Things You Should Know About Breast Augmentations and Recovery

I posted this picture on my IG to share my transformation from 1 year's worth of progress between last year's competition to this years, which obviously stirred up some comments on my "improvements" so I figured I'd address them in a blog post and admit to the world: Yes, I got a boob job! I mean the two photos side by side it's pretty obvious that chicken cutlets were not stuffing my new suit.

Incision: trans- axillary (underarm)  R: 375cc L: 330cc (two different implant sizes to correct the uneven breasts from nursing my two kids) I was a 32A and now a 32D/32C depending on the bra company. I still fit a size small and extra small tops and dress.  Useful info on Allergen's site regarding Natrelle Breast implants, which are the brand Dr. Hoffman uses. 

Incision: trans- axillary (underarm) 

R: 375cc L: 330cc (two different implant sizes to correct the uneven breasts from nursing my two kids) I was a 32A and now a 32D/32C depending on the bra company. I still fit a size small and extra small tops and dress. 

Useful info on Allergen's site regarding Natrelle Breast implants, which are the brand Dr. Hoffman uses. 

As you can imagine having breastfed two kids, a woman's body can go through a world of change. A whole lot of change. Then I gained and lost weight and more transitioning happened with my shape. I've always been a smaller chested girl, but now I was a completely flat chested woman. A breast augmentation has always been a procedure that has intrigued me and I definitely battled back and forth on the choices over the past 7 years. Over the the last 4 years I've come across over a dozen of my own friends who have had the procedure done and after hearing more of their stories and experiences i decided to start doing some research.  Last year after deciding on no longer having any more children and having reached my weight loss goals I started to really flirt with the idea even more so.

I met with Dr. Hoffman last year with some friends to meet with him and get to know him a bit more. Needless to say a group consultation was definitely not as comfortable for me so I decided to meet with him on my own so that I can get all the answers I needed addressed. I actually met with him 3 times before deciding that he was the one I would go under the knife with. Before deciding him as my surgeon I did some research and spoke with several friends who have had the procedure done before. I narrowed my top three choices in the area which happened to be Dr. Hoffman, Dr. Creasman, and Dr. Berkowitz.

The biggest factor and fear in my decision making for this whole entire procedure happened to be what my oldest daughter would think of me and my choice. Every action I make I try to think of how that will affect my daughters, especially the eldest. She's currently 11 and as she goes through this stage in her life where she will become more aware of her own body image and self image, I wanted to make clear with her my intentions. We both sat down one night and I had a conversation with her regarding it, she of course didn't understand what it meant or why I had to do it. But I did my best to message it in a way that she didn't think that me carrying her and her sister for 9 months, breastfeeding both kids, or losing weight made me unhappy with what my body ended up being. That in making this choice to go under the knife I was making it for me and for my own intentions. I feel like she understood and I've kept that door open for future conversations in case she has any questions.

First I want to say that I'm in no way promoting plastic surgery nor do I believe it fixes any type of self image issues that are more deep rooted and emotional. I think before making a large decision like this know the implications and make sure to really understand how the physical changes may affect you emotionally and mentally. Some people don't adapt to change very well and this type of image change can have negative effects on any individual. Make sure it's right for you. Do your due diligence research, consult with several surgeons, and know that the experience is different for everyone. 

Many of my friends had asked me questions about my surgery so I wanted to provide some insight on this particular "journey".

pre surgery (3 months) 

research: When the decision was finally made to undergo my breast augmentation procedure I started to do heavy research on photos of women I liked and didn't like. Bringing in photos and showing my surgeon breasts I liked and didn't like gave him a clear idea of my expectations. Looking back I think I brought in more images of what I didn't want than what I wanted. I'm the type of individual who has a stronger opinion on what I don't like so having that as a forefront of my conversation with him allowed me to feel confident that I would walk away with results I love.  I also did a heavy amount of research on doctors. I preferred a surgeon who was on a breast cancer board due to their experience with reconstructive surgery and care for patients who had undergone an emotional traumatic experience being a cancer survivor. Although my fitness journey and self worth discovery is by no means as traumatic or emotional as being a cancer survivor, I felt strongly that a surgeon who had more experience for these patients would sympathize more on my results being my expectations and needs and that they wouldn't try to imply their expectations and size desires on me. Which leads me to size choices, you may not know the amount of cc's you want going into your surgery, but have a general idea of what bra size you may want based on what you see and allow your surgeon and the staff to guide that with you.

diet and exercise: I went into "prep" mode! I wanted to be in tip top physical shape prior to surgery, so I cleaned up my diet and worked out just as if I was prepping for a competition, but not as strict so 80/20. (80% clean 20% whatever my heart desired) I wasn't sure what recovery was going to be like post surgery and this was a major concern of mine especially since I would be "out of commission" when it came to exercise anywhere between 2-12 weeks. I anticipated for the worst and wanted to prepare myself in case I had to be sedentary for a long period of time.

scheduling and planning : I wanted to make sure that I wasn't taking too much time off from work and my active mommy lifestyle so I looked at a time frame when I could sneak away time to recover. If you're looking for the least amount of time off from work and if you're like me who works a 9-5 make sure it's done on the surgeon's operation day that's closest to a weekend. Also bring this concern to attention to the surgeon and staff  so they can accommodate your scheduling needs and concerns.

