You did it: you finally got that breast reduction you’ve been wanting, you made it through the first months of recovery, and now you are enjoying the results. Like many of our patients, you may even be thinking, “I should have done this years ago.” You can now look forward to all the new clothes you can buy (including strapless tops) and to the activities you previously avoided (like running). But the most important thing to think about now is how to keep your fabulous results fabulous for years to come.
There is no expiration date on the results of breast reduction surgery, but as part of a living, breathing body, breasts change over time. Because your breasts are lighter than they were before surgery, they will sag far less than they would have, but age and the effects of gravity can’t be avoided completely. Even so, you can take steps to keep your breasts looking as good as they can for as long as they can.
Follow doctor’s orders: first 18 months
During the first days, weeks, and months after surgery, it is critical that you follow doctors orders to avoid infection and injury. This also sets you up for the best possible results. Even when the incisions have healed and you have returned to work, you will remain under your doctor’s care. That’s because your body will continue to heal for up to 18 months after surgery.
Scars will fade and flatten over time. You can help this along by using any creams or silicone strips that your doctors has recommended. Learn more about scar care here.
Ease into exercise
Make sure you get clearance from your surgeon before returning to weight training and high impact exercise. These activities can put a lot of stress on healing tissue, so wait till your doctor says you are ready.
Beware of underwires
Though breast reductions come with a variety of incision types, you will likely have some healing tissue underneath your breasts. Underwire bras, if worn too soon, can irritate that healing tissue. Underwires can become a part of your future if you want them too, but make sure you clear them with your doctor.
Take Care of Your Health
Your breasts don’t stand alone – they are part of your body. So anything that affects your overall health can affect them, too.
We’ve all heard about the many dangers of smoking – it increases the risk of heart disease and causes lung cancer. That alone should be reason enough to avoid it. But smoking also ages our skin and impairs wound healing. Do yourself a favor and quit this habit before it damages your beautiful surgical results.
Few things affect our bodies like the food we consume day in and day out. Choose to eat healthy whole foods that have been minimally processed – brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and modest amounts of healthy proteins and fats. Pro tip: if it comes in a package or has ingredients you can’t pronounce, eat it sparingly.
Exercise for health and fitness
The benefits of exercise are impossible to ignore – it helps keep your body healthy, strong, and young. This is good for your overall health, including your breasts (just be sure to wear a supportive bra that fits well when you exercise). However, it is not possible to “spot tone” your breasts. The pectoral muscles that lie beneath the breasts can keep the chest strong and affect the overall look of your chest. However, strong pecs won’t directly affect the breast tissue itself so they don’t prevent sagging.
Take Care of Your Skin
Preventing wrinkles and maintaining skin’s elasticity help keep that youthful glow and make great surgical results appear even better.
As tempting as it may seem to try to get a tan “safely” – either in the sun or a tanning bed – it is simply not a good idea if you want to postpone wrinkled, saggy skin for as long as possible. The sun’s rays can also cause skin cancer. Just say “No!” to tanning!
Even the most careful among us can’t avoid the sun’s damaging rays all the time. This is why it’s important to wear sunscreen regularly. Make it a part of your daily routine to apply sunscreen to your face and chest, as these areas are often exposed to damaging UVA and UVB rays when we aren’t even aware of it. And when you spent time outdoors, use an all over sunscreen to keep your skin safe.
Avoid pregnancy or fluctuations in weight
Pregnancy and significant changes in weight both cause stretching of the skin that can change your breasts over time. For the longest lasting results, try to be at a steady weight and have completed your family before opting for breast reduction surgery.
Finally, if something doesn’t seem right with your breasts, contact your surgeon. It’s also important to have realistic expectations. Know that your breasts will continue to age – right along with the rest of your body – even after surgery.
Even so, your breasts will be smaller and in a better position. They won’t sag as they would without the surgery. If your breasts have been interfering with your life, this surgery can change that for you. Contact Dr. Slack to learn if breast reduction surgery is right for you.