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Explore Breast Reduction

Improve body mechanics and restore a pleasing, harmonious shape.





John Q. Cook, M.D.

Chicago 312-751-2112
Winnetka 847-446-7562

Explore Breast Reduction

Patients with disproportionately large breasts often experience pain, discomfort, and embarrassment.  Over time the physical mechanics of the back, neck, and shoulders are compromised.  Deep furrows may develop in the shoulders and the patient may assume a hunched posture.  For some women, the effects are so severe that comfort during day-to-day activity and the ability to exercise are compromised.  Breast reduction surgery offers the patient a double benefit – the improvement of body mechanics and the restoration of a pleasing and harmonious shape.  In the practice of Chicago plastic surgeon John Q. Cook, hundreds of patients have experience improvement in comfort, posture and self-confidence that accompany breast reduction surgery. Our Chicago centers also offer breast reduction for men who suffer from gynecomastia.

Breast Reduction Overview

There are many factors that can cause the breasts to become disproportionately enlarged.  In some patients there is a strong family pattern of breast enlargement.  In other patients cycles of weight gain and weight loss or the hormonal stimulus of pregnancy can lead to a permanent increase in breast size.  Yet another group of patients will experience a significant gain in breast volume at the time of the menopause.  There are also many patients who experience undesirable breast enlargement without any known pattern or cause.

Patients with disproportionate breast enlargement experience symptoms that tend to become more severe with the passage of time.  The size and weight of enlarged breasts will overwhelm the natural internal support of the breast structure and cause the breasts to settle to an increasingly low position on the body. This actually affects the center of gravity of the body and leads to undesirable changes in the body mechanics.  The weight of the breasts is transmitted through the brassiere to the shoulder straps and this in turn produces increasingly deep grooves in the shoulder area.  The shoulders are gradually pulled forward and the patient assumes an increasingly hunched posture in the shoulders.  With time this change in posture will affect the mechanics of the cervical spine, the portion of the spine in the neck and shoulder areas.  The result is chronic neck pain and spasm of the muscles in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.  Over longer periods of time patients may even experience pain in the lower back.

These mechanical effects are amplified in patients who have asymmetric breast enlargement. With one breast heavier and lower than the other, unbalanced forces are applied to the spine, and this results in an even greater degree of discomfort that experienced by patients with an equal degree of breast enlargement.

Patients with significantly enlarged breasts often become self-conscious and adopt a pattern of habits and postures to camouflage the size of their breasts.  Patients may abandon certain sports and types of exercise that are pleasurable and healthy because they cannot hide their breast size.  As heavy breasts settle to an increasingly lower position on the body certain forms of exercise become difficult or impossible.  A vicious cycle may develop with a decrease in physical activity leading to weight gain, which in turn further increases the size of the breasts.

Many otherwise well-intentioned physicians are woefully unaware of the physical effects caused by markedly enlarged breasts. At our Chicago center, we have seen many patients with massively enlarged breasts who visit their physicians with complaints of neck and back pain and are told they just need to lose some weight or do some neck exercises. Some of these patients suffer for decades before they finally encounter a friend who shares her experience with breast reduction surgery and puts them on the right path.

Even in the first few days after breast reduction surgery patients frequently experience a significant increase in physical comfort.  No longer are the heavy, settled breasts pulling the shoulders, neck, and back out of alignment.  As time progresses even further improvement occurs.  For many patients, the shoulders have settled into a resting position of misalignment; we will guide these patients with a series of gentle exercises that can help to restore normal shoulder mechanics.

One further benefit of breast reduction surgery is that it frees the patient to explore forms of exercise that she may not have been comfortable with for years.  With increased exercise comes weight loss, which provides additional health and well-being.

Not all patients who desire breast reduction do so because of physical symptoms.  Approximately one third of our breast reduction patients come to us for reasons of personal aesthetics.  For these patients it is often a matter of bringing the breasts into balance with the contours of the rest of the body.  For some there is a preference for a slender, athletic physique.

Regardless of the motivation for surgery, patients frequently tell us that breast reduction surgery provides them with a sense of well-being and increased confidence.  This desirable feedback cycle is similar to that experienced by patients with other forms of aesthetic surgery when their appearance is brought into balance with their internal sense of form.  Prior to breast reduction surgery some patients use words such as “matronly” or “heavy set” to describe the way enlarged breasts affect their body image.  Once their breasts are brought into proper balance with the body, these same patients use more positive words to describe their body image.

Dr. Cook offers his patients at his Chicago centers several techniques for breast reduction.  The specific technique selected is based on his detailed assessment of your goals as well as the physical dimensions and structure of your breasts.  There are important aspects of the operation that occur at the skin level as well as at the deeper structure of the breasts. From the perspective of the external scar, the four main variants are the structural reduction,  the classical reduction, the periareolar reduction, and the vertical reduction.

With all breast reduction surgeries the three goals are an overall reduction of breast volume, an improvement in breast shape, and a correction of the settled breast position.

Contact John Q. Cook, M.D. at Whole Beauty® Institute

We hope that this overview has provided you with helpful information that can assist you in your choice regarding breast reduction.  We invite you to contact the Whole Beauty® Institute for further information.  Our highly knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and schedule a consultation with Dr. Cook.