About the Breast Lift Procedure
A breast lift may be performed at any age, although most plastic surgeons recommend waiting until breast development has been completed. Pregnancy and breast-feeding may affect the size and shape of a woman’s breasts, so you may wish to postpone surgery until after having children. There are still many women who go through surgery before having children, even knowing that they may have pregnancy-related changes later. You may be a good candidate for breast lift surgery if you have any of the following conditions:
Breast firmness or substance which is “sagging”, but a size that is satisfactory to you. Nipples and areolas moving downward, especially if they are positioned below the crease of the breast. In some cases, women have breast lift surgery to correct inherited traits or asymmetry (one breast may be well-developed and in the appropriate position while the other is not).
Ptosis or drop of the breast is defined by the position of the nipple compared to the inframammary fold which is the line beneath the breast where typically the bra underwire sits. If that fold is transposed to the front of the breast and compared to the position of the nipple ptosis or drop of the breast can be graded from 1 to 3. Grade 1 ptosis is where the nipple is at the position of the inframammary fold. Grade 2 is where the nipple is below the inframammary fold position and a grade 3 is where the nipple is pointing downward.
Breast Lift Techniques
There are different techniques available for breast lift surgery. Your anatomy, surgical indications and your desired result will determine the specific method chosen. The most common method of breast lift surgery involves three incisions. One incision is around the areola (the dark part around the nipple). Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third incision is a horizontal incision beneath the breasts that follows the natural curve of the breast crease. There are other methods that may reduce the amount of incisions, and this is determined at the consultation depending on the surgical indications and the patient’s desires.
This lift involves all the above incisions. Dr. Yousif performs this procedure with a special internal architectural positioning of the breast tissue to provide superior fullness and aesthetic shape. This procedure is usually done when a patient does not want increased volume but only a lift.
The vertical lift is a lift does not have the horizontal portion of the scars beneath the breast. It has been called the “Lollipop Lift”. Although this can be done without an implant it is most often done along with implant placement. When this is done in combination, Dr. Yousif has found that placement of the implant through a trans axillary (arm pit) gives the best results.
This is a lift with only an incision around the nipple areolar complex. The procedure was popular in the 1990’s. The reduction of scars is an advantage however this procedure has certain problems. It tends to flatten the breast and the incision around the nipple areolar complex has puckering around it. Although the puckering improves with time the flatness of the breast does not. Dr. Yousif only finds this indicated for small lifts. Following removal of the excess breast skin and shaping of the remaining breast tissue, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which is sometimes overstretched in the sagging breast, may also be reduced in diameter. The nipple is lifted to the appropriate position and the skin is closed around it. The nipples and areolas remain attached to the underlying breast tissue, thus typically allowing for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breast-feed.
If you have decided that your breasts will be enlarged at the same time they are lifted, breast implants will be required (refer to Breast Augmentation in the procedures section).
What to Expect
Within the first week following surgery, you will begin to move about more comfortably as the days go on. You may be able to return back to non-strenuous work within 7-10 days following surgery. The chest wrap is usually removed in the office within a couple of days following surgery. A support bra is then worn for 4-6 weeks. Most stitches dissolve on their own.
After several weeks, any bruising, swelling and normal periodic discomfort will diminish. The support bra, at this point, may also be discontinued. Sensation within the nipple and areola will gradually improve. After about 4 weeks, you may return to most of your normal activities including exercise and lifting. After a few months, your breasts will start to settle into a more natural shape. Incision lines which initially are pinker, will begin to fade.