What Is a Breast Lift?
Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, age, and gravity take their toll on a woman’s breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and fullness and begin to sag. The breast lift corrects these problems by raising and reshaping sagging breasts, leaving a shapelier and younger-looking figure.
Are You a Candidate for a Breast Lift?
Candidates for a breast lift include anyone who wants to:
- Improve your overall body contour because you feel your breasts sag or have lost firmness due to pregnancy, nursing, age, or weight loss
- Achieve better breast symmetry
- Make the areola appear smaller
- Improve the perkiness of your breasts
A breast lift, possibly with augmentation, may be the right choice to correct these issues. Dr. Ortega’s goal is to give you an enhanced natural look and make you look great again.
Breast Lift Procedure
Since the surgical techniques used to perform a breast lift can vary, the first step toward the procedure will be a consultation and examination with Dr. Ortega, who will explain to you in detail the surgical procedure and the techniques available to you.
The classic technique is called an anchor incision and is most useful for women with a severe degree of sagging or for women who wish to have a reduction. This uses an incision around the areola, then vertically down to the crease under the breasts, and finally horizontally along the crease. This produces the most scarring but also allows for the greatest lift.
For women with more moderate sagging, the incisions can be reduced. The lollipop lift includes the incision around the areola and down to the crease, but eliminates the horizontal incision, while the donut, or periareolar, lift only uses the one around the areola. The donut incision is most commonly used for women who are also getting an augmentation.
Finally, for women with mild sagging, there is also the crescent method, which uses only an incision along the top edge of the areola. This leaves the most minimal scar and can be used in conjunction with augmentation, but it cannot accomplish the same amount of lift as the other methods can.
Once the technique has been decided, the surgery will be scheduled. It is generally done as an out-patient procedure and usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours under deep sedation or general anesthesia.
After the incisions are made, excess skin will be removed, and the nipple and areola will be moved to a higher position. Sutures will be placed deep within the breast tissue for greater support. Once everything has been reshaped, Dr. Ortega will close the incisions, apply surgical dressings, and send you to the recovery room.
Combining Your Breast Lift with Complementary Procedures
Since the breast lift is often performed after pregnancy, many women opt to combine it with complementary procedures for a combination called a Mommy Makeover. Most commonly, it is combined with a breast augmentation and tummy tuck. A lower body or thigh lift can also be added to correct sagging hips and thighs. Some women even add fat transfers or laser treatments to ease facial fine lines and loss of volume.
The benefit of the Mommy Makeover is that you get a smoother, tighter look without having to go through several separate surgeries with lengthy recoveries and a waiting period between them. Since the exact combination of procedures is individually tailored, you can discuss which areas you would like to work on, and Dr. Ortega can explain which procedures can successfully be combined.
Breast Lift Recovery
Once the surgical dressings have been removed after your surgery, you will be given a surgical bra to wear to support your breast tissue while everything heals. You can expect to have some bruising and swelling for a couple of days, but over the ensuing weeks a more natural breast shape will begin to take place. Most patients have mild discomfort which is easily relieved by medications prescribed by Dr. Ortega.
You will need to recover at home for about 3 to 4 days. You can expect to be sore and have a difficult time raising your arms at first, but you should be able to resume most activities and work by a week. You should be able to resume your full range of activities in about a month.
Possible Risks and Complications
Like all surgeries, your breast lift will have some risk of bleeding and infection. There is also a risk of change in sensation. Most women experience numbness or tingling for the first couple of weeks, and the numbness can sometimes persist for months.
If you’re also getting an augmentation, there is an additional risk of capsular contracture, which is the hardening of scar tissue around the implant. This can cause hard or misshapen breasts and requires a revision surgery to correct. Implants also have a risk of rupture, which is not dangerous but is sometimes painful and will cause malformed breasts. Again, this would require a revision surgery to replace the ruptured implant.
Breast Lift FAQs
Q. How long will my breast lift last?
A. Modern techniques are quite long-lasting due to the internal supports that are now used. While your skin cannot be totally prevented from aging, you can help to maintain the effects of your lift as long as possible by protecting your skin through maintaining a stable weight, not smoking, and avoiding unprotected sun exposure.
Q. Is there any way to lift sagging breast without surgery?
A. Unfortunately, since sagging generally results from excess skin, only surgery can really correct the problem by removing the skin. There are creams and lasers that claim to have a lifting effect, but these are completely ineffective on all but the most minimal sag, particularly if the skin is thin.
Q. Will a breast lift make my breasts smaller?
A. A standard breast lift with no augmentation or reduction will reduce your breast size by up to a cup size simply due to the amount of skin being removed. Of course, it can be combined with a reduction if you’d like to reduce the size even more, or you can add a small augmentation if any loss of size is unacceptable.
Q. I’ve lost a lot of weight, but still have a bit more to lose. Can I get my breast lift now, or should I wait?
A. Weight loss often results in loose skin that leads to sagging breasts, so it’s understandable to want to get your lift as soon as possible. Since additional weight loss after the procedure could cause additional sagging and ruin your results, though, you should wait until you are at a comfortable, stable weight before seeking surgery.
Q. How much will the scars fade after my lift?
A. The scars will always be visible, but in most patients, they fade to be fairly unobtrusive. You can maximize the fading through measures such as corticosteroids, scar massage, and avoiding unprotected sunlight, since that can cause hyperpigmentation.