A breast lift is performed to create a firmer and more uplifted look and feel. The position of the areolas and nipples will become enhanced and pleasing to the eye. Often, loss of skin elasticity, weight loss, pregnancy, and breast-feeding can affect the shape, as well as firmness of breasts. Candidates for a breast lift surgery may have breasts that lack substance or firmness, nipples and areolas that point downward, or breasts that are pendulous.
Breast lifts can give a more youthful breast contour to a patient. The plastic surgeon will ask what your desired breast shape and size is and will discuss the repositioning of your nipples and areolas. The plastic surgeon will examine your breasts by taking measurements and carefully examining other aspects, like skin quality.
How is the procedure performed
There are different techniques that are used for breast lifts. A common method of lifting the breast involves three separate incisions:
- one incision is made around the areola
- one vertical incision runs from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease under the breast
- one incision is horizontal from beneath the breast and follows the natural curve of the breast crease
Breast lift surgery can vary in the design of the incisions. Size and shape of your breasts, size of your areolas, and extent of the sagging are some of the factors that will help the plastic surgeon determine the most appropriate technique. Sometimes the horizontal incision beneath the breast can be avoided while the vertical incision can be avoided in other techniques. The plastic surgeon will discuss modified techniques if you are a candidate for it.
The surgeon removes the excess breast skin and then shifts the nipple and areola to a higher position. The areola can also be reduced in size. The skin that had been located above the areola is brought down and together beneath it. Sensation is preserved because the nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, that also allows the ability to breastfeed.
Surgery is performed with a general anesthetic in most cases. Gauze or other dressings may be placed on your breasts and covered with an elastic bandage or surgical bra after the surgery. Normally you are allowed to go home within a few hours after the breast lift.
Breast lift recovery
Breast lift surgery patients usually wear an elastic bandage or surgical bra over their gauze dressings. Following breast lift surgery, the breast area will be bruised and swollen for a few days, although pain is not usually severe. Some loss of sensation in the breast and nipple after breast lift surgery is not uncommon, and should fade as swelling subsides in the weeks after surgery.
Patients should monitor the incisions from their surgery for signs of infection, reporting infection to the doctor immediately. About a week after the breast lift surgery, the stitches will be removed. After the sutures come out, recovery from breast lift surgery is a matter of waiting for the swelling and redness to disappear.
The day following the breast lift it is advised to get out of bed for short periods of time. After several days you will be able to move around more comfortably. Activities that can cause increased swelling or bleeding, like straining, bending, and lifting should be avoided. Less sensation in the nipple and areola areas may result but is usually just temporary. It can take up to a year for sensation to return to normal and for a more natural shape to occur.
One week after a breast lift is normally enough time to return to work. Mild forms of exercise can resume after several weeks. Though there will be periodic discomfort during this time, these feelings are normal. Sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of 1-2 weeks, but some breast lift surgeons may advise a longer period of time.