Dr. Cook’s lifelong study of beauty, aesthetics proportion, and natural form are the foundation of his work in breast surgery.
Why Dr. John Q. Cook Is the Right Breast Surgeon for You
Dr. Cook has extensive experience in breast augmentations and has performed thousands of operations with breast implants.
Dr. Cook provides an individualized analysis of each patient. He considers your breast structure, your goals, and your lifestyle to find the best solution for you.
We offer our patients anatomical breast sizers and simulation software to help you visualize your potential results.
Dr. Cook’s experience with complex breast surgery provides him with a wide range of technical refinements to optimize results for his breast augmentation patients.
Education and Credentials
Awards and Recognition
REAL PATIENT RESULTS
See the difference experience makes. Scroll through before and after in the photo carousel of breast augmentation patients treated by Dr. Cook and his team.
Enhance the Size and Shape of Your Breasts in Chicago and Winnetka
Dr. John Q. Cook has made breast surgery a major focus of his career, and the most popular option in this field is—by far—breast augmentation. At his Chicago and Winnetka-area centers, he uses implants to add volume and contour to breasts that are naturally smaller than a patient desires. He also helps patients who have issues with the shape and size of their breasts due to weight loss, pregnancy and nursing, or hormone fluctuations. Dr. Cook prides himself on the successful outcomes enjoyed by the many women he has helped attain larger or better proportioned breasts that appear natural and not as though they have even had breast augmentation surgery.
With the knowledge he has gained from reconstruction procedures, he has developed several breast augmentation techniques to help with particular breast shapes. As with any plastic surgery procedure, this operation should not be performed in a routine manner. There are many nuances of breast shape and position that require a highly skilled surgeon in order to produce a natural-looking result.
— John Q. Cook, MD
What Are the Breast Augmentation Options?
To help interested patients learn more about their options, Dr. Cook put together an extensive online guide devoted entirely to breast implants and the many variables that shape every breast augmentation procedure.
Despite the way it may seem, implant volume is not the key to a beautiful breast augmentation result—or at least, it’s not the only key. Although implant size is one important part of the plan to create a larger, shapelier, natural-looking breast, there are several other equally significant issues to consider when planning breast augmentation surgery.
What is my natural breast architecture, and how can the breast augmentation procedure be structured to maximize its beauty?
Implant Shape and Projections
What is the best shape and projection of an implant for achieving my desired breast augmentation results?
Are there aspects of my current and desired breast shape and symmetry that I need to discuss with my surgeon?
What is the best plane for my implant: under the breast, under the muscle, or under the muscle fascia?
Position and Direction
Are my existing breasts in a good position and do they point in a good direction, or do these factors need to be adjusted during breast augmentation?
What are my preferences—in terms of taste, exercise patterns, and lifestyle—that might affect the surgical plan?
What is the best place for the breast augmentation incision?
Are there any special techniques—such as fat transfer breast augmentation, release of the breast structure, significant reshaping of the breast, or repositioning of the muscle—that will enhance the quality of my breast augmentation procedure?
Breast Implant Materials
Considering the wealth of detailed information in Dr. Cook’s guide to implants, the following is a brief look at just one facet of breast augmentation: material.
When deciding on their preferred implants, breast augmentation patients can choose between devices filled with silicone gel or filled with saline solution—better known as salt water. Both types of implants come in a variety of shapes, volumes, and projections.
Relatively early in his practice, Dr. Cook was selected as a clinical investigator for FDA-designed national studies into saline implants. Later, he served as the principal investigator for saline and silicone gel implant studies involving breast reconstruction at Rush University Medical Center. Because of his experience—including the fact that he has been in practice and performing breast augmentations for more than 20 years—Dr. Cook has a long-term perspective on the behavior of different types of implants, which is very much to his patients’ advantage.
Saline implants come in a wide range of shapes and volumes. The outer shell, which is made of silicone polymer, contains a valve that allows Dr. Cook to fill the device with saline solution. This means he can make a short incision, create a space for the implant, then fill the device to its optimum volume. In general, saline implants can be inserted through a shorter incision than would be required for a silicone gel implant of similar volume.
