This is a difficult topic for me to write about. I’m a very private person, I don’t like to be vulnerable or admit to people that I’ve made a mistake. Especially a mistake that cost me $5,600! However, despite my hesitation and fear, I hope that my story can help other women avoid the mistake I’ve made. So here is my story about why I regret getting breast implants.
Why I got a breast augmentation
Women get breast implants for a variety of reasons, about 400,000 each year. Some do it to fix asymmetry (uneven size or shape). Others do it after losing volume from breastfeeding. Women like me do it because we have little to no boobs and think breast implants will help us feel more confident and feminine.
I’ve never really liked my body. Puberty gave me hips but almost no boobs, I barely filled a 34A cup. No other woman in my family was flat chested like I was. I always felt like I had the chest of a boy. In 2014, when I was 25, I finally mustered up the courage to schedule some consultations.
I did a lot of research before hand and spent a lot of time in a popular breast implant forum. I won’t say what the forum is since I believe it’s a toxic environment. The most popular advice from that forum was “go bigger” or else you’ll get “boobie regret.” The horror! There were quite a few women there who went on to get even bigger implants as soon as their surgeon allowed them too, but when you’re on a forum every day where everyone is telling you what you have STILL isn’t enough, it’s going to affect you.
Sadly I bought into their fear and did end up going a little bigger than I had initially wanted. At first I just wanted to be a B-C cup. I didn’t want the change to be that noticeable, I just wanted something there so I felt like a woman. I ended up going with 375cc silicone implants which took me from 34A to 34D.
Why I regret my breast implants
I regretted my size fairly quickly. No one tells you that a lot of clothing doesn’t fit as well with bigger boobs. My favorite bikini tops looked ridiculous. A year after my surgery I actually went back to my doctor to talk about getting smaller implants, as well as other concerns I had. My doctor told me that I was only the 2nd woman to want to go smaller. I’ll discuss why I think that is later.
I didn’t end up changing my implants. I didn’t want (and couldn’t afford) to spend another $3,000, and I came to realize how stupid it all was. I was still really unhappy with them but eventually I did get used to the size even though I’d still like them to be smaller. There were other things I couldn’t live with though.
What I expected from my operation
Like I said I did a lot of research. I saw 3 different surgeons and asked questions. One made a comment about how most women didn’t ask the questions I was asking, which is pretty alarming. When you’re making important decisions like this always do your research. I knew there were potential complications, like the ones I’ve listed below.
- Capsular Contracture: The formation of scar tissue around the implant that causes breast distortion and pain. Basically your boobs will start to look like Quasimodo.
- Rippling: Visible ripples you can see under the skin.
- Rupture: Where the implant shell breaks and silicone leaks into the body.
- Symmastia: Where the muscle and skin detach from the sternum and you basically have one boob. Yikes.
Thankfully I haven’t had any of those issues. I still judge myself pretty hard for knowing those risks and still getting implants, but the pressure for women to look a certain way is so strong and I fell victim to it.
What I did not expect
Research and the doctors told me recovery would be fairly easy due to the advancement of surgical techniques. At one office a women who worked there told me she was able to drive the day after her surgery. That was NOT my experience. My sister, who’s had 6 babies, said her recovery was worse than childbirth. She told me this after my surgery though. I’ve never had kids but I can say recovery was very painful, and I have a fairly high pain tolerance.
I had to sleep sitting on the sofa up for about a month, I had terrible nerve pain when I moved my arms (like being stabbed with a hot poker, Icy Hot saved my life), my ribs were so sore and my pain meds didn’t help, and I couldn’t drive for 2 weeks. I was emotional and miserable.
I also didn’t know that implants could cause debilitating autoimmune disease and that mold could grow around the implants.
Eventually I healed and they stopped hurting everyday, but I still had issues. My incision scars are still purple 5 years later (they’re honestly more embarrassing than being flat chested), one breast is about a centimeter lower than the other (due to surgeon error), and despite all the women who said otherwise they do NOT feel natural.
Sometimes when I lay down on my back I can feel them slide towards my armpits. It’s like nails sliding down a chalkboard. Doing upper body exercises is also very uncomfortable as you can feel your muscle moving the implants as they are activated during push ups and other chest exercises.
Oh and I can’t wear underwire bras anymore, they start to hurt after a few hours when they never did before. So now I just wear boring bralettes.
The worst thing though is how it affects my sleep.
Sleeping with breast implants is extremely uncomfortable
I’m a side and stomach sleeper. Both positions are uncomfortable with implants.
When you lay on your side gravity pulls the top implant down. This pulls on the muscle attached to your sternum (the bone between your breasts). It’s possible for that muscle to detach from the bone (called Symmastia) and it just feels bad. To deal with this I have to sleep with a pillow between my boobs.
Laying on my stomach is even worse. Putting that pressure on the implants pulls at muscles on the sides (under the armpits) as well as on the sternum. On several occasions I’ve gotten intense back and sternum pain from pressure on my ribs directly behind my implants either pulling a muscle or pinching a nerve. Last month it happened and I had back pain for several days.
I also occasionally wake up with soreness under my breasts and on the sides. Every night I have to sleep with at least 3 pillows supporting me otherwise I wake up in pain.
I like having boobs but I like sleep more!
Why don’t women talk about this?
I wish there had been more women out there warning me away from getting a breast augmentation, but I can understand why there aren’t.
I’m not saying every women regrets their plastic surgery decisions or that it’s inherently bad (in moderation), but I think a lot of women secretly do have regrets.
When you spend thousands of dollars to change your body and then you regret it, it’s really hard to admit that you spent all that money for nothing. And for people like me it’s hard to afford to reverse it.
More women are speaking out though. Even supermodel Gisele Bündchen admitted that she regrets getting implants after breastfeeding her kids. There is a facebook group with over 70,000 women who’ve had issues with their implants.
I do worry that teens and young women are getting sucked into the world of plastic surgery. When you have popular reality tv stars like the Kardashians and Jenners augmenting their entire bodies and faces and claiming it was diet tea and creams, or whatever they’re shilling these days on Instagram, girls internalize that and go looking for ways to alter their faces and bodies without understanding the consequences.
So my advice to anyone considering implants or other surgeries, be very sure that you are emotionally and financially prepared for the worst consequences, both the ones you know about and the ones you don’t. I hope you are never in the position where you also regret getting breast implants.
I hope that someday women won’t feel the need to change their bodies to fit society’s ideal of what we should look like.