Are you thinking about losing weight, or getting younger? Well, the losing weight part is always possible. I can only help you look younger, but I can’t make you actually, well, younger.

But being thinner and younger are both great strategies for reducing your surgical risks. Recent studies have shown that obesity and advanced age increase the complication rates in breast reduction and breast surgery.

Regarding age, a recent study shows that women over the age of 50 undergoing breast reduction have a 2.7 times greater risk of infection, compared to women under the age of 40.  (If you are between 40 and 50, it’s a coin toss, I guess).

Although the reason why this fact is true is not fully known, the researchers theorized that decreasing hormone levels, i.e. menopause, may contribute to the increased infection rate.  Other types of surgical procedures have also shown that declining hormonal changes have an overall increase in infection rates and that women who undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) have a slightly lower infection rate when they undergo surgery.

So, if you’ve had a hysterectomy, or are in menopause, then your plastic surgeon may want to know about this and possibly recommend HRT.  Only a formal consultation with your doctor, along with a careful review of your medical information, will give you the best individualized answer.

Obesity and breast surgery was also looked at recently.  Using a database of health insurance patients, researchers found that obese patients have an 11.8 times increased risk of complications if they undergo breast surgery.  This study had 80 percent breast reduction patients and 20 percent breast reconstruction for breast cancer patients.

These numbers are really high.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  If you’re obese, you have about a 12 times increased chance of a poor wound healing, slow healing, increased pain, and other types of complications.

Interestingly to my bio-statistics geeky mind, even when you follow all of the correct protocols before, during, and after surgery, and even if you are otherwise healthy,  the 11. 8 times increase in risks STILL EXISTS if you are obese.  I would imagine that if you have other risk factors, like being older then 50 as I just mentioned above, then the complication risks are increased even more.

Currently, about 34 percent of Americans are considered obese.

And just to continue the bad news, we already know that doing a very large breast reduction, and operating on smokers who undergo breast reduction, increases the risks of complications after surgery.  And by “complications,” I mean some pretty nasty stuff can happen.  Like your skin could turn black from a lack of oxygen and eventually die.

So, if not for vanity, I would strongly consider losing some weight this year for your health!  Losing fat and gaining muscle may even “reverse” your biologic and physiological age.  Yes, your birthday is the same –  but your overall energy levels and youthful metabolism may come back.


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