Gravity isn’t kind to any part of the human body, including our joints or to our skin. But for a woman’s breasts, it can be especially impactful. Add to that the fluctuating size and concurrent stretching that occurs with pregnancy and breastfeeding, or the gain and subsequent loss of a good deal of weight, and you’ll wonder what happened to the breasts of your younger days. Where they were once firm and high on the chest, now your breasts are flattened, sagging, seem to have lost volume, and the nipples may even be pointing downward.
This could be the time to call Dr. Reynolds and set up a consultation for a breast lift.
What is a breast lift?
Clinically known as mastopexy, a breast lift is a surgical procedure that aims to bring the breasts back up to a higher position on the chest. To do so, excess skin and fatty tissue are removed, tissue is repositioned, and the nipples and areolae are repositioned to a better position on the breasts.
Because breast lifts do not address breast volume, many patients opt to have Dr. Reynolds add implants during their lift procedure so that the breasts are not only higher but also fuller and don’t still look deflated.
Who is a good candidate for a breast lift?
Sagging, flattened breasts can really deflate a woman’s view of her figure. They can make you feel older and less confident. It can make wearing certain clothes or swimwear difficult. If these characteristics sound like your breasts, a breast lift with Dr. Reynolds could be a good procedure:
- Your breasts have lost their shape or volume
- Your breasts sag
- The skin on your breasts is stretched
- Your breasts are flat, elongated, or pendulous
- Your nipples point downward
- Your breasts are asymmetrical
If you’d also like to return volume or increase your original breast size, you would be a candidate for a breast lift with augmentation.
What are the benefits of a breast lift?
With aging, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, the breast mass tends to move more into the bottom of the breast. This procedure reverses that, returning the breasts to a higher, younger position on the chest. Lifts are very satisfying procedures for women whose breasts have become pendulous. They can downsize enlarged areolae. They can take nipples that may be pointing downward and bring them back to their natural higher position.
How is a breast lift performed?
Every woman has different patterns of sagging in her breasts. Also, breast changes can vary due to the size changes of pregnancy versus weight gain and subsequent loss. The larger the degree of sagging, the wider the base of the breasts becomes. This usually makes the breasts the most flattened, as well. Dr. Reynolds treats every patient’s situation as unique. For these procedures he uses three incision patterns for this procedure, depending on your needs. You’ll discuss these during your consultation
Also called a minimal incision mastopexy, a donut-shaped incision is made around the areola. This method creates minimal visible scarring but is only appropriate for women with minimal sagging who don’t need much excess skin removed. If the Nipple needs to be moved 2 cm or more a longer incision will be needed.
This incision circles the areola and then drops straight down, ending at the breast crease. This method allows moderate removal of excess skin and movement of the nipple.
This method circles the areola, drops down to the breast crease, and then extends outward in both directions, similar to the shape of an anchor. The anchor incision allows for the most skin removal and tissue adjustment and the most improvement.
Regardless of the incisions, Dr. Reynolds lifts and reshapes the breast tissue to compensate for sagging and stretching. The nipples and areolae are moved to a higher position to match the new profile of the breasts. Any extra skin can be removed around the areolae to make them smaller. The final step is to trim away excess sagging skin. If you’ve opted to augment your breasts, at this point pockets are created, and the implants are placed using the incisions made for the lift.
What is recovery like after a breast lift?
Most patients with a breast lift alone usually have minimal pain. Patients that have an augmentation as well have some chest soreness. Most patients say the pain is a 2-3 out of 10. You’ll be given prescription pain medication but many patients don’t need it and only take Ibuprofen. Most patients return to work or school and most activities within a few days. However, any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting needs to wait four weeks after your surgery. This particularly applies to any strenuous chest activity that causes your breasts to move like running or jumping. By being prudent and cautious with your recovery, your scar tissue will reach its maximum strength. Plus, this will allow your scarring to fade more dramatically over time.
What if I may have additional children, can I still have a breast lift?
Dr. Reynolds stresses that his patients be sure they are finished having additional children before committing to this surgery. This isn’t an arbitrary thing — pregnancy and breastfeeding will negate all of your results from your breast lift. The size gain of pregnancy can actually cause your incisions to become distorted.
Also, if you’re considering having additional children and breastfeeding, there is a 5% chance this surgery could impact your breastfeeding ability. That’s because the nipple/areola complex usually needs to be moved to match the trimmed skin.
What are the risks with breast lift surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with surgery: bleeding or the formation of a hematoma, reaction to anesthesia, infection, and slow incision healing.
Risks related to this particular procedure include:
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation (these usually revolve within a few months)
- Irregularities in breast contour or shape
- Breast asymmetry
- Fluid accumulation
- Possibility of the need for revision surgery
What is the cost of a breast lift?
As with most procedures, there are variables involved with breast lifts. Do you only need the areola incision or the more involved anchor incision? Do you want to add implants to your lift? Once Dr. Reynolds meets with you during your consultation and ascertains your unique situation and needs, we can give you an estimate of the cost.