Social media can be a place for support — or it can be a place for targeted shaming. YouTube star and artist Lala learned that the hard way when she tried to share her body and self-esteem struggles on Instagram recently following breast reduction surgery.
According to her post, Lala had four pounds of tissue removed from her breasts, taking her size from a 38J to roughly a DD cup. She was hoping to correct significant back and neck pain because her natural size was simply too large for her petite frame.
Lala decided to openly post about her surgery as a way to chronicle her journey and highlight the realities of a drastic appearance change — especially for women who might be contemplating a similar move. “Here’s a good before and after!” she said beneath a split-screen photo. “…You can see a little mole right under my boobs in the first photo, same mole in the second pic gives a good idea of how much was taken.”
Many applauded her openness. “I’m only 16 but I have triple D’s and I’ve wanted to get breast reduction surgery for so long. You look amazing!” said one commenter. “Wow they’re amazing!!” said another. “I’m 34F even though I lost 40+ kilos so they look like I’ve nursed 5 children… I’d love to go down to a D to match my proportions better and my major issue is shoulder and neck pain.”
However, her journey hasn’t been well-received by all of her followers. One commenter trolled her snaps after simply writing “boobs,” which Lala called out. “Maybe be more presentable if you don’t want bad feedback,” the supposedly married male writer said.
Lala fired back in a screengrab on her Instagram account. “Posting about my surgery does not make me a skank,” she wrote. “At least 5 women have talked to me about how my openness about my surgery has helped them take the first steps to getting theirs.”
She’s getting used to the way clothes fit post-op and reconciling a smaller chest that feels better but doesn’t look the same in her eyes. “All I ask is for patience and genuine understanding from others,” she writes. “I don’t feel like myself right now.” While Lala is still struggling to make peace with her new body, she says her body is carrying a lighter load these days — and she can tell. “I am already FEELING the physical benefits for my back/neck/shoulders!!!” she said, clearly excited to have some of the burden lifted.
What’s a “normal” reaction following breast reduction surgery? It varies, according to Charles Salzberg, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Mount Sinai in New York City, patients usually find that the long-term benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. “Most do it to relieve discomfort, and almost all say they feel significantly better,” he tells Yahoo Beauty. “Even in the recovery room, they say they feel like a weight has been lifted.”
Salzberg says it is not uncommon for a woman to get emotional prior to surgery. It’s also a bit of a journey back to full strength. Typically, a patient can go back to work with a couple of days to a week, begin exercising after two weeks, and see most of the healing within six weeks. Overall, though, it takes roughly six months to see the long-term results of the surgery as the new breasts settle into their shape and fully heal.
Getting used to incision marks is perhaps the most challenging aspect for most patients, according to Salzberg. “The biggest issue is scars,” he says. “I always explain that it’s scars versus comfort, but I also tell patients that most are very pleased with the eventual results. You are going to feel better. Even though you are a little uncomfortable while you’re still healing, in six months you will be so pleased.”
We hope Lala is on her way to full healing, and we think she looks great. Mostly, we’re just thrilled that she’s reaping the physical rewards of her surgery.