Silicone Gel Implants
Silicone gel implants also have a silicone polymer outer shell. There is no valve, since the manufacturer fills the implants when they are made. These implants have something of a “artistic advantage”— particularly for thin breast augmentation patients—since the overall feel of the breast is more natural and there is a lesser likelihood of rippling or irregularity. Current implants also come with a range of cohesivity of the gel within the implant. In general, the more cohesive the gel, the less likely for the patient to see ripples, but the more likely for the breast to be relatively firm. With the newer implants, a rupture of the implant shell is difficult to detect and may require an MRI study for definitive diagnosis.
Breast augmentation patients at Dr. Cook’s Chicago and Winnetka centers benefit from his more than 20 years of experience with silicone gel implants. The experience he gained in using these devices to solve complex reconstruction problems works to the advantage of all patients who come to him for breast augmentation— and any breast surgery.
What Should Happen Before Breast Augmentation?
Anyone considering breast augmentation surgery should know that good recovery and results begin with good preparation. There are several things that you can do in the days leading up to surgery that will make the entire process go smoothly:
Avoid Medications and Supplements
Talk to our team about how best to avoid anything that might thin the blood, such as aspirin, Advil, vitamin E, and omega 3s for two weeks before breast augmentation surgery.
Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Berries and colored vegetables help to prepare the body for recovery, and they are always beneficial!
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise in the days leading up to the breast augmentation surgery “charges up” the healing process—but please avoid exercises that strain the pectoral muscles.
Drink extra water the day before your scheduled procedure, so that you are well hydrated going into the breast augmentation surgery. Do not have anything to drink after midnight of the day before your procedure.
Clear Your Schedule
Cancel any appointments and events on your calendar in the days and weeks after your breast augmentation surgery. Also, line up your helpers for the days following your procedure. If you go into surgery in a relaxed state, the recovery will go smoothly.
What Are the Details of the Breast Augmentation Surgery Itself?
The specific plan for your breast augmentation procedure is determined during a personalized consultation at our Chicago or Winnetka center. Dr. Cook will obtain a sense of your goals and personal observations about breast shape, volume, and visual balance. During the physical examination, he will obtain detailed measurements of your breast and share with you his observations regarding possible surgical strategies. Whether your goal is simply to increase volume by a cup size or to obtain a more significant enhancement, Dr. Cook will make breast augmentation recommendations with an eye to obtaining an artistically pleasing and naturally balanced result.
Dr. Cook will carry out your breast augmentation surgery in a fully accredited outpatient surgical center near his Chicago office. The anesthesia team and the staff at the operating and recovery room are highly experienced and meet Dr. Cook’s extremely rigorous standards. Prior to your breast augmentation procedure, you will review the surgical plan with Dr. Cook, and he will mark key reference lines in the breast area.
Many of our patients comment on the quality of the anesthetic experience. You will typically have no recollection of the breast augmentation surgery itself or the events immediately before or after the procedure. Because of the agents chosen for their anesthetic, most of our patients are able to avoid the “hangover” effect during the recovery period.
The surgical incision is chosen based on your preference, Dr. Cook’s breast augmentation experience, and the specific structural requirements of your breast. The incision will lie either in the fold beneath the breast, at the lower border of the areola, or in the armpit area. The implant is positioned either directly beneath the breast or, more commonly, beneath the breast and the pectoral muscle. Dr. Cook knows a range of techniques that allow him to address issues of breast shape and structural balance, and he will apply these as needed to optimize your breast augmentation outcome.
Dr. Cook makes generous use of a long-acting local anesthetic, which aids your comfort during the early recovery period after breast augmentation. Patients typically make a quick recovery and are able to leave the surgery center 30 to 45 minutes after the completion of their surgery.
What Happens After Breast Augmentation?
Many breast augmentation patients come to see Dr. Cook from a considerable distance. We are able to provide accommodations at a boutique hotel near our office or at a hotel of your preference. We can provide an experienced caregiver who will optimize your recovery experience. Some patients from the Chicago area who have young active children find that a first night at the hotel is a good idea.
If you recover at home, a friend or family member should be available to help you during the afternoon and evening of your recovery. For the first few days after breast augmentation surgery, it is prudent to have a friend available to help with meals and light activities.
