I’m going to start this blog post by talking about what it’s like to have a breast augmentation. I know from experience that there are lots of things people want to know when they’re considering getting the procedure done. First, let’s talk about how long the recovery period is. On average, it takes about two weeks for your body to heal after surgery, and you should avoid strenuous activity (like running) during this time. You’ll want to take it easy for another six weeks after that—though if you’re feeling particularly sore or weak at any point, don’t be afraid to take a break!
Next: how much does it cost? Breast implants typically range anywhere from $2,500-$8,000 per side (about $5-12k total), depending on what type of implant you choose and whether or not you get help paying for them through insurance.
Finally: is it worth it? For me personally: yes! When I first got implants at age 26, I felt more confident than ever before and was able to wear clothes I never thought possible before—and even though my chest has changed over time (weirdly so!), I still feel good about the choice every single day.
Breast Augmentation Recovery Diary
PATIENT DIARY – WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO HAVE A BREAST AUGMENTATION
Wondering what it’s really like to have a breast augmentation? Step into the shoes of our patient who was looking to add a bit of confidence by adding volume to her breasts.
Hi, world! I have decided to have a breast augmentation, and I volunteered to write all about my experience and answer some questions for someone who may be considering undergoing this procedure. I’m not clueless, but there is still quite a bit I’m in the dark about. What is check-in like at the hospital? Will I be loopy on the car ride home from surgery? Does my husband need to stay there the whole time, or can he leave and come pick me up?? I have no clue! I find out a lot at my consultation and pre-op appointments, so I’ll keep you posted!
But first, a little background on why I decided to pursue breast augmentation. I have always been a tiny girl. I stand at a whopping 5 feet tall and have always had a thin build. The childhood nickname that followed me all the way to high school graduation was Itty Bitty, because not only was I thin, but I was a whole head shorter than every kid in my class. This was brought to my attention regularly by not only my classmates, but my teachers, and even my grandmother – who constantly accused my parents of not feeding me. Is that the worst thing someone could be teased for? Absolutely not. However, the point I’m trying to make is that I was body conscious from an early age because of the constant unsolicited commentary going on regarding my size. When puberty came, my hips developed right on schedule, but it took my breasts until I was about 17 to even reach a B cup, and then, they plateaued.
Once I realized I had finished growing and my breast fate was sealed at a 32B (at 30 years old, I still wear this size!), Did I grow to love my body as is, because why not? Self-love is so important! Pursuing surgery is not about hating your body at all. I have lived my entire life as a small-breasted gal and loved every minute of it. But, I can’t say that I didn’t always envy friends of mine, or even my own sister, who had the equipment I so sorely lacked. For my entire life, I have avoided v-neck shirts, wrap dresses, and triangle bikini tops because when I have them on, in my mind I may as well have a sign on my forehead that says ‘Look At My Small Boobs‘.
So, why didn’t I do something about this a long time ago? There are a few reasons, but the main one is that I come from a small town in the Bible Belt, so not only is plastic surgery something that is taboo, it’s sparsely available. I would have to drive three hours at a minimum for every single appointment, and even then I would have had incredibly limited options for surgeons to see. You do not want to choose a surgeon that you don’t absolutely trust based on geographic convenience. Because of this, the idea of altering my body as a realistic option honestly never crossed my mind as a possibility. So, when I got a little older and the world got a whole lot bigger, the idea began to form in the back of my mind. It took months, even years, to convince myself that not only was it something I truly wanted but something I could actually do. Once I made the choice though, I was all in. I thought about it day and night until I finally mustered up the courage and made my consultation with Dr. Teresa Cunningham at Grossman | Capraro Plastic Surgery. The rest, they say, was history.
The Consultation: I had my consultation today with Dr. Cunningham. First, I filled out my medical history online via a link sent to my email. Then, the front office staff made a copy of my photo ID, and I signed a photo consent, HIPAA form, and financial policy. The staff took my temperature, and then took me back for photos. I undressed from the waist up and took 6 different photos so that Dr. Cunningham could see all the recommended angles of my breasts up on the screen. Once my photos were complete, I was placed in the room with the doctor, my husband, and a nurse who took notes of everything we talked about. I learned a lot about the different types of incisions that are possible, the differences between placing the implants under verses over the muscle, and potential complications. We eventually decided that she would use an inframammary (underneath the breast/IMF) incision and place my implants underneath the muscle. Next, I was taken into an exam room and given a special sizing bra, as well as sizing implants to determine what my result could end up looking like. The main reasoning for this was to determine roughly how many ccs I would want the implants to be. We decided to go with a range of somewhere between 250-300cc’s. I learned that while the difference between 265 and 280 cc’s seems significant, it’s actually only about a tablespoon of the difference! So, the sizing is much more delicate than I realized. I also learned that surgeons order a variety of different sizes of implants prior to surgery because they sit you up to make sure they approve of the look. If the implants look too big or small for your frame, they switch them out to ensure that you have the best result! I thought this was really neat. I was also given an implant resource sheet so that I could look online at actual breast augmentation results to get a better idea of what mine could look like. My surgical consultant, Ally, also gave me the idea to start a #boobspiration Pinterest board, which I promptly did. You’d be surprised how addicting it is pinning your dream breasts! After the exam, Dr. Cunningham made sure I’d gotten all of my questions answered, and then Ally stepped in to help me with a schedule! She made everything so easy for me. We looked at dates, I put down my deposit, and then proceeded to get overwhelmingly excited!
