If you have ever stood in front of a mirror and wished that your breasts were firmer, higher and more youthful-looking, breast lift surgery may be a good option for you. A breast lift can rejuvenate your figure by restoring the lift and shape that is often lost as gravity takes its toll. In breast lift surgery, also called mastopexy, the breasts are raised, the nipples are repositioned and the areolas (the darker skin around the nipples) may be reduced in size. If you have lost breast volume over the years and you want to add more fullness, implants may be inserted during breast lift surgery to increase breast size.
You will find basic information about breast lift surgery in this brochure. However, the best way to get complete answers to specific questions that relate to your individual needs is to have a personal consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the Board of Plastic Surgery.
Is a breast lift right for me?
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 affect the size and shape of your breasts, so you may wish to postpone surgery until after having children. Still, many women elect to go forward with the surgery before having children, knowing that they can address any pregnancy-related changes later. The milk ducts and nipples typically are not affected during breast lift surgery, so usually the procedure will not alter your ability to breast-feed.
You may be a good candidate for breast lift surgery if you have any of the following conditions:
- breasts are pendulous, but are a size that is satisfactory to you
- breasts lack substance or firmness
- nipples and areolas point downward, especially if they are positioned below the breast crease In many cases, women seek breast lift surgery to correct inherited traits or asymmetry – one breast may be firm and well-developed while the other is not. Breasts of any size can be lifted. However, the results are more long-lasting for women whose breasts are smaller and lighter.
a) Over time a woman’s breasts begin to sag and the areolas become larger.
What should I expect from the consultation?
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering a breast lift. During this meeting, your surgeon will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific goals for the surgical procedure.
You should arrive at the consultation prepared to provide complete information about:
- previous surgical procedures
- past and present medical conditions
- medications you are taking, including herbal remedies or nutritional supplements
- past experience with weight loss and the effect it had on your breast size When examining your breasts, your plastic surgeon will consider their size and shape, the quality of your skin and the placement of the nipples and areolas. Measurements and photographs will be taken for your medical record.
In most instances, insurance companies won’t pay for breast lift surgery. However, coverage may be provided in certain circumstances. For example, if a breast reconstruction is performed after mastectomy, and the newly reconstructed breast doesn’t match the opposite breast, an insurance company may pay for a breast lift on the opposite breast to achieve symmetry. Prior to surgery, your insurance company may require a letter of predetermination. Your surgeon’s office staff will help you with insurance matters related to the procedure.
How is a breast lift performed?
Your anatomy, your surgeon’s preferences and your desired results will determine the specific method chosen for your breast lift. The most common method of breast lift surgery involves three incisions. One incision is made around the areola. Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third is a horizontal incision beneath the breast that follows the natural curve of the breast crease.
After the surgeon has removed the excess breast skin and shaped the remaining breast tissue, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which is usually stretched out in sagging breasts, can also be reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the areola is brought down and together to reshape the breast. In some cases, liposuction may be used to improve the contour, especially on the sides of the breasts. The nipples and areolas remain attached to the underlying mounds of tissue and this usually allows for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breast-feed.
Are there options?
There are many variations in breast lift technique. Your plastic surgeon will determine the best technique for you based on the size and shape of your breasts, the size of your areolas and the extent of the sagging. In some instances, it may be possible to avoid the horizontal incision that runs beneath the breast. For other women, a technique may be used that avoids both the horizontal incision and the vertical incision that runs from the edge of the areola to the breast crease. If you are a good candidate for one of these modified techniques, your surgeon will discuss this with you. If you and your surgeon have decided that your breasts will be enlarged at the same time they are lifted, breast implants will be required. If you are considering this option, your surgeon will review the necessary safety information with you and may give you an additional brochure on breast augmentation.
b) Incisions following the breast’s natural contour define the area of excision and the new location for the nipple and areola. Skin in the shaded area is removed, and the nipple and areola are moved to a higher position
c) Shin formerly located above the areola is brought down and together to reshape the breast.
d) After surgery, the breasts are higher and firmer, with temporary stitches usually located around the areola, below it and in the crease under the breast
How will I learn about the safety of breast lift surgery?
