What is a breast lift?
A breast lift is a surgical procedure designed to correct breast sagging or drooping, modifying the contour and elevation of the female breasts and contributing to an overall appearance of lifted, shapelier, firmer breasts.
Why do women undergo breast lift procedures?
With age, menopause, weight gain/loss, following pregnancy and breastfeeding, or due to genetic factors, many women experience a condition known as breast ptosis, or sagging. Many women find this condition unpleasant and become dissatisfied with the appearance of their breasts, potentially leading to a loss of self-confidence. Women with excess skin and sagging breasts who don’t necessarily require an increase in volume may choose to undergo breast lift procedures in order to restore tightness and firmness to their breasts.
What causes breast sagging?
Breasts can change due to a number of factors. Skin naturally loses elasticity with age and the ligaments which hold the breasts in place begin to loosen and weaken. Some women find that their breasts expand during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and become saggy when they shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size. Similarly, some women experience breast sagging following breast implant removal. Weight loss and menopause may also lead to breast ptosis.
How do I know if I need a breast lift?
Breast ptosis is graded on a scale from mild to severe, which measures the position of the nipple relative to the inframammary fold, or breast crease. Patients with moderate to severe ptosis may be good candidates for a breast lift.
What are some of the risks of a breast lift?
A breast lift is a surgical procedure and carries all the risks of any surgery, such as those associated with infection, bleeding, scarring, and anaesthesia. A breast lift may also interfere with future breastfeeding ability. Other risks include loss of sensitivity and nipple necrosis, but these complications are rare in the hands of an experienced surgeon.
How long does a breast lift procedure take to perform?
A breast lift is a highly variable procedure that can take anywhere between one and four hours to perform, depending on the type and extent of work required.
What type of anaesthesia is used for a breast lift?
A breast lift is usually performed under general anaesthesia.
What types of incisions are used for a breast lift?
The typical incision pattern for a breast lift is anchor-shaped, incorporating a periareolar incision (around the border of the areola), a vertical incision from the areola to the inframammary fold, and a horizontal incision along the inframammary fold or breast crease. Variations of this incision pattern include a “lollipop” incision, which incorporates only the periareolar and vertical incisions, a “crescent” incision that is made above the areola, or a “donut” incision which involves the removal of a concentric ring of flesh around the areola. These variations are used in cases of less severe breast ptosis.
Will I experience scarring following a breast lift?
The incision patterns used for a breast lift are designed to minimize visible scarring. However, because a breast lift is slightly more invasive than a breast augmentation, you may experience some scarring. Scars usually follow a similar healing pattern. In the case of a full breast lift, the periareolar scar is hidden by the darker skin of the areola, the vertical scar is hidden in the lower breast hemisphere, and the inframammary scar is hidden in the breast crease. Of the three, the vertical scar between the areola and breast crease tends to remain the most visible, while the inframammary scar tends to be the thickest. While most scars do fade with time, patients are advised that some scarring may always be visible following a breast lift.
What is the recovery time following a breast lift?
Most women are able to return to work within a week following a breast lift, although heavy lifting and other strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 4-6 weeks. Minor pain, bruising, swelling, and tenderness can be expected in the days following the procedure, and can be treated with prescription pain medication. Your doctor may recommend a compression garment to prevent excess swelling and fluid buildup.
Does a breast lift hurt?
The procedure itself is performed under anaesthesia and is therefore painless. Some mild pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness is to be expected following the procedure, and can be treated with prescription pain medication.
Can I breastfeed following a breast lift?
While every effort will be made to retain sensation and function, because a breast lift is a delicate procedure, there is a risk of severing milk ducts and therefore inhibiting breastfeeding function following a breast lift procedure. Women are furthermore advised to complete all breastfeeding prior to undergoing a breast lift, as there is a risk that further breastfeeding will reverse the results.
Will I lose sensation following a breast lift?
In most cases, there will be little loss of sensation following a breast lift. However, because of the nature of the procedure and the abundance of nerves in the surgical area, permanent loss of sensation is always a risk. Some temporary numbness and tingling is normal following the procedure, but it should subside within a few weeks.
What kind of results can I expect following a breast lift?
While some results should be immediately evident following a breast lift, it may take weeks or even months for the final results to be apparent. While it is important to maintain realistic expectations, many women find a breast lift to be an effective procedure for restoring breast tightness and reversing breast ptosis. Patients report that their breasts felt lifted, firmer, and more toned, and that their nipples were elevated and perkier than before the procedure. Some women report improved self-confidence and body image.
Can I combine a breast lift with a breast augmentation/reduction?
Yes, these procedures are commonly combined, although combining procedures may slightly lengthen surgery time and make for a longer, more difficult recovery.
Can I get a breast lift without implants?
Yes. If you have adequate breast volume and simply want to firm and tone your breast area, a breast lift alone may be sufficient to deliver the desired result.
Will my results be permanent?
Patients are advised that the results of a breast lift are not always permanent, and may be adversely affected by weight gain/loss, subsequent pregnancies or breastfeeding, and aging.
How do I know if a breast lift is right for me?
If you are in generally good health, a non-smoker, and have excess skin or breast sagging but aren’t looking to increase breast volume, a breast lift procedure is a safe, effective way to restore some of the tightness lost through aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight loss.