Hello Guest

My surgery with Dr. Norris

  • 33 Replies
My surgery with Dr. Norris
« on: January 30, 2012, 11:48:50 PM »
So after an extremely long time of saving, I FINALLY have the money for surgery and have booked an appointment with Dr. Norris for 23rd February.  :)

I'm so happy to get the ball rolling, but I'm still relatively new to this and have never had to deal with referrals, medical issues or Medicare before.

Regarding the partial Medicare rebate on the consultation cost, can I literally just go to my GP, explain my situation, and directly ask for a referral to Dr. Norris?

I will definitely keep this thread up to date with the details after my initial consultation.

Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/smf/index.php?topic=24787.0

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 10:56:10 AM »
Update: Went to a GP and outlined my situation, they were happy to give me a referral but suggested I might want to have an ultrasound before I go, so that I could take it with me to my consultation.

Has anyone else done this? I won't be able to get the ultrasound in time because my consultation is this Thursday, and I'd prefer not to reschedule as I want to get this show on the road. Not to mention I've already paid the consultation/booking fee. I was just wondering if it makes any difference!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 10:50:33 AM »
Finally had my initial consultation today!

For a little background, I'm 20 and have had gyne for as long as I can remember. As a kid and into my early teens, I used to be bullied about this on a regular basis. Until that point I had been a little chubby, but I had a growth spurt around 15 and am now quite slim, but the gyne has always persisted. I've always avoided taking my shirt off in public, always chosen clothing very carefully in an attempt to make my chest more inconspicuous. After my growth spurt I waited a few years for it to go away, I became very fit for a while, yet it was always there. It has always been a huge barrier to my fitness as I often become disheartened about the hard work making no difference, because I still have "boobs". It's affected my sex life enormously, I'm way too self-conscious about this to take my shirt off in front of someone I'm interested in. It took a lot of thought to decide to see a surgeon about this, and subsequent to that, it took a long time of saving and researching surgeons.

Silkwood Medical
I was incredibly nervous when I went in, but the staff made me feel very comfortable. Silkwood has a relaxed (yet professional) feel about it. Dr. Norris is understanding, friendly and down to earth, and the process didn't feel clinical at all. The receptionist took my GP's referral letter from me when I arrived, I filled out a short questionnaire with my details and medical history, and I waited on a couch in the reception area before Dr. Norris greeted me and took me to his office.

The consultation
Dr. Norris asked me to outline my situation, asking when I first noticed it, how it has affected my life, a little bit about my expectations, etc.

He then explained more about gyne, its causes, some of the different types he sees and the procedures he uses to correct it. He examined my chest and confirmed that I do indeed have "real gynecomastia" - which means it is glandular breast tissue, not just fat, and that the surgery will almost certainly require an incision underneath the areola and not just liposuction. He estimated that I currently have an A-cup breast, which is almost all gland, since I'm fairly trim and have very little fatty tissue in the area.

He talked about scarring, and how he generally tries lipo first on all patients because sometimes the gland can be loosened enough to come out that way. The incision for the lipo is inserted just below the armpit, which is very small and becomes inconspicuous once the scar fades. He said that for my case I will almost definitely require an incision about a third of the way around the bottom of the nipple which will fade to a pale white over time. (I have fairly fair skin and a medium amount of chest hair, which he said should make it easier to hide the scarring.) Dr. Norris emphasised that while he takes great care to MINIMISE the visibility of scarring, there ALWAYS has to be a scar after this kind of surgery, and how this develops is largely dependent on the individual. He urged me to weigh up the pros and cons of surgery and consider if the slight scarring is a compromise I'm willing to accept to have this sorted. He followed that up by saying that on a busy day on Bondi beach, more men have those light scars than a anyone would realise.

"Puffy nipples"
He talked about the size of my nipples - which are fairly large - and why this is so. He explained that the longer you have gyne, the larger your areolae will become as the gland grows and pushes them forward. He said that while the "puffiness" will be significantly reduced with the removal of the gland, the size MAY not reduce entirely, but he said that individual cases vary hugely and it's difficult to predict what will happen.

