Today's boob job is about more than buying breast implants. The term is also used to refer to breast lifts, reductions, or a combination lift and augmentation with implants.
It depends on the breast results you have in mind. Women who lose breast volume after multiple pregnancies or rapid weight loss will replace it with implants. Someone else might choose a lift (as I did) to get rid of extra skin. Others undergo both procedures at the same time to achieve the look they want. These before and after photos give you an idea of how surgeries can vary.
Two of the three surgeons I consulted about a breast lift insisted I wouldn't be happy with the results unless I added implants. I didn't have anything against them, but they weren't for me. I didn't want anything foreign sewn into my body. Besides, one well-qualified doctor didn't think it necessary to achieve my goals. I wanted my breasts above my elbows, not higher than they'd ever been before.
According to the ASPS, around 286,000 breast augmentations, 93,000 breast lifts, and 41,000 breast reductions were performed in 2014. Those numbers don't include breast implant revisions or removals, either. That's about 400,000 women choosing elective plastic surgeries annually. They're not doing it on a whim, either. They're researching and asking questions. Plastic surgery websites make it easier to step into a doctor's office. You can find hundreds of before and after photos, patient testimonials, and reviews about procedures.
There's much to learn on these forums and a few things you may overlook. It's what no one tells you about boob jobs, breast lifts, and breast reductions.
Here are five things I discovered after my surgery:
1. Post-surgical bra size is unpredictable. Surgeons are not bra fitters. They deal in science and not the random letters printed by various brands on their bra labels. Whatever is removed, added, or lifted is measured in cubic centimeters. (And why some suggest you do a "rice test" before deciding on an implant size.) A reduction can leave you with less, or more, than the preferred letter you had in your head. You will wear another bra size after surgery, but it may not be the one you expected.
2. There's an adjustment or "honeymoon" period. It's about more than replacing all your lingerie. I had a complicated relationship with my breasts but needed to adjust to the strangers in their place. Don't get me wrong. I was thrilled with the outcome. It just took awhile until they felt like "mine." I did some unexpected things, like showing them off to female friends and acquaintances. I laugh now when I run across news stories about an employee fired for flashing her surgically changed breasts to co-workers. I get how you can be both proud and unattached to them at the same time. Thankfully this novelty wears off.
3. You will miss your old boobs. No matter how much pain or embarrassment they caused me, the truth is that I often miss my former breasts. Surgically changed breasts -- reduced in size by the removal of fat or breast tissue, or fluffed with implants -- feel different. You forget what you didn't like and have fond memories of the experiences you once shared.
4. Your breasts will change, again. Gain some weight, get pregnant, live a few more years, and your breasts change shape, size, and direction. One in five women will find themselves with bigger breasts when they hit menopause. That's what happened to me. Boobs grow again after breast reductions. Don't expect the breasts you had post-surgery to remain the same forever.
5. Even if your breasts don't change, you do. Some women have their implants removed or have them swapped out for a smaller size. Others discover that their breasts are less important to them than they once were. I don't care that mine are less perky than they were ten years ago (although if I'd known they were going to get bigger I might have had a reduction instead lol). They match my older body. Or maybe with age, comes greater body wisdom.
What about you? Would you alter the size or shape of your breasts through plastic surgery? Why or why not?
This article first appeared at The Breast Life.