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Three Months Post Breast Reduction

Part Three of the Series.

By Marlene Roessler

The wing of an airplane as seen from inside the plane, clouds and the sun in the background.
Image courtesy of Ross Parmly on Unsplash

Here I am once again! With what will be the last chapter in this series.

Lots had happened since the ‘Day Before’! As always, check out my blog on Medium to read about my immediate recovery and the emotional ups and downs of it all.

To open on a positive note, I would like to reassure everyone that 99% of the complications I talk about below had been resolved by three months post-OP. Time had -as it famously does- healed all my wounds. Or at least the ones around my chest!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to silly old me in my childhood home in Germany, July 2022. Looking back at what happened about 5 weeks into my healing process, I’m so glad I was still in Germany, surrounded by my family and (mostly) helpful doctors at that time. While my left boob had become less and less swollen over the weeks, the right side was noticeably lagging behind, being hard to the touch in some areas and generally more painful. But it wasn’t until a small white spot appeared on my bottom right incision line that I got seriously concerned. After some back and forth between my GP and the team at the breast clinic I was diagnosed with fatty tissue necrosis.

Fatty tissue necrosis is the process of damaged fat cells dying off after trauma (for example, invasive surgery) occurs to an area of the body. It seems to be a relatively common occurrence after Breast Reduction Surgery since all breasts are made up, to the most part, of fatty tissue, especially in cases of a large chest. The ‘usual’ trajectory of fatty tissue necrosis seems to be that the dead fat cells cluster together in a lump underneath the skin and by means of external massages and with some patience they will basically dissolve and fully disappear. My case was a little bit different. Since the necrotic tissue was located just underneath a fresh incision line which had not fully closed yet, the skin opened up again until the gash was about 5 centimetres long.

If at this point you find yourself pulling a face in disgust and terror, let me clarify that at no time had I been leaking blood or pus from this wound. The site never became infected and looks barely any different from the regular incision scars now. The big bother about this fatty tissue necrosis was how it was to be treated: As the body is producing lots and lots of wound fluid to flush the dead fat cells out of the wound site it becomes your job, as the owner of the body, to keep this area as dry and clean as possible. My mother and I started fashioning all kinds of makeshift bandages which all soaked through within 3 or 4 hours usually. Let me tell you, changing the dressings of a wound that was constantly leaking and was located in a spot that I could barely reach since my mobility was still limited was very tricky business. Frustratingly, changing these dressings and not straining the area was all I could do in terms of helping the situation along.

To make matters a little bit worse (’cause why the hell not?), all of this happened only 5 days before I was due to fly back to Scotland. And postponing this flight was out of the question for me as my best friend’s wedding was coming up very soon after and I was the maid of honour. For nothing in the world would I have missed this wedding. So my mum packed a whole carry-on trolley filled to the brim with dressings, wound healing creams and other useful things and I went on my way 5 days later with admittedly mixed feelings. Ultimately, I knew there was nothing I could do to help the situation in Germany that I couldn’t have done in Scotland, which made me feel a bit better. I doubt though that it made my family feel better when I was admitted into Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with an infection just a week after arriving back…

After one side of my right breast had become very swollen, red and hot to the touch and oral antibiotics didn’t seem to make a difference, I was asked to spend 4 nights at the hospital in Aberdeen to receive IV antibiotics (via drip). An ultrasound confirmed that I was experiencing more fatty tissue necrosis, this time in a more centred area of the breast along another incision line which still had scabs over it. My body’s need to reject this tissue had caused the infection. And on my second day at the hospital the scabs had given way and another wound side opened. Thankfully, I was already at the place where they keep all the bandages and plasters. This little extra incident didn’t actually end up impacting my healing journey much. When I was sent home I just kept changing dressings as I had before, only now I did it in two places instead of one. Oh, did I mention that I was released from hospital just five days before my best friend’s wedding? Yeah, I was stressed.

Two pictures of Marlene wearing the same shirt side by side, one shows her pre-operation, one post. IN the second picture she looks visibly happier.
Image courtesy of the author

But guess what? I made it to the other side. I was able to enjoy my best friend’s big day without feeling completely useless or isolated; I went to buy my first ever lacy bralette at the reduced section of M&S; I went on an exciting outdoorsy trip to the Isle of Skye with my parents, and I took my first post OP swim in my new swimming costume. And right now I am happier than ever. My secret favourite moment? While meeting one of my new flatmates, this thought suddenly popped into my mind:

“My God, she only knows me the way I look now. She has no clue.” That thought made me so happy. This really feels like a new beginning!

If you, dear reader, are considering this operation I can only encourage you to pursue it with all of your heart. You’ll need to be sure but if you are, you won’t regret it. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via Facebook if you’ve got any questions and thank you so much for following my journey at The Gaudie.

Love, Marlene.


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