At this point he asked if I had any questions. I said I'd like to view some more before and after photos. He recognised that there was a problem with the website and that the gyne before and after photos were no longer showing up, then he fetched a photo book with a number of cases in it. He went through each case and outlined in detail the different types of gyne the patients had, and procedures he used for each, and which ones were most relevant for me. I found this very helpful.

Recovery after surgery
He said that generally the "recovery" time after the surgery is minimal, usually requiring only a few days of rest before returning to day-to-day activities, assuming that I don't lift over 5kg (as a poor uni student he gave me the example of a bag of groceries including cans of baked beans, haha) and keep strenuous movements to a minimum. This means that I should only have to take a few days off from uni, which is great. He said that I could probably return to light jogging about 10 days subsequent to surgery.

As I had no further questions, he gave his mobile number so that I could contact him if I thought of anything else when I left. He also gave me a pamphlet about gynecomastia treatment. He said that since it was a lot of information to process in a short time, there was absolutely no need to make a decision yet. (Although I think I made my decision some time ago!)

Pricing, hospitals, etc.
We then walked to a room with his consultant to discuss the financial and logistical details. I know that there's substantial confusion on here about what is and isn't covered covered by Medicare - so I asked them about it to obtain a clear answer to post here. Private hospital theatre and day stay costs are NOT covered by Medicare at all, so these will have to be factored into your budget unless you're covered by a private health insurer that will cover it for you. There is a $750 Medicare rebate on surgery costs, plus the $66 on each consultation, but that's about all. The pricing estimate I was given doesn't seem to have risen since others have posted about it, so I won't go into detail.

The consultant was incredibly friendly and again assured me that I didn't have to make a decision right away, and that it does no harm to spend a long time thinking carefully about this, given how long I've already lived with the issue. She gave me her card and said to call her directly if I had any general questions about the costing, the process, hospital etc. (After discussion they suggested that I could have my surgery at Bondi Junction Private, which works well for me as my sister lives nearby.) She gave me a written quote and the receipt for the consultation which I can take to Medicare to receive the $66 rebate.

Dr. Norris and the consultant told me that if I decide to proceed, they'll book me in for a pre-op consultation to work out the specifics of my surgery, measure me up for the compression garment, take some "before" photos, etc. The quote I was given says that payment must be received in full at least 4 weeks before the surgery date, and that the hospital fees must be paid directly to the hospital by myself or my insurer.

Post-consultation thoughts
Whoah, sorry! Didn't expect this post to be so long. Ultimately though, I want to emphasise that Dr. Norris and his team seem incredibly friendly, warm and understanding. Dr. Norris went into great detail about the surgery and cases he has treated, and was happy to answer any and all questions/concerns I had. From what I gather, he's experienced in this area. He said that this week alone he's seen two others regarding gyne. He said that with the heavy "gym" culture in the Eastern Suburbs he frequently deals with steroid abusers who have developed gyne and sought to have it treated. He said that the problem is so much more common than people talk about in person or online.

I hope some of this has been useful. I'll keep this updated with all the details of my progress. I've been reading and posting here for too long to disappear before my journey is over! I intend to call Dr. Norris's consultant within the next week to arrange dates for a pre-op appointment. Let me know if you have any questions!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 05:12:42 AM »
Great to hear Lian! And in amazing detail too, i was very happy to read this as I hav a consultation with Dr Norris on the 8th of March in Edgecliff. I booked back in January and its been such a long wait. only 2 weeks to go.

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 10:29:53 AM »
Great to hear Lian! And in amazing detail too, i was very happy to read this as I hav a consultation with Dr Norris on the 8th of March in Edgecliff. I booked back in January and its been such a long wait. only 2 weeks to go.
That's awesome, let me know how it goes for you! I plan to call tomorrow and try to work out a date for a pre-op consultation... From memory he told me he tends to do those about a month before the surgery so it looks like it'll be another wait after that. So happy to have taken the first step though.

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 10:25:24 PM »
Ok so had my consultation today, I wont go into much detail cause most of the info will be the same as Lians.

