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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

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In middle school, I sprouted tiny boobs and was so proud of the new bras I got to buy. I had always been a kid who couldn’t wait to grow up; I was triumphantly becoming a woman! Time flew by, and the girls around me continued to grow. It was sometime in the ninth grade when I realized I had peaked. I played sports, which kept my body in top shape, but I never felt good about myself. My immature breasts (which I now know were slightly tubular) were holding me back, and I hated it.

It seems like a crazy thing to beg your parents for, but I was delusional enough to think that maybe if they knew how badly I needed them in order to feel normal, they would buy me a nice new set of boobs. That request was denied. Senior year, my mom and I were spending some quality time at the mall, when I tried on a few bathing suits. I’ll never forget my mom’s reaction as I broke down in the middle of H&M. She finally got where I was coming from, and she took me to talk to a therapist. After a few sessions and discussions with my parents, they agreed that if I worked for half of the money, they would help me pay for the surgery.

It took me three years, but I worked hard and pulled together the funds (which wasn’t easy as a broke college kid). I began looking for doctors, but I had no idea where to start. I went to one consultation with a doctor who had won awards in his field, and in my haste, scheduled an appointment for surgery on the first available date. What I didn’t realize at the time was that while the surgeon was a well-regarded plastic surgeon, he specialized in hand surgery. That was my first mistake.

The surgery seemed to go fine. It was painful but nothing unbearable, and they provided painkillers that helped immensely. Before I even removed the bandages, I could tell that something was wrong. These weren’t the breasts I had wanted. They were swollen together and pointed in shape. I called the surgeon’s office and was told to wait it out, that they needed to settle. So I waited, and waited.

After a few months, I went back to the surgeon. By this time, the solution to wait had obviously not come to fruition, and my breasts now looked like a single breast. The skin and muscle that separate breast A from breast B had tented, and the implants were meeting at the middle. The surgeon explained that scar tissue had developed and that he would have to perform another surgery to break the scar tissue away. He said this would allow my implants to fall properly. I scheduled the second surgery.

I went through the second surgery, and afterward I had to wear a special bra (basically, a backward sports bra that held the skin and muscles flat) for a few months. None of it worked. My implants were still kissing at the middle, and I began to lose hope. I lived down the street from the beach, yet I couldn’t bring myself to wear a bathing suit. I began to prepare for the life of a freak because that is what I felt like.

I was on a flight when I found the article. I think it was in Cosmopolitan, and I cried for joy as I read it. The article was about complications from breast implants, and a small square on the side of the page described a lesser-known complication called symnastia. It can happen when a surgeon gets over-zealous trying to give a patient too much cleavage, and he or she cuts the muscle too far. I immediately turned to Google, and I found a specialist to fix it. I finally had hope again.

I brought my new surgeon pictures of what I wanted to look like, and he helped me to understand that there was no guarantee the fix would take. I went under the knife for the third time. This time was the hardest. The skin and muscles had to be stitched back down, and for more than a month I couldn’t hold anything — not even a milk jug — without searing pain. It was worth it.

My breasts are still not perfect, but I have two of them! I don’t regret having the surgery. I love my rack! They’re pretty natural looking and I forget they are fake most of the time. What I do regret is the way I went about having such a life-altering surgery. I was young, and I wanted to get things done fast. If I could do it again, I would have better researched my doctor. You don’t want to be frugal when picking a plastic surgeon. You want the best. Pick a doctor who specializes in breast augmentation — that is all they do, all day long. It might cost a little bit more initially, but it may save you thousands of dollars, not to mention your mental health and additional surgeries, in the long run.

Knowerly Comments

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  • When it comes to picking a plastic surgeon, thoroughly research your options. You can check for board certifications through the American Board of Medical Specialties here: http://certificationmatters.org/. If your potential doctor is board certified, that means that he or she has a medical degree from a qualified school, completed residency training, is licensed by a state medical board, passed ABMS exams, and participates in continuing education. You can also check with your state medical board to see if your potential doctor has any malpractice claims or disciplinary actions filed against them.
  • Choose a doctor who specializes in the specific type of plastic surgery you're getting. Patricia didn't realize that she had selected a doctor whose specialization was hand surgery, not breast augmentation.

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