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What you should know about breast surgeries

Our breasts undergo changes following childbirth, breast-feeding, losing or gaining weight and during the natural cycle of aging. Women of all shapes, ages and sizes would like to maintain a youthful appearance to their breasts and some consider making alterations — whether it be perkier, smaller or bigger breasts. There are different types of reconstructive breast surgeries that can help you get your breasts where you want them.

Every women's breasts are unique as there are no two breasts alike. A breast lift may help achieve the look a women is looking for, or for those desiring more projection, implants can create the desired shape. Implants can also create a beautifully shaped breast for those experiencing loose breast skin. A breast reduction can provide significant relief for women who deal with the weight of large breasts. Additionally, insurance companies will cover breast reduction surgeries if specific criteria are met.

What surgeries are available?

  • Augmentation mammoplasty, or breast enlargement, are silicone or saline implants
  • Mastopexy, or breast lift, can be done with or without implants
  • Reduction mammoplasty or breast reduction

Almost all of these breast surgeries can be done as a same-day surgery. Patients often have to restrict activities for four to six weeks, lifting no more than 10 pounds and not exercising strenuously. Compression bras are recommended as they provide support following the surgery. Most patients can go back to work within one to two weeks after surgery.

I encourage women who are interested to visit www.plasticsurgery.org, the official website of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for detailed information, then make an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss options and their desired outcome.

With the right expectations, breast surgery can give you confidence you may be looking for. Whether or not you are looking to change your breasts, taking care of them is so important.

When to start having mammograms to screen for breast cancer, and how often to have them, is a personal decision. It should be based on your preferences, your values and your risk for developing breast cancer. Talk with your provider to determine together when mammograms are right for you.

Allina Health recommends the following guidelines for women who have an average risk for breast cancer, based on American Cancer Society guidelines:  

Allina Health mammogram recommendations by age
Age Allina Health recommendations
40 to 44 Mammograms are optional.
45 to 54 Have a mammogram every year.
55 and older Have a mammogram every year, or transition to having one every two years. Continue to have mammograms as long as you are in good health.


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Life after breast cancer: Get stronger with exercise

Many women who have had breast cancer surgery, a lumpectomy or mastectomy, find it uncomfortable to exercise because your chest and arms can be sensitive and even painful, especially when wearing a bra or sports bra. Read on for ideas on how to find a bra that works for you so you can work out on a regular basis.

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