I was quite nervous before I arrived too, once inside the receptionists welcomed me and gave me a form to fill out, after that was done in around 5 mins Dr Norris came out to greet me, we went to his office and spoke for about 40 minutes. He was very friendly and not forceful with surgery, he just gave me options and if there were other ways to treat my condition. He said even if I wanted to book the surgery today for a week or 2 away he would advise against it and for me to go home to think about it which was great to see. So it seems he really is looking out for the best interest of the patient instead of getting a quick buck.

After my consultation with him he took me to another room for financial details with a different person who was great aswell, was down to earth and made it all very comfortable. The costs for me were surprisingly cheaper then I had thought it might be which is excellent.

So now I'm just going to think it over, talk to parents, and altho im most likely to get surgery as thats wat been in my mind since I booked the consulation in January, just finding a suitable time and for recovery is the key.

Hope this helps anyone else looking for a PS.

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 10:32:26 PM »
hey thanks for the info keep us posted any info you got is helpful im looking to get my surgery done towards end of the year.hope all goes well!


Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 12:21:29 PM »
@thenewguy2012 I was surprised that the costs were cheaper than I expected too. Mostly because I don't have private health insurance, I was expecting something much higher. I think there may be certain differences in quotes according to Dr. Norris's assessment of each person's condition.

@sam1991 Definitely keep Dr. Norris in mind if you're looking for a surgeon in Sydney! It's ridiculous that there's so little on here about Sydney surgeons and all we hear about is Dr. Sue in Melbourne!

Just a quick update: I still haven't booked my pre-op appointment or op because I've been ridiculously tied up with uni and work over the past weeks. I may have to postpone surgery plans until June holidays as not to disrupt my semester. As much as I want this done and dusted, I don't want it to interfere with my studies, and on top of all of this I'm also in the process of trying to move! Argh!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2012, 09:39:48 AM »
yea man do wateveer you feel best is for your future. it is 100% in your control.

as far as wats in my control. i have booked a pre op for march 22nd and surgery for april 16th. im excited now and counting down days which is prob stupid. but yea, ill keep you guys posted on how it all goes.

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 12:48:34 AM »
Pre-op scheduled for 24th April. She said they'll probably be able to do the surgery the following Monday (30th April!), but I'll have to reconfirm this.
EDIT: Pre-op 24th April and surgery 30th April both confirmed. Didn't expect to be able to book the op so soon after the pre-op!

@thenewguy2012 Yeah, when I called I told her I'd prefer to wait rather than settle for a time that conflicts with uni. She asked what would work for me, then managed to find a date that slips into my 2 week mid-semester holidays, so it worked out perfectly. Good luck with your pre-op and op, make sure you let us know how it all goes! :)

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 04:06:37 PM »
Quick update: I'm having my pre-op with Dr. Norris this morning, and my surgery is booked for this coming Monday (30th April). It seems like there's very little time between my pre-op and operation compared to others, but at this point I guess I'd just like to get it all over with anyway.

Will probably post again later today after my appointment. Fingers crossed that this one goes as well as my first!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 11:46:21 PM »
Went to my pre-op today. It was relatively quick.

Went in and Dr. Norris went through my file and repeated most of the things he told me last time. We went over the surgery in pretty fine detail last time, so he asked me if I had any further/new questions. I didn't have many because I made sure to have quite a comprehensive understanding of what I was getting into before booking my operation.

He took several photos of my chest for his own reference, but in all I was only in his office for around 15 minutes.

I had to sign about three thousand forms, which were more or less just personal information / medical history and permission release, etc.

I then moved to his consultant's room where we discussed the day of the operation and I completed my payment. She said the anaesthetist or his secretary should contact me in the coming days to confirm my payment for his service.

I then moved to yet another room with another consultant / nurse, where I was measured up for my compression vest and given the run-down on the hospital procedures for surgery, including anaesthetic, fasting 6-12 hours before surgery, not shaving my chest during the week (I never have anyway), showering thoroughly but not using deodorants or colgones before coming to the hospital.

