What they don't tell you about boob jobs: Confessions of a surgery survivor


Ever wondered what it’s actually like to get your boobs done? One brave soul (who prefers to remain nameless) shares her experience, so you’ll know what to expect.

I’ll admit it, having your boobs ‘done’ is something I may have previously sniggered about. It was something that other people did. Or was it?

My average 34B cleavage was never something I really thought about changing, until both my breasts decided to call it a day and leave me, about 6 months after the birth of my second child.  I went from a handful to nothing virtually overnight. My boobs had left the building, never to return.

So what, most size zero supermodels had no boobs either…except they had the perfectly proportioned body to go with it, leggy with pert little bottoms. Having lost my boobs, my body decided to compensate and enhance the remaining assets I had, to the point where I was a reluctant ‘regular’ at every legs, bums & tums class I could find.

None of the push-up, gel-filled bras I purchased made even the slightest bit of a difference. I grew fanatical about clothes advice, scoured magazines for articles on how to disguise a small chest and wore ruffles, scarves, high necks, big jewelry.

The crunch came when we went on a beach holiday with friends.  I wept over a photo of my friend’s voluptuous bosoms straining to escape her bikini top, while next to her the two sad padded triangles of my bikini top were making a valiant attempt to disguise the fact that they were covering: nothing.

I talked to a friend who was addicted to surgery.  She had had three breast ops.  One enhancement, one reduction and a breast lift. She breezily said she’d do it all again. Nothing to it.  She even got on a plane a week later, because she’d had the enhancement done in Dubai. Piece of cake.

Ignoring serious advice on plastic surgery and how to go about it, I went to the only clinic I knew by recommendation (someone had had a tummy tuck there) and spent 20 minutes with a surgeon who told me to ‘go big’, handed me a couple of implants the size of small watermelons and said I could have it done next week.

There was no advice, no taking my concerns into consideration: I had a problem, he was prepared to fix it. “Next!”

The price was tempting, a third of what reputable clinics in the UK and Germany were charging for breast augmentation. I went home and did some more research on how to determine implant size, dutifully filling 2 socks with 400 grams of cooked rice each (the weight equivalent to the implant size I’d been recommended) which I then shoved down my non-existent cleavage. I spent the next few hours walking around with soggy determination, only to realize that the enormous lumps at the front of my chest made me look grotesque.


I went back to the same clinic, but saw a different doctor, with a friend for moral support in tow. The second doctor actually listened to me and understood that what I wanted was my body balance back, not to embark on a late career as a glamour model.

He performed some measurements, asked about lifestyle, reasons and we agreed on silicone implants of 225 cc per breast. I booked the operation. Having a surgeon that understands your needs is essential before going ahead with any procedure.

Arriving at the clinic on the day of the op I was presented with a standard issue hospital gown and a box containing my implants before being shown into a room on a ward. The label on the box said 245 cc, instead of the agreed 225 cc. My ‘sizeist’ concerns were dismissed with a lofty: it’s only 20 cc more, no problem.

The surgeon came into the room which I shared with one other woman, apparently also a victim of her own vanity as her nose was covered by a plaster cast.  Whilst he appeared to be making what looked like random doodles on my breasts with a felt tip pen, she came over, looked at me and told me how much better I would feel when my breasts were ‘normal’.

Up to that point I still felt I had the option to politely decline and go home, but this comment is what clinched the deal. I was going to have breasts again. Normal ones. Phew.

Did I mention the pain?

Nothing I had read, nothing anyone said, could have prepared me for the pain and discomfort I experienced, not only immediately after the op, but for a couple of weeks.

Coming round I was indignant to find what felt like a large plank across my chest with about 4 people standing on it. Every breath was agony and very shallow. It was so painful and virtually impossible to take a deep breath.

Movement was also a luxury that I hadn’t appreciated until that moment. I wanted to lean over to pick up a glass of water from my bedside table, but the pain was so intense I almost passed out – a deciding factor in my decision not to move again!

Calling out was also a  problem, because I had to decide between breathing and talking. I chose the breathing option and waited. Eventually a nurse came and I begged for pain relief. She seemed surprised, but went off to fetch an injection of some sort which she jabbed into my thigh with a mixture of disdain and glee, and perhaps a little more force than was necessary.

Subsequent requests for something to help with the excruciating pain were met with the same reaction. I decided that pain relief was for wimps, gritted my teeth and fantasized about the large box of paracetamol in my bathroom cabinet instead.


I was allowed home the morning after the op. Rumpelstilzkin had nothing on me as I sat hunched in the car, every bump in the road sending me into fits of crying with pain. This was not what I had imagined at all.

Luckily, a friend of mine who was a nurse came to visit me and shared her ‘good stuff’ (Co-codamol, a strong painkiller) with me, which meant that on day 3 of my self-inflicted ordeal I finally mastered pain control, although the discomfort remained.

Getting dressed was impossible as I couldn’t raise my arms.  Over the course of the next week I began to appreciate anything that closed at the front with a zip.

The day I had the bandages taken off and I saw my new breasts for the first time I was horrified at the enormous growths protruding at right angles from my chest. My breasts looked huge and they were pointing straight out. This was a phenomenon I had last witnessed pre-pregnancy.

More tears, but then…

I wanted to rip them off, throw them on the floor and run. What had I done? More crying.

My husband and the surgeon were puzzled.  Surely this is what I wanted? At least I had had none of the complications that can occur with a procedure like this, there was no evil oozing from the wounds, the cut along the edges of the aureole was neat and almost healed, leaving no tell-tale scars. Brilliant.

The cons of having to wear a hideous support bra normally only found in your great-aunt’s underwear drawer for about a month post-op were quickly forgotten when I indulged in my first shark-feeding frenzy equivalent to bra-shopping.


I was even able to fasten them at the back without wincing. Result! The swelling had gone down and for the first time in my life I bought bras because they were beautiful, not because they were functional. Roll on bikini season!

In retrospect, had I known all the risks associated with plastic surgery and how bad the pain would be, would I still have gone through with it?

I honestly don’t know, but in spite of everything, I am happy with the outcome. My boobs are now a respectable 34C and, in the seven years since the op, I am proud to say, have started to sag in an entirely age appropriate manner, making them look very natural.

My adoptive boobs may not be perfect – I do have some rippling at the sides just below my armpit, where the muscle doesn’t cover the implant – but they work for me and I don’t feel like a freak any more.


My disclaimer: Pain is relative of course, so if you, like my three-boob-op friend are made of sterner stuff than I, then all this will seem quite amusing. But to all you sensitive souls out there: surgery is painful, it can be dangerous and it can go wrong, so always make sure you know exactly what you want, do your research, get a second opinion, ask questions and don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel it’s not for you!


Editors note: If you are considering breast surgery and want expert advice from highly qualified practitioners, please see the  surgeons listed in our doctors section.  Naveen Cavale and Navid Jallali in London,  Nora Nugent in Kent and Douglas McGeorge in Chester.



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