2 weeks pre op

 prepping the body for recovery:  This was probably the most important thing I could do to make sure that the time spent away from my active lifestyle was as quick as possible. Two weeks prior to my surgery I started to take some supplements to prepare for recovery. I started to take vitamin K, vitamin C, and Arnica. Vitamin K and C both help with boosting the immune system and since the internal body functions would go into shock and attack mode to heal the trauma from surgery these two things would aid in the healing process. Arnica if any of you have taken the topical gel or cream, also comes in a holistic pill form. When taken internally arnica helps with muscle soreness, fatigue, and bruising. I've read and heard about heavy bruising from breast augmentations and I wanted to prevent that from happening.

Your final pre op appointment happens at this time. Get all the questions you have out on the table and ask ask ask! The "final" decision for size will typically happen at this appointment as well. During this time, it's also your opportunity to walk away if you're still uncertain. There was definitely a moment in the waiting room where I felt sick to my stomach and I was going to walk out. Although I was excited, I was so nervous about not being able to workout after. (below is a list of questions/concerns I had for my surgeon that I addressed during my consultations)

one week prior:

 nesting the house:  I cleaned as if I was pregnant! Having a clean house and prepping areas such as the kitchen to put things in reach was key. Multiple friends of mine have told me that lifting the arm was going to be difficult so I made sure things that were needed during the first week post op where easily accessible. Meals were prepped as well for myself and my family. Although my husband was around for me post op I wanted to make sure that food was prepped just in case all his time was spent tending to my needs or the kids.

 stock up!  Just like prepping for a pregnancy, go grocery shopping and buy any of the items you'll need during the first two weeks post op in case you are not able to leave the house.

Things I purchased were:

  • spray deodorant (depending on the area of incision you may not be able to use stick)
  • coconut water (I swear by this when I'm dehydrated)
  • snacks and food
  • movies, magazines, or books (if you don't Netlfix)
  • Tylenol. You will get pain medication that you can take for the first week, but they are heavy narcotics and I leaned on Tylenol when Percocet wasn't required for me to manage the pain.
  • Neosporin is for your incision.
  • Ice packs! Therapearl ice packs were the best. The form nicely to the breast, keep cold for a couple of hours, and freeze quickly. I purchased 4 of them. Two can be used for any ice pack needs in the future and the other two I bought specific ones made for breasts for nursing moms. These particular ones were the best since they cupped perfectly inside a bra.
  • A couple bras that'll be the rough size of what you decided on. Buy cheap too from Target if possible. There's no need for anything fancy. Your surgeon will instruct you on the type of bra required, mine preferred underwire due to the support and non padded. Since my incision was under the arm, the underwire wouldn't affect healing. 

 the night before/morning of

My surgery was scheduled for 10:30am with an arrival time to the surgeons office at 9:30am for prep. So the night before and morning I woke I placed all the necessities on my bed side table: water, coconut water, iPad, face towel, crackers, and arnica.

post surgery 

I scheduled my surgery on a Thursday so that my time off from work was kept to a minimum and was back in the office on Tuesday morning. The first 48 hours I practically spent in bed, heavily medicated on Percocet and Valium. Resting and sleeping for long periods at a time was the best thing I did for my recovery because I really allowed all the energy my body needed to heal and recover versus trying to actively move around the house and do things. The pain was manageable for me, then again I do have fairly high pain tolerance. When asked how it felt like I compared it to the feeling of having full breasts from nursing, which can be painful, but in this perspective I had a pain I had experience with and could compare.

Healing post surgery came easy for me and I was happy to be cleared for exercise 2.5 weeks post surgery. I wasn't lifting at full capacity or near the strength I was two days before my surgery, but I had the ability to exercise which kept my mental stress of not exercising at bay. Cardio consisted of walking on an incline on a treadmill. Strength training was light mostly lower body and back workouts on very light weights. I slowly built up my strength only going to the gym 2-3 days a week until I felt well enough to go 4-5 and slowly about 4-5 weeks later I was back to my normal active 5-6 days a week. Currently I'm still not lifting as heavy in the chest area to give the implants time to settle into the pocket which they say can take a full year to do so.

Questions/concerns I brought to attention with my surgeon:

  • How long is recovery?
  • What type of implant choice will be best based on the amount of breast tissue I have?
  • What should I expect the first several days post op?
  • How long will I not be able to work?
  • How long till I can work out again?
  • What type of pain medication will I be on?
  • When should I be alarmed or call you because of the incision, pain, discomfort, etc.?
  • I DO NOT want to look large, will the size I choose make me look "bigger"? (when some women get implants their physique and body composition changes and almost makes them look bigger framed, I did not want this for myself so it was something I brought to his attention)
  • I DO NOT want to change top size, will I still stay a sized SMALL for tops? (again I did not want to be drastically larger where my entire wardrobe would have to change)
  • What will my bra size be when we choose this volume of CCs?
  • When can I wear a bra?
  • How long till the ultimately settle?
  • What are the restrictions I have with movement and exercising or work?
  • Will I have back pains due to the increased weight of my breasts?
  • How often does one come in for check ups?
  • How often does one have to change implants?


I hope you find this blog post useful especially if you are considering surgery at any given point. My biggest advice is to also find a surgeon and office staff that you feel most comfortable with and do not be afraid to ask a TON of questions. This is your body and you are investing time and making a life altering decision, so be thorough!

 

 

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.