It is normal to experience some degree of pain after breast augmentation surgery. Our goal is to minimize this pain with a combination of long-acting local anesthetic, pain medications, and medications that help to relax the pectoral muscle. We also minimize the need for narcotic pain medications for most patients.
Most breast augmentation patients are able to return to normal light activity three to five days after the surgery. Friends and co-workers may notice that you appear a little stiff—similar to someone who has pulled a muscle. We encourage our patients to return to gentle exercise such as walking as soon as comfort permits, but you should avoid heavy or jarring exercise for a month.
As is common after all surgery procedures, there will be zones of swelling, bruising, and numbness, and these will take a number of weeks to fully resolve. Many breast augmentation patients experience a period during which their nipples are oversensitive. It may take several months for this to return to normal.
Our highly experienced staff will guide you through the breast augmentation recovery process. We will do our best to anticipate your needs and provide suggestions to make the experience as comfortable as possible. In addition, Dr. Cook has a four-part protocol designed to make recovery easier.
BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY AND RESULTS PHASE 1: From Surgery to First Postoperative Visit
For the first few days after breast augmentation surgery, there are several things you can do to optimize the recovery process. You will be protected by a somewhat bulky dressing held in place with a gentle stretch bra. It is important that you keep the dressing intact and avoid the temptation to peek at the results, since it has been precisely fitted to your breasts.
You will have to avoid baths or showers until your first postoperative visit, but you can sponge bathe. You will need to sleep on your back. Breast augmentation patients always worry that they will turn on their sides during sleep, but this almost never happens, due to a natural protective instinct. Many patients are more comfortable with their back elevated on pillows or a wedge, but it is not necessary to be completely upright during sleep. While you are resting, lightweight ice bags or bags of frozen peas across the top and sides of the breast can be very soothing. It may help for you to prop your arms on pillows, since this takes strain off of the pec muscles.
We will prescribe a muscle relaxant medication, which decreases your need for narcotic pain medication. Always make sure that you have food in your stomach before you take a pain pill. It is very important that you get up and walk short distances—even right after breast augmentation surgery—since this decreases the risk of blood clots in your legs.
BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY AND RESULTS PHASE 2: From the Grand Unveiling to One Week After Surgery
Most of Dr. Cook’s breast augmentation patients come back to the office three or four days after their surgery. We will remove the dressing and fit you with a bra that is appropriate to your breast dimensions and the specific surgery performed.
With certain types of implants, Dr. Cook will give you instructions for implant exercises that will help to keep the pocket around the implant from tightening—a complication known as capsular contracture.
At this point, it is now fine to shower, but Dr. Cook prefers that his patients who have undergone breast augmentation avoid immersion in water (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, and hot tubs) for one month after their surgery.
It is good for you to use your arms in normal light activity, but you should avoid lifting heavy objects. Gentle walking is fine for exercise, but you should avoid heavy exercise, any jarring exercise such as running, and upper body exercise for the first four weeks after breast augmentation. Many patients can return to work within a day or two of the first post-op visit. We will give you specific guidance based on the nature of your work and the details of your breast augmentation surgery.
BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY AND RESULTS PHASE 3: From One Week to Four Weeks After Surgery
During this phase, mild exercise helps the recovery, but heavy exercise will delay or even harm your breast augmentation recovery. We will give you specific guidance based on the nature of your surgery.
You will be able to do most of the things you normally do, but remember to pace yourself. It is definitely not wise to plunge back into a 10-hour-or-longer workday. Your body needs extra energy for recovery.
Maintain excellent nutrition, with an emphasis on foods rich in antioxidants and healthy sources of protein. The Mediterranean diet is beneficial for your entire life, but it is particularly helpful after breast augmentation surgery.
Once we remove the surgical tape from your incisions, we recommend that you let good, fresh air get to the incisions for several days. You can then begin the use of topical agents, which will help the breast augmentation scars to mature quickly. If the incisions are not maturing at a rate that we would expect, we have a range of treatments that can speed up the process of scar maturation.
As the weeks pass, you will notice that your breasts will become softer, a bit less full in the upper portion, and nicely rounded in the lower portion—in other words, more and more like beautiful natural breasts! Any bruising that may have occurred will gradually dissipate.
