My Breast Reduction Journey
Akiela Peters had her first breast reduction surgery at age 30. While at first she was happy with the results, growth in her breasts led her to decide to undertake a second reduction surgery. The following videos were recorded before and after her second surgery.
Pre-Second Breast Reduction Surgery Interview
In the following video, Akiela shares her thoughts and feelings about breast reduction surgery, and discusses the preparations she’s making for her second surgery.
Post-Second Breast Reduction Surgery – 2 Weeks
This next video was made two weeks after Akiela's second breast reduction surgery. Here, she discusses how the recovery process is going and the macom bras she’s using to support her recovery. She also gives advice for those considering breast reduction surgery themselves.
We’ll be checking in again with Akiela in a few months time to see how her recovery is going and hear her thoughts on the results. In the meantime, you can read the video transcripts below to get her tips, advice and find links to the macom bras she's mentioned. You can also find Akiela on social media channels (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat): @akielalpeters.
Pre-Second Breast Reduction Surgery Interview
Why did you decide to have your first breast reduction surgery?
I decided to have a breast reduction surgery first when I was about 16. I went to my GP and tried to speak about the size of my breasts and how uncomfortable it was for me. But I was declined to be able to go forward to try for breast reduction.
When I was about my late 20s, I was signed off work due to severe back pain that I was having. I've gone through 3 years of receiving physiotherapy on my back, so at this point my doctor decided that the last resort would be breast reduction surgery. And I was happy to go down that route and try it myself. And then I was accepted. And the rest is history.
How did you prepare for your first breast reduction surgery?
For my first breast reduction surgery, I didn't really know what to expect. I felt like I kind of went into it a bit blindsided. I tried to do a lot of research but I found it really hard to find a lot of information out there online, which is why I decided to document my journey myself.
The first [breast reduction surgery], it went pretty well actually, I was excited. I didn't know what to expect, so obviously, I had nerves, but the whole process seemed to go really quickly, smoothly. And I was really happy with the experience.
How did you feel about the results of your breast reduction surgery?
My results from breast reduction were amazing. I loved them. At first I was a bit like, they're still big. But of course they're swollen when you first have it done. So I just thought they were a bit big still. And then I thought "oh my gosh, maybe they're going to be a bit too small". So you do go through those sorts of things, of course. It's new, it's a new body, so you have to get used to it.
Overall, I loved the results. I was actually in love with mine before the wounds even healed properly. Like, it was so different to me. But it just felt amazing to have these new breasts. And the size was different, my back wasn't weighed down, my front wasn't weighed down so much anymore.
My results were amazing. I loved them.
What was the size change in your breasts from your first breast reduction surgery?
So when I had my surgery, we kind of aimed for a D cup. So initially, I was an H cup when I was younger. And as I got older, they kind of lost a lot of life and dropped more. So just before surgery, I was an F cup. And then after surgery, we went down to about a D cup.
How was the recovery process following your first breast reduction surgery?
During recovery, I used macom bras. I actually used macom bras because it was suggested by my doctor, my surgeon, they actually supplied me with a macom bra to begin with. And then I bought one myself because I loved it so much.
I absolutely loved the macom bra. I found that the way it supported me was really good. It was so comfortable. I hated not wearing it. Because, instantly, your breasts, they just feel really sore like you have to keep them in, it really helps with the shaping of the breast as well. I even loved it when I didn't need to wear it. I think it's such a good bra. Even if you haven't had surgery, I just think the support from it is amazing.
How long did you wear your compression bra for?
You're advised to wear your post surgery bra for up to, at least, six weeks. To be honest, I recommend you still wear it even thereafter. Because like I said, it's got such great support, it helps with shaping, and your breasts will naturally drop over time. So the bra just kind of helps keep your muscles intact and keeps your breast shape there. So I would recommend wearing it for a lifetime.
Why did you decide to have a second breast reduction surgery?
So over time, my breasts grew a lot, since surgery. And my scarring, I'm not too pleased with the way my scars have healed, especially around my areola. My surgeon and myself have spoken about this and we will do a slight revision. So I have that coming up.
Do you feel differently going into your second surgery?
Now, going into surgery, after having it before, I do feel a bit more like I know what to expect. So it's not that nerve wracking. But what I do struggle with is the size that I would go to. It's like, what's the best size, because they can grow. What's the best way for me to avoid them growing after? So there's some concerns with that. Overall, I do feel quite comfortable and confident going into surgery again.
What compression bras have you chosen to support your recovery?
For my second surgery, I've definitely chosen to stick with macom, I had such a great experience using macom bras before. I'm probably going to try a couple of them.
So I will try the ultimate bra because I like that the band comes quite low. So I think it's really good for supporting your breasts during recovery and even supports your back at the same time. So I think I'll try that one. And then a bit further down the line, I will try the sleeping bra. I think I'll try that one as well.
What lessons did you learn from the recovery for your first breast reduction surgery?
So the recovery lessons I've learned since my last surgery is rest. Make sure you rest. I was so eager to get going, like within a week or two weeks after surgery, probably two weeks after surgery. And I experienced one of my incisions kind of splitting and opening up.
So I just think you need to rest and make sure you can just stay in, in bed, lounge around the house, go out for small walks. Of course, exercise is still great, you need the blood to be pumping ground your body in order to heal well and for your scarring to heal well. But rest make sure you rest. And keep yourself hydrated, I've learned that lesson.
Do you have any advice for those considering breast reduction surgery?
To anyone that's considering, or is actually going to be going for breast reduction surgery, the advice I would give is: prior to surgery to make sure you do all of your research. You need to make sure the surgery you are doing is for you and nobody else, because it's your body.
