My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op

April 21, 2017

It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 weeks traipsing around 4 cities in 2 countries - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Sydney, Melbourne, back again to Kuala Lumpur - all while eatsploring (eat + exploring) up a storm in my leopard-print Aquazzuras. Last month I announced my decision and my reasons to be as candid, honest, and informative as possible regarding my choice to go under the knife. I compel you to read that post in its entirety but the TL;DR is that there is the lack of transparency from public figures who've had a helping hand which is not only shameful but dangerous in a culture and society that promotes and rewards unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection. I may lack many qualities (for one: the ability to take a taxi ride without falling asleep with my dribbling mouth open) but candour has never been one of them. So in that 'inform, inspire, and entertain' spirit of Posh, Broke, & Bored; here is the 1st installment of my plastic surgery diaries - the first 4 weeks following a mastopexy (breast reduction and lift) and upper body liposuction...



From the fog of general anaesthesia I rose like a phoenix, albeit one doped out on morphine. The figurative ashes - 5.5 litres of fat sucked out of my body over the course of 5 hours - lay just out of sight, in bottles in a neon yellow bag marked 'hazardous waste' (no kidding) just under the bathroom sink. 

The first sensation to return to me was excruciating, eye-watering pain in my upper arms -  lifting my arms was physically impossible. Three shots of morphine in my thigh later and I finally managed to go back to sleep: barely registering the 2 compression suits I was wearing to control the swelling and the compression massagers wrapped around my lower legs to prevent blood clots from forming. 

Surgery was on a Tuesday, two days later on Thursday I was discharged from hospital and that's when the challenge truly began. Even with the painkillers prescribed to me, I was in a lot of pain. My bruised, tender, and swollen self had to be encased in compression garments 24/7, making sleeping very difficult. At least with a hospital bed I could easily adjust into a somewhat propped up sleeping position, which was much harder to achieve with pillows, however well stacked. I couldn't sleep for more than 3 hours at a time, and getting up from a lying down position was incredibly sore and stiff. I gave up and slept upright in my recliner. Then there was the searing, spear-in-the-side agony of when the hooks and eyelets of my compression garment (not unlike that of a corset) grazed or pressed against the incisions in the sides of my torso. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Eventually I regained the ability to lift my arms in a position that could be best described as "zombie T-Rex". Washing my hair and face was next to impossible - thank God for dry shampoo and face wipes.

Interestingly enough, all this pain and discomfort was a result of "only" the liposuction. I had liposuction on my upper arms (and a tiny bit on my lower arms), upper and lower abdomen, my upper back and under bust, and a little off my flanks to smooth out my hip shape. My recovery from the mastopexy (breast reduction and lift) however, was a piece of cake - aside from some tightness in the top of my breasts, I would've forgotten about that procedure if not for the fact that my boobs were now astonishingly perky, even in a Calvin Klein bralette that had long lost its support from having been chucked in the washing machine one dozen too many times.


The first week of recovery is the most painful as the body has just suffered an incredible trauma. Emotions may plunge to an all-time low. *cue narcissistic existentialismSome weight loss due to lack of appetite.


Yes, my body (mostly my incredibly achy upper arms and sore torso) was screaming bloody murder but I was remarkably chipper thanks to a steady stream of visitors who came to cheer me up. I tried taking advantage of the so-called loss of appetite to go on a juice cleanse but ending up cheating on that liquid diet with soft-boiled eggs, soup, papaya (papaya enzymes are great for deswelling) and blueberries (full of antioxidants).


Did I say that recovering from mastopexy was a walk in the park? Well consider me corrected! My up till then-mild-mannered bosom had decided to sear with the flames of hell. My chest had a constant prickling sensation not unlike that of pins and needles. The tightness in the top of my breasts had now turned into constant aching. The stitches - a single circumareolar (around the areolar) stitch pulled like a 'purse string' to tighten the skin, creating a 'pleated' effect on the skin around the areolar that will eventually fade in 3-6 months) - were beginning to get very itchy. I had to yell at myself to literally "calm your tits!" ๐Ÿ˜ก

By now I was accustomed to feeling like a pig in a corset - swollen, stiff, and numb especially in my abdomen. Those sensations created a sort of 'phantom fat' feeling whenever I tried to touch my no longer existent pouches of fat on my lower and upper abdomen. Serious existentialism ensued. For that reason, I grew thankful for my compression suit. Without it I felt exposed and vulnerable, but when I wore it I felt rigid and tense in the best way possible. Is this Stockholm Syndrome? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

By Day 7 I was well enough to go out and reclaim my social life - my first port of call was a birthday lunch at The Majestic hosted by Fendi - and even board a flight the next day!