She also covered what I should and shouldn't do after the surgery for the best results. Ultimately, her advice was that while not much is "strictly" off limits (obviously lifting an elephant a week after surgery is a no go!), if it doesn't feel comfortable, don't do it. She said some people are happy to return to work a few days after  surgery, while others prefer to wait a few weeks, but it was all up to me and what I felt comfortable with. Dr. Norris said earlier that if I'm really feeling up to it, then he saw no problem with me returning to uni a couple of days after the surgery.

The only thing I'm concerned about now is getting home from surgery. I'd been told in my first consult it would be okay to get a cab back to my sister's place (which is literally a 5 minute drive from the hospital), but they now seem to need someone to pick me up afterwards. I understand that they want someone to monitor me, but given that my hospital fees only cover about 4 hours in the ward after surgery, this may be a real problem for me, as my sister won't finish work until later in the evening. Being so close to the surgery date it's going to be incredibly difficult to have my parents change their work schedules and come in as they live several hours away - especially as they don't even know I'm having the surgery. I'll have to talk to the hospital people when they contact me to see if a cab will be okay in the circumstances.

Anyway, surgery Monday, time yet to be confirmed, but probably morning or early afternoon by what they've been saying! I'll try to post again then. I'll also take some before photos this week and (hopefully, if I'm not too lazy) some after shots every few weeks after that. Fingers crossed that all goes well!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2012, 01:11:20 PM »
Hey guys. Have to be at the hospital at 8am for my surgery tomorrow (today!). I'm still up, so I thought I'd take some "before" photos before it was too late. Apologies for poor lighting and focus.

As you can probably see, for my body type I have a reasonable case of gyne. Dr. Norris said I have about an A-cup breast - it's strange hearing women complain about "small" A-cup breasts when I want mine gone! I also have a very large areola, which Dr. Norris said may be because I've had the condition for so long that it has stretched with the gland over time. He said while this will shrink slightly when the gland is removed, the extent to which this happens varies among individuals. I guess I'll just have to see how it goes for me. At this point I'd just love to even be able to wear normal SHIRTS without having to feel self-conscious.

If you want to see larger photos (or more of them), feel free to DM me.
EDIT: if photos appear cut off, you can scroll across at the bottom of my post!

I intend to upload some more every few weeks / months after the op to show progress. I'm not gonna disappear after tomorrow, I've definitely gained too much from this board not to give back, so any questions just ask. I'll also try to stay as objective as possible about my thoughts on the progress. I won't just pretend it's all good and disappear if it's not, I think we all owe it to each other to post accurate experiences with surgeons. :)

Anyway, off to sleep now. I'm still having issues with being picked up from surgery tomorrow so I'll have to discuss it with the hospital people, but hopefully it should all be okay. Fingers crossed all goes well!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 12:41:09 PM »
My surgery today was a positive experience! Here's a general overview of my day. Despite getting no sleep last night, I'm still so overwhelmed by finally having surgery to get to sleep yet.

I was instructed by the hospital to stop eating and drinking (even water) after about midnight last night. I was naughty and had a glass of water at about 1.30, because I was ridiculously thirsty, but only because Dr. Norris had said he usually gets people to stop 6 hours before surgery and there were still over 6 hours until I had to be at the hospital.

I was also instructed not to shave my chest or armpits to reduce the risk of infection (not a problem as I don't do that anyway), and not to wear deodorant or cologne before the surgery, all of which I adhered to.

Got to the Bondi Junction Private Hospital rooms at about 8am (I was a little early, but I couldn't sleep), filled out the rest of my paperwork, got my payment receipts. I outlined the situation about having nobody to accompany me to my sister's place (see previous posts), and it was resolved that I could get a cab when the nurses thought I was okay to leave. I did have to sign another form releasing the hospital from any liability if anything went wrong in the cab home.

Final preparation
I was taken to my room and sat there reading for about an hour. I was on my own, but the time seemed to fly. A nurse came in, had me change into the hospital gown and told me I could get in bed and keep reading or watch TV. She came back in and weighed me, checked my blood pressure, asked standard questions like if I'd been sick recently, had allergies or past medical problems, etc.

