I had a breast reduction on 7th August 2018 – so two years ago as I write this. For reference, I was 20 at the time. I spoke about it pretty openly at the time and shared bits of the journey on my Instagram stories (in the days before my fitness account existed) but since everything healed up and I went about my normal life again, I’ve not really spoken about it since. There’s people that have come into my life since then that probably don’t know that I had it done. So I wanted to share, from start to finish, the whole process and my experience because when I was considering having it done I wanted to read absolutely every experience that was out there, so I hope this post helps someone or at least someone finds it interesting to learn about.
That was a long winded introduction, so let’s get into it! I feel like this is going to be a bit of a long one, so apologies and I’ll try and break it up into sections so you can skip to the bits you’re interested in if you wish!
WHY DID I HAVE IT DONE?
There was a number of reasons I decided to have a breast reduction, but the main thing that pushed me to have this procedure when I did, was that my friend from the dance college I was at at the time was getting it done, and I basically decided I’d be too jealous if I didn’t get it done at the same time, watching her with her new small boobs when we came back after summer! A dancer with big boobs isn’t really a thing, it’s VERY inconvenient when it comes to costumes especially, and our college specialised in showgirl and I remember the two of us taping our boobs down to get into the costumes we were giving. I just remember thinking, “If this is what my life is going to be for my entire career, something needs to change”, and that’s when I started seriously considering it. I just thought my life would be so much easier with a smaller chest, from my chosen career, to working out, to buying bras – my big chested gals know the struggle!
Obviously the first thing I did was research. I wanted to find a clinic that was local to me and not in London so that was easier to travel to and from appointments, so started by literally just google searching. If you live in London then there’s so many options! I narrowed it down to two clinics that seemed to have good reviews, not as ridiculous prices (did you know it’s way cheaper to have breast implants than it is a breast reduction?!) and had availability over the summer. I started this research process in April, and had my surgery in August, so it was a pretty quick turn around, especially since I hadn’t really known the procedure existed or considered it before then. I ended up going with Transform Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Milton Keynes. The hospital closest to me that Transform work with at the time was the Riverside Hospital in London, so that’s where I had my actual procedure done.
My initial consultation was free – I wouldn’t recommend paying for one, and if you can get to more than one consultation then that’s going to be better in terms of exploring your options and seeing what’s out there – something I wish I had done; I think I was in a bit of a rush and just excited that it was even a possibility for me to have this done. It’s a big deal and something you should take your time thinking about.
I went to this consultation in April, the consultant took me through the breast reduction procedure and how everything would happen from start to finish, what was included in their care package and the different finance options etc. I was able to ask any questions I had and see testimonials and before and afters of previous patients. I think at that point I had to pay a £50 deposit to book a consultation with the surgeon, which I booked in for June so I had a bit of a wait and also time to think it through, discuss with my parents etc.
CONSULTATION WITH THE SURGEON
This was the next step for me. It had been a while since my first consultation and so I’d had time to think about how much I wanted this done (a lot) and do more research etc. I will link some of the YouTube videos I watched that helped me out at the end of this post.
This consultation was scarier than the first one and I found my surgeon a bit intimidating. He took some basic details from me first, asked me why I wanted it done and what size I wanted to be afterwards. He made it pretty clear from the start that he thought I was too young and didn’t understand why I wanted it, which I tried to explain to him multiple times. He also had to weigh me and I don’t remember what he said exactly but I do remember he made a comment about my weight at that point too which seemed kind of unnecessary. He asked me things like, “Won’t you miss having larger breasts?”, “Do you think you’ll regret it later?” and “Won’t you worry about being more bottom heavy?” which seemed like kind of stupid questions to me and did feel like I was being treated as if I was too young to make this kind of decision for myself. He also showed me his portfolio of women he had operated on (before and after shots) and found a few that looked like me.
Once the talking bit was over, I had to strip off and let him look at my chest. At this point its normal for a breast examination to be carried out to check for any abnormalities. Once I had my clothes back on, he said I would be suitable for the surgery and he could definitely reduce my size and give me an uplift as my boobs did hang quite low. They measure from the collar bone to your nipple to determine how much they should lift you up by.
BOOKING THE SURGERY DATE
I decided I was happy with what the surgeon had agreed with me, he had all my notes including what size I was at the time and what I wanted to be reduced to. I booked in my surgery for the 7th August, so I had a couple of months to prepare. I actually wanted it sooner, but the availability was a bit hit and miss. I booked the date in June, and I remember there being availability the following week, but I needed to wait until the summer holidays. I was in my first year of professional dance training at college, and I wanted to have the surgery as close to the start of the holidays as I could so I’d be as back to normal as possible for the start of my second year of dance training. I toyed with the idea of waiting until my two years training were up and having a breast reduction a year later, but it made more sense to me to have it in the middle of my training rather than after graduating at the start of my career, in my head it did at least.
