This is an unusual post for me, particularly because I tend to stay away from anything too personal on this blog. I’m kind of private that way. It may be partly because I’m a Xennial – a micro-generation born between Generation X and Millennials. I grew up without the internet and so I’m not terribly comfortable sharing too much online. Anyway, today’s post is my breast reduction surgery story. I’m sharing it because, even though it makes me kind of uncomfortable, I read so many of these types of posts before I had my surgery and I found them incredibly helpful. So without further waffling, here is my breast reduction surgery story.
I was very slim until about 27. A couple of things changed in my life at that time which led to some weight gain. With the weight came much larger breasts. I went from about a b cup to a g cup. It was kind of a shock. I’m fairly petite at 5’3″ and I looked quite top heavy. I never really got used to my new body, and until very recently, I really hated it. I was living in Vancouver in 2013 or so and had a lovely family doctor. He was the first person who suggested to me that a breast reduction might be a good idea. He got the process started for me, but by the time I got the phone call about meeting with a plastic surgeon I was back in the Yukon and no longer covered under BC healthcare. I forgot about it for a while.
Breast reductions surgery criteria
About two years ago I started having pretty severe back pain, which got me thinking about a breast reduction again. A year ago I told my doctor that I wanted to be considered for a breast reduction. Health care in Yukon is excellent, we are very lucky. To have the cost of the surgery covered by Yukon Health you must meet the following criteria.
- To be approved for consultation with a plastic surgeon:
Physical maturity must be complete.
BMI (body mass index) must be less than or equal to 35.
There must be physical symptoms that have not improved after a reasonable period of nonsurgical management. These symptoms include painful shoulder grooving, shoulder pain, upper back pain and chronic intertrigo. The patient should have two of these symptoms all or most of the time.
Letters requesting pre-approval for a consultation with a surgical specialist shall include: patient’s bra size, weight, height and BMI.
2. Criteria for pre-approval of surgery
The surgical specialist agrees, in writing, that the reduction mammoplasty is medically necessary.
Specialist physician consultation reports must clearly demonstrate the following:
an estimated removal of a minimum of 500 gms of breast tissue from each breast, and
be received by the Medical Advisor prior to surgery being performed to determineeligibility for benefit as per the Yukon Health Care Insurance Plan Act.
You can find more information here. I realize that information is Yukon-specific, however, I think it’s useful because I would imagine that the criteria is similar everywhere. If nothing else, it’s a starting point.
Meeting my breast reduction surgery surgeon
I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate depending on how you look at it) to meet the necessary criteria and the cost of my surgery was completely covered. My meeting with my plastic surgeon was in December, 2018, about six months after my doctor’s office contacted her on my behalf. I flew to and from Vancouver on the same day for my appointment. The cost of the flight was covered by Yukon Medical Travel. I met with my surgeon and she was lovely. She answered all of questions and confirmed that I was a good candidate for the surgery. She told me that my surgery would take place sometime within the next year. I returned home and began awaiting the call from her office.
That call came in April and I was thrilled. I was booked for surgery in the beginning of May. Normally a breast reduction is a day surgery, however, I have sleep apnea so I was required to spend one night in hospital for observation. I was told that someone would have to accompany me to pick me up from the hospital and help me during the recovery period. I was lucky enough to have Mr. P&P come with me and the cost of his travel was also covered by Yukon Health. I was required to attend a follow up appointment with my surgeon in Vancouver five days after surgery so we booked an Air B&B for our stay.
We flew down to Vancouver the day before my surgery and went straight from the airport to my intake appointment at a hospital downtown. The nurses were great and answered all of my questions. I felt totally prepared for the next day.
The morning of the surgery we were up by 5:00 am. I am NOT a morning person kittens and I was not happy. We were at the hospital by about 5:45 am and ended up having to wait for it to open at 6:30 am. It was unpleasant. Soon enough, however, I was be-robed in a chic hospital gown, and curled up in a bed with a weird tube blowing warm air onto me. Divine. My surgeon arrived around 7:30 am and it was straight into the operating room!
Breast reduction surgery recovery
I woke up in the recovery room feeling a bit bleary but not in too much pain. Mr. P&P was waiting for me when I was taken up to the main ward half an hour later or so and I was in good spirits. I had some ice-packs to keep on the incisions and wasn’t feeling too uncomfortable. I spent the one night in the hospital and was discharged into the care of Mr. P&P the following day. I was given a prescription for Tylenol three, but didn’t even finish it.
I slept a lot, which is normal after a surgery, but the pain was fairly minimal. In comparison to the pain level when I broke my ankle, a ten out of ten, it was about a two. I was unable to raise my arms much higher than my shoulders so I needed help with dressing and washing. If you are considering a breast reduction, make sure you have someone who can care for you because you will need a lot of help in the first few weeks. You will also be unable to lift anything heavier than a few pounds.
Time off work
I was off work for a full two weeks which turned out to be about exactly the amount of time I needed. I had to wear a compression bra for 24 hours a day for about a month. It was comfortable though, and made me feel secure. Six weeks after surgery I was instructed to start using a silicone-based scar cream. I was able to pick one up at Shopper’s Drug Mart.
It’s now been five months since my surgery and I am happy to report that everything is great. I healed well and the scars are already quite faded. The swelling is gone and in another seven months or so my breasts will have completely settled into their new shape. I have a lot less back pain than I used to and I’m much more comfortable in my body. One of the best things is being able to buy bras in normal stores and I’m even able to wear bralettes. It’s great!
So that’s my story. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a dm! I hope this post was informative and helpful. If you’re considering a breast reduction I say go for it! You won’t regret it. It has been life changing for me and I couldn’t be happier!