A lot of my breast augmentation patients at my practice near Naperville want to know if there’s anything they can do to “protect their investment” after an enhancement surgery. Sometimes the process of keeping breasts healthy and beautiful, whether you’ve had surgery or not, can be a little complicated.
Take this example: A woman is on the treadmill at the gym putting in a few miles while glancing at a Women’s Health article about keeping breasts youthful and perky. She reads a sentence warning that high-impact workouts — such as running — can cause breasts to sag. Should she stop running? Not at all. I never advise patients to stop running or pursuing whatever exercise they find most enjoyable. But I do emphasize the importance of wearing bras that fit properly and provide adequate support while exercising.
That’s just one simple way to maintain your breast health and beauty. Here are the top tips I tell my patients:
- Support your breasts. Wearing supportive bras consistently, not just during exercise, helps maintain the self-supporting tissues within your breasts. Going without a bra or wearing bras that don’t fit correctly or aren’t appropriate for high-impact sports can stretch breast skin and wear out collagen.
- Stay fit. Exercise is important for your overall health, and its benefits extend to maintaining your appearance. Weight fluctuations stretch and shrink the skin, ultimately causing increased sagging of the breasts. I often perform breast lift and reduction surgeries for women who have lost a lot of weight, but you can avoid such procedures by maintaining a stable weight. As mentioned before, be sure to wear a good sports bra during fitness activities.
- Get regular breast exams. Most women should begin routine monthly self-exams in their 20s. Clinical breast exams for women in their 20s and 30s should be performed once every 3 years and annually for women 40 and older. A yearly mammogram is also recommended by the American Cancer Society for women after they turn 40. Screening with an MRI in addition to mammograms is recommended for anyone with a family history of breast cancer or a genetic predisposition. This is a key part of maintaining breast health that you should talk about with your primary care physician or OB-GYN.
- Talk to a plastic surgeon. In some cases, plastic surgery is the best solution for maintaining a great breast appearance, such as for women who have some sagging after breastfeeding. Surgery can also offer significant medical benefits, such as for those who have overly large breasts that cause back pain. Advances in techniques mean plastic surgery is easier than ever for patients, and I see many women in the Naperville area who tell me they wish they had opted for surgery sooner.
Taking good care of your breasts is something you can do on your own, but it’s also a team effort. Don’t hesitate to talk to a plastic surgeon or other physician to find customized strategies for you.