Friday, December 23, 2011

Study on Breast Reduction Reveals Age Affects Recovery Outcomes

An interesting study appeared from the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland concerning whether age affects breast reduction outcome.  17 plastic surgeons were involved in the study which included patients with an average age of 36 years. Age groups were divided into those younger than 40, 40-50 years of age, and those older than 50. The researchers found that the women in the group older than 50 were more likely to experience infection, "with trends towards wound healing problems".  The women in the 40-50 age group also showed a trend toward infection, although not as significant.  A point of interest was that the more aged group did not suffer from any greater degree of more severe complications such as fat necrosis or development of seroma.  The conclusion was that women older than 50 were more likely to develop infection than younger women, and that hormonal deficiency may account for this in part.

What can we learn from a study like this? It could be argued that it is pretty common sense that the older group would experience a higher number of infections. While this may be true, it was interesting that the type of complications were not more severe than those experienced by the younger age groups, and that hormonal deficiency could possibly account for the higher rate in the more aged group. If so, preparation prior to surgery may possibly help beat the odds.

Dr. Young urges all of his patients to take pre-operative surgical vitamins which are designed to boost your immune system and help prepare your body for surgery and the recovery period following.  These are not over-the-counter vitamins, which must be discontinued at least two weeks prior to surgery as some contain ingredients which can impair healing or cause bleeding or other problems.  The surgery vitamins are available to all of our patients, and are taken two weeks before and two weeks following your surgery.  It is important, no matter what your age or health condition, to take all antibiotics and/or other medications prescribed to you prior to and following your surgery as directed.  Followup visits with your surgeon are very important. Anyone experiencing a symptom of infection should call their surgeon's office as early on as possible.