Jefferson K. Kilpatrick, MD | Russell B. Stokes, MD | Hannah Parbst, Esthetician
Loss of skin elasticity, gravity and other factors such as weight loss, pregnancy and breast-feeding ultimately affect the shape and firmness of your breasts. Patients who are generally satisfied with the size of their breasts can have a breast lift to raise and firm them, resulting in a more youthful breast contour. Some patients may be unhappy that they have lost a significant amount of breast volume over time. In such cases, implants inserted in conjunction with a breast lift can increase breast size at the same time as the shape and position of the breasts are enhanced. Dr. Stokes performs many breast lifts with and without implants.
Reasons for Considering a Breast Lift
- Elevate the breasts due to sagging caused by the effects of aging and gravity.
- Firm the breasts if they have lost substance due to pregnancy and subsequent breastfeeding.
- Re-align your nipples/areolas if they point down or to the side.
- Bring back natural suppleness after weight loss.
The breast lift surgical procedure usually takes one and a half to three hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-like incision along the underside of the breast. The incision goes around the area where skin will be removed, thus defining how the nipple will be relocated. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved into a higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is brought down and together to reshape the breast.
Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the “doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy” in which circular incisions are made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed. Recent innovations in breast lift techniques include minimal incision techniques and nipple-sensation-reducing procedures.
If the patient is having an implant inserted along with the breast lift, the implant will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue or under the muscle of the chest wall.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Bandages are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. Once the bandages are removed, the patient will need to wear a specialized surgical bra for several weeks. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery which can be treated with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions given by the surgeon.