A breast lift is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess skin and reshaping the breast tissue to raise them up.
Women may choose to get one for a variety of reasons, including sagging or nipples pointing downward. It’s not to be confused with breast augmentation, which changes the size of the breasts through inserting implants.
If you’ve thought about getting a breast lift, it’s helpful to know as much as you can before deciding to have surgery. Here’s what you should know about breast lifts.
Why are breast lifts done?
As women get older, their breasts change over time. They often lose firmness and elasticity. There are several factors for why this occurs. If you’ve been pregnant, the ligaments supporting your breasts stretch as they get fuller and heavier. It contributes to sagging after pregnancy, even if you choose not to breastfeed your child. In addition to pregnancy, another contributing factor is weight fluctuations, which can cause stretching and lose of elasticity.
Gravity can also bring about stretching and sagging over time. Breast lifts are done to reduce sagging and raise the position of the nipples and the dark area surrounding the nipples, which is known as the areolae. A plastic surgeon can reduce the size of the areolae to keep them in proportion to your newly shaped breasts. A few reasons you may consider a breast lift include if one of your breasts is falling lower than the other, if they’ve gotten flatter and longer, or if your areolae are out of proportion with your breasts.
Who’s a good candidate for breast lift surgery?
Good candidates are usually women who are emotionally stable and have a realistic expectation of what the surgery will accomplish for them. The most successful results are usually achieved in women who have smaller sagging breasts. Though breasts of any size can be lifted, it’s possible the results won’t last as long in women with heavier breasts. You may be advised against having breast lift surgery if you plan to have children in the future afterward.
The reason is that pregnancy will likely stretch your breasts again and alter the results of your procedure.
What are the risks of a breast lift procedure?
A breast lift surgery can come with a few risks you should know about. One thing that can occur is scarring. While they will be permanent, they do fade and soften after one to two years. The scars can usually be hidden by bathing suits and bras. On rare occasions, they may heal poorly and become thick and wide. Another potential risk is a change in breast or nipple sensation. It typically returns within a few weeks, but it’s possible that some loss of feeling may be permanent. Nonetheless, the erotic sensation is typically not affected.
Asymmetry in your breasts’; shape or size can possibly occur because of changes during the healing process. If you have pre-existing asymmetry, surgery might not successfully correct it. In some rare cases, the blood supply to the nipple or areola can be interrupted during the breast lift, which can cause damage to the breast tissue resulting in partial or total loss of the nipple or areola. Some women might also have difficulty producing milk for breastfeeding after the surgery. Lastly, with any major surgery, there’s always a risk of bleeding, adverse reactions, anesthesia, or infection. A qualified plastic surgeon will ensure that every precaution is taken to prevent these things.
How to prepare for breast lift surgery
The first step of preparation will be having an appointment with a plastic surgeon. During your appointment, your medical history will be reviewed. Be ready to answer all questions about past and current medical conditions, and share if you have any family history of breast cancer. It’s essential to detail any medications you’re taking and previous surgeries you’ve had. The doctor will also examine the position of your nipples and areolae, the quality of your skin tone, and possibly take pictures for your medical record.
You should fully explain why you want to have a breast lift and your expectations in terms of appearance after your procedure. Make sure to understand all the benefits and risks that the doctor details to you.
You may also be instructed to get a mammogram before you undergo surgery. The doctor will use your mammogram results to compare with a future mammogram after a few months to observe the changes in your breast tissue. You’ll also have to stop smoking because it decreases the blood flow in your skin, which can slow down the healing process.
Additionally, aspirins, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory drugs will need to be avoided to not cause an increase in bleeding. Dietary changes and exercise might be recommended, so you can be at a healthy weight for the surgery to be successful. Lastly, it’s important to arrange for someone to take you home and help you recover the first few days after your surgery. You’ll likely need help with daily activities such as cooking, washing your hair, or getting in and out of bed.
What to expect on the day of your surgery
A breast lift procedure is usually done in an outpatient facility or a hospital. Your doctor will potentially make incisions around the areolae, going down the breast creases, or horizontally across the breast creases. Stitches might be placed deep within the breasts to reshape the tissue, and if necessary, to reduce the size of the areolae.
Excessive breast skin will be removed, and the nipples will be shifted to a higher position. The breast skin will be brought back together, and the incisions will be closed with skin adhesives, surgical tape, or stitches. The procedure normally takes about two to three hours, and you’re able to go home on the same day.
What to expect after the procedure
After the surgery, your breasts will typically be covered with a gauze and a surgical support bra. There might also be small tubes placed at the incision sites to drain excess fluid or blood. You can expect your breasts to bebruised and swollen for about two weeks. There will be some soreness and pain around the incisions, and they’ll be red or pink for a few months.
Numbness in the breast skin, nipples, or areolae can last around six weeks.
Your doctor will likely provide pain medication for you to take in the first few days after the surgery. You’ll have to sleep on your back or side to avoid any pressure on your breasts, and you’ll need to avoid lifting, bending, or straining. Sexual activity will have to be avoided for at least one to two weeks. Your doctor will inform you when you can get back to doing your daily activities. The draining tube near your incisions is usually removed in the first few days.
When the tubes are removed, your surgeon may change or remove the bandages as well. Your stitches will either dissolve on their own, or have to be removed at the doctor’s office one to two weeks after the procedure.
You’ll wear a surgical support bra for the few days after surgery, and then a soft support bra for three to four weeks. Your doctor might recommend gel or silicone tape on your incisions to help them heal better.
When you’ll see results
Initially, you’ll see an immediate change in how your breasts look. Nonetheless, they’ll continue to change in the months after your surgery. Your scars will look lumpy and red in the beginning. Within one to two years, they’ll eventually soften and become white and thin. Scars can usually be hidden by bathing suits or bras. The full result of your breast lift will take a few months to appear. Your bra size will probably be smaller after the surgery, even if you didn’t have a breast reduction as a part of your procedure. Your bra size being smaller is a result of your breasts becoming rounder and firmer.
How long results will last
The length of time that your results can last will vary from patient to patient. When you age, your skin becomes less elastic, which may cause some sagging to occur. It can particularly be the case for patients with larger and heavier breasts. Doing proper skincare maintenance can help slow down the effects of aging on your skin, and thus maintain the results of your breast lift. Vitamin E and C are known to benefit the health of your skin.
Additionally, weight changes can impact how long your results last as well. As mentioned earlier, it’s recommended that women postpone getting a breast lift if they plan on having children in the future, as weight changes can alter results and may cause you to need corrective surgery.
It’s helpful to do as much research as you can before deciding to have breast lift surgery. You can find out more information on breast lifts at Lexington ps.