My Biography as a Breast SurgeonLearn more about John Q. Cook, M.D. with more than 20 years experience in breast surgery.
About John Q. Cook, M.D.
If you are seriously considering breast surgery of any sort, it is very important, in my opinion, for you to understand the taste and background of your surgeon. Breast surgery, after all, is really quite subjective, and what might appear beautiful to one person might seem forced or artificial to another.
If I can reveal to you my background as a plastic surgeon who is very interested in creating beautiful breasts, it will help you to decide whether I am the right surgeon for you.
Let me confess then to having a very strong naturalistic bias. My goal is to create a breast whenever possible that is close to the form of nature. This doesn’t mean that I necessarily create small breasts or large breasts, but I always try to create breasts that somehow makes sense for an individual’s body and that are aligned with the patient’s goals.
How did I develop my visual aesthetic? Some of it came to me by luck and some of it by hard work and persistence on my part. The lucky part is that I was raised in a family where art was always very important. I grew up in a neighborhood where there were quite a few artists that were friends of my parents and it always seemed natural to me that one would be very interested in observing and capturing the natural world. As I look back it seems that I always have had fairly strong opinions about what is beautiful and what is not.
When I go to a different city for plastic surgery meeting, I often find that I get more value out of the visits to the art museum in that city than from the presentations at the plastic surgery meeting, no matter what how well they are constructed. This is due to the fact that artists spend their entire lives considering three-dimensional form as well as issues of proportion and balance, so they have a natural edge over the rest of us. If you spend enough time looking carefully at their work and in some cases studying their writings it is possible to assimilate some of their very developed perceptions.
I don’t think there any simple physical formulas for beauty, but I do think that if you spend enough time studying it and refining your perceptions you can begin to develop an internalized sense of it. I also believe that if you do these things you can be of genuine help to your patients.
When I completed my training in plastic surgery and became an attending surgeon at Rush University Medical Center I was very fortunate in that many of the general surgeons who had trained me at Rush in the past trusted me with their patients for breast reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction surgery forces you to a higher level of performance then would be the case if you just started out doing simple breast augmentation. You have to solve a number of complex three-dimensional issues in the creation of the reconstructed breast as well as in the shaping of the opposite breast to bring the two into proper balance and harmony.
Every one of my breast reconstruction patients has been my teacher. Thanks to my patients, I have been able to develop an extensive collection of techniques that address issues of form, structure, volume and balance.
Why is this of any importance to a patient who is considering cosmetic breast surgery? The simple answer is that the more techniques you have at your disposal and the more careful your observations, the better you can be at helping your patient, no matter what her particular goal. Very often patients come to me thinking they just need an augmentation. They may have been to several other doctors and all that they discussed was the size of the implant that they’re going to use. After a few minutes of conversation, it is readily apparent to me that there are other issues. Perhaps it’s an issue of the shape of the lower curve of the breast, or perhaps the degree of projection of the breast, or perhaps the balance between the two sides. Very often, it is the consideration of these extra issues that makes the difference between simply making a breast of a certain size and creating a beautiful breast.
I am particularly proud of my work in the field of structural breast surgery. With the techniques of structural breast surgery, it is possible to create natural volume in the upper portion of breast when I carry out a breast lift or breast reduction. I can also obtain deep structural anchoring, which helps to maintain the breast in proper position, and I can limit the scars, particularly in the inner aspect of the breast. Structural breast surgery has been a major focus of my intellectual efforts in the last five years.
I hope that the information that I present you on my breast website will give you a fund of information and provide you with the resources that enable you to ask the right questions of your surgeon when you are considering breast surgery.