Long before having children, Kayla wanted breast implants. She never felt confident in a bikini, or in certain tops on date nights with her husband.
When her daughter was 4, she decided it was the perfect time to do it. She thought she might need a breast lift, but Dr. Swistun reassured her that all she needed was an augmentation with high profile implants.
Kayla opens up about how she decided on size, how it felt to wake up looking different, and how Dr. Swistun handled her post-surgery hematoma.
Meet Kayla, practice manager at our La Jolla med spa
Meet Kayla’s surgeon, Dr. Luke Swistun
View breast augmentation before and after photos
Monique Ramsey (00:02):
Welcome everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m your hostess, Monique Ramsey. Today I have Kayla with us. She’s our practice manager in our La Jolla Medical Spa, and she’s going to talk about her own personal experience with surgery. Welcome, Kayla.
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Monique Ramsey (00:22):
First of all, thank you for being willing to share with the audience your own personal journey. And so tell us about what procedure you wanted to have and sort of why you were thinking about doing it.
Yeah, I’m really happy to share. I think it’s important that as women we can share exactly what came about in our surgical journey. And so for myself, for years, even before becoming a mother, I really did some research and I wanted to pursue with breast augmentation. And so I had been in the industry in plastic surgery for a couple years and so I understood and was just very familiar with other stories and why I thought that that would be a good procedure for myself and I’m really happy that I did it.
Monique Ramsey (01:05):
You’re saying as a mom, so how long after you’d had your child or children, child children, did you have the surgery or decide that you wanted to have the surgery?
My daughter was about four years old is when I decided to have the surgery.
Monique Ramsey (01:24):
And what was sort of the thing that helped bring you to that? Like, I think this is something I want to do.
Yeah, absolutely. I think before even becoming a mother, I was interested in it just from natural anatomy. I think as women, we always want to feel empowered and feel our best self, and so I had always thought about it, but then it wasn’t really up until after I delivered my daughter that those insecurities were just even heightened at that point. I think just things naturally and I couldn’t, at that point I just thought what better time than now? And there was just some, I felt that I wanted a little bit more of a perk, wanted a little bit more of symmetry on both sides, and so I feel so confident with my decision and I’m happy that I did it.
Monique Ramsey (02:11):
Now, how did you decide what size to be? Tell us a little bit about what process you went through with your surgeon and to kind of come to, here’s my goal.
Yeah. It’s funny because just coming out of the industry with plastic surgery in my background, I thought I knew it all. I thought there’s no way I’m going to do different sizes into both implants. And Dr. Swistun did a phenomenal job at really walking me through my options. The nurses were great in just sizing me and giving me a little bit more to think about in terms of going with different sizes. And again, going back to natural anatomy, you’re never going to be a hundred percent same size on both sides. So it was very, very important that they walked me through why considering both sizes. And so I did actually move forward with different sizes of implants to both sides and you wouldn’t be able to tell.
Monique Ramsey (03:08):
That’s amazing. So do you mind me asking what size your implants are?
Yeah, I actually did a 265 on my left that was actually a little bit of a larger breast already before baby. And then having going through breastfeeding after baby, it was already naturally a little bit larger in size, not too much, but there was also this sort of slope to it a little bit. And so we didn’t want to go too heavy on that side and make it look a little bit unnatural. We wanted to keep the natural look to it all. So I did 265 to the left and I did a 295 to the right.
Monique Ramsey (03:41):
Oh, interesting. Yeah, and I guess 30, those seem like big numbers, 265, 295, but 30 ccs is not very much, right. It’s some, but it’s enough to just make everything more symmetrical. And so what kind of implant did you consider? Were you more interested in saline or silicone, and how did you go about knowing which one to pick?
My heart was set on silicone. I wanted a more natural look. I didn’t want to do over the top. I wanted to appreciate my profile and just the softness of it all. And having met with Dr. Swistun and his nurses, they gave me a ton of information on things to just kind of think about. And they had thought that I was correct in my feelings towards the silicone, that it would be great for my anatomy. So I would tell anyone out there that’s doing their own research, it’s great to do your own research. You should feel confident in the decisions that you’re making, but to also hear the side of nurses that do this, have these consultations all day long and from our surgeons who have a great history and help guiding those patients make the right decision. So yeah, absolutely. I’m thrilled that I went with the silicone.
Monique Ramsey (04:55):
And then I know with silicone implants there’s different profiles or high profile or I don’t know what they all are, but did you have any choices there to make?
Well, I actually didn’t want to go with a high profile. I was terrified that it would look unnatural, but Dr. Swistun really walked me through those options. And before my surgery I was very borderline considering a lift at that point too, just again talking about my anatomy. And it was important to go through those options and I had decided, let’s hold off on the lift, let’s go through with the higher profile. And it was the best decision for myself.
