first post-operation follow-up appointment. I was constipated from the medication and the stool softeners didn't help much. I did experience pain during this time and the medicine made me drowsy. The JP drains were probably my least favorite part after surgery. They had to be drained and logged frequently throughout the day. I recommend getting someone to help you with this part. The pain subsided after the first 4 days. My JP drains were removed after 3 days and I returned to my doctor. My doctor recommended that I did not return to work for 2 weeks post-surgery. I worked in an office with limited lifting and moving so I went back after 1 week.
After surgery, I wore sports bras for about 6 weeks. I returned to my regular activities within 2 weeks, though healing time took about 6 weeks. The scars began to fade after 12 months or so but are still visible. I had 4 appointments after my first post-operation follow-up appointment: 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and a year post-surgery. At the post-operation appointments, the doctor examined my breasts and scarring and I asked if I had any issues to report. I did not have any complications with my breasts during or after my surgery. My measurements on the day of surgery were 1.549m in height, 49.896kg in weight, and 20.80kg for my BMI.
The total cost of my surgery was $3,192, which my insurance did cover in full since I had reached my out-of-pocket maximum for the year. My breasts are now about a 34B size cup. I am so happy that I went through with this surgery. It was one of the best decisions that I could have made for myself three years ago. The back, shoulder and neck pain I had has gone away. I am also more confident with my body after having the surgery. Dr. Zinsser and his staff are amazing. I would recommend Zinsser Plastic Surgery to my family and friends. If I ever decide to have another cosmetic procedure in the future, Zinsser Plastic Surgery in Richmond, Virginia is where I will return.