The Consent: As expected, I learned so much today in my consent. With my surgery less than two weeks away, my nerves have begun to get the best of me, but after this appointment, I feel so much better. My nurse, Stacy, went over where and when to show up to my surgery. She went over risks and complications and assured me that my procedure would go smoothly as it is fairly quick and simple. One new thing I learned was that I get to wear these super cute knee-high compression socks for an entire week! I don’t really look forward to that aspect, because I am not the type to ever fall asleep in socks, so that part will be interesting. I’m also interested to see how sleeping will go in general, because I am a side/stomach sleeper, and those are both no-nos for the first few weeks. Not to mention, the first week the doc wants me to sleep elevated. I will probably just layer up with multiple pillows and hope for the best! I did expect that information, but oh boy I would not say I am excited about it. My nurse went over all of my medications and what they’re for, and I plan to make myself a handy chart and set alarms soon because I don’t want to forget to take any of them! She also advised me to pick them up beforehand and told me she would call them into my pharmacy. I got the notification about an hour after my appointment that they were ready for pickup. I took the lab order I was given down to Quest Labs and they took my blood and a urine sample so the doctor can make sure I am healthy prior to my procedure. Now, all I need to do is take my COVID-19 test, social distance until the morning of surgery and I am good to go!! Until next time.
Updates: My surgery is in 6 days. Is this real life?? I am getting very excited and starting to prep my apartment for optimal healing comfort. To me, that means making sure it’s Dexter-level clean so I don’t have as much to worry about while I’m in recovery. It also means making sure everything is accessible without having to raise my arms, which I’m told will be difficult afterward. I tied a little strap onto the door of my fridge (to make it easier to open), which is an insider tip I got from a friend who’d gotten a breast augmentation a few months ago. I also made sure to stock up on soup since the surgeon prefers a liquid diet on the day of surgery to make sure my stomach doesn’t get overwhelmed after the anesthesia. I also picked up all of my medications and sat them in a space where I could reach them easily, and also loosened the lids on them, since they will be hard for me to open post-op (I don’t have children and don’t plan to have visitors/pets so they won’t end up in the wrong hands/mouths). It would appear my work here is done!
The Surgery: The big day happened, and can I just say how much of a breeze it was? I was so pleasantly surprised. The surgical center was amazing about making sure every surface was spotless and sanitized and handled the check-in process very smoothly. You can watch a quick tour of Midtown Surgical Center where I had my surgery here. The front desk staff gave me a hospital bracelet and handed me some quick paperwork to fill out. After that, they were ready to take me back so I said goodbye to my husband, and the nurse let him know they would call him when I was ready to go. The nurse encouraged me to keep my phone on me so that I could entertain myself while I was waiting, which I really appreciated. I assumed I wouldn’t be allowed to take it back. I was taken to pre-op and sat in a large room with a curtain surrounding my bed, and given some surgical garments. These included a gown, a pair of knee-high compression socks that I’ll be wearing for the first week, and another pair of socks with grips on them so I don’t slip on the floor. After I was undressed, I was covered with a heated blanket (yes!) and given an IV with saline. Once I was hooked up, the pre-op nurse strapped some neoprene covers onto my calves and hooked them up to a machine that gave them a light massage. While this was very comforting, it’s apparently to help encourage blood circulation in the legs—so it was a win-win! As weird as it sounds, it almost felt spa-like. After a few minutes, my wonderful surgeon Dr. Cunningham came by to see me and give me a pep talk, which was much appreciated. She then took a marker and marked my breast area, which assists her in surgery. Afterward, she left to go get ready for the procedure and my surgical assistant came in to introduce himself. At this point, they had put something else in the IV that made me super relaxed, but I don’t remember what it was. I wasn’t loopy or tired at all, just very calm yet excited! Finally, the anesthesiologist came to meet me and we had a nice chat as well. Meeting my entire surgical team was so cool! If I was nervous before, that feeling was beyond gone by the time the final nurse came to wheel me to the OR. She raised the bars on the sides of my bed, which my overly-relaxed-self kept referring to as a crib, and rolled me down the hall. I get into the OR and am greeted by multiple smiling faces and placed on the OR table. Prior to surgery, I had envisioned this would be the point that I would have a full-blown panic attack, but the IV fluids had me feeling ready to party. They had a super comfy pillow waiting for me on the bed, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was asleep before the anesthesiologist even put the mask on to put me to sleep. My gown was still completely on and everything! And literally, the next thing I remember, I’m sitting in another room, back in my gown, and the nurse is telling me that they are going to call my husband. For a moment, I thought this was another phase of pre-op because there was no way that I was done until I looked down and saw my surgical bra was on and I filled it out quite nicely. My mind was BLOWN! Dr. Cunningham came to greet me and told me that everything went well and that I looked incredible, and before I knew it was my husband was there to take me home. They wheeled me out to the car in a wheelchair, and I was on my way! Wow – easiest thing EVER! I am still in such awe. As for the car ride home, I was not “out of it” whatsoever. I would even venture to say I felt almost completely normal, which was another pleasant surprise. For those of you wondering, Dr. Cunningham used Sientra HSC Smooth Round Moderate Plus Profile 285cc Implants.