Monique Ramsey (05:35):
Oh, that’s good. That’s good. I’m assuming you did that sizing appointment where you sort of try on different sizes. How did you feel about that process?
Yeah, it’s incredible to go through it, to take your before photos to try your sizes on. Lots of times patients think that going from one cup size to another and walking into a consultation and saying, I want to be a D size, well, there’s a lot of detail that goes into it to get you into your happy place and you’ve got to go to somebody who has the trusted experience. And I’m glad that I did because it’s not always about a cup size. It’s about looking at the anatomy sizing with those implants and seeing exactly what you’re most comfortable with and where you’re going to be most confident too.
Monique Ramsey (06:21):
Yeah, that’s true. So as a mom going through this, what were your considerations pre-surgery? What did you tell your daughter about it or not? And after surgery, how did you enlist help and what did that look like after you came home?
Yeah, I think honesty is key. I think in your professional world, I think in your personal life, honesty is key. And so I did share with my daughter that, look, mommy’s going to have a surgery because I fed you for a good amount of time from my breast. And she knew about that already. And I said, I really want to be confident in my own body. And of course I didn’t share too much detail about what happens during a surgery, but I just said, this is what mommy’s looking to do, and so if you see me sleepy the day of or the day after, that’s why I’m just recovering. And she was excited for me just because she felt my energy of being so excited. And so she actually didn’t really understand that it was breast, she called it hips, she called it a hip surgery, so.
Monique Ramsey (07:29):
I love that. And I think having a four-year-old or not a toddler basically, where they’re not asking to be picked up all the time, she’s more independent and able to move around and not needing lifting all the time. And do you feel like, was there anything maybe in that first couple weeks after surgery that you couldn’t do that you needed help with?
I think that people really have to plan for not overdoing it in the first few days. I remember having this conversation with Dr. Swistun of, you know, the chest, not really chest pain, but just feeling very tight at the top of the chest. That is so very normal and you don’t want to overdo it. You don’t want to use your arms to get up or anything like that. You want to make sure you’re positioned right in the bed. And so I remember having this funny conversation with Dr. Swistun about when I get up from bed just to go brush my teeth, I’m like, I don’t want to ruin anything. And so he said, just take it light. And so for myself, it was just all about doing the things that you need to do in your day-to-day and not overdoing it. So getting up, walking around, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, keeping to those things that you do in your day-to-day, and just not overdoing. It really helped me through the process.
Monique Ramsey (08:44):
I wanted to ask you about right after surgery, and I heard that you might’ve had a little complication. Tell us about that.
Yeah, it was just a few days after my that I just started to have chest pain that was really unbearable. And I got on the phone with Dr. Swistun right away and said, Hey, I’m experiencing this chest pain and almost got to a point where I really couldn’t breathe or talk much. So I had texted Ruth, a nurse in our surgery center, and I just said, Hey, this is what’s going on. I already looped in Dr. Swistun and she at that point, let me know, yes, Dr. Swistun has been in contact with me. We’re going to send you some medication so that one we can make sure you’re comfortable. And that right there just took a weight off. I couldn’t even really process the pain at that moment. I just thought, I’m so thankful to have this team next to me to walk me through this and to make sure that first and foremost I’m comfortable.
And so they had sent in medication for me. My roommate picked them up for me and I was comfortable. And then that so happened to be like a Saturday morning, so he said, let me see you back Monday morning. The medication should make you feel okay during that time. And once I got the medications, I could breathe. I was totally fine. I wasn’t freaked out. I understood that this could be something that would cause me to have another surgery, but I was going to wait and see what he said on Monday morning. And so Monday morning came about, he took a look at everything he palpated and he said, I think we’re going to have to go back under this could be potentially a hematoma, which just means that there’s blood around the implant. We’re going to have to remove implants, wash out completely and put them back in. At that point, during that appointment, he said, how are you doing emotionally? And I just thought, wow, he caress to even know what I’m thinking at this point. And I said, I’m a little nervous that when I wake up I won’t have implants.
Monique Ramsey (10:41):
And he said, I’m going to do all that I can just to make sure that one, it is safe for you to have the implants and two, that this is a decision that you feel good about putting them back in. And I said, I trust your expertise. I trust that it’s going to be okay, and if I wake up and you put them back in and we continue to monitor and I need to remove them, I trust that and I want to take on this next surgery. And he said, okay, give us a few hours. We’re going to get you on the books and we’re going to get this done. I said, okay. After the second surgery, it was a quick turnaround, actually same day, got me on the books. I woke up and there he was, how are you feeling? And I said, are my implants still in? And he said, they’re in. And I said, thank you so much. And I felt great that he was able to turn it around so quickly, put me back under anesthesia and do what he needed to do to make sure that one, we were safe. And two, I still woke up with the implants.