FINANCE AND COST
I want to be very transparent with this post, and I don’t think people realise how much a breast reduction actually is… Transform do have payment plans luckily, including a 0% interest one if you’re able to pay it off in 12 months. Unfortunately I wasn’t in that position and want to be 100% clear that I paid for this myself – no help from the bank of mum and dad! I chose to spread the cost over 3 years as I thought that was a manageable monthly payment (so I’ve still got one more year to pay off) and I think my total figure was £6,595. The actual procedure is around £5,000 but varies depending on the surgeon, the clinic and what care packages they include etc. This price included my overnight stay in hospital, food while I was there and aftercare including appointments up to two months after the surgery and any other medication I might need.
PREPARING FOR SURGERY
The clinic gave me a booklet to read of all the risks and do’s and don’ts etc and what to bring with me to the hospital. I didn’t take a lot – comfy pyjamas and a loose jumpsuit to travel home in the following day – something that buttons up or is just stretchy and doesn’t need you to move your arms to get into it is perfect. I also took a book, my phone and charger to keep me entertained. The most important thing to take is a supportive sports bra to put on post surgery.
I worked full time at my summer job right up until the day before my surgery to keep myself busy and obviously earn as much money as I could towards the final amount. My surgery was at 11am and you have to get there three hours beforehand so we had to leave at around 6:30am (my mum was not impressed – she had to take the morning off work to drive me into London). You’re not allowed to eat or drink for a certain amount of time before, so my last bit of food was dinner the previous night and I downed one last glass of water right before we left. When you sign into the hospital there’s a lot of paper work (the most exciting part of which was choosing what I wanted for dinner, breakfast and lunch the next day), then just before the surgery the surgeon came in to draw and mark me up and I also met the anaesthetist. This is where it starts to feel very real!
I wasn’t scared really (and hadn’t had time to overthink it) until I was lying on the table being dosed up and I realised at that point there was no going back! One minute I was being told to count backwards from 100 (I probably got to 95) and the next thing I remember is being wheeled back to my room. The operation length varies depending on person, the surgeon and the technique being used. I had the anchor technique, which means I was cut all the way around the base of each breast, up the middle to the nipple and then around the nipple. Your nipples also get resized which I think a lot of people don’t realise! My operation lasted a little under three hours.
I think I slept for about an hour after I was back in my room, and my mum was back waiting when I woke up. I felt super tired and groggy, but wasn’t high on meds like you see online! My chest just felt tight and I couldn’t move but wasn’t in too much pain (because I’d been drugged up).
I was left to my own devices a bit after that because my mum eventually went home, so it was just the nurse coming in to check on me every hour or so and give me more drugs. I was in a private hospital and honestly my room was massive, didn’t have that weird hospital smell and I felt as comfortable as you can be. I spent the rest of the day napping, watching TV and scrolling on my phone. By the evening I could get up and walk around by myself and wasn’t in much pain at all and could walk around the area outside my room too.
I slept pretty well considering, the bed was super comfy and I was able to call the nurse if I needed to.
THE DAY AFTER SURGERY
Pretty early in the morning you get an all over to check to make sure everything’s doing well, and get cleared to go home. I stayed in until the afternoon because I had to wait for my mum to finish work to come and collect me. As I mentioned I had breakfast and lunch brought to me whenever I was ready for it, and the food was actually really good, not like normal hospital food.
I was still tired and napped a lot, but I could move around freely (except my upper body obviously) and again I don’t remember being in too much pain. I do remember it being really hot though, and that was probably more uncomfortable than the pain itself.
The drive home was uncomfortable at times, the seat belt had to be positioned exactly right to not cause pain, and speed bumps were not fun! For this reason I’d say to definitely choose a hospital as close to you as you can.
Sleeping is the most uncomfortable thing for the first 2-3 weeks after a breast reduction, especially if you are a side sleeper like me! For the first week you basically have to sleep pretty much upright, the amount of pillows I had was ridiculous, but I had to have extras to keep me still as I move so much in my sleep usually! Whenever I moved too quickly or accidentally rolled onto my side, I’d get either a shooting pain or a burning sensation which was not fun.
They sent me home from the hospital with two types of painkillers I could take whenever I needed to, but I think I went down to just one before bed pretty quickly. After about a week I was bored of doing nothing and wanted to go out and about, which is mostly fine you just have to be wary of knocking your chest. I went to have my dressings changed after a week, and I was really surprised at how good they looked after just one week! Obviously everything was very bruised and some parts were healing quicker than others but it all looked to be going well.