Dr. Norris greeted me in my room a little later (perhaps 10:30 or 11? I can't remember the times after reaching my room as I had no clock!). He marked up my chest with the permanent marker. I oddly didn't feel any nerves today, only anticipation, but for this brief moment as I stood there holding my gown at my waist and he drew on me, I thought: "What the hell am I doing? It's like an episode of Nip/Tuck!". Dr. Norris outlined what he was doing once again: excisions under both areolae to remove the gland and lipo from small excisions under both armpits to shape any fat that was left there so it all appeared as consistent as possible with my body.

He said he'd need the assistant to shave my chest in the O.R. and asked if that was a problem, but obviously it was fine. He asked if I had any last questions (I didn't), said he'd see me soon and he'd send the anaesthetist in to talk to me. Anaesthetist came in about 20 minutes later, asked some more of the same questions (non-smoker, no past problems, etc) and told me about the prescriptions I'd be given after leaving: just painkillers and antibiotics to prevent any infections.

A short time later, another nurse came in and said we were ready to go, and we had a chat as we walked through to the operating room. I should note that ALL the staff seemed to go out of their way to try and make me feel comfortable, perhaps even more so because I was on my own - several commenting on how young I was to be there alone (though I'm nearly 21). Everyone was in the O.R. already, I got in the bed set out for me, and the anaesthetist chatted to me while putting the IV drip in my hand. I was given an oxygen mask and I had my blood pressure checked again.

I can't remember him starting the anaesthetic; he didn't get me to count down or anything. The last thing I remember was looking up at the roof and the blinding lights, thinking, "wow, I am actually on an operating table, and after years of dealing with this, after years of online forum lurking, after hours slaving away at work to save up for this, I'm about to get this taken off my chest". It was like an outer body experience. I don't know how to explain. So bizarre, like I was observing my situation like a shot from a movie.

Next thing I knew, I woke up in a different room with the oxygen on again. The surgery was done and the nurses were putting me in my compression garment. I was still really out of it, but I remember seeing the clock at either 12:30 or 1:30. No idea how long I was in there, but I don't think it was much longer than an hour.

Dr. Norris saw me briefly in my room and said that it all went very well, with no complications. I haven't had a chance to see anything yet because of all the dressings taped to my chest, and then the compression vest on top of that, which I've peaked under (at the dressings), but haven't removed. However, even WITH the thick dressings underneath, the vest still doesn't stick out as far as my boobs used to underneath my shirt! Weird feeling as I've had the boobs as long as I can remember. Dr. Norris said most of the aching I might feel is just the muscle the gland used to be attached to.

The rest of the day was spent napping, reading, watching TV. The nurse brought in some water and a toasted sandwich for lunch. First time I went to the loo, she stood outside in case I fell over in there, but it was fine. A few hours on, after watching every daytime cooking show on the planet, I was told that from their observations I was fine to be discharged when I was ready. I got changed into my jeans and t-shirt, which was A LOT easier than I expected it to be. I threw on exactly the same clothes I wore in, even though I'd brought a heap of baggy clothes and button up shirts that I could've worn if necessary.

Leaving the hospital
A little while later, the nurse booked a cab for me, walked me down to the street when he arrived and then saw me off. I was completely fine to use the stairs rather than the lift. I left at about 5pm. The journey was completely painless, even with speed bumps and potholes on Sydney's crappy roads, but I found myself forgetting I'd just had surgery.

Since then, I've just been vegging out at home, watching TV, etc. It's no problem at all for me to walk around. Pushing myself up after sitting down for hours can be uncomfortable using my arms, but by no means painful. I even walked to the Woolies just across the street with my sister to pick up a couple of things, because apart from the vest I feel pretty much normal, and I just can't stand being cooped up inside like an invalid. I definitely won't return to uni for a few days though; I don't want to risk public transport and people rushing along busy streets bumping me. I don't want to overdo it too soon, or get halfway there and realise it's a bad idea.

I know it's still only VERY early days (my surgery was only 14 hours ago) but I've had virtually NO pain so far. Yeah, it's a little uncomfortable to lift my arms, bend over to pick things up, etc, but that's unavoidable. This very minor discomfort isn't by any means  "painful". The nurse said that I should take one of the painkillers immediately after I got home so that I wouldn't be shocked by any pain after the local anaesthetic wore off, so I followed her instructions.

