Age is just a number. We might feel like spry 25-year-olds on the inside, yet there’s no denying that our bodies change with time. For women, pregnancies, breastfeeding and weight fluctuations all contribute to changes in breast shape and volume. Those looking for a little help can turn to Dr. Christina Plikaitis, a SLUCare Physician Group plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstructions, reductions, augmentations and lifts.
SLUCare offers a range of options for women searching for solutions, and its physicians have experience in a broad variety of cases, Plikaitis says. “I do a lot of breast reconstruction cases, as well as cosmetic and functional breast reductions,” she says. “Whether the breast has been removed for cancer or has undergone changes due to aging, we have a lot of experience in reshaping and reforming.”
And for some women, breast reduction is a matter of improved function. “Patients with unwanted enlargement often experience symptoms like back pain and rashes and infections under the breast, and also can sometimes have difficulty exercising; those people respond well to breast reductions,” Plikaitis explains.
She says making use of the latest techniques gives patients the best outcomes, which can mean smaller incisions and shorter recovery periods. Vertical breast reductions, for example, leave patients with a much smaller scar, Plikaitis says. Liposuction also can help make the end result look more natural in reduction surgeries. “We use liposuction to reshape and make sure the sides of the breast blend into the breast tissue to give a nice, natural shape,” she explains. “Not all surgeons take the time to do that.”
Gone are the days when getting a breast augmentation resulted in round, unnatural-looking breasts—today, patients have better options, Plikaitis says. “The teardrop-shaped gummy bear implant, which is made of silicone gel and has a more natural shape, is one of the more popular implants that has become available in the last few years,” she says. “Those are ideal for patients who prefer to have a larger breast size but want to avoid appearing cosmetically altered.”
That was the goal for one 35-year-old St. Louis patient who recently underwent a breast augmentation. She had wanted augmentation since she was in her late teens, a feeling confirmed by the fuller breasts she had during breastfeeding. “Before, if I didn’t have a bra on, my shoulder blades stuck out farther,” she says. “I wanted to be able to put on a swimsuit and fill it out.” After working with Plikaitis, the patient says she now has the body she always wanted. “I feel almost like a different person—when I look in the mirror, I love it.”
That’s the part Plikaitis appreciates most about her job. “Many of my patients are just looking to get their pre-pregnancy bodies back,” she says. “Most of them are fit, and surgery gives them the body they can’t otherwise get from diet and exercise alone. It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Pictured: SLUCare plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Christina Plikaitis
Photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group
[Dr. Christina Plikaitis, a SLUCare Physician Group plastic and reconstructive surgeon, practices at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center at 1035 Bellevue Ave., Ste. 203. For more information, call 314.977.4440 or visit slucare.edu/plastic-surgery.]