Monique Ramsey (11:44):
Yeah. Now, do you know what might’ve prompted the hematoma at all?
It could have been during the procedure itself. It could been something I did at home. It could have been maybe from the car ride, from the surgery center to my home. It could have been maybe I lifted something without even really noticing that it’s heavy. It could have been milk. But these things happen and people are afraid that these things happen without any sort of solution to them all. And this could be anything, right? You can get into a car and be in a car accident. And so it’s the same thing with surgery. There’s a such thing as complications, but again, it’s about being a patient to a private facility that can get you in as soon as things need to happen and having those trusted board certified surgeons.
Monique Ramsey (12:34):
Yeah. Now, did you have your surgery on the Friday or Thursday, Saturday was kind of the day that you felt all the pain. How long after?
Right. So I had my initial surgery, I can’t remember, it might’ve been a Wednesday or so.
Monique Ramsey (12:48):
A few days later I had the pain and I do recall going, it was around my daughter’s birthday and I do recall going out and about. I went on a walk and it might’ve been just too much for myself.
Monique Ramsey (13:00):
And as moms, you think we can do it all and sometimes you just need to take some time for yourself and listen to your doctor. And so that was a Saturday where I felt the pain. And it was Monday I was back on.
Monique Ramsey (13:11):
Wow. And was it just on one side?
So it was on one side when he was palpating and looking for it. And he asked me, would you be open to me open opening the other side? And I said, absolutely. Just to make sure I’m open to it just to make sure. And so when I had woken up, he said, I’m glad we did that. I’m glad you felt comfortable with me to do that because we did have one on the other side as well.
Monique Ramsey (13:36):
Wow. Oh, interesting. Interesting. Because sometimes things like that can happen and it’s really obvious it’s on one side. And so in this case, that’s wonderful. And it’s nice to know that when things take a turn that you weren’t expecting that we’ll get you through it. And having that facility, we have two accredited ORs in our own facility, so we’re not having to go book time somewhere at another place and try to make sure that they could get us in, we have our own ORs and can get you right in. And that you were able to kind of go through that speed bump maybe, but come out the other side and feel comfortable and know that you had the team in place to get you through it. So thanks for sharing that. I think we all want everything to go perfectly, but it doesn’t always go perfectly. So if it doesn’t, that’s when you really want to know where the rubber hits the road, as they say, of how who’s going to be there for you. And that’s really wonderful to know that they got you through that weekend. Got you feeling comfortable again. And even though you were nervous, they helped you with getting through it emotionally too. So thanks for sharing that.
Yeah, absolutely. The last thing that I want to share is before we went into the second surgery, he asked me, what’s going to put you at ease right now and what’s going to make you feel great about going under anesthesia again? Because that’s a lot of people have concerns about going under anesthesia again so close to their initial surgeries. And I asked him, can we play sexy radio on Pandora? And he said, okay, we can play sexy clean version radio. And so it just was that little bit of him saying, what’s going to make you feel better and at ease before going under again? And that’s all I needed. And so he and I were on the same page, and so I’m glad,
Monique Ramsey (15:32):
What a great question.
Yeah, I’m glad.
Monique Ramsey (15:35):
I love was that. Well, I was just talking with one of the doctors the other day saying, oh, I think it was Dr. Smoot. And I was asking him, I’m like, are you in the rate in the or do you like music? No music? What kind of music? If you like it? He’s like, he didn’t really care. And I had asked him, I said, did you ever have a patient request something? And he said, no. And so it’s so interesting that you brought this up because I remember before I was having my first child that they were saying, well, do you bring music with you that you like, that you want to have on while you’re birthing your child? And I was like, okay, I’m all about that. That’s neat. That’s neat. That sexy radio helped get you through it.
Yeah, we absolutely have that in common. I did the same thing with the delivery of my daughter, and so in that moment when he asked me, I thought, oh my gosh, what did I do then? And it was music. And so I’m glad he did ask me.
Monique Ramsey (16:31):
That’s really cool. I love that. So what point did you feel like they had just been a part of you forever? Did they go from sort of, oh, I have this new thing that I’m very aware of to they’re just part of my body?
I think instantly.
