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To have a breast reduction operation?

(18 Posts)
Solola Mon 01-Aug-11 17:22:21

I went to my GP about six years ago with neck and back pain and was referred to a physio.

She helped with some back strengthening exercises but basically told me the pain was caused by have such large breasts on a small frame (I am size 32 FF) and suggested I look into having a breast reduction.

This was before I had children and, as I found out this surgery can sometimes result in not being able to breastfeed, I decided to wait until I had had children.

6 years later and I've had 3 children now and not planning on any more. I casually mentioned the breast reduction issue to my GP and she was quite positive about it and put me onto the waiting list at my local hospital straight away.

Now that this is becoming a reality I have to decide if I really want to do this. I would love to have smaller breasts and be able to wear the pretty spaghetti strap dresses. I really don't like my breasts as they are and I think I walk with quite a hunch too.

I asked the GP if there were any risks with this surgery and she said only the usual risks associated with having a general anaesthetic (which I have never had before) - i.e might not wake up, something might go wrong.

I would not have worried about that tiny risk at all before I had children but now I do find myself worring about leaving my children motherless! So now, having waiting to have this operation because I didn't yet have children, I am now not sure whether to have it because I DO have children.

So my question... am I being unreasonable, as a mother, to put my life at risk (however small the risk) to have what is essentially cosmetic surgery?

khaliwali Mon 01-Aug-11 17:25:49

I am going in for the op next week. I have spoken at length to my surgeon and am fully aware of the risks. I have opted for the method that leaves more scars as i am not looking to be a glamour model, this is all about ME. I just want to be able to look down when I am in the bath and see my tummy again. And I am sick of having to spend fifty quid on support nighties from Bravissimo. it is your decision though and you must be comfortable.

ButtonHead Mon 01-Aug-11 17:50:00

I had a breast reduction several years ago and have never regretted it. I had back problems for many years and spent loads on physios/osteos and great big scaffolding bras. I put off having the operation because i was concerned about breast feeding (in the end i had the op before having children) and because I wasn't sure if I was ready to have such a huge op - even though i desperately wanted smaller breasts. I was referred by GP to have the operation on the NHS (such was the size of my breasts!) but ended up having the surgery done privately as the waiting list, at the time, was two years.

I had a few complications after the surgery. I had an infection that needed draining (trust me you don't want the details!) and it took a lot longer to recover that the suggested recovery time (can't remember how long that was now but i think with my complications it took twice the recovery time). Although i was a little unlucky and didn't have a straight-forward recovery i've spoken to a few people who've had the op who recovered even quicker than their surgeon said they would.

It took a while for the back pain to completely disappear but its now mostly gone. I can enjoy sports far more than i could before and am far more active. I am also far more confident and happy in myself. Although my boobs are little bigger since having a baby they are nowhere near as big as before! And to be honest, i just need to lose the baby weight.

Its obviously something you need to think carefully about and be very sure that its for you. But for what its worth even through the painful recovery and complications I have never once regretted my decision.

FeelingaBitSick Mon 01-Aug-11 17:51:18

It is a big op, no doubt about it. I haven't had it done but have seen it done a couple of times.

It is something you need to talk to the consultant about when your referral comes through, as they do it day in day out. As far as I can remember the risks include the usual reaction to anaesthetic, infection (which, if you have it done the way I saw, can include the potential to loose your nipple) and pain.

I will say that it doesn't sound like you're doing it for purely cosmetic reasons, as a big boobed woman myself I understand the awful back pain, not just the nuisance of finding tops that fit nicely!

I would have it done but I'm a bit of a wimp, can watch other people's gore no problems, but can't deal with my own!

Plus DH would divorce me grin

thursday Mon 01-Aug-11 17:53:44

i dont think its cosmetic surgery really. i have enormous norks too and am beginning to think about reduction now i think i'm done with babies. whether or not its worth the (small) risk is up to you. i wouldnt do it for pretty dresses but i'd do it for less neck/back ache i think. my phobia of grossness and pain would be more likely to put me off i think.

SchrodingersMew Mon 01-Aug-11 17:55:58

I've had this suggested to me too. I'm 32/34 H and already have back problems.

I'm terrified of GA though, so will keep watching this thread.

cantreachmytoes Mon 01-Aug-11 17:59:55

I had one nearly two years ago. My only regret (cliched, but true) is that I didn't have it sooner!

I had 32FF/G, so same size and issues (I'm guessing).

I did it solely for the back and neck problems which left me in a neck collar at one point, but I can assure you, shopping afterwards is more fun that you can imagine!

It is an operation, operations are serious things, so you need to follow the medical advice given afterwards to ensure full recovery. GA isn't fun, but the risks are no more than with any other operation.

MissPenteuth Mon 01-Aug-11 18:00:16

I don't think it is just cosmetic surgery though; it would correct your posture and your back pain (if you still suffer despite the exercises). For some it can also be about self esteem and body image, but you don't mention that in your post.

It's a decision only you can make, but everyone I know or have read about who's had it done is 100% positive about the results.