As with any surgery, there are obviously a number of complications you could encounter and you have to sign to say you understand that and its basically not the hospital or the surgeon’s fault if anything happens. After about two weeks I think it was, I developed a bit of an infection. This was ignored by the nurse at first and we hoped it would clear itself up, but alas it did not. I eventually got some antibiotics but the delay of getting those definitely hindered my recovery. For nearly two months, I couldn’t have a shower because I couldn’t get the dressings wet. You can’t take the dressings off until everything has closed up and healed a certain amount, and I just had these two stubborn areas that really took their time, which meant awkward baths and my mum washing my hair over the bath (which is really difficult when you can’t move your upper body) for TWO. MONTHS. The infection also meant that I had to go back to the clinic for appointments with the nurse every week – if everything’s fine then you can carry on yourself at home until the 6 week appointment I believe. I have to say at this point that the nurse that looked after me was absolutely brilliant.
GOING BACK TO DANCE
I went back to college 4 weeks after having a breast reduction. For the first couple of weeks I couldn’t dance at all, just watched and took notes and then gradually started joining in again, just doing ballet barre, or joining in a jazz class without using my arms. I found that classes in the morning were all good and then by the afternoon I was super tired and my arms and chest ached so much to move them. It was a slow process in getting back to where I was pre-surgery, but I got there and dancing with my new boobs was much easier than before! I wasn’t actually able to dance until 7 weeks post op.
In December I had my first bra fitting post surgery, and I came out pretty annoyed that I was still an E cup! I was an F/G before and wanted to go all the way down to a C, or at least a D. One of my reasons for having a breast reduction was because of how awkward it is to buy bras that fit and me and how much it cost, but oh no, that actually didn’t change because a 32E is just as difficult to buy. My boobs are more lifted, a better shape and less saggy and droopy, but still not exactly small.
As you can imagine I wasn’t best pleased with that, so at the beginning of 2019 I issued a complaint about the result including the delay in getting my antibiotics. They have a pretty intense complaints procedure but I stuck with it and did end up getting some money back, but it took a good 7-8 months to get to that point, and the compensation I received didn’t even amount to how much interest I was paying.
HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT NOW
Like I said, it’s been two years since my surgery, and I definitely don’t regret it. Writing this has taken me right back and I can remember everything crystal clear when I think about it but at the same time it feels like another life time and I can’t quite believe I had it done, I can’t believe I put myself through that. I also can’t remember what my boobs looked like before. Although I’m not 100% happy with the final result, I’d still take my new boobs over my old ones any day, and I’m still glad I had it done. My advice to anyone considering having a breast reduction would be to do a lot of research first, talk to as many people that have had it done as you can, because everyone has a different experience! You might read mine and it might put you off, but you could speak to five other women who had an amazing experience and are 100% happy with their results and had a smooth recovery and everything.
When I started writing this I asked if anyone had any questions. I covered a lot of them in the main post but here’s a few extras:
Did you have chest drains? I didn’t! I know a lot of people do, I’m not sure what it is that makes you need them or not, but I didn’t have anything like that.
Was it worth it? Even with all the complications and not getting the exact result I wanted, I would still say it was worth it.
What size did you go from/to? I was a 32F/G and I’m now a 32E.
How are your scars healing? They look really good now! You can tell which areas were infected where I reacted to certain stitches because those areas are still red/purplish but in general they’ve faded to white. Some areas are thicker than others too and slightly raised but I don’t really notice them anymore.
How much did you have removed? In total it was 320g. I actually had about 80g more from one breast than the other, and I had no clue there was that much difference in their sizes before, but my surgeon seemed to think there was obviously. When I was first told how much was taken out I thought it was ridiculously low, and when I later looked into it, it actually was a lot lower than other girls who had the same procedure and started as the same size I was, which was basically proof that the surgeon definitely just didn’t take enough out for the size that I wanted to be. To this day I believe he took his personal opinions of what my body should like into account when he decided that, and that is something I included in my complaint and it was completely brushed under the carpet.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about my experience and got something from it, if you got all the way to end then you’re a real trooper and I appreciate you!
If you’re considering having a breast reduction, or if you’ve also had one, message me I’d love to chat about it!
For those that don’t know, I recently started a YouTube Channel – if you’d be interested in a video form of this post of me talking about my experience, let me know! It would also give me opportunity to answer any further questions. Subscribe to my channel by clicking here.
Thank you so much for reading!