With age and time, breasts often lose their fullness and the “lifted” placement that lends a youthful appeal to the female form. Breast lift surgery reverses the breast sagging that affects all women at some point. Skin and ligaments that secure the breasts to the underlying muscles hold the breasts in place. These structures weaken and stretch out over time, even in small-breasted women.
Is a Breast Lift Right for You?
The Breast Lift Procedure
Several surgical techniques are used during a breast lift. What the surgeon chooses depends upon the degree of correction required to restore the breasts to their former placement above the rib cage.
Each technique involves reshaping and lifting breast tissue by removing excess skin from around the nipple or from the bottom of the breast. Sometimes the areola is repositioned for a more pleasing appearance.
Breast lift & Breast Augmentation
When the skin thins and breast tissue loses volume, breast augmentation (or breast lift) alone may not yield a satisfying outcome.
In this case, breast implants can fill out the excess skin and restore fullness. Once the implants are in place, the breast lift is then performed to achieve a better position on the chest. An augmentation done with a silicone implant creates fullness of the breast by providing a structure on which to rebuild a natural-shaped breast. Once the silicone implant is in place behind the muscle, a breast lift can then be done to reconstruct the breast shape you desire.
You will have more scarring around the nipple and down to the base of the breast. This will fade and improve over time, but will always be present. It is a tradeoff, but well worth it as confirmed by almost all of our breast lift patients.
Breast Lift Frequently Asked Questions
A Breast Augmentation is done to enhance or enlarge the breast. A Breast Lift is performed to raise the breast back into the “normal” position. The procedures may be performed alone or in combination to not only lift, but enlarge the breast. If the breast has a normal position, with most of the breast tissue above the base/inframammary crease and if the nipple is not below the base, then a Breast Augmentation would be the best choice. If however, the breast skin has significant laxity and the nipple sits low on the breast, a Breast Lift is the correct option.
A Breast Lift is designed to create symmetric breasts. If asymmetry exists prior to surgery, a breast lift alone or combined with an augmentation can very commonly create a very even and symmetrical breast shape.
The Breast Lift with the smallest scar is called a Concentric Mastopexy or Doughnut Lift. The procedure involves a surgical scar just around the areola or outer area of the nipple. However, most often the Breast Lift also has a small scar that extends vertically down from the nipple to the base of the breast or below the breast in the crease.
Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation surgery are often performed together. Patients who require a Breast Lift will quite commonly have a significant loss of volume that makes the breasts appear “droopy”. Combining an implant with the lift, can create a very natural, fuller breast. In our experience, the combined procedure has a much longer lasting result than just a Breast Lift alone.
We have numerous patients who have had Breast Lifts done prior to pregnancy and nursing. There have not been many issues. While no one is guaranteed that they have the ability to breast feed after pregnancy, Breast Lifts should minimally alter that option.
While pregnancy does change the breast shape and size, it is a matter of the severity of the breast changes before pregnancy that should determine the timing of surgery. The best, longest lasting result would clearly occur when breast changes are minimized, i.e. pregnancy and weight changes. We have had many patients that would prefer the improvement over waiting until pregnancy. Make sure that all those issues are completely discussed with your Plastic Surgeon.
Any question should be on the table when considering cosmetic breast surgery. Make sure your MD is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Ask how many Breast Lift procedures the doctor has performed. Ask to see pre and post-operative photographs. Make sure you ask about risks, complications and physical limitations.
Recovery time after a Breast lift alone or combined with an Augmentation is in stages. The toughest part is the first 24-48 hours, when pain medication will be necessary. Patients will often take between 4-7 days off of work. Heavy lifting or strenuous exercise may be limited for 4-5 weeks. Most patients can resume driving after 2-3 days.
A crescent lift includes a small semi-circular incision above the areola/colored are of the nipple. This may be performed in combination with a Breast Augmentation to reposition a nipple that is slightly low with minimal skin laxity. A Vertical Lift may include an incision all the way around the areola and a vertical incision to the base of the breast. This procedure is done in patients with more severe skin laxity and droop of the breast and nipple. Both procedures are performed as outpatient operations at an accredited surgery center.
Very commonly areola reduction is included with the Breast Lift procedure. With pregnancy, nursing or weight changes, the areola can enlarge and expand as it drops in position. Often there is also asymmetry of the areola from one breast to the other. Correction of asymmetry and reduction of the enlarged size makes the final result that much more natural and appealing.
A breast lift without implants will often make the breasts appear slightly smaller. However, the improved position and shape should improve the appearance significantly such that the reduced size is not of any consequence. As described above, combining an implant with the breast lift will often improve the final result and provide a longer lasting improvement.