An increasing number of women are opting for ‘lunchtime lifts’ – surgery that can be done under local anaesthetic in just half an hour. The procedures are available include breast augmentations, liposuction, facelifts and nose jobs.
Claire Harrison, a family liaison officer who lives in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire with her partner Tony and her 4 children, was one of the first women in the UK to have a lunchtime breast augmentation. FEMAIL asked her to keep a diary. Sophie Tweedale reported.
I’ve wanted bigger breast ever since the last of my four children was born.
After 5 years of breastfeeding, my previously pert 34B bust has sagged enormously. I can’t wear tight fitting tops because they make me feel self-conscious, so I hide my figure with shapeless clothes. I can’t bear to look at myself naked in the mirror.
My partner, Tony, is very supportive – he keeps telling me I look fine – so I’m ashamed to tell him that I’m thinking about having a breast enlargement. He’d just tell me not to be silly.
But I’m determined to have surgery as soon as I’ve saved the necessary amount of money and persuaded Tony how much it means to me.
Finally, I have the cash that I need for my boob job. There’s only one thing I’m worried about – going under a general anaesthetic. There’s a small chance it could be risky. I had a routine operation on my leg ten years ago and it took longer than usual to bring me round.
A general anaesthetic would also mean taking time off work, and I’d be unable to look after the children for a few days after surgery because of the extended recovery period.
I can’t believe it – you can now have a breast enlargement in your lunch hour! I’ve just seen an advert which says it’s possible to go under the knife with just a local anaesthetic, meaning I’d be awake throughout.
I hate the sight of blood, especially my own, and I’m scared about feeling pain in the middle of it. But I have a house, a job and a family to run, and being unable to get on with my life as soon as possible afterwards is important. I ring up to make an appointment before I can change my mind.
I’ve finally got a consultation with Mr Aslam, the cosmetic surgeon offering lunchtime breast enlargements at Linia in London.
I’m incredibly nervous and have lots of questions. Will I feel any pain? Is it safe? How long will it take? Can I have someone with me holding my hand?
I have asked my sister if she’ll come with me for moral support because I still haven’t told Tony about all this. I know he’ll try to dissuade me; he loves me the way I am. But this is something I need to do to boost my self-esteem. I will tell him, but only when I’m booked in for the operation.
Mr Aslam reassures me that the procedure is safer when it’s done under local anaesthetic rather than a general anaesthetic because it has fewer complications. It also means I’ll be back to everyday life within hours. I can’t wait to book in, but he’s so busy I have to wait for 3 months.
There’s less than a week to go before the operation and I’ve got to tell Tony the real reason I’m taking some time off work. He thinks I’m mad to put myself through this and that I’m fine the way I am. But my mind is made up.
It’s the day before the operation and when I wake up I think about pulling out. I’m incredibly nervous about feeling pain and something going wrong during the procedure.
Luckily, I have five days off work. I know I could have gone back sooner but I’d rather have a few days at home to get over it. I haven’t told my colleagues about the operation, but I won’t be ashamed to tell them if they notice.
Tony and I don’t talk about it, but I can tell it’s on his mind too. I go to bed early, but I’m too nervous to sleep.
MAY 7 (OPERATION DAY)
10.45am: We leave the house after the children have gone to school. I’ll be back home after lunch and before the children get back which is good because I haven’t told them where I’m going.
11.30am: As soon as I get to the clinic I’m taken upstairs to a small room to get changed into a gown. Within ten minutes there’s a knock at the door – it’s the anaesthetist.
He explains how easy the local is – there’s no recovery time and no side effects. He explains I will be fully conscious, but feel very relaxed and a bit drowsy because of the very mild anti-anxiety drug they will give me too. I’ve been told not to eat anything before the operation: I’m too nervous to anyway.
NOON: I kiss Tony goodbye in the room where he’ll wait before I’m led into the operating theatre. The next time I see him, in 45 minutes, it will be the new and improved me.