You have to live with the scarring after, and understand that you will have scarring. And I know a lot of women do worry about that. We have to accept that, and there are ways to kind of try and help heal that scarring after. But I think you know, we all have scars. And each scar tells a beautiful story. So own those, appreciate them, and just remember the journey that you've been on to get to where you are with your new breasts.
And just make sure you rest after and make sure you have a good support system, you can become quite down after surgery, like your hormones and stuff can be affected. So just making sure you've got friends and family around you at different times is really good and key as well for healing and just enjoy the experience.
Take as many pictures before and after, for yourself. It's really nice to kind of see where you were and where you've come to. And yeah, that's it, just enjoy the experience.
Post Second Breast Reduction Surgery – 2 Weeks
How are you feeling post second breast reduction surgery?
I am now post surgery, my second surgery, and feeling tired of course, and just very sore, really sore. It's not too bad. But it's just, you know, moving around, it's really hard to constantly be just lying down on your back, sleeping becomes difficult, which was expected, but just very tired.
Do you feel different, compared to after your first surgery?
So I didn't find it too different at first, when initially waking up, to the first time I had surgery. It's just this process of healing, I find that I'm a bit more sore and moving around is a bit more difficult, especially the sides. That could be where the drains are taken out. The drains being taken out was much more uncomfortable than the first time. And I think because we've gone over scars again, that's probably why it's a bit more painful and difficult to – just a bit more sore this time round. And they do say that healing a second time can be more intense than the first time round, so I do think that's because you're going over the same scars for a second time with such an invasive surgery.
Did you feel more prepared having gone through the surgery before?
I thought I was more prepared this time, in terms of just knowing what to expect. But what I did find is that knowing kind of what size to go to, I didn't really have too much say on the size exactly – you can't make a cup size, that's impossible. But just really trying to know what is the best size in terms of – for the frame of my body, and also for them to leave a slight bit of room for them to grow. Because, of course, they've grown so much after the first time, that I'm worried that they will grow a lot now. So I did struggle with knowing what size they should go to.
Are the results what you expected, so far?
Waking up initially, I felt, the first time around, that they were too big still. So I was worried that I was going to think like that the second time, but then equally, I was like, I felt like that the first time so I could fall like that again now. But I do worry that they might be a bit too big still. And then I noticed the shape, they kind of are a bit more to each side, either side. But that did happen last time, and then they change over time. So I'm really excited to kind of see how they heal up. I'm not gonna worry too much about how they look now because I know over weeks, they change. And in months they still change, up until about a year or so.
Have you started wearing your macom compression bra?
So I've been wearing my macom bra post surgery, and I absolutely love it because it's just snug, but it's just basically, it just really compresses your breasts and helps shape them. So I'm very hopeful that this will help with the shaping.
And then also, because it's so hard to move around, you don't want your breasts to be able to kind of move around with you. So the fact that there's really good support from the bra, it helps so much. And then it's comfortable. It's not too tight. So because you're sleeping in it, I mean, I'm going to be wearing this bra, all my macom bras for weeks, many weeks post surgery. So definitely, I find that it's helping, I'm really excited to see how it helps me with healing. The first time round, it was amazing. So I expect nothing but great results with it this time round.
What expectations do you have for the next few weeks of your recovery?
So, I expect the next few weeks, days and weeks even, to be quite difficult, I guess in terms of – well, not too difficult. But it's just really hard to do things yourself. And I like to do a lot of things for myself. But you do have to, kind of, need to get a lot of rest.
So the next few weeks, I pretty much want to take it really easy. Just rest. Do everything I need to, in terms of cleaning my wounds, just really focusing on those closing up so the healing can be really good. The first time round, my incisions did open up. So I'm really working to avoid that happening this time.
Hopefully, the pain will ease up more over the next few weeks, days will be amazing. But hopefully over the next few weeks. And I'm just really focusing on making sure that my breasts and wounds and my scars heal properly. And then I'll focus on the scarring, like massaging them to flatten them out. As the months go on.
Any other thoughts or advice on your second breast reduction surgery?
The first time around, you are warned when you go through surgery, that post surgery, you can become quite emotional. I think because it affects your hormones probably. You can become quite down. It's really good to surround yourself with friends or family or whatever makes you happy really, because you can feel a bit lonely because you can't do much. And then just being there by yourself for like days and weeks on end. It can get quite lonely.
So I found that this time round, within the first couple days to be honest of being home, I felt a bit down. And I knew that happened to me last time. So I was aware and prepared for that. So I've had my sister come and stay with me. And the company is really nice. It's nice to have someone around you just to know that they're there. And that someone kind of cares and is there helping out.
So, I find that helps to have people there, it's really important to kind of have someone around you. Not all the time. And then now I kind of feel a bit more uplifted and excited for recovery. I won't need her here for the whole of recovery, but for the first days or the first week, I'd say, it's good to just kind of have a support system and it's really important.
Overall, I'm just really thankful for this second experience, in terms of my breasts due to the growth that they had, and excited to see the healing process in terms of my scars. I'm really going to work to make sure my scars heal very nicely. And also work on how I can kind of stop them from growing so much. So that would be nutrition, eating healthy and exercise. So I can't wait to exercise again. I would say you need to wait at least – everyone's like, everyone's kind of different in their healing process, but I would say you need to kind of wait a good up to six weeks before you kind of start training. But it's important to listen to your body and you know, your body, you know, wherever it's telling you it needs rest, whether you're tired, whether you're ready to kind of start moving about. Avoid lifting heavy stuff. And that's really my healing process, I guess within the first couple weeks of healing. So, yeah, I'm excited.