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Breast Lifts Explained

Have you noticed a change in the shape and firmness of your breasts? Many factors can impact the appearance of the breasts including pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight changes. All women will notice changes in their breasts as they age, simply due to time and gravity. Breast lifts are becoming a popular means for women to restore a youthful look and feel to their bodies.

The Basics

Another name for a breast lift is a mastoplexy. What happens to the breast during a breast lift is similar to what happens to the abdominal skin during a tummy tuck. Excess skin is removed and the surrounding tissue is tightened to create a new shape. It will not increase or decrease the size of the breast – it will simply shift the placement and firmness and tighten skin. However, a breast lift procedure can change the size of the areolas, which also tend to expand over time.

Are You a Candidate for a Breast Lift?

There are multiple reasons you may consider a breast lift and a variety of issues a breast lift can help resolve. If your breasts have a flat, elongated shape, causing your nipples to point downward, a breast lift can restore the nipple position to a higher place on the breast. Maybe the skin has just stretched or your areolas have grown – a breast lift can also help return them to a more desirable shape and size. Some women get a mastoplexy to fix uneven breasts when one hangs lower than the other. In general, if you’re unhappy with the shape of your breasts, consider scheduling a consultation to learn more about what a breast lift could do for you.

In order to receive the actual surgery, you should be physically healthy, maintaining a stable weight with no plans of significant loss or gain, and you should not smoke. Since a breast lift is a surgery, your doctor may have you complete additional lab tests to ensure you’re healthy and can safely heal from the procedure. Disclose any allergies you have and medications or supplements you’re taking so your doctor can create a plan that’s right for you.

Breaking Down a Breast Lift

To undergo a breast lift, you will be put under general anesthesia or given intravenous sedation and will be asleep. Depending on your breast shape and what you hope to achieve through the breast lift, there are three different incision patterns: around the areola, vertically from areola to breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease. Your doctor may utilize any combination of the three.

With any of these incision patterns, your doctor is then able to lift underlying breast tissue, reposition the nipple and areola to a more youthful (but still natural) height and reduce the size of the areola. With all three, excess skin is removed to compensate for decreased skin elasticity. Once the breast has been given the desired shape, the incisions are closed with sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape. Your doctor will do their best to minimize visible scarring and will hide incisions along the boundary of the areola and along the breast crease. A vertical scar may be visible from the areola-to-breast-crease incision. With proper care, many scars will fade and improve over time.

Post-Lift Life

Immediately following a breast lift, you’ll need to wear a surgical support bra while your incisions heal. In some cases, small tubes may be placed at the incision site to allow excess blood or fluid to drain. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions to help you care for the surgical site as it heals. Additionally, they will advise on pain medication to help during the first few days. You should sleep on your back and avoid intense activity, including straining, bending and lifting. Swelling and bruising will last for about two weeks and you may experience numbness around your nipple, areola or breast, which can last up to six weeks. Keep in mind, swelling may give the appearance of an increased breast size, so allow some time for your breasts to return to their natural size. For the best results, ask lots of questions and follow your doctor’s orders expressly.

Do you think a breast lift might be right for you? To learn more about your options, including breast implants, augmentation or reduction, give us a call and schedule your free consultation.

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