BREAST AUGMENTATION RECOVERY AND RESULTS PHASE 4: Beyond One Month After Surgery
If your breast augmentation surgery does not involve additional techniques such as a lift or fat transfer, you are free to resume your usual exercise pattern at four weeks. It is important for you to wear a good supportive exercise bra, so that the implants remain in position during running or other exercise.
Remember to gently ease yourself into your typical exercise routine over several weeks, and, as the saying goes, listen to your body. If your activity causes discomfort, reduce the level of intensity. We are, of course, always available to help you with any specific questions you may have. Extreme pec exercise is best avoided with implants.
Please remember to protect your breast augmentation incisions from the sun, as this may cause them to darken. Make certain that the weave of your swimsuit prevents the sun from getting through, and apply sunblock to your incisions.
If we have instructed you to do implant exercises, it is best for you to do them as long as possible. A few minutes at the beginning and end of the day is a good investment if it helps you to maintain soft, natural breasts.
The breasts will continue to “settle in” for at least the first six months after breast augmentation surgery. The typical pattern is for the breasts to become increasingly soft and natural with each month that passes.
Above all, please keep in mind that there are many sensations that are completely normal for the first few weeks after breast augmentation surgery, including soreness, mild asymmetry, bruising, and more fullness in upper portion of the breast and more firmness than desirable.
Reponses that are not normal during the first few weeks after breast augmentation surgery include severe pain, one breast appearing much more swollen or bruised than the other, redness and warmth of the breast, and drainage from the surgical incision. If any of these things happen, contact Dr. Cook’s office so that you can be evaluated. Prompt action keeps little problems from turning into big ones.
Are There Special Breast Augmentation Considerations to Make in Relation to Pregnancy?
When considering breast augmentation, women who are of childbearing age should address two important issues.
The first issue is whether an augmented breast behaves any differently during pregnancy and breastfeeding than a breast that has not been augmented. The second issue is whether pregnancy and breastfeeding will have a negative impact on an augmented breast.
Does Breast Augmentation with Implants Impact Breastfeeding?
There have been several studies done in order to try to answer this important question. Although the studies are far from perfectly designed, they do suggest some general observations.
In general, women who choose implants for their breast augmentation surgery do not seem to be more likely to have problems with breastfeeding than women without implants.
Some studies suggest there may be a little more difficulty with breastfeeding in women who undergo breast augmentation that involves periareolar incisions when compared to women whose incisions are positioned in the fold under the breast.
One important technical issue in terms of preserving nipple sensation and the ability to lactate is protection of the nerves that supply the nipple. The main nerves enter the undersurface of the breast at its inner and outer borders. In order to protect these nerves, Dr. Cook avoids oversized implants that have a wider base than the natural base of the breast.
Do Implants Change the Way Breasts Grow During Pregnancy?
Dr. Cook has not seen any difference in the way breasts grow during pregnancy in his breast augmentation patients. He has asked several of his OB-GYN colleagues whether they have seen a difference, and they have replied that they have not. It would be very difficult to study this in a scientific way.
According to Dr. Cook’s philosophy, it is very important to carry out breast augmentation in a way that respects the natural structure of the breast. Perhaps this is why his patients do not seem to have any problems with their augmented breasts when they become pregnant. There could very well be a different scenario if a patient goes to a surgeon who places a very large implant immediately beneath a breast with very small natural dimensions. At least two negative outcomes are possible: Either the implant could exert so much pressure on the natural breast structure that there would be inadequate breast structure to lactate, or if the natural breast were to grow during pregnancy with a very large implant beneath it, there might be a strange double contour.
Is It Dangerous for a Baby to Breastfeed from a Mother Who Has Breast Augmentation with Implants?
All silicone gel implants currently available in the United States are filled with a cohesive form of the silicone polymer. This means that the filling sticks to itself and does not tend to spread if an implant shell is broken.
A baby is much more likely to ingest silicone as a result of the substance’s presence in skin lotions and over-the-counter medications. One of the reason silicone is present in so many of the medications we take and lotions we put on our bodies is that it is very non-reactive and has a long history of safe use in humans.
