There are many reasons why women are considering a breast lift today. Aging, weight fluctuations, pregnancy, breastfeeding, loss of skin elasticity, heredity and gravity are all contributing factors in why breasts begin to “droop” or “sag,” which can ultimately affect a woman’s self-image. A breast lift can help reposition and lift the breasts to a more youthful position and restore firmness to the breasts. Breast lift surgery can also reposition and reduce the size of the areolas, which may have stretched. After a breast lift, the breasts will be positioned higher on the chest and have a more youthful, “perky,” and firm appearance.
- What Is a Breast Lift?
- What Can a Breast Lift Do?
- Breast Lift Candidates
- Non-Surgical Breast Lift
- Degrees of Breast Ptosis
- Breast Lift Procedure
- Breast Lift Recovery
- Breast Lift Results
- Breast Lift Scars
- Breast Lift Risks
- Breast Lift with Implants
- Breast Lift Cost
- Breastfeeding After a Breast Lift
What is a Breast Lift (Mastopexy)?
Many women experience considerable stretching of skin along with the loss of breast volume after pregnancy and nursing, or as a result of weight loss and aging. A breast lift is required to tighten the skin and elevate the breast to a more youthful and aesthetic position. Breast augmentation may also be performed at the time of a breast lift if you desire increased breast volume. Keep in mind that a breast lift elevates the breast while breast implants add volume. Therefore, the specific procedure must be designed to each woman’s desired results and depends on the changes that have occurred to the breasts. Implants will not substitute for a breast lift if the breast is too low. This fact highlights the importance of a consultation to evaluate your breast volume and position and to give you appropriate recommendations. Various techniques are used and are individualized to each patient.
What Can a Breast Lift Do?
A breast lift can give a more youthful and elevated appearance to the breast.
Who is a Good Breast Lift Candidate?
- Someone with low breast position or “sagging” breasts desiring a more youthful look
- If breast volume has also been lost, then a breast implant may be added to the lift procedure to increase the size of the breast
- The nipple position is facing downward
- One breast hangs lower than the other breast
- Healthy individual
- Realistic goals and expectations
Can I Get a Breast Lift Without Surgery?
Before seeking breast lift surgery, many women try non-surgical alternatives that are believed to create a lifting effect to the breasts. Unfortunately, these solutions often entail creams or tape that only address the skin and provide minimal lifting, if any. Another method many individuals try in order to lift the breasts without surgery is targeted exercises. While this can help reduce fatty tissue and strengthen the chest muscles underneath the breasts, redundant tissue and stretched ligaments will still remain. Breast lift surgery is the only effective solution for treating sagging breast tissue, as it tightens lax tissue and allows for excess skin to be removed.
What Are the Different Degrees of Breast Ptosis?
The amount of breast ptosis a patient has is generally determined by the position of the nipple, as well as how much breast tissue droops below the breast crease. This can typically be categorized into one of the following levels:
- Pseudoptosis (Glandular Ptosis): The breast tissue extends past the inframammary crease, while the nipple-areolar complex remains above it.
- Grade I Ptosis: The breast tissue and nipple-areolar complex both sag slightly below the inframammary fold.
- Grade II Ptosis: The breast tissue and nipple-areolar complex both sag significantly lower than the inframammary fold.
- Grade III Ptosis: The most severe degree of ptosis, with the nipple-areolar complex being at the lowest part of the breast and often facing downward.
The grade of breast ptosis you have will influence which surgical technique is employed for your breast lift surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to your procedure to ensure you know what to expect.
What Does the Breast Lift Procedure Involve?
At surgery, board-certified plastic surgeon Behzad Parva, MD will mark your skin in the pre-operative holding area. Your plan is individualized based on your particular breast size, any previous scars, possible use of implants, degree of skin thinning and skin excess, etc. The nipple position with the breast tissue is elevated to a higher location and adjustments are made to achieve the closest balance and symmetry between both breasts.
Typically, the resultant scars from breast lift surgery are visible around the nipple region, extending down to the crease and within the crease under the breast, but residual scarring should fade and lessen with time. With this in mind, the exact nature of scarring will depend on the breast lift technique (described below) performed during surgery. A drain is sometimes placed behind the breast to reduce potential fluid build-up during the recovery period. The surgery is usually performed as an outpatient unless other procedures are combined and require longer operative time. Typical surgery times are about 2 and 1/2 hours. A supportive bra is placed before leaving the operating room.
