After Breast Reduction Surgery: How to Keep Those Girls at Attention

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.

Scar care
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.

Don’t smoke
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.

Eat well
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.

Don’t tan
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!

Use sunscreen
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.

After Plastic Surgery: Tips for Maintaining Your Terrific Results

Maintaining plastic surgery results requires some self-care.The surgery was a success and you look good. Finally, that pesky fill-in-the-blank (tummy, breast size, muffin top, thigh fat) is no longer your concern. Your surgery fixed it, and you no longer have to worry about it.

While that’s more true after you’ve recovered from surgery than it was before surgery, it’s important to remember that plastic surgery doesn’t remain perfect forever. The human body is still a (remarkable) living thing. It will change and adapt to your circumstances — even after plastic surgery. That means your habits will have an effect on your results, both immediately after your surgery and in the long term as well.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

The first days, weeks and months after surgery mark the time period that your body heals itself. Even when you are cleared to go back to your usual daily routine, your body’s complex systems are hard at work stabilizing and healing your surgical site.

Your surgeon’s instructions will include instructions about lifting heavy objects, going back to work, transitioning to an underwire bra (after breast surgery), caring for your surgical site, and even consuming salt. You invested, time money, and energy into your surgery, so you really want to maximize and maintain the results. Following doctor’s orders precisely is the best way to do that.

You Stopped Smoking – Don’t Start Again

We know you know smoking is bad for you. But we are going to repeat ourselves anyway. Your surgeon probably made you quit smoking prior to your surgery. That’s because it impairs your body’s ability to heal, and smokers don’t handle anesthesia as well as non-smokers.

But now that you’ve recovered from surgery, don’t make the mistake of slipping back into your old habit. Smoking does no favors for your skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, nicotine narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of your skin. This means less blood flow and therefore less oxygen and fewer nutrients nourish to the skin. This translates into wrinkles.

In addition, tobacco smoke also damages the collagen in your skin. This is the material that provides elasticity and structure. When collagen is weakened your skin wrinkles and sags.

Over time, cigarette smoking can undo much of the benefit of plastic surgery.

Use Sunscreen

We’ll put this in the same category as smoking. We aren’t telling you something you don’t already know, but we’re going to remind you anyway. The sun’s rays are damaging to the skin and will cause you to wrinkle prematurely. They might even give you skin cancer. So protect yourself and your new look from the sun’s damaging rays, and wear your sunscreen.

Get Some Exercise

Most of us think of exercise as a necessary evil to keep extra pounds at bay. And it is great for weight control. But physical activity offers many other benefits as well. When you exercise, your body opens up all the little blood vessels to allow oxygen to get where it’s needed. This is good for your skin, and the rest of your body, too. Research even suggests that exercise is associated with decreased rates of dementia and cancer. Not only will exercise help you look better, it will help you feel better and enjoy your surgical results for years to come.

Eat the Rainbow and Avoid Processed Foods

Spend five minutes on the internet and you will find a dizzying number of fad diets to help you lose weight and stay healthy. But in reality nutrition science is quite complicated because there are many factors that influence how we eat. But most reputable experts will agree on a couple of nutritional principles.

First, processed foods might fill you up, but they aren’t doing your health any favors. Fast foods and foods that come in boxes with lots of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce provide little nutritional benefit. These types of foods too often replace real food packed with nutrition.

Second, there is wisdom in “eating the rainbow.” This means consuming a diet with a large portion of fruits and vegetables with lots of different colors on your plate. These foods are full of micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other factors that help our bodies perform their most basic functions.

When we consume a wide variety of whole foods, particularly colorful fruits and vegetables, we help our body get all these tiny nutrients so our bodies can fight aging and therefore preserve the look achieved with plastic surgery.

Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting

In a world where we lose weight for weddings and graduations and other special events, yo-yo dieting is quite common. But every time you gain weight, your skin must grow to accommodate it. It doesn’t always bounce back. Do this repeatedly and you’ve got excess skin that you aren’t pleased with – maybe in the same area you already had plastic surgery.

Maintaining a consistent weight through healthy nutrition and exercise will preserve your plastic surgery results much longer than gaining and losing the same 15 pounds over and over again.

The great thing about this list – follow doctor’s orders, don’t smoke, use sunscreen, get some exercise, eat healthy foods, avoid yo-yo dieting – is that it’s good for us in general. Not only will it help you preserve your surgical results, it will help you live a healthier life, in which you look and feel better.

If you are interested in plastic surgery, Dr. Slack would love to chat with you about it. Please get in touch to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.