The extreme pain from the first week should now be reduced to mere discomfort. The swelling from liposuction should start to decrease, as will the bruises. Breasts will feel tight, painful, and aching as nerves have been reconnected and volume restored - think of the skin coping to accommodate a sudden addition.


All of the above, except that far from fading my bruises were looking angrier than ever. My flesh looked like a too-ripe banana that fell off the kitchen counter and stepped on. A pleasant and unexpected side effect was that my posture was improved - I could no longer slouch thanks to my corset-like compression suit. I didn't even cry when the stitches were removed from my 6 liposuction incisions - 2 on either side of my belly button, one on each elbow, and one on each side of my upper body.


The 1st day of the 3rd week - Day 15 - marked the end of having to wear my compression garments around the clock! I now only had to wear them in the day, allowing my flesh and skin to breathe at night. However, waking up from 8 hours sans compression was uncomfortable as my body was still very much stiff, sore, and swollen. It seemed that the compression suit really was the lesser of two evils - so much so that I even wore it throughout my 8 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney. ๐Ÿ˜š

Nobody mentioned to me that the now-scabby stitches on my areola would start to flake magnificently! It was incredibly satisfying yet disgusting to find bits of scab inside my bra. As the scabs started to fall off, I eagerly applied far too much anti-scarring gel to my already discreet circumareolar scars. ๐Ÿ˜…

I packed warmly, expecting an Australian autumn to be somewhat cold, only to arrive to scorching sunshine and heat in Sydney! Luxy told me that prior to my arrival it had been raining for 6 weeks - clearly, I brought the sunshine with me from Malaysia. Wearing two compression garments under my turtlenecks quickly drained all the joy out of being a tourist, so I decided to go shopping. I bought a bunch of sheer mesh tops (thank you 90's for being back in fashion) to give my skin some ventilation.


 All bruises from liposuction should be gone by now. As for mastopexy, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), but now's a good time to start scabbing.


Why are my upper arms still bruised like week-old fruit?! ๐Ÿ’ฉ  
Still, I am so stoked by the results that I've been roping friends and family (willingly or not) into show and tell. I've even convinced two people to get a breast lift and to consider liposuction.


The shopping didn't end in Sydney. When in Melbourne, I hit up the lingerie department in Myer and went crazy at Calvin Klein, stocking up on their iconic cotton bralettes to wear as pyjamas. I've now decided that I'm going to be one of those women who insist on 24/7 chest support and refuse to sleep on their side for fear of sagging (and face wrinkles). Also, I did try sleeping on my side - bad idea, I woke up barely an hour later in extreme discomfort. 

By the fourth week my torso was still sore and numb, even if my arms and breasts were far less so. It helped massively that I discarded my compression suit with all its horribly wicked-looking eyelets and hooks for a seamless and dare I say elegant number from Nancy Ganz.

Despite nearly 2 weeks of feasting in Australia - you know what the foodie scene in Melbourne is like! - sudden and drastic results were showing. My lower arms had reduced in size by 50% (according to my surgeon and his team during a follow up visit, a couple of days ago), and even with a temporary food baby plus pre-menstrual bloat my stomach was practically flat.


By the end of the first month, liposuction results start to show as the swelling begins to go down. As with a breast reduction and lift of my size, the most noticeable results tend to be around the 3 month mark. 


Call me Wolverine - I'm healing at a remarkable rate! The pleating effect of the skin around my areolars, which would normally take 3-6 months to disappear, is almost gone. My arms and torso have shrunk so much that I've had to order a new, smaller compression suit. My improved posture - I can no longer slouch thanks to my compression suit - has now become permanent. Now that I'm standing straight, I've never looked taller nor better!

My cosmetic surgery is far from over, in fact, being a month in it is only just the beginning. The final results will show 6 months post-op, with clear and defined results around the 3 month-mark (even if I am already looking noticeably different). I'll be updating my Plastic Surgery Diaries again during months 3 and 6. In the meantime, I'll blog about the What, Where, Who, and How about liposuction and mastopexy (breast lift and reduction) for anyone whose considering these procedures. 

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