Loss of skin elasticity, gravity and other factors, such as weight loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding ultimately affect the shape and firmness of your breasts. Patients who are generally satisfied with the size of their breasts can have a breast lift to raise and firm them, resulting in a more youthful breast contour. Some patients may be unhappy that they have lost a significant amount of breast volume over time. In such cases, implants inserted in conjunction with a breast lift can increase breast size at the same time as the shape and position of the breasts are enhanced.
You may be a good candidate for a breast lift surgery if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- Breasts that are pendulous
- Breasts that lack substance or firmness
- Nipples and areolas that point downward, especially if they are positioned below the breast crease
Sometimes these conditions may be inherited traits. In certain cases, the breasts may have developed differently so that one breast is firm and well positioned while the other is not., resulting in differences in the size of your breasts as well as their shape. Breasts that are large and heavy can be lifted, but the results may not be as long lasting as when the procedure is done on smaller breasts. In this situation, breast reduction is recommended.
Breast lift surgery can be performed at any age after puberty, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Childbirth and breastfeeding may have significant and unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts. Many women, however, decide to undergo breast lift surgery before having children and feel they can address any possible subsequent changes later. Since the milk ducts and nipples are left intact, breast lift surgery usually will not affect your ability to breastfeed; however, you should discuss this with Dr. Minniti. During your consultation, you will be asked about your desired breast shape and size as well as anything else about your breasts that you would like to see improved. This will help Dr. Minniti to understand your expectations and determine if they can realistically be achieved.
You should come prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries, and medications that you currently take. You should tell Dr. Minniti if you plan to lose a significant amount of weight, particularly if you have noticed that your breasts become smaller with weight loss. Dr. Minniti will examine your breasts, taking measurements and photographs. The size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin, and the placement of the nipples and areolas will be carefully evaluated.
The most common method of lifting the breasts involves three incisions: one around the areola, one that runs vertically from the areola to the bottom of the breast at its crease, and one that runs along the crease. Depending on how much skin excess exists, and whether there is mostly vertical excess, horizontal excess or both, a breast lift will be designed to address those issues to maximize the shape of your breasts. After the surgeon removes excess skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position, and the areola is usually reduced in size. The nipple and areola remain attached to the underlying tissue, preserving the sensation. The ability to breastfeed may also be preserved, but this cannot be guaranteed.
There are many variations to the design of the incisions for breast lifting. In some instances, it may be possible to avoid the horizontal incision beneath the breast. Sometimes a technique may be used that avoids the horizontal incision as well as the vertical incision. The size and shape of your breasts, as well as the use of breast implants to enlarge and fill the breasts, are factors that will help Dr. Minniti determine the best technique for you.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
Fortunately, significant complications from breast lift surgery are infrequent. Every year, thousands of women undergo successful breast lift surgery, experience no major problems, and are pleased with the results.
Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. Following this surgery, sometimes the breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical or the nipple height may vary slightly. Minor adjustments can be made at a later time, if desired. Permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts may occur rarely. Incisions that have healed poorly may be revised as well. In the unlikely event of injury to or loss of the nipple and areola, they usually can be satisfactorily reconstructed using skin grafts.
PREPARATION FOR BREAST LIFT SURGERY
Depending on your age, or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, Dr. Minniti may recommend a baseline mammogram before surgery and another mammographic examination some months after surgery. This will help to detect any future changes in your breast tissue. Following breast lifting surgery, you will be able to perform breast self-examination. Breast lifting surgery will not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking well in advance of surgery. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. Dr. Minniti will provide you with additional preoperative instructions.
Breast lifting surgery will be performed on an outpatient basis. You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you overnight and the next day to drive you to Dr. Minniti’s office. Alternatively, there are aftercare facilities available that specialize in the care of plastic surgery patients for one or more days after their surgery. These facilities are operated inside hotels located near the surgery center, and staffed by registered nurses.
The goal of Dr. Minniti and his staff is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible.
Your breast lift surgery will be performed in a fully accredited outpatient surgery center in the same building as Dr. Minniti’s office. A general anesthetic is administered, so that you sleep throughout the procedure. Afterward, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored for an hour. You will be in a snug compressive elastic wrap. After you are awake and comfortable, you will be discharged by the nurse and allowed to go home or to an aftercare facility.
On the day of your surgery, you should feel fairly comfortable. You should expect only minor discomfort, usually described as pressure. You will be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. The following day, you will be seen by Dr. Minniti and examined. There will be tape over your incisions that will remain until the following week. You will be instructed to avoid straining, bending, and heavy lifting for two weeks, and to sleep on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts. There will be no stitches to be removed, but the tape over the incisions will be changed on a regular basis for about 12 weeks. You may notice that you feel less sensation in the nipple and areola areas. This is usually temporary, but it may take weeks, months, or even a year before normal sensation returns. Your breasts will possibly have some discoloration that may last for a few weeks. It might take time for the breasts to take a more natural shape. The incisions will initially be pink or red in color, but there appearance will fade with time.
After a breast lift procedure, it is possible to return to work within a few days to a week, depending on your job. You may resume normal activities, including exercise, in a few weeks. You may experience mild discomfort occasionally during this recovery period. Care must be taken to be gentle with your breasts for four to six weeks.
BREAST LIFT RESULTS
Breast lift surgery will make your breasts firmer and more uplifted. The incisions from your surgery will heal and fade over time. It is important to realize, however, that the incision lines will be permanently visible, more so in some individuals than others. Fortunately, the incisions for breast lifting are in locations easily concealed by clothing, even low-cut necklines.
You will return to Dr. Minniti’s office for follow up care at prescribed intervals, at which time your progress would be evaluated. Once the immediate post-operative follow up appointment is complete, you will be encouraged to return periodically to observe and discuss the long-term results of your surgery.
Contact us to discuss your plans for a breast lift.