The most uncomfortable thing is this vest! Because of the dressings underneath, it's incredibly tight and restricting, but Dr Norris said it will feel a lot better when I have the dressings removed and then get used to it.

I need to call Silkwood tomorrow to confirm my post-op appointment, as this wasn't organised after my pre-op.
(EDIT: Had a call from Dr. Norris's consultant today to ask how I'm feeling one day post op. Turns out I DID agree to a time for my post-op appointment after my pre-op, I just must've been too overwhelmed to remember. I'm booked for this Thursday morning, so I should be able to get the dressing off and have my first look then.)

Obviously, I'm yet to see a thing and it's too early to tell anyway, so I can't really comment on the change. I have my fingers crossed. I'd like just this ONE thing in my life to be resolved smoothly. I'm hopeful, but I'll have to see how the next few months pan out.

As I said previously, I'll try to post some "after" photos over the coming weeks and months to show my progress. I intend to be as objective and honest as possible about my thoughts on results with Dr. Norris. Any questions, just ask. Cheers!

Re: Consultation booked with Dr. Norris
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 02:25:35 AM »
Update 2 days post-op:

Still no pain! I haven't taken any painkillers since the evening I got home. I'm not even feeling any of the muscle "soreness" (like a heavy workout) that many people have reported. Granted, I haven't been making any large movements with my arms (I don't want to risk tearing a stitch or anything and screwing things up), or even touching the area very much. But there is essentially NO PAIN at all. Today, my nipples are starting to feel a TINY bit itchy, but I hope this is more due to the healing process than any sign of infection. (At least the slight itch is a sign that my nipple sensation hasn't disappeared!)

At this point, the most annoying thing is the tightness of this vest! Because I still have some thick dressings underneath, it's a lot tighter across the chest than it will normally be. After a couple of days, it feels restricting and somewhat claustrophobic. I've never had to wear anything - especially anything this tight - for so long before. I have my first post-op appointment tomorrow morning, where I'm pretty sure I'll be getting the underneath dressings off, which will be terrific. I should also get my first look at my chest, which I'm REALLY looking forward to. I think my biggest gripe right now is having all this compression crap on, yet being unable to look at what's underneath! It's like wondering what's underneath the wrapping in your Christmas presents.

I haven't been able to shower properly since the op, so that has my mood down a little too. Steaming hot showers are usually what wakes me up in the morning. I've been spot bathing and using baby wipes etc., as recommended by the doctor, nurses and people on the forums. I also haven't been sleeping as well as usual, in part because I'm staying at my sister's place. Also because sleeping on my back as I have to feels so unnatural for me, although with the vest and not wanting to move my arms too high, on my back is the most comfortable position in the circumstances. As I said, at this point I'm looking forward to getting the dressings off so I can start easing back into my normal routine.

These small gripes aside, I'm feeling really well. I was expecting a lot more pain, so I'm pleasantly surprised by the ease of my "recovery" so far. I intend to return to uni tomorrow right after my appointment unless Dr. Norris advises me otherwise.

Anyway, two thumbs up so far! I see what people mean about "discomfort" after surgery as opposed to "pain". I hope I'm feeling this positive after I see the early results tomorrow, but I'm conscious that I'll need to wait months for a realistic indication of the final results. As always, I'll keep this thread updated with my progress.

Surgery with Dr. Norris.

Started by jh123 on Australia / New Zealand

3 Replies
Last post March 15, 2012, 10:34:04 PM
by jh123
Surgery next Monday with Dr Ben Norris FINALLY!

Started by knowledgeispower on Australia / New Zealand

2 Replies
Last post April 06, 2014, 05:15:42 AM
by jamescones
Surgery in Sydney shortly - Dr Ben Norris

Started by rajek on Australia / New Zealand

26 Replies
Last post April 09, 2017, 12:48:09 PM
by vulcan
Surgery withy Ben Norris Sydney

Started by milk12 on Australia / New Zealand

1 Replies
Last post November 12, 2015, 10:55:30 AM
by jay123