12.05pm: The theatre doors swing shut behind me and I start shivering. I’m nervous, but there’s no going back now. Mr Aslam reassures me again and I feel completely safe in his hands.
The local anaesthetic is then administered around each breast. There’s four injections, one in the top and bottom of each breast. I only feel a slight jab, but Mr Aslam says this is the worst pain I should feel during the procedure.
In less than 5 minutes the whole area goes numb. I don’t feel anything because I’ve also been given a very mild dose of ‘Twilight’, an anti-anxiety sedative (I’m glad I have it because I don’t like the way Mr Aslam says that I might feel some ‘tugging and pulling’).
He also injects adrenaline to constrict the blood vessels and clot the blood – important because it will stop excess bleeding during the operation.
12.10pm: He makes an incision underneath each breast. I can’t really see much as they’ve put a small sheet just below my chin to obscure the view. But I can hear, smell and see everything going on around me which is a really weird sensation.
Mr Aslam keeps up a commentary on what he’s doing, and the classical music in the background is very soothing.
I feel fine for the first ten minutes or so as he makes the incisions underneath each breast, but when he inserts the silicone implants and starts to manipulate them into place it feels incredibly odd. I feel a bit panicky. It’s as if someone is tugging at my chest from the inside. It’s not hurting – just a bit disconcerting.
Vivaldi is playing on the theatre stereo. ‘Do you like the music Claire?’ Mr Aslam asks. ‘Actually I prefer the Bee Gees.’ I joke, smiling as he makes another incision.
It takes my mind off things for a few minutes, but then I suddenly feel – or think I feel – a peculiar stabbing sensation in my breasts. Mr Aslam reassures me and calmly says its all OK, insisting that all he’s doing is sewing me up. The painful feeling subsides and I breathe a sigh of relief.
12.45pm: I check the clock and amazingly the whole operation has taken 45 minutes.
I spend ten minutes in the recovery room adjacent to the theatre where the anaesthetist makes sure that I’ve come round properly. Then I’m wheeled back to my room to get dressed.
Tony hugs me, carefully avoiding squeezing me. He says I look a bit pale and groggy and then admires my new silhouette. My breasts are bandaged up so we can’t see much, but already they look very full.
Mr Aslam comes in to see that I am OK. He has to go off to do another operation. There are three breast enlargements under local anaesthetic lined up today alone.
I have a peek under the bandages and I am stunned – my new breasts look great.
But the most incredible thing is I feel absolutely fine in myself. I could easily get up and walk out now, although the doctors recommend that I rest for a few hours before going home.
I lie down with Tony sitting beside me and we watch TV in the room.
2.45pm: I stick my head out of the window for some fresh air and have a little walk around – it still doesn’t hurt too much – and eat some toast.
I have been in the clinic for only three hours – the equivalent of a long lunch with a client.
Tony drives me home to rest, then he picks the children up from school. I explain to the older ones that I’ve had an operation on my breasts to make them bigger and they’re fascinated. They ask me if it hurt and say they think my new breast look very nice.
I’m going back to work today. The bandages have come off and I’m able to wear low-cut tops showing off my 34D bust.
There are two small scars underneath each breast, but they’re healing so well you can hardly see them already.
I did suffer from some aches and pains in the first few days but Mr Aslam reassured me this was just the skin healing. He gave me some strong painkillers and they helped. It’s hard to remember I’ve had major surgery, so I try not to bend too much for a while.
Nearly two weeks after the operation and I’m completely back to normal and doing the housework, the school run and my weekly shop.
My new breasts look fantastic and having them done has made such a difference. I feel so much more confident.
Tony and I talk about booking a late deal to Spain I feel so well. I can’t wait to be lying on a beach this time in two weeks with my new fuller figure and a new bikini.
It has really changed my outlook on surgery. Being able to fit it in around my life rather than the other way around has been fantastic.
Any memory of the slight pain I felt during the surgery has gone and I’m even tempted to have something else done. Mr Aslam also does facelifts under local anaesthetic too. So as soon as I think I need it, I’m going to book myself in – and that time I won’t even take a few days off.