Various techniques can be utilized for breast lift surgery, but every effort is made to minimize the incision and thus the final scar. The best approach will depend on your unique needs and goals. Options include:
Periareolar (Doughnut) Breast Lift
The “doughnut” breast lift technique is often more ideal for patients who have a relatively minimal amount of breast sagging. The incision is created around the areola (the dark-pigmented area that surrounds the nipple), which allows for scarring that is well-blended into this region.
Vertical (Lollipop) Breast Lift
Sometimes referred to as a “lollipop” breast lift, the vertical incision technique can be a good option for patients who have a moderate degree of sagging in the breasts. This approach involves an incision created around the areola and down to the area where the breast meets the chest (inframammary fold).
Inverted T (Anchor) Breast Lift
Women with moderate to severe levels of sagging may benefit from an “anchor” breast lift technique. The incisions are made in the area surrounding the areola, down to the inframammary fold, and then horizontally across the breast crease. This approach allows Dr. Parva to remove and reshape larger amounts of tissue.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Parva will talk with you about the best breast lift technique for your needs and answer any questions you may have.
What Can I Expect During Breast Lift Recovery?
- Initial healing takes 5 to 10 days
- Generally, recovery time is one to two weeks and many women who work outside the home will return to work within several days
- You will be encouraged to use scar reduction measures, such as silicone gel and massage of the scars
- You will be encouraged to wear a supportive bra and avoid high-impact activities for 3 to 4 weeks
- Dr. Parva will supply you with detailed post-operative instructions that can help you achieve a safe and smooth recovery period
How Long Will Breast Lift Results Last?
Noticeable results are seen immediately but it will take several months for swelling to settle and for the long-term results to be evident. By taking proper care of your skin, limiting sun exposure, and minimizing weight fluctuation, you can increase the likelihood that the results of breast lift surgery will last for many years. Keep in mind that the natural aging process, gravity, and other factors will still have an effect on the breasts over time; however, with a healthy diet and a few extra precautions, breast lift outcomes can last well into the future for many patients.
“I know that true beauty is measured by the heart but thank you so much for making me feel “pretty” on the outside.”
Will I Have Scars from Breast Lift Surgery?
Breast lift scars can vary depending on the extent of the breast lift. Some may be limited to a scar around the areola. A “keyhole” or “lollipop” incision involves a scar around the areola and then extending down to the inframammary fold of the breast. Other breast lift scars will involve a scar around the areola and then another scar extending down to the breast crease and along the length of the breast crease. It is important to remember that, regardless of the specific breast lift technique utilized, the residual scars should diminish and become less visible over time.
What Risks Are Associated with Breast Lift Surgery?
While any type of surgery involves certain risk factors, it is important to note that Dr. Parva is extensively trained and experienced with breast lift procedures and will utilize advanced techniques to minimize the potential for complications. Although rare, some of the risks associated with breast lift surgery include excessive bleeding, infection, permanent numbness/loss of feeling in the breasts or nipples, tissue necrosis, and a reaction to the anesthesia. Dr. Parva will explain all of the risks of breast lift surgery before the procedure and talk with you about the steps he takes to reduce them.
Will I Need a Breast Lift with Implants?
In some cases, individuals who would like to add volume to the breasts in addition to diminishing the appearance of sagginess may wish to combine breast lift surgery with breast augmentation. Breast lifts with implants simultaneously lift and reposition the breasts while adding breast implants to enhance volume, fullness, and shape. Once Dr. Parva has examined you during the consultation and talked with you about your goals, he can help you determine whether a breast lift alone or a breast lift with implants will provide you with the results you are hoping to achieve.
How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?
Breast lift costs can vary depending on the extent of the surgery. If breast implants are also placed, that will increase the overall cost. Since breast lift surgery is typically considered an elective cosmetic procedure, this treatment is not often covered by medical insurance policies. With that in mind, our practice accepts a full range of convenient payment methods and will be happy to talk with you about options that are most suitable for your budget.
Will I Be Able to Breastfeed After Breast Lift Surgery?
If you hope to breastfeed in the future, you should communicate this with Dr. Parva during your consultation and discuss the potential impact, as this may affect the details of your surgical plan. He will plan the optimal technique for helping you achieve your aesthetic goals while minimizing any risks related to milk duct function and other surrounding structures. With Dr. Parva’s extensive experience in breast lift procedures, we find most women can typically breastfeed afterwards. Please note, however, that not all women have the ability to breastfeed. Some women may have difficulty breastfeeding due to multiple factors related to development, anatomy, trauma, scar tissue, etc. Please share your goals and questions when consulting with Dr. Parva.
Please contact Parva Plastic Surgery for your breast lift consultation with Dr. Parva today.