Like other areas of a woman’s body, the breasts undergo a number of changes over the course of a woman’s lifetime. Certain factors, such as aging, genetics, pregnancy and breastfeeding, hormonal changes (e.g. menopause), and weight gain/loss can contribute to a condition known as breast ptosis, or sagging of the breast. Many women find this condition unpleasant and become dissatisfied with the appearance of their breasts, potentially leading to a loss of self-confidence.
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is designed to correct breast sagging, drooping, and heaviness, modifying the contour and elevation of the breasts and contributing to an overall appearance of lifted, shapelier, firmer breasts. A breast lift may be performed alone or in combination with a breast augmentation.
What are Some of the Causes of Sagging Breasts?
Breasts can change due to a number of factors. Like facial skin, breast skin loses much of its elasticity with age, the ligaments that hold the breasts begin to weaken, and gravity takes a toll, causing breast tissue to become lax and saggy. Some women may find that their breasts become stretched during pregnancy and breastfeeding, producing loose skin when they shrink back to their original size. Weight loss and menopause may also contribute to this condition. Some women also experience breast ptosis following breast implant removal, and a breast lift is often recommended for women who choose to remove their implants without replacement. Breast ptosis is usually graded on a scale from mild to severe, which measures the nipple location is relation to the inframammary fold, or breast crease.
About Breast Lift Surgery
A breast lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure that involves cutting and removing excess tissue and overstretched ligaments, as well as raising the nipples and areolae, allowing them to sit higher on the breast.
Eligibility for a breast lift largely depends on the amount of viable tissue to ensure breast functionality is retained following surgery.
A full breast lift typically uses a series of three incisions that form an anchor shape: one above and around the areolar border, a vertical incision from the lower areolar border to the inframammary fold (breast crease), and a horizontal incision along the inframammary fold. While this triple incision technique is somewhat more invasive than a typical breast augmentation, for example, it ensures maximal corrections and optimal results. Breast lift scars follow a typical healing pattern: the scar along the areolar border fades into the dark areolar skin, the vertical scar is hidden in the shadow of the breast’s hemisphere, and the third scar is hidden in the inframammary fold. Of the three scars, the vertical scar tends to remain the most visible, although it should partially fade with time.
Modifications of a full breast lift employ different incision techniques that, while potentially less invasive, may not yield the same comprehensive results as the traditional “anchor” technique. A periareolar lift, or “crescent” lift, features a crescent-shaped incision above the areola, a circumareolar lift, or “donut” lift, involves the removal of a concentric ring of flesh around the areolar border, and a circumvertical lift, or “lollipop” lift, employs both an incision around the areola and a vertical incision to the inframammary fold, excluding the third, inframammary incision of a traditional breast lift. Each of these techniques have limited efficacy, and may be chosen in cases of less severe ptosis or in patients with minimal breast tissue.
What to Expect During & Right After the Breast Lift Surgery
A breast lift typically lasts 1-4 hours, depending on the type and extent of work to be performed and the number of simultaneous procedures (e.g. breast augmentation). General anaesthesia is normally used. Most surgeons will recommend a compression garment following your procedure, which will help reduce swelling and fluid buildup, and you may also be fitted with surgical drains, which should be removed within a few days. Minor pain, bruising, swelling, and numbness can be expected, and should subside in a few weeks. Most women are able to return to work within a week following a breast lift, but strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for up to 4-6 weeks following the procedure.
What to Expect after Breast Lift Surgery
While results should be evident immediately following your procedure, it may take weeks or even months for your breasts to settle into their final positions. Scarring should mostly fade, although it is important to be aware that some scarring may always be visible. Furthermore, patients are advised that a breast lift may not last forever, as it will not prevent the effects of future aging. Many women are advised to complete any pregnancy and breastfeeding prior to undergoing a breast lift, as these may cause the breasts to revert to a condition of ptosis, negating the benefits of a breast lift procedure. While it is important to maintain realistic expectations about what can be achieved with a breast lift, many women find it to be an effective procedure that delivers dramatic results. Patients report that not only do their breasts feel lifted, firmer, and more shapely, but their self-confidence is restored. At Clinic 360, our number one goal is patient satisfaction, and our highly trained, specialist surgeons aim not only to meet but to exceed your standards.
Because it is a surgical procedure, a breast lift carries all the risks associated with surgery, including bleeding, scarring, infection, and the possibility of adverse reaction to anaesthesia. Additional risks specific to breast lift include loss of sensitivity, nipple necrosis, or loss of breastfeeding ability. These complications are rare in healthy individuals