This is a guest post by Dr. David Mashhadian of Rodeo Surgical Art of Beverly Hills, CA.
Are you considering a breast lift? If you are, it’s important to find out exactly what’s involved in the procedure so that you know what to expect. Although breast lift surgery may vary somewhat for each patient, there are general steps that apply in every case. So, what are the steps involved in breast lift surgery?
What Is A Breast Lift?
A breast lift or mastopexy is a procedure that is done to uplift and firm sagging breasts so that they have a perky, more youthful form. This typically involves removing excess skin, reshaping the breast tissue, and repositioning the breasts so that they sit higher on the chest wall.
What Factors Contribute To Breast Ptosis
Ptosis or sagging of the breasts occurs as a consequence of volume loss and a decline in skin elasticity. Loss of breast volume is common in women after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Significant weight loss, aging, and gravity can also contribute to a decline in breast volume.
Breast Lift Techniques
Different techniques can be used to perform breast lift surgery. The most commonly used breast lift techniques are the crescent lift, lollipop lift, donut or Benelli lift, and the inverted-t or anchor lift.
Crescent Lift: When performing a crescent lift, the surgeon will make an incision in the shape of a half-moon along the upper half of the areola (the dark area surrounding the nipple). Since this is a short incision, the crescent lift is ideal for patients that have minor sagging and only need a small amount of skin removed.
Donut (Benelli) Lift: The incision for the donut lift is made around the areola, in a donut shape. The donut lift is used to correct moderate sagging, and the circular incision makes it easier to access the breast tissue. This approach is also beneficial for patients that need to reduce the size of their areola.
Lollipop Lift: The lollipop lift is ideal for women that have medium breast fall and therefore require a moderate lift. The incision starts around the perimeter of the areola and continues downward vertically to the inframammary crease (breast crease) below the breast. The breast crease is the area where the breast and chest intersect.
Inverted-T (Anchor) Lift: The anchor lift is the technique used for women that have substantial sagging as well as a large amount of breast tissue to reshape. The incisions for the anchor lift are made at the top of the areola, vertically down from the areola to the inframammary crease, and then laterally along the breast crease.
What Are The Steps Involved In Breast Lift Surgery?
- Anesthesia. Anesthesia medications are administered through an IV. Breast lift surgery is typically done under general anesthesia, so patients are comfortable throughout.
- Incisions. Once the patient is asleep, the surgeon will make the relevant incisions in the breasts. The placement of the incisions is dependent on the specific breast lift technique being performed. The technique chosen is influenced by several factors including the amount of loose skin that has to be removed, and the degree of ptosis.
- Reshaping The Breasts. After the incisions are made the breasts are reshaped. This involves lifting and reshaping the breast tissue to restore natural contours and increase firmness. The nipple-areolar complex is also repositioned, and enlarged areolas are reduced as required. The excess breast tissue is then removed and the remaining skin is tightened.
- Closing Incisions. Closing the incisions is the final step in the surgical process, and this is usually done with dissolvable stitches.
Depending on the extent of the correction required and specifics of the operation, a breast lift can take anywhere from 3-5 hours to complete.
After surgery patients will remain at the surgical facility for a few hours until they are cleared to go home by their plastic surgeon. A support garment is worn during the recovery period to support the breasts and help minimize swelling.
Patients are generally able to resume regular activities within 7-14 days of surgery, but strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 6 weeks.
The incisions will take several weeks to heal and there will be scars. However, most of the scars are hidden within the natural contours of the breast, and gradually fade over time. There are also effective scar treatments available. BioCorneum is an advanced scar treatment that uses patented medical grade silicone to decrease the appearance of scars.
Patients will notice a change in the appearance of their breasts immediately after breast lift surgery, but the final results won’t be seen until the bruising and swelling resolves. This usually takes about 1-2 weeks.
When To Consider A Breast Lift
If your breasts sag significantly, and your nipples point downward and fall below the breast crease, it may be time to consider breast lift surgery. A breast lift is an excellent way to elevate flat, elongated breasts so that they look firm and youthful again.
Breast Lift with Implants
A breast lift will elevate the breasts, but it does not change the size of the breasts. Therefore, patients that are also looking to get larger breasts can opt to have a breast augmentation done in combination with a breast lift. Breast augmentation uses saline or silicone implants to make the breasts fuller and shapelier.
Breast Lift Consultation
During the consultation, your surgeon will outline the results that are achievable with breast lift surgery, and decide which technique would be most appropriate for you. The surgeon will evaluate factors such as the degree of sagging, size of the areola, and the size and shape of the breasts, to determine the technique that will achieve the best results.
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