The Breast Implant Decision
Questions Compiled by Eleita Pereira ● with Kristy Leconte, Keema Lenderman, Melinda Corssino & Janet Marsico
“I made an appointment to get them done and then canceled. I then went back two years later and went through with it.”
What made you decide to get your breast implants? Was it before or after competing?
Melinda: Overall I just wanted to feel more comfortable in my clothing. I actually went back and forth for a while with this decision. I made an appointment to get them done and then canceled. I then went back two years later and went through with it. This was three years before I started competing.
Kristy: I got my breast implants in 2007, which was 7 years before I started competing.
Keema: After giving birth to 5 children, I found that my breast got smaller with each baby. I went from a B cup to a AA cup and had no shape. I wanted to look like a woman again, so I researched surgeons in Dallas (where I lived at the time) and went for a consultation. I decided I wanted to do it before I ever competed on stage. However, I had done local small Bikini contests and found I always needed to add a lot of padding just to be able to fill out a top.
Janet: When I began working out I was a small C cup. Once I started competing, through the dieting, I had lost nearly all my breast tissue and didn’t feel feminine any longer. And I decided this would be a good decision for me to “balance” my physique.
“Together we came up with a size perfect for me, 290cc, which would take me from an A/B to a C/D.”
Did competing influence your decision?
Kristy: At the time I knew about Bodybuilding of course, but had not heard about the Bikini division.
Melinda: Not at all. I actually never even thought of competing when I got them done. It wasn’t until 3 years later that I started competing.
Keema: Not at all! I had always wanted to get implants, but competing did exacerbate my decision to pull the plug and go for it.
Janet: In some ways, yes. However, only because of the loss of breast tissue. I do think however, if I had seen a difference in breast tissue as I got older (sagging or misshaped because of age), I probably would have had the surgery either way.
How did you go about picking the size?
Kristy: I did a consult with my doctor. I told him what I wanted to look like. He showed me the different types of implants, the “sacks” that they come in, and the sizes. Together we came up with a size perfect for me, 290cc, which would take me from an A/B to a C/D.
“We also determined it would be better to get a larger implant but to fill it with less fluid…”
Melinda: I looked at other girls my size and what implant size they got. I also consulted with my surgeon regarding what size would be appropriate for the look I wanted. I wanted to look natural and didn’t want it to be obvious that I had implants. I’m happy with the size I chose.
Keema: I talked to my doctor and told him what I was wanting. I even brought him pictures of what I felt was the ideal size. I also added that I wanted them to still appear natural and not “porn-like.” We played with several implants in the office and tested them out with special bras they had in order to determine the size that looked best. We also determined it would be better to get a larger implant but to fill it with less fluid so it was softer to the touch, especially since I had very little tissue up top.
Janet: I was afraid of going “too big” and initially wound up having smaller implants done. If I had researched more I certainly would have chosen a larger implant size initially. I have had 4 surgeries thus far.
What are the options for where to place an implant?
Melinda: There are 3 options that I was told of. Under the breast, through the armpit or through the nipple. I chose to have my done through my nipples because my surgeon told me that he could give me the most symmetrical results that way.
“I have had them both over the muscle, under, round, teardrop and then finally high profile (which I absolutely love).”
Janet: There are only two options but several different “shapes.” This is where it gets tricky. Understanding your shoulder width, amount of actual breast tissue, the different shapes and why they are used is very important in making the decision to have the surgery. I have had them both over the muscle, under, round, teardrop and then finally high profile (which I absolutely love).
Keema: The doctor gave me 3 options: through the nipple, through the armpit, or through a small incision under each breast. He helped me decide to go under, stating it was a much quicker healing time.
Kristy: When I was shopping for implants there were two options: over or under the muscle. I didn’t have a lot of breast tissue, so my doctor suggested that I have my implants placed under the chest muscles, which I did.
The spacing between the breasts… how is that determined?
Keema: The doctor looks at the width of your breast bone or sternum. Mine happens to be pretty wide, which means my implants are further spaced.
