What Is Breast Lift?
Breast lift surgery is performed to elevate and reshape breasts that have begun to droop and sag. The procedure also restores fullness and volume so that breasts are firmer, rounder, and more youthful looking.
The effects of time, pregnancy, and weight loss can produce dramatic changes to the appearance of the breast. These changes include loss of breast volume, loss of skin elasticity, descent of the nipple below the crease, stretch marks, a flattened look of the breast with loss of projection, and a widened areola. Patients wanting to reverse these changes can benefit from a breast lift. This operation places the nipple at a higher position on the chest. The breast mound is reshaped to restore a youthful well-rounded appearance. Patients with uneven breasts can benefit from a breast lift to correct any such asymmetry
Breast lifts are as much an art as they are a science.
A breast lift can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Pregnancy and breast-feeding may have significant and unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts. Nevertheless, many women decide to undergo breast lift surgery before having children and feel that they can address any subsequent changes later. Since the milk ducts and nipples are left intact, breast lift surgery usually will not affect your ability to breast-feed; however, you should discuss this with your plastic surgeons.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Lift Surgery?
Breast Lift Surgery is the solution for women whose breasts have begun to lose their shape. This occurs over time during the aging process as the skin loses its elasticity, and gravity causes the breasts to sag downwards. Pregnancy, breast-feeding, or significant weight loss can cause the breasts to droop even in younger women. Breast lift surgery has helped many patients who have had children restore shapely breast contours once again. Older patients can enjoy having the breast contours of younger women. Breast lift surgery should be postponed if you are planning on having children or losing a significant amount of weight in the future. Having the surgery performed when you are near your ideal weight will allow a better result that will last longer.
How Do You Know If You Need a Breast Lift?
This is a question your plastic surgeon will help you answer. A common thought among patients is the pencil test, i.e. if a pencil can be held in the crease of your breast then a lift is needed. This is sometimes but not always true. In general, the lower the nipple is from the crease of the breast and the more stretched skin there is, the higher the likelihood of needing a breast lift.
How Should You Prepare for Breast Lift Surgery?
The initial consultation with your surgeon will require your complete medical history, so you will want to be prepared to provide the necessary information. You must be completely open and honest with your surgeon. If there is any medical problem, you will be referred to a specialist.
With all of this information, your surgeon can plan the best procedure for your needs and tell you how to adequately prepare for the procedure by giving you guidelines.
Depending on your age, or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, your plastic surgeon may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery.
How Is Breast Lift Surgery Performed?
Light general anesthesia is used so that no discomfort is felt during surgery. After making carefully placed incisions, surgeon will trim away the excess skin and lift the nipple-areola to a higher more youthful position. Occasionally, patients wish to have breast implants inserted during breast lift surgery to increase upper pole fullness. Some dramatic improvements are achieved by combining breast lift and breast augmentation in this manner. The incisions are carefully closed in layers to minimize scarring. The scars usually fade over time, and are rarely visible in swim suits or lingerie. Most patients return to normal activities in ten to fourteen days.
There are several different kinds of breast lifts; each procedure produces a different shape to the breast and different extent of scarring.
What Is Recovery Like After Breast Lift Surgery?
Following breast lift surgery, patients may experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising, which typically lasts from two to three weeks. Pain medications may be prescribed during the first week of breast lift recovery to make this time comfortable. Patients are required to avoid sleeping on their stomachs for the first two weeks, and are advised to sponge bathe until the sutures are removed. Your doctor can advise you of additional options for maximizing your comfort during the initial recovery period.
During breast lift recovery, patients are required to wear a surgical bra for the first few days following surgery. This bra is then replaced with a support bandage or sports bra which is to be worn at all times for several weeks. The sutures are removed from the breasts after a week or two. Patients are normally able to return to work and light activities after about a week. However, during the first week, it is important to avoid bending over or performing any strenuous activities that put unnecessary pressure on the chest. Such activities can slow healing and lead to excess swelling and bleeding.
During breast lift recovery, it may take a month or more before all swelling and bruising disappears and the final breast lift results are apparent. Underwire bras should not be worn for the first month after surgery and instead a supportive bandage or bra should be worn at all times.
There tends to be some numbness in the nipples and skin after breast lift surgery, which usually disappears in six weeks or so. However, in some rare cases this numbness can be permanent. Some patients experience a burning or tingling sensation in the breasts during breast lift recovery as the nerves begin to return to normal function. Breast lift surgery patients should not try lifting anything over their head for three to four weeks following surgery, and should avoid lifting anything heavy for four to six weeks.
Will the Results of Breast Lift Surgery Be Permanent?
Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your new breast shape should remain fairly constant. However, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman’s breasts. If, after a period of years, you again become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a second breast lift procedure to restore their more youthful contour and appearance.
What Are Possible Complications From Breast Lift Surgery?
When the procedure is performed by a highly qualified cosmetic surgeon complications are rare and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, there are potential complications and risks. Your physician will spend time discussing these with you during your scheduled consultation. Be sure to bring a list of questions or concerns with you. All patients are instructed to discuss the general surgical risks with their surgeon.
Known complications are minor and rare, but might happen: loss of nipple sensation, poor healing (more common among smokers), scarring: breast lift scars will take several months to reach their final appearance.