Breast reduction surgery is one of my favorite operations because it offers patients such wonderful benefits. First, there is a definite artistic improvement in the shape of the breasts and their balance with the body. Second, there are significant physical benefits that come from the operation. Very often there is a dramatic reduction in physical discomfort and a significant improvement in body mechanics.
The decision to undergo breast reduction surgery is important. In order to help you optimize your surgical experience, I have put together some suggestions on how to prepare for breast reduction surgery.
During Your Consultation We Will Determine Which Breast Reduction Technique Is Best for You
I use two main techniques for breast reduction: the structural technique and the classical technique.
The structural technique allows me to limit the scars from surgery, replenish volume in the upper portion of the breast, and provide deep anchoring of the breast in its new position.
The classical technique has scars in the typical “anchor” pattern: around the areola, along the fold under the breast, and in the midline between the bottom of the areola and the fold under the breast. I use this technique for very large breasts, for breasts with a very firm character, and for breasts with a very great amount of stretching at the lower portion of the breast.
The Sooner You Prepare for Your Breast Reduction, The Better Your Results and The Easier Your Recovery
An active collaboration between plastic surgeon and patient produces optimum results from breast reduction surgery. My role is to determine the operation that is best suited to your breast structure and your goals and to provide high quality work. Your role is to prepare your body for the surgery so that the entire process will be seamless.
Exercise Before and After Surgery Enhances the Healing Process and Improves Long Term Results
Exercise Can Help You to Prepare for Breast Reduction Surgery in Several Ways
Exercise, along with good nutrition, can help you to reach a realistic optimum weight. This is especially important for breasts that have a structure that is largely fat. How can you tell if this is the case? If you have noticed that when you lose or gain weight there is a noticeable change in the size of the breasts, your breasts have a significant component of fat. In order for me to give you a long-lasting result, it is helpful for you to be at a weight that you can maintain over the long term. This allows me to carry out the reduction with precision.
Sometimes patients who are planning breast reduction are trapped in a paradox. If the breasts are massively enlarged, the mechanical effects of the breasts makes it very difficult to exercise. This in turn makes it difficult to lose weight, as exercise is an extremely important part of weight loss. Rather than setting an unrealistic goal for weight loss it may be better for these patients to have breast reduction surgery, which will then enable them to exercise and lose weight.
Exercise leads to optimum health. For many years I have noticed that patients who exercise regularly recover quickly and easily from surgery. I also am of the opinion that exercise in the days leading up to surgery supercharges the healing process.
Strengthen your core with yoga, Pilates, and other related exercises such as sit-ups before breast surgery. This will help to prepare your body for the shift in the center of balance that occurs when the breasts are reduced in size and lifted to a more physiologic position.
One of the most aggravating effects of heavy, low-riding breasts is the discomfort that occurs in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Heavy breasts pull the shoulders forward and strain the upper back and neck. Specific exercises to bring the shoulders back into a good position are part of yoga. It is good to start these exercises before the surgery to free up the upper spine and shoulders from their dysfunctional position and prepare them for their new position after surgery. Yoga breathing exercises help to expand the upper ribs and compensate for the restrictions that have been imposed by heavy breasts.
After your surgery we will give you guidance as to when you can resume exercise. In general you will find that you are much more comfortable with exercise after breast reduction surgery and that you may be able to participate in a wider range of exercise than before. Yoga and Pilates can help to restore proper shoulder position, which was compromised by the effects of heavy low breasts.
Optimum Nutrition Produces Optimum Healing
Exercise and good nutrition help to prepare you for surgery. A healthy diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in refined carbohydrates and sugar, and that emphasizes lean protein can be coupled with exercise to reduce weight.
This same good nutrition helps our patients to heal after surgery. The antioxidants that are naturally present in foods such as berries, pomegranate juice, and colored vegetables help to set the stage for optimum healing.
Cigarettes and Medications that Thin the Blood Are Enemies of Breast Reduction
The risk of problems with healing is significantly reduced in cigarette smokers. If you are a smoker we will provide suggestions as to methods to quit smoking in advance of your surgery.
Many of our patients have used the surgery as a fulcrum point to leverage a permanent elimination of cigarettes from their lives. Most of us are procrastinators by nature. It is very easy to say, “I’ll quit smoking next week,” and then when next week arrives the date for smoking cessation is shifted to the following week. This process can go on for years. The certainty of a date for a surgery that you very much desire and the knowledge that your surgery will be canceled if you continue smoking will motivate you to throw away your cigarettes.
With breast reduction surgery it is very important for you to eliminate all medications that thin the blood for two weeks before surgery. Aspirin and aspirin derivatives as well as all NSAIDs such as Advil and Aleve cannot be consumed during the two week period. If you have arthritis or other types of chronic pain we can provide suggestions of medications that you can take to replace your usual pain relievers during the period before and after surgery. Vitamin E in larger doses, fish oil, and all omega 3 supplements must be avoided as well.
We Will Guide You Regarding Medical Preparation for the Surgery
Your age and medical history will determine whether we will request blood tests or an EKG before your surgery. It is important for you to be up-to-date with your mammograms. We may also request that you visit your primary care doctor for medical clearance. It is wise to schedule mammograms and doctor visits well in advance of your surgery since there are sometimes long lead times for these appointments. Also if any followup is required from a finding on your doctor visit or your mammogram, there will be sufficient time to resolve this before your surgery.
Select a Date for Your Surgery that Allows for Optimum Preparation and Recovery
It is best to schedule surgery at a time where your personal, social, and business schedules are lightest. This allows you to approach your surgery and recovery with a relaxed state of mind. The calmer you are going into your surgery, the better will be your recovery.
If you are planning travel for work or pleasure for the weeks following surgery, please review the dates with us, so that you can be sure that it will fit in well with your recovery
Breast Reduction Surgery Can Enhance Your Long-Term Health and Well-Being
The field of plastic surgery is often trivialized in the media, but the truth about our profession is that it often contributes in significant ways to a person’s well-being and health. This is particularly true of breast reduction surgery.
The simple mechanical improvements that come from smaller lifted breasts produce better posture, better breathing, and better balance. Exercise can change from being a chore to being a pleasure. The improved artistic balance of the body sets up a positive feed-back cycle.
The period of time in which you have your surgery and recover from it has a significantly different pattern from your usual day-to-day activity. Perhaps this makes it easier to reset certain habits on a permanent basis. A significant percentage of our breast reduction patients use the surgery and recovery period to make changes in their patterns of nutrition and exercise that extend life long benefits.
Our Team Will Assist You in Preparation for Your Surgery
Because of our extensive experience with breast reduction surgery, out team is well-equipped to optimize your preparation and recovery. Just as we strive for individualized results in the operating room, we are committed to attentive and personalized service during the periods before and after surgery.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Cook regarding breast reduction surgery at either our Chicago gold coast office or our north shore Winnetka office please call 312-751-2112 or click here.