Post Op Day 1: From what I’d heard, the soreness was going to be off the charts today, so thus far I’m pleasantly surprised that my soreness isn’t unbearable. The most difficult thing by far is just setting so many timers to take my post-op meds at their multiple different intervals. This included waking up at 4 am to make sure I could get ahead of the curb on my pain and take a muscle relaxer, and then again, a few hours later to take pain medication and an antibiotic. Overall, the most difficult aspect as far as movement goes is sleeping in a reclined sitting position and standing up from a sitting position. I hadn’t realized how much I use my arms/chest to stand up until now. Other than those, so far so good! Also, a note about the compression socks: although I mentioned hating sleeping in socks, these have a hole in the bottom, so your feet never get hot—yay!
Post Op Day 6: Just wanted to give an update on what the first week has been like! I have regained the ability to use my arms in almost all functions, but I’m still avoiding picking up anything heavier than a soup can or making any lateral reaches so as not to strain myself. Pro tip: Make an appointment with your hairstylist to wash your hair for you! I probably could do that myself at this point, but it’s so nice to not even have to worry about it. PS: all GCPS patients receive a discount at Carson & Co Salon in Denver, I highly recommend using this for a pre or post-op blowout! I have weaned myself off of the muscle relaxers, besides the occasional half-dose when I feel about of soreness coming on. The pain medication has been reduced to simple Tylenol, and I’m almost done with the antibiotic cycle and anti-inflammatory meds. I go to my first post-op appointment to see a nurse tomorrow, which I look forward to!
Post Op Day 12: I saw the doctor today for my (roughly) 2-week post-op appointment, and she agreed that everything looks great! I asked her a few questions about when I can start sleeping on my side, and some detailed questions about beginning to exercise again. We clipped one of my dissolvable sutures that were poking out, and I was on my way! I am so excited to shop for a real brain for a few weeks! Although I will say, I ordered the doctor’s recommended transition bra called the SheFit, and it is my favorite sports bras I’ve ever had. The adjustability of it is amazing, and I can’t believe all sports bras aren’t made this way.
1 Month Out: I am officially one-month post-op today! My breasts have softened more because of the swelling going down, which is awesome. A friend of mine who had implants told me that this was the point where they would feel like they were always mine, and she was right! I am even more excited because I got to go to Victoria’s Secret and be sized for a real bra. I went from a 32B to a 32D. That was my dream size!! I had to stop myself from buying a bra in every color and settled on one strapless bra and one tee-shirt/everyday style bra. I cannot wait to buy more and can already sense this is going to be a problem—but the good kind. I got to test my strapless bra last night at a wedding, and everything went perfectly. My boobs looked phenomenal, and I got compliments all night!
2 Months Out: To say that my expectations were met feels like an understatement. To be honest, I was not prepared to look in the mirror every day and be instantly feeling super confident no matter what I had on. I was not prepared to no longer have to shop for swimsuits that are exclusively flattering on small chests. When I first brought up the idea to my husband, he delivered the obligatory “You’re perfect the way you are” talk like a pro. However, once I brought him on board with the idea, he became just as excited as me and is absolutely enamored with my new look post-op. I bought Dr. Cunningham a Thank You gift, although no amount of showering felt like enough to repay her for what she did for my confidence. The entire staff at GCPS makes me feel like a celebrity when I go in for my doctor visits, so for once in my life, I look forward to going to the doctor. I would—and do—recommend this procedure to anyone who has ever considered it!