Melinda: I honestly don’t know how doctors determine that.
Janet: This is the doctor’s doing. When you have the surgery, the surgeon will make a “pocket” where the implant fits. The structure of the patient’s chest cavity also has a lot to do with it as well as the width of your structure.
Kristy: Hmm, good question. I believe it was up to my doctor. I had been a personal trainer for 2 years at the time so working out was part of my daily habits. He suggested that I stop working my chest for a while before the surgery. He said it would to help “relax” the chest muscles which would make placing the implants easier.
“I looked online, spoke to friends, and read surgical magazines.”
How did you go about picking a doctor?
Janet: I would ONLY use a surgeon who is familiar with athletes and the low body fat dieting and training that we do. Our bodies are much different than the norm and we fluctuate with fat tissues often. This is why it is essential to work with a surgeon who is very familiar with athletes.
Melinda: I did a lot of online research. I wanted a doctor that had a lot of experience and came highly recommended. This is not a procedure to try and save money on. You are getting what you pay for. I paid a little more than average with the doctor I chose, but I am very happy with the results and have had no issues.
Keema: Honestly, I looked at pricing first because I knew I had a limited budget. After I narrowed them down by pricing, I looked at the before/after photos on the doctor’s website and read reviews. It’s very important to look at actual photos to determine if the doctor achieves the look you are going for. All doctors are NOT the same! I got lucky and found a very well-respected surgeon who did beautiful work who was also running a special. Yes, surgeons will often run specials. I did also look into teaching hospitals, where surgeons-in-training do the procedure under the watchful eye of the master surgeon.
How did you prep for the procedure?
Janet: Preparing for breast augmentation is the same as any surgery. It’s the after-care that we need to be educated on that’s essential for proper healing, implants settling in the pocket properly and that massaging the tissue around the implant is imperative. So there is more after- care information needed than prior preparation.
Keema: In order to prep for surgery I had two in-office visits prior so the doctor and staff could take measurements and photos and also to do blood work and to test for general health. On surgery day, I arrived about 3 hours before the scheduled surgery to fill out paperwork and to get prepped. I honestly don’t recall a lot after being prepped other than laughing and joking with the nurses about how great it would be to have big boobs! The anesthesia knocked me out very quickly.
“You can’t eat the night before and have to show up with no makeup on, but that’s about it. I mentally was ready to go!”
Kristy: I took the time off from working chest for the week before. I had a list of things the doctor recommended, like a special sports bra. I made sure I had comfort clothes and my friend for a ride!
How long was your recovery?
Janet: When I had them over the muscle I was at my cousin’s wedding 4 days later and back at the gym the following week. But NO heavy lifting or upper body. Just light cardio and that’s it. When I had them under the muscle the recovery was much longer and the pain level was much higher as well,
Kristy: I had the surgery Thursday and was back to work as a personal trainer by Monday. The doctor recommend that I not workout my upper body for 4 weeks. I was able to do legs and cardio after about a week.
Melinda: I started doing very light cardio 4 days after the surgery. Weight lifting was a much longer wait. I took 10 days off of work, but I probably could have gone back after 7. It is painful, and you do need to be living with someone that can help you do daily activities. Getting out of bed or even standing up off the couch can be hard and you will need assistance.
You will also be in bandages for a good 5 days at least, so no showering! You have to take baths and wash your hair in the sink. Do NOT go back to the gym too early. It is not worth the possibly of having problems with your implants. Give them time to heal before you start going hard again.
Keema: I was very sore and dizzy for a few hours afterward and spent a lot of time napping. The soreness and the inability to lift my arms very high lasted for about 3 weeks. Soreness in general stayed for a little over a month. Once the stitches were removed and the incision sites began to heal, soreness subsided fairly quickly.
How long did it take for them to actually “set” or settle in after the procedure?
Janet: I would say honestly a month and still no heavy lifting.
Kristy: It was about a year until they looked less “globe like.”
“Within the first year they were exactly where natural breasts should be and looked real.”