Monique Ramsey (16:49):
I think just having them up there, I was like, I’m so ready to get on with my life and just feeling my best self and feeling super confident. I didn’t think these are foreign objects or anything like that. I just thought I was meant to wake up with this confidence. And so it didn’t take very long before I just thought they’re mine. It’s like hair extensions. You pay for them, you put them in your hair and they’re a part of you. So it wasn’t too long before I felt they, they’re a part of me and a part of my life.
Monique Ramsey (17:22):
I love that the waking up with that confidence. That’s very cool. And I think confidence is something kind of at the heart of everything we do. And I think as people, we’re all confident about a lot of things, but we also are self-conscious about a lot of things. And so sometimes that takes up a lot of headspace and being able to release that by taking care of it and choosing to say, okay, I’m going to make a change and then go forward. Because now do you find that you’re not really thinking about maybe the things that bothered you before?
Absolutely. Before there were things such as bikinis, you didn’t feel your best in. Tops, I remember going out to dinner with my husband and I didn’t feel confident, and it almost turned me away from having those date nights. And I think lots of women, just as mothers, don’t want to have these conversations with their kids. And I think it’s okay to say, look, we’re women. We should all empower one another. And it’s important that you wake up feeling confident as a mother, as a wife, or just as a woman. And so I would encourage any mother out there that has this hesitancy of, do I go through with this? I say, do your research. Go to a trusted board certified plastic surgeon who can really walk through all of your options and have those nurses that do this all day and their expertise right next to you. I mean, you can’t go wrong. And so I just want to empower those women that as mothers, that you can still make these decisions and your kids as they grow older, they’re going to be happy that you made a decision for yourself.
Monique Ramsey (19:03):
Yeah. And I think enlisting that the family, not only your husband obviously, but your daughter. I think that’s wonderful. I mean, when I had my mommy makeover, I told my kids, and they were a little bit older than that, but it was like then they felt part of the team sort of, and not everybody’s going to feel right about doing that, but my obviously being in plastic surgery for so long, it wasn’t odd to them because that’s what they know. But it is something that is nice where you can feel like I can be open about it and share and that she even say, you got your hips done. I love that. I love that. So what advice would you give to women who are thinking they might want to explore it? What would you tell them?
I would tell them, go for it. It’s like when you are interested in buying a new car, you’ve got to go to the lot and hear all the options. It’s the same thing. You do your research, but you come into a trusted practice to where if there’s anything, any complication or anything like that, we’re private practice to where we will take those concerns and make sure that we can take care of you. And we have the time and the staff to do that for you. And if you’ve been considering it, don’t let those thoughts run away from you. Explore it because you deserve to wake up and be confident and get on about your day filling your best self.
Monique Ramsey (20:30):
That’s so nice. So we will put in the show notes, links to our gallery because I think that’s a really helpful tool to look at the different work of the different surgeons. And especially I think with breast surgery, because everyone’s breasts are so different, and so you can kind of look and see, okay, here’s somebody that’s starting out kind of the way I look, and here’s how they looked after. So I think especially for breast augmentation is helpful to really look through and see, because the other thing I think about is that number that size of the implant, and sometimes in our head we think, oh, 295, that small or 500 is normal, or all these things that we hear, but it really is what’s normal for you and for your frame, and you’re very petite. And I love that you collaborated with Dr. Swistun and his nurse to hone in on what’s the right number for you and to give you the goal that you’re looking for. It doesn’t matter what the number is, it’s more about the outcome, what you want to look like. And did you bring any photos or anything like that with you?
I did, but not really. I said this would be too big for me or this would be too small. I didn’t really have anything that was like, this is exactly what I want, because I think that’s unrealistic. I think it’s important to know what you don’t want and what would be too much for you. I think that’s more important because no one’s going to be able to do a hundred percent symmetry on both sides. And I think it’s important to have those realistic conversations.
Monique Ramsey (22:14):
Yeah, very good point. Very good point. Well, and I think that symmetry is nothing really in life is totally symmetrical. And even our bodies, I remember we would put different patients taking body photos and you would see more curve on one side than the other, or people’s faces are very asymmetrical if you always sleep on one side of the bed and you kind of have one side of your face that’s fuller than the other. And so those are really good conversations, like you say, to have at that consultation and understand sort of what is the goal and what’s achievable and what’s realistic.
Exactly. And I think just coming in with the top three things that you’re looking to get out of your surgery, whether that be natural, whether that be silicone, whether that be, I just want a really good post-care, whatever it is, having those three things together because it’s important that your surgeon understands your anatomy and how to take care of you during the process.
Monique Ramsey (23:15):
Yeah. Well, thanks again, Kayla, and I’m loving that you’re happy to share your journey and that you’re able to talk with patients who might be considering having a breast augmentation. So thanks again.
Thank you for having me.
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