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I’m Allison Schickel, the founder of Brobe International, Inc. and I had a breast reduction in 2021. I'm sharing my story with you all here, because it's super helpful to have some references in mind when going through this yourself. It is life-changing and can be scary!
But let me make sure one thing is clear before we jump in:
I am thrilled with the outcome of my breast reduction surgery and wish I had done it sooner!
There really is such a thing as having too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to breast tissue! And I'm very happy to be at a size that is comfortable for me and my lifestyle.
When puberty hit, and I started developing breasts, it seemed like they just kept coming! At 5’ 6”, I stopped growing vertically, but my boobs seemed to have an endless supply of growth… How rude!
And after three babies, the girls just kept getting bigger and bigger… and falling lower and lower! Gravity sure can be unkind to a 40 something mom of three, particularly those with exceptionally large breasts.
Physically, it is a big strain on your back and shoulders, and finding the right bra that will hold the girls in is not easy. Certain exercises can be very frustrating, and practically impossible in some cases. Running with a size H cup is bouncy!”
Emotionally, there are a lot of feelings associated with breasts, for women and for men. A lot of women can feel pretty uncomfortable from the attention that big breasts tend to draw. “Eyes up here buddy!” I don’t blame them for looking, but it just doesn’t feel good to have a body part stared at by so many people. My own body image issues were severely impacted by my big breasts. I felt frumpy because I’d have to wear frumpy bras because that was all that would hold me in and support my back.
Mentally, the maintenance of managing very large breasts can be exhausting. I was always self conscious, and it hurt my confidence. I felt so uncomfortable because I was limited on what clothing I could wear. You don't always realize how much room you need at the top of clothing if you don't have really big boobs. My entire day would be based around what bra I could wear and if the bra I needed for the gym or for work wasn’t washed, or I couldn’t find it, it would throw everything off. I couldn’t wear button down shirts, or a v-neck because my boobs would just pop out. I would get bathing suits that would lift my boobs as best as possible, but the strap would kill my neck. Accommodating my big boobs was always at the forefront of my mind.
The most annoying answer to this question is “it depends”. Depending on your health insurance, you may qualify to have a breast reduction covered, at least partially. Considering factors include your height and weight and how much breast tissue can be removed.
If you have to pay out of pocket, make sure you’re not charged for a reduction AND a lift. The way it was explained to me, and through my own post-op experience, is that a reduction will automatically result in a breast lift. I'm in Austin, TX, and my reduction cost me $7,500 out of pocket, however I was quoted by other surgeons up to $17,000.
Make sure you do enough research, read reviews, ask around, even asking in local Facebook groups, before you select your surgeon. A breast reduction is major surgery, so you don’t want to select your surgeon based on cost alone.
Since creating Brobe International, Inc. in 2012, I’ve talked with A LOT of women who have undergone surgery, so I knew going in I’d need to do a few things to prepare myself, my husband and my family about surgery recovery.
First off, before surgery I had all of my post-op medicine and water at my bedside. I washed my sheets and had pillows organized and TV remotes within arms reach. I washed and styled my hair, I shaved and made sure my go-to comfy clothes were clean and easy to find. Make sure you also have dry shampoo on hand! I also had 4 Brobe ice packs in the freezer ready to go. I would rotate them the days and weeks following surgery, two in my bra, two in the freezer, then swap!
I had to let my kids know I was going to be in bed for at least 3-4 days. My husband was an awesome caregiver and would set his alarm in the middle of the night to wake up and make sure I had my meds. He took care of everything for at least 2 weeks.
Of course I packed my Brobe bra+robe combo, socks and comfy joggers to wear to and from the hospital. I also had my Brobe Comfort Pillow to use as a barrier between my chest and my seat belt for the drive home.
I wore by Brobe Post-op Bra even more than the bra I was sent home with. I was also cleared to use the ice packs and it was so soothing, because I was very very sore after surgery. I didn’t have post-op drains, but honestly I think I could have benefitted from one because I was definitely oozing from my incisions.
Recovery was pretty painful for the first few days. I took my pain meds as directed and slept a lot. After that I did not lift anything heavy for at least 6 weeks. The only comfortable thing to wear was my Brobe post op bra with my ice packs tucked in. I actually bought a super expensive post op bra, but it was so uncomfortable plus I couldn't use the ice packs with it. I couldn't lift my arms and honestly even standing for a long period of time would hurt for the first 3-4 weeks.The bandages itched until they came off after a few days but the glue was itchy as well.
I was down for at least 1 week, moving pretty slow for two weeks after, but after about four weeks I was feeling pretty “normal”. I had planned on being out of the office for at least a week then working from home for another week, and I definitely needed that time at home.
If you’re about to undergo a breast reduction, make sure you take plenty of time off of work, and make sure you have friends, family and coworkers to take care of you and all your other obligations.
The Brobe was super helpful because it was easy to get off and on. Anything that is easy to open and close in the front, I highly recommend!
That is a statement I’m pretty confident the vast majority of women who undergo a breast reduction say following their surgery recovery. I literally and figuratively have a major weight lifted off my chest. I’m currently wearing a low support bra that I never dreamed I’d be able to wear. I’m going to the beach in a month and was able to confidently shop for swimsuits. I’m even wearing a sundress WITHOUT A BRA during the trip!