A breast lift is a surgical procedure in which excess skin of the breast is removed to lift the breast into a more youthful position and improve the shape of the breast. The goal of a breast lift is not to reduce the size of the breast, but rather just to improve its shape and the location of the nipple-areolar complex. This procedure is frequently combined with a breast augmentation, and is a standard part of a breast reduction.
The primary benefit of a breast lift is an improved aesthetic of the breasts. By lifting the nipple areolar complex to a more youthful position and reshaping the breast, this procedure allows for a more cosmetic appearance without significantly altering the volume of the breasts.
Provided that they are in good health, women of all ages can be good candidates for a breast lift. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease can make you a poor candidate for elective invasive surgery. Patients who smoke that are seeking a breast lift must also be willing to give up smoking for at least three weeks before and after their surgery.
Women of the appropriate age should have a recent mammogram before a breast lift is performed. Although a breast lift does not increase the risk of breast cancer, the scar tissue formed can make it more difficult for assessment of the study performed. For this reason, it’s important to have your breasts evaluated prior to having a breast lift surgery and a new baseline should be obtained several months afterwards.
Breast lift is typically an outpatient procedure performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. During the surgery, excess skin of the breasts is removed. The remaining skin and tissue are carefully rearranged to improve the shape of the breasts, along with lifting of the breasts and optimal positioning of the nipples. Excessively widened areolas can also be reduced in size.
Different surgical techniques are used by our surgeons, such as the circumareolar, vertical, or wise pattern approaches, depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed, and amount of adjustment needed in the height of the nipples. Whenever possible, our surgeons use limited-incision techniques, such as the circumareolar or vertical approach, to minimize scarring. The circumareolar technique limits the scar to around the areola, whereas the vertical technique leaves a scar only around the areola and down the lower pole of the breast to the fold (sometimes called the “lollipop” incision). Some women who require more extensive reduction of breast tissue and skin may need the wise pattern approach to achieve the best results. With this method, there are incisions which are closed both vertically and also horizontally across the breast fold (sometimes called the “anchor” incision). Most, if not all, the stitches used to close the incisions are placed internally and dissolve on their own. The procedure length varies depending on the technique used and the individualized needs of each patient.
Dressings and a surgical bra are placed to optimally support the breasts postoperatively. After surgery, patients arrive in the recovery room, where they rest for a couple of hours, as the anesthetic effects wear off. They are generally able to return home on the same day after surgery, accompanied by a family member or friend.
Our patients are provided clear, simple instructions on daily dressing care to the surgical incisions. They are encouraged to wear a surgical bra postoperatively, which can usually be transitioned to a sports bra without underwire after a few weeks. As with any soft tissue surgery, some discomfort is normal during the first 1 to 2 weeks; medication may be prescribed to help with this. After the initial couple of days, our patients can expect to feel better each day. Some swelling and bruising is also normal after breast reduction, but this subsides over a couple of weeks. Most routine daily activities at home, school, and/or work can typically be resumed within 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Our patients are encouraged to avoid intense exercise or other strenuous activity until the surgical sites are more completely healed, typically 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. Our surgeons schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor recovery and to confirm good healing.
A scar results from any surgical procedure in which an incision in made on the body. Depending on the breast lift technique chosen, the scar line may be just around the areola, around the areola and vertically down the breast to the fold (“lollilop” scar), or it may include this scar line combined with a horizontal scar line across the breast fold (“anchor” scar). Our plastic surgeons are highly committed to minimizing scar appearance. In planning before surgery, they consider limited-incision techniques whenever possible, and take careful measures to mark incisions in such a way as to hide them under a bra and other pieces of clothing. During surgery, they pay close attention to proper tension-free closure of the incisions, which leads to improved healing. And following surgery, our surgeons guide patients on optimal scar care products and methods to help achieve minimal visibility of the scar over time. The overall satisfaction of most women with the outcome of breast lifts is very high, regardless of the surgical technique chosen, and tends to significantly outweigh any concerns about scarring.
In general, the majority of women who are otherwise able to breast feed before breast lift surgery are able to do so after the surgery. The potential impact of surgery on future breastfeeding ability depends to some degree on the techniques used. Surgical approaches which cause the least changes in the milk ducts and related tissues are most likely to preserve ability for lactation. During your consultation, we welcome you to discuss with any of our surgeons your specific goals in regards to breastfeeding, so that the surgical plan can be tailored to best meet these goals.
A breast lift may be covered by insurance if it is part of a breast reduction surgery, depending on the clinical symptoms and signs related to the enlarged breasts and the anticipated volume of breast reduction. In other cases, in which the surgery is considered cosmetic, insurance does not cover. In such instances, our office offers a variety of payment and financing options to make access to this procedure easier for women.
There are no great nonsurgical options for a breast lift at this time. Although weight loss and exercise can help reduce the volume of the breast, this typically will not result in an improvement in the shape of the breast or location of the nipple areolar complex. Surgery remains the most effective way of reshaping the breast and lifting it into a more youthful position.
Our highly skilled and caring plastic surgeons have many years of extensive experience in performing breast reduction surgery and are attuned to the specific needs and wishes of women seeking this procedure. Our staff is also dedicated to providing you with a welcoming and comfortable experience before and after surgery.
Contact us to set up a personal or virtual consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons today.
Elective surgeries have resumed in NJ. Samra Plastic Surgery’s private facility, the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Old Bridge, is a safe environment for patients requiring emergency and elective surgeries. Choosing a private facility like ASCOB provides patients an alternative to having their procedures performed in a busy hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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