Keema: They settled into place pretty well by the 6th month after. Within the first year, they were exactly where natural breasts should be and looked real. Only people who knew me personally knew they were implants.
Melinda: I was happy right away, but it does take a couple months for them to completely settle in.
How long have you had them? And, are you happy with them?
Kristy: About 8 years. I love them!
Melinda: I have had mine since 2010 and have been completely happy!
“I would have done more research and never would do under the muscle or tear drop.…”
Keema: I’ve had my implants now for just under 2 years. I had the surgery in October of 2013. They are the best purchase I ever made and wish I’d have gotten them years sooner!
Janet: My last set of implants were done in 2004 and I am very happy with the location, size and shape with them.
Do you feel that your breasts look “real/natural”?
Melinda: I feel that I got the perfect size for my body. I think they look very natural and I am completely happy with my decision to this day.
Keema: Up until I started training and lifting weights steadily last year, they looked real. I’ve found that the more muscle I put on, though, the more they look like implants. I have little body fat, so it is more obvious. I got saline implants, which have a tendency to pucker around the edges. Sometimes you can see that in my photos when I’m very muscular.
Janet: No. At present my implants are very obvious, especially in a swimsuit. I have literally no breast tissue and high profile implants look like two tennis balls protruding from your chest. I do like them in clothes though. They are not wide, not overly large and are more narrow from the front than under the muscle or tear drop shaped or round.
Kristy: No, they don’t feel like natural breast. You can feel the implant on the sides a little. They look more natural as the years go on.
Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Janet: Yes, I would have done more research and never would do under the muscle or tear drop. But that is just for me and my physique. Tons of competitors have them under and they are beautifully natural looking. Plus most Bodybuilders have them under the muscle because with the low level of fat when they are on stage, the chest appears much more natural with them under the muscle.
Melinda: I would not have done anything differently. I have saline implants right now. I think if I got them re-done in the future I would get the silicone gummy implants but I did saline to begin with because if they leek it is just salt water versus silicone.
Keema: Sometimes I think I should have gone larger, but the doctors achieved exactly what I was looking for, so I have no complaints.
Kristy: Maybe go a little bigger. But I think they are close to perfect for my frame.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their breasts done?
“…this is a lifetime choice. If something goes wrong it is going to cost you money, so be prepared.”
Melinda: I advise that this is a lifetime choice. If something goes wrong it is going to cost you money, so be prepared. Also they only last usually between 10-20 years, so if you get them done young you will most likely have to get them re-done or have them taken out at some point. This is an investment and not just a one- time and done payment.
Keema: I’d advise anyone looking to get them to just do the research and to make sure to look at actual client photos to make sure that surgeon’s work is what they are looking for.
Kristy: Do your research. Ask people you know that have them. Get doctor’s names.
Janet: Only do them for YOU. Do not do them because you were told you should and do research. If you are not comfortable with a surgeon after a consult, then find another one until you feel you are in good hands and get references as well.
“Your breasts wont make your stage presence better. Your inner self-worth does. And, hunny you are FAB-U-LOUS!”
Kristy: Like everything, make sure you do it for you. If you are doing it “for competition” or even a guy, it’s not going to make you “happy.” This sport can make you get in your own head about how we look. Your breasts wont make your stage presence better. Your inner self-worth does. And, hunny you are FAB-U-LOUS!
Melinda: I hate to see ladies just get their breasts done for competitions. It needs to be a decision that comes from within for more reasons than just the stage. Eventually most people stop competing, so will you still want them when that day comes? Just weigh out your options and do your research. Take your time with this choice.
Janet: Yes, I cannot tell you how many clients first come to me and tell me they were told they cannot compete unless they have implants. This is the worst advice anyone can give a newbie and is completely false! You do NOT need implants to compete. Suit designers always can put cutlets in your suit cups and this is just to appear smooth (no nipples protruding through) and slightly fuller to appear more feminine. You should only get them if YOU want them and for your own personal reasons.
Keema: Remember, your breasts aren’t going to look like someone else’s. Also remember that your body shape and bone structure will play a big role in the result.
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