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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.
Am I a good candidate for a breast lift?
You may be a good candidate for breast lift surgery if you have one or more of the following conditions:
Sometimes, these conditions may be inherited traits. In certain cases, the breasts may have developed differently so that one breast is firm and well positioned while the other is not. There may be differences in the size of your breasts as well as their shape. Breasts that are large and heavy can be lifted, but the results may not be as long lasting as when the procedure is done on smaller breasts.
A breast lift can be performed at any age, but plastic surgeons usually recommend waiting until breast development has stopped. Pregnancy and breast-feeding may have significant and unpredictable effects on the size and shape of your breasts. Nevertheless, many women decide to undergo breast lift surgery before having children and feel that they can address any subsequent changes later. Since the milk ducts and nipples are left intact, breast lift surgery usually will not affect your ability to breast-feed.
Your Personal Consultation
During the consultation, you will be asked about your desired breast shape and size. We will discuss with you how your nipples and areolas will be repositioned. You should mention anything else about your breasts that you would like to see improved. This will help us to understand your expectations and determine whether they realistically can be achieved.
How will I be evaluated for breast lift surgery?
The doctor will examine your breasts, taking measurements and perhaps photographs for your medical record. The size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin, and the placement of the nipples and areolas will be carefully evaluated.
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries including breast biopsies, and medications that you currently take. It is important for you to provide complete information.
You should tell us if you plan to lose a significant amount of weight, particularly if you have noticed that your breasts sag or become smaller with weight loss. the doctor may recommend that you stabilize your weight before having surgery.
Will my insurance help cover the cost of surgery?
Breast lift surgery, as with any aesthetic (cosmetic) procedure, is not covered by insurance.
How a Breast Lift Is Performed
Individual factors and personal preferences will determine the specific technique selected to lift your breasts. After a careful examination and discussion about what size and shape you desire, the doctor will recommend one of several different techniques and may suggest adding an implant as well.
Where are the incisions placed?
There are several options. Our doctors customize the surgical approach based on your anatomy. The various options include Cresecent, Peri-areolar/Doughnut, Lollipop/Vertical incision, or an Anchor incision. The method will depend on the excess skin and the extent of desired lift. Our doctors have mastered minimally invasive technique which avoids traditionally placed excessive scars. The traditional and commonly used method of lifting the breasts involves three incisions. One incision is made around the areola. Another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third incision is horizontal beneath the breast and follows the natural curve of the breast crease.
After the doctor has removed excess breast skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which in a sagging breast may have been stretched, can be reduced in size. Skin that was formerly located above the areola is brought down and together beneath it to reshape the breast.
The nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, and this usually allows for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breast-feed.
What are some variations to the common breast lifting technique?
There are many variations to the design of the incisions for breast lift surgery. The size and shape of your breasts, size of your areolas, and extent of sagging are factors that will help determine the best technique for you.
In most instances, it may be possible to avoid the horizontal incision beneath the breast. Our doctors uses an advanced technique that avoids this horizontal incision.
If you are a good candidate for a modified technique, the doctor will discuss this with you.
If you desire enlargement of your breasts at the same time as they are lifted, this will require insertion of breast implants. If this is an option that you wish to consider, the doctor will review the necessary information with you and may provide you with a brochure on breast augmentation. At times, depending on your history, how much lift you need and size of implant or enlargement you desire, the doctor might recommend a staged procedure. In these cases the lift is done first and about three months later, the augmentation is performed. This will significantly reduce risks and complications in selected patients. Not all patients require a staged procedure. In fact, most do not.
Fortunately, significant complications from breast lifts are infrequent. Every year, many thousands of women undergo successful breast lift surgery, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of both the benefits and risks. Those patients that do have complications invariably are those that will not stop smoking or have implants and a mastopexy at the same time. As stated above, this combination procedure very often does very well; however, if the implant chosen is too large, problems can occur.
I understand that every surgical procedure has risks, but how will I learn more so that I can make an informed decision?
The subject of risks and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis. We feel this is best done in person, one on one, in our office.
Some of the potential complications that may be discussed with you include bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia. Following a breast lift, sometimes the breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical or the nipple height may vary slightly. Minor adjustments often can be made at a later time. Permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or areas of breast skin may rarely occur. Revisionary surgery may sometimes be helpful in certain instances where incisions may have healed poorly.
You can help to lessen certain risks by following the advice and instructions we will offer you at the time of your consultation and at your preoperative visit.
Your Breast Lift Surgical Experience
How should I prepare for surgery?
Our goal is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable as possible.
Depending on your age, or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, we may recommend a baseline mammogram and possibly an ultrasound. This will help to detect any future changes in your breast tissue. Following a breast lift, you will still be able to perform breast self-examination. Breast lift surgery will not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop smoking at least six weeks in advance of surgery. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for two weeks before surgery. You will be provided with additional preoperative instructions.
Breast lift surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night.
What will the day of surgery be like?
Your breast lift surgery may be performed in our freestanding ambulatory facility.
The doctor will meet with you before surgery and take final measurements as well as answer any questions. The anesthesia personnel will interview you and you will be brought to the operative suite. After an intravenous line is inserted and relaxing medications are administered, a general anesthetic is administered, so that you will be asleep throughout the procedure.
The operation typically takes one and one-half to two hours. Gauze or other dressings may be placed on your breasts and covered with an elastic bandage or surgical bra. After you are awakened, you will be brought to the post anesthesia care area where our registered nurse will take your vital signs and care for you until you are ready to be allowed to leave our facility.
How will I look and feel initially?
The day after surgery, you should be up and around with only mild discomfort. You may be on pain medication for another several days. Straining, bending and lifting must be avoided, however, since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. You will be instructed to sleep on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts.
We do not use drains for this procedure. You will be instructed to wear a support bra for a few weeks, until the swelling and discoloration of your breasts diminish. Sutures are removed at two weeks. Several of the procedures only use absorbable sutures. Sutures around the areola are always the dissolving kind!
You may notice that you feel less sensation in the nipple and areola areas. This is usually temporary. It may, however, take weeks, months or even more than a year before sensation returns to normal. Your breasts may also require some time to assume a more natural shape. Incisions will initially be red or pink in color. They will remain this way for many months following surgery.
When can I resume my normal activities?
After breast lift surgery, it is often possible to return to work within a couple of days or so, depending on your job. In many instances, you can resume most of your normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, after several weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to your doctor. Full resumption of all activities including resistance training may start at six weeks.
Any sexual activity should be avoided for about one or two weeks. After that, care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for at least the next several weeks.
Results of a Breast Lift
Breast lift surgery will make your breasts firmer and more uplifted. The position of your areolas and nipples will be enhanced, and the size of your areolas will be aesthetically pleasing.
The incisions from your breast lift surgery will heal and fade over time. It is important to realize, however, that the incision lines will be permanently visible. In some instances, they will eventually be only faint lines. Certain individuals may have incision lines that are more noticeable. Fortunately, the incisions for your breast lift are in locations easily concealed by clothing, even low-cut necklines.
How long will the results last?
Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your new breast shape should remain fairly constant. However, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman’s breasts. If, after a period of years, you again become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a second breast lift procedure to restore their more youthful contour and appearance.
Maintaining a Relationship with Your Plastic Surgeon
You will return to see us at our office for follow-up care at prescribed intervals, at which time your progress will be evaluated. We will follow your progress for at least six months.
Please remember that our relationship with you does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact us. Call us, come by to visit or email us.
Free consultation with a Chicago, IL Breast Lift Surgeon
Call Dr. Patel today for a free consultation at (224) 238-3816.