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For more information about the practice, contact:

Cynthia Gregg, MD, FACS
Cindy Wu, MD, FACS

3550 NW Cary Parkway, #100
Cary, NC 27513
Telephone: (919) 297-0097

Body Changes for Optimal Health

Like her colleague, Dr. Gregg, Dr. Cindy Wu recognizes the powerful relationship between body image and overall health. “Addressing aesthetic body concerns has an enormous impact on patients’ self-confidence and self-esteem,” she says, “which is hugely important for over-all health.

Dr. Wu, left, and Dr. Gregg

“I would say the ultimate goal of the surgery that I do—in fact, the goal for any aesthetic surgeon—is to enhance the patient’s quality of life,” says Dr. Wu.  “It’s not just rewarding for the patient, it’s the very heart of what I do.”

A double board-certified aesthetic and breast surgeon, Dr. Wu’s specialties include breast augmentation, reduction, lift, fat grafting, abdominoplasty, liposuction, and body contouring.
“Breast surgery takes many forms,” notes Dr. Wu, “and is uniquely tailored to each patient—taking into account not only aesthetic considerations but functional and lifestyle issues.

“For example, some women find that breast reduction surgery can be liberating,” she explains, “because they can’t be as active with disproportionately heavy breasts. This is extremely important, since movement and exercise are essential contributors to optimal health and wellness.”

Success Stories

“The most commonly requested procedures in my practice,” says Dr. Wu, are breast reductions, the so-called ‘mommy makeover,’ and breast implants or explants. For all of these patients, the goal is a change that will significantly improve their quality of life.”

One example of a transformational surgery is a 55-year-old woman we’ll call Marjorie. “Marjorie wanted both a breast reduction and a tummy tuck,” says Dr. Wu. “But her body mass index (BMI) was too high for the tummy tuck—due, in part, because her overly large breasts made exercise difficult. So, we started with a breast reduction, which would allow her to exercise more easily and get her BMI to a healthy level.”

And that’s what happened. After the breast reduction surgery, Marjorie was able to lose weight and became a candidate for the second surgery. Ultimately, Dr. Wu helped her achieve the results she wanted, using a safer, phased approach.

Another frequently requested surgery combination is known as a “mommy makeover.” “Many women choose these combination surgeries to get their body back to where it was before they had children,” explains Dr. Wu. “The surgery is highly individualized, and might include anything from a breast augmentation to a breast lift or reduction combined with a tummy tuck or liposuction.”

Despite the name, the “mommy makeover” is also used for those who haven’t given birth. “It’s simply a way of describing any combination of breast and body surgery,” explains Dr. Wu.

Before and after a “Mommy Makeover”

“A good example of a candidate for this procedure is a recent patient of mine, that I’ll call Deborah. Deborah is 27, and has not had children. However, she had sagging, extra skin on her breasts and abdomen, not as a result of pregnancy, but due to excessive weight gain and weight loss during puberty.”

Dr. Wu explained that, although Deborah was young and tried hard to exercise, she struggled with a lot of extra skin that didn’t retract due to being stretched out from weight fluctuations. “She also had a congenital condition known as a tuberous breast deformity, where the breast has a more tubular shape to it,” says Dr. Wu. “So, her surgical plan included implants with a lift to reshape her breasts, along with a tummy tuck.”
As Deborah happily reported afterwards: “I was so ashamed of my body for so long. And now I am so confident!”

Dr. Wu notes that, like breast reduction surgery, mommy makeovers can have an important impact on function as well as appearance. “Some women who have given birth—particularly petite women—can experience a separation in their ‘six-pack’ muscles,” she explains. “After delivery, the abdominal muscles typically go back to the baseline, but sometimes there remains a gap because the babies have pushed the muscles apart. And if you have that separation, you can’t effectively work out your core muscles because the muscles are not in the right place. These women may be killing it at the gym and eating really well, but they have a rounded abdomen and can’t do a crunch effectively. With a tummy tuck, we can close that gap and remove the extra skin.”

Breast Implant Surgery: Complex, Personal

“Breast surgery,” notes Dr. Wu, “is by definition complex and highly individualized. And that is particularly true when inserting or removing implants.

“Explant surgery—to remove a patient’s breast implants—is a good example of this complexity,” she explains. “Women have many reasons for wanting implants removed. Over time, their bodies change and they may feel their breasts are now too big, or they may have personal health concerns.

“Whatever the reason, there are many different possibilities—depending on their anatomy—for meeting the patient’s individual goals and needs,” she says. “These might include implant removal alone, implant removal with a breast lift, or implant removal with a breast lift and fat grafting. It’s complex, but it’s very highly individual to the patient.”

One of the particular challenges posed by implants, notes Dr. Wu, is the heightened risk that accompanies any surgical procedure where something is inserted into the body, as well as the risk of a reaction called capsular contracture, which is a hardening of the scar tissue that naturally occurs around the implant.

“There’s research to show that if you have a low level of bacteria—nothing clinically obvious, but just some bacteria slowly proliferating over the years—it can cause the capsule to become thicker and firmer because that’s how your body reacts to inflammation,” she explains. “And that’s something we particularly want to prevent. So, for implant surgery, we follow a rigorous 14-step plan to minimizes the chances of contamination or infection and helps to prevent capsular contracture.”

Among these special precautions: prepping the skin and the insertion pocket with antimicrobial solution; keeping the pocket as bloodless as possible to avoid feeding bacteria; and following a careful process with several layered safeguards around the handling and ultimate insertion of the implant.