Thandeka Mon 01-Aug-11 18:16:44

Best thing I ever did! Had mine at 19 and 10 years later was able to predominantly breastfeed my daughter. (and issues with not managing ebf could be more tube feeding, Tongue tie and a host of other issues).
It is quite sore but awesome op and my boobs still pass the pencil test!

curly10 Mon 01-Aug-11 18:18:22

I had one 6 years ago and I would honestly say that I have never ever regretted it, like others I wish I had done it earlier!

Solola Mon 01-Aug-11 19:13:07

Thanks, these replies are REALLY helpful and good luck to you khaliwali. Would love to hear how it goes. Did you opt for the more scar option as it's less risky?

To those who have had the op, how do you think i'll manage during recovery time with children (currently age 5, 2.9, 10 months)? Husband offered to take a couple of weeks of his annual leave to help out if necessary.

FreudianSlipper Mon 01-Aug-11 19:18:44

i would like one too but i do have good posture, have always worn a good fitting bra, lucky they do not droop or cause me back problems but they get in the way

i am a 32 g, even when i loose weight they are far too big i just go down to a 30 ff or a g.

i think wearing a good fitting bra makes such a difference the support should not just be from the shoulder straps

CupcakesandTwunting Mon 01-Aug-11 19:18:46

My stepmum had one (hope none of my relatives are reading this) and she is very pleased with the results. She said she was sore/uncomfortable for a few weeks but on the whole, she healed well and the results far outweigh the pain. I would really like one but am too chicken. She often tells me that she wishes that she'd had it done earlier. She always wears the fabulous little dresses/tops that I want to wear too. envy

mamalovesmojitos Mon 01-Aug-11 19:24:22

My friend had one and says its the best thing she's ever done. Not a single regret. She even tried to convince me to do it too, but even though I am large of nork I am fearful of surgery smile. Luckily, mine dont cause me problems except not being able to wear backless tops.

EcoLady Mon 01-Aug-11 19:52:33

The ladies saying you have back pain caused by your boobs ... have you been correctly fitted for a bra? I mean really, properly fitted?

I'm 32H. Was 34K when B'fing my 2nd DC. I don't have poor posture or back pain or any other problems. I just have bras that actually fit.

I'd been through many stores that claimed to have fitted me, but when I finally was fitted properly it was a revelation, it truly was. I felt taller because I was standing properly. People commented on the weight that I appeared to have suddenly lost.

And as for strappy tops, the Bravissimo/Pepperberry ones are incredible!

Here's a link, old but the content backs up what I'm saying. www.news-medical.net/news/2007/06/20/26617.aspx

Scaredycat3000 Mon 01-Aug-11 21:14:35

I was going to write something along the same lines as EcoLady. My Sister had a breast reduction 15 years ago. With hind site I think she did it for two reasons, one being health problems, bad back, rash under her breasts, the other being her self perception IYSWIM.
I now think all her health problems could have been cured with a well fitting bra. She was wearing a the wrong size, we are now better educated in bra sizes, but do double check. There is some excellent advise, if that could be the case, here
The other is simply how she thought of herself and how other people she thought saw her is equally as important. I can't really comment on that as her breasts have always been smaller than mine, we have totally different outlooks on life, nothing can really change that. Although I would say that she has always struggled with her weight and I'm sure she felt losing the boobs would make her slimmer. It didn't as she was over weight, and due to her yo-yo dieting her boobs have grown back. But that doesn't sound like you at all.
I went from a 32ff before DC1 to a 34hh after. I am currently pregnant with DC2 and have discussed a breast reduction with DP. They have really got me down, but all health problems that a decent bra and losing weight should cure. I don't think an op is for me, but understand why others would, it's not cosmetic.

cantreachmytoes Mon 01-Aug-11 21:18:52

I was properly fitted for a bra for years. It is different for different people. I for instance had a small frame, I was very strong (specifically did exercises for years), saw chiropractors, physios and osteopaths and every single one said the same thing: the weight was too much for me.

For sport I'd have two wear 2 high level support sports bras (fitted by Bravissimo) to completely eradicate the 'bounce' factor.

If all it takes for you to be comfortable, Ecolady, is a trip to Bravissimo, then thank your lucky stars! For me they were 100 times better than the likes of M&S, but properly fitting bras were not enough.

As for the shopping side, Bravissimo and Pepperberry are great, but it is like a cherry on the top to have more choice than one shop!

OP - I would take your husband up on him taking as much time off as he can. You should check with your surgeon about when you can drive, pick up kids etc. For me, the first 10-12 days were quite a struggle (I stayed in bed mostly), but the euphoria of instantly having no back pain makes it hard to remember! Different people heal differently and there are different surgery techniques so it's really best to see what the dr recommends.

I have discussed it with my husband and we are both in agreement that the results of my op were so good In sorting out my back that if I ever needed to have it again, I should (not that there is a reason to, it's more hypothetical!), despite the time it took me to heal 100%.

Are you sure it is your boobs causing the pain and not some other kind of postural problem?

Have you consisered seeing a chiropractor/osteopath/alexander technique teacher?

The main reason I ask is I am between a 32 F and FF and I don't really consider myself to have particually big boobs, certainly in a good fitting bra they are nothing to write home about. Though I am very tall (5.10) so yours may sit very differently.

If you end up having it done because you are in lots of pain then it isn't cosmetic really is it? But if you have it done because you want to wear different tops then personally it isn't a risk I would take.

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