Will Pregnancy Damage the Result of My Breast Augmentation?
The effect of pregnancy on an individual woman’s breasts is unpredictable. Some women can experience several pregnancies and breastfeed for many months, yet have their breasts naturally return to their original shape and volume later. Other women may experience major changes in breast tone, volume, and position with a single pregnancy.
Once a woman has completed her pregnancies and breastfeeding, she may choose to undergo a lift if the overall breast structure has lost tone. This is true whether she also chooses breast augmentation or not.
Sometimes women who have undergone breast augmentation and subsequently become pregnant will experience a situation where the implant stays in its original position, but the natural breast structure settles to a lower position. One could argue that under these circumstances, an augmented breast with settled breast structure has a less natural appearance than someone without implants whose breasts have lost a similar volume after pregnancy. For the patient with implants under these circumstances, a lift will restore visual harmony. For the patient without implants, a breast augmentation with a lift will usually achieve the same result.
Dr. Cook has observed that as long as the implants used in breast augmentation are not very large, the breast tends to keep a balanced shape after pregnancy somewhat better than a breast that has not been augmented.
He also believes that a surgeon’s approach to the lower attachments of the pec muscle has an important influence on how the breast will respond to pregnancy. Proper release and—if appropriate— repositioning of the lower edge of the pec muscle during breast augmentation surgery helps the implant to stay in proper relation to the breast during and after pregnancy.
Does Pregnancy Increase the Risk of Implants Hardening Due to Capsular Contracture?
Some patients who undergo breast augmentation surgery will develop a tightening of scar tissue around their implants. This complication is known as capsular contracture, but the likelihood of it happening is relatively low.
Most breast augmentation patients who develop capsular contracture reveal a tendency to do so in the first six months after surgery. Sometimes, however, patients develop a contracture years after their breast augmentation surgery. Most of the time, this does not have any relationship to pregnancy.
Dr. Cook is aware of a few of his breast augmentation patients have developed contractures during pregnancy. Given that he has performed a very large number of breast augmentations, it does not seem that this represents a significant percentage of his patients.
In our patients, at least, there does not seem to be a significant association between pregnancy and the development of capsular contracture. Please keep in mind that the vast majority of the breast augmentations that I perform are under the pec muscle, and this may have a positive influence on my patient statistics for contracture.
Why Do Women Choose Breast Augmentation?
There are many reasons a woman may desire to enhance the balance of her body with breast augmentation. The most common patient is a woman who simply desires breasts that are larger, fuller, and more balanced to her body. She may desire a better fit in swimsuits or in clothes. Weight loss—especially rapid weight loss due to very successful lifestyle changes or bariatric surgery—can cause breasts to lose volume. A relatively sudden shift in size is also common for new mothers, who likely saw their breasts grow significantly throughout their pregnancy as milk production began. Once a baby stops nursing, however, those larger breasts can shrink back down again, sometimes ending up smaller than they were when they started.
Women who choose breast augmentation may also have issues with breast asymmetry or imbalance. While no breasts are perfectly symmetrical, a noticeable difference in size can cause some women to appear “lopsided” or make beloved tops and other outfits no longer fit the way they should.
What Other Breast Surgery Options Are Available at Whole Beauty™ Institute?
Since breast augmentation adds volume, and a breast lift improves breast tone and position, combining the two into an augmentation with lift can address multiple issues. While some women are concerned only with size and others only with sagging, many women do not have an either/or situation when it comes to their bust. This is particularly true for women who choose a Mommy Makeover, which refers to a personalized surgical plan designed to “reverse” the specific changes pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childbirth made to their body. While breast augmentation is a common addition to the plan, some women want the opposite and choose breast reduction. These makeovers also frequently include body procedures, such as liposuction and tummy tuck.
In addition to typical breast augmentation and reconstruction surgeries, Dr. Cook also performs breast revision surgeries. These are for women whose original breast augmentation surgery results did not turn out the way they’d hoped they would, whether due to mistakes made on the part of the original surgeon, poor healing, or complications. Revision surgery is also available for women who no longer want their implants, or who want to “trade out” their current implants for smaller or larger ones.
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