Each year, thousands of women undergo breast lift surgery and experience no major complications. However, it is important for you to be informed of the risks as well as the benefits. One of the most important parts of your consultation is the discussion that you and your surgeon will have about the possible complications of breast lift surgery. In addition to listening carefully to what your surgeon tells you, be sure to raise any questions or concerns that you may have about the procedure.Remember, by carefully following your surgeon’s advice and instructions – both before and after surgery – you can do your part to minimize some of the risks.
What can I do to prepare for my surgery? When the date for your surgical procedure has been set, your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after your surgery. A number of points will be covered, including:
- avoiding medications that may complicate surgery or recovery
- stopping smoking for a period of rime before and after surgery
- arranging for help or special care following surgery
- having a baseline mammogram before surgery, if your surgeon feels it’s appropriate
How will I be cared for on the day of my surgery?
Breast lift surgery may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or an office-based surgical suite. If you are admitted to the hospital, your stay will be a short one.
Medications are administered to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Usually a general anesthetic is used so that you will sleep throughout the entire surgical procedure.
How will I look and feel right after surgery?
When surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to a recovery area. In some cases, small drainage tubes will have been placed beneath the breast skin to help prevent fluids from accumulating. Gauze dressings will be placed on your breasts and covered with an elastic bandage or supportive bra.
On the day of surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. Most of the discomfort you feel in the days following the procedure can be controlled with medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect that your recovery will follow this general time line:
Within the first week
- You will begin to move about more comfortably and perhaps even return to (non-strenuous) work.
- Surgical drains (if used) will be removed and dressings will be changed.
After several weeks
* Bruising, swelling and normal periodic discomfort will diminish.
* The last of the stitches will have been removed.
* Sensation within the nipple and areola area will gradually improve.
* You may return to most of your normal activities, including mild exercise.
After a few months
* Your breasts will start settling into a more natural shape.
* Incision lines, which initially are red or pink, will begin to fade.
* Wearing a support bra will long
What should I know about my results?
After breast lift surgery, your breasts will feel firmer and appear more youthful and uplifted. The position of your areolas and nipples will be improved and your areolas will be more pleasingly proportioned. Although the incision lines will be permanently visible, they will fade over time and are easily concealed under clothing – even most swimsuits and tops with low-cut necklines. You can expect to maintain your new breast shape, unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant. If, over time, you again become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a second breast lift procedure to help restore their more youthful contour and appearance.
e) A breast lift will make the breasts firmer and more uplifted. The position of the nipples and areolas is enhanced. Incision lines will fade over time but will be permanently visible.
How long will I continue to see my plastic surgeon?
After the initial healing period, you will return to your plastic surgeon’s office for a postoperative
follow-up visit so that your healing and progress can be evaluated. In the following months, your surgeon may ask you to return for periodic checkups. It’s important to keep these appointments so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and address any questions or concerns you may have.
CHOOSING A QUALIFIED SURGEON
No matter what type of plastic surgery you’re considering, one of the most important factors in its success is the surgeon you choose. Although it may seem hard to believe, some of the physicians who are performing cosmetic surgery today have had no formal surgical training at all.
It’s advisable to consider the following points before scheduling a consultation: Find out if he or she is certified by the Board of Plastic Surgery. Surgeons with this certification have completed a minimum of six years of surgical training following medical school, including a plastic surgery residency program. During this intensive program, surgeons learn to perform surgical procedures for the entire body and face. At the same time, they develop their technical skill and aesthetic judgment.
After training, a surgeon must pass comprehensive oral and written exams before being granted certification. It is also very important to find out the postgraduate education, experience, competency for specific procedures and scientific status of Plastic Surgeon.