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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2007, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
'I love my new C cup breasts'
By Jane Elliott
BBC News, health reporter

Lucy Wingate
Lucy has been delighted by the results of surgery

For the first time in her life Lucy Wingate feels she has a shape she is happy with.

"My body is more womanly and I have my curves in all the right places," she said.

Last week the 26-year-old single mother of two had a breast enhancement, thanks to a new service - mybreast.org - which makes the UK's top plastic surgeons available at prices women like unemployed Lucy can afford.

Lucy's surgery was designed to transform her 32AA cups into a 32C, and the early signs are that it has been a success.

For the first time I had mounds of breast
Lucy Wingate

"I know it is early days and I haven't had my stitches out yet. But I did try on a bikini to see what it looked like. I owned it already, so I tore out all the padding and it really fitted," she said.

More curves

"For the first time I had mounds of breast. Before the operation I wouldn't even wear halter neck tops because I would have had to go without a bra and I hated my shape.

"It will be wonderful to have so many options to wear now."

Lucy said she had been too excited to feel nervous about her surgery, but said she did start feeling twinges as she was taken to the operating theatre.

Lucy before her operation
Lucy was unhappy with her breast size

"I don't know how long the operation was. I know they wheeled me down around 2pm and I was first on the list. I was back in my room at 5pm, but the time also includes the time needed for recovery.

"Afterwards my breasts felt tight, but it did not hurt as much as I expected.

"The thing that did hurt a lot were the chest drains, put into my side to drain away the excess fluid and blood. When they took those out the next day it hurt and I had a little cry."

Feeling emotional

Lucy said she had not needed strong painkillers like morphine as her pain had been manageable - but she had more difficulty controlling her emotions.

"I just wanted someone to give me a hug, but I don't have anyone so that was hard," she said.

"I managed to get a peep at my breasts in the hospital, as they were not completely strapped up and I kept wondering whether they were big enough, whether one was bigger than the other.

"But they seem fine, the hospital explained that your body does not swell in exactly the same way so they should be fine.

"And there is not too much bruising and swelling so I am expecting them to stay at a 32C, which is good."

Lucy hopes to have her stitches out within the next couple of days and to be fully recovered in six weeks.

Monitoring progress

Mybreast.org was launched in January to make reliable plastic surgery more affordable, and to deter women from going abroad to seek out cheaper, but often less reliable, alternatives.

Surgeon Simon Withey
Simon Withey said Lucy will get professional after-care

All the surgeons taking part in the scheme are members of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

The set fee of 4,250 covers the operation, hospital stay and post-operative care - some surgery in London with other organisations can cost as much as 7,000.

But critics point out that breast enhancement surgery should only be considered after discussions with health professionals who may be able to suggest alternative methods to help.

For example, many people unhappy with their body shapes could benefit from counselling.

And it is claimed that some non-invasive treatments, such as herbal pills, could boost breast size, although their safety has yet to be confirmed.

Furthermore, surgery candidates must be aware of the possible complications, such as burst implants and long-term scarring effects.

Last option

Mrs Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist at the London Medical Centre, said in today's society we are bombarded by pictures of the perfect woman which can put pressure on women to look a certain way and give them a low body image.

Dealing with such psychological issues can be complicated, and Mrs Collins said surgery should be a last resort after counselling, hypnotherapy or treatments from medical herbalists had been tried.

She said: "Surgery is quite a drastic measure, and it shouldn't be somebody's first option, I'd put it at the bottom of the options.

"I know women who have had bad experiences with plastic surgery - the results were not what they expected and that can cause terrible psychological damage."

Simon Withey carried out Lucy's operation. He is pleased with the results.

"Lucy's operation was straightforward and no changes had to be made to the careful preoperative plan we had decided on," he said.

"She is making excellent progress. It is now a week since her surgery, I reviewed her in my clinic on Thursday and her dressings were removed and the sutures were trimmed.

"She is very comfortable and is getting used to her new shape.

"She certainly looked much more self confident, she had changed her hair style and her previous stoop and round shoulderedness had been replaced with a more confident upright appearance."

Lucy has been advised to avoid heavy upper body exercise including lifting for a further two weeks.

She will be reviewed again a month after her surgery and at this stage should be able to resume all activities.




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