Breast Lift

Mississippi Gulf Coast Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

A woman’s breasts often change over time, losing their youthful shape and firmness. These changes, including loss of skin elasticity, can result from pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, aging and gravity. Heredity may also be a factor, and a woman in her teens may experience loose, sagging breast tissue. Breasts that have lost their firm, uplifted contours can affect a woman’s self image and confidence. If you desire to restore the firmness and shape of your breasts, then a breast lift may be right for you. In general, a breast lift raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. Sometimes the areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) has become enlarged over time, and a breast lift will reduce this as well. A breast lift rejuvenates the female figure with a breast profile that is more youthful, uplifted and firm.

Breast lift, technically called mastopexy, is surgery to uplift and improve the shape of a female breast that:

  • Sags or is pendulous, but is proportionate with the body frame
  • Has lost firmness and skin elasticity
  • Has a flatter, elongated shape
  • When unsupported, the nipple falls below the breast crease
  • Has a nipple and areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) that point downward
  • Has stretched skin and an enlarged areola

A breast lift is appropriate for women who wish to improve breast shape and position. When an increase in breast volume also is desired, breast implants may be inserted in conjunction with a breast lift. While a breast lift does not generally affect breast function, women who are planning future pregnancies should discuss this with their plastic surgeon. The changes that occur in the breasts during pregnancy can minimize or reverse the improvement a breast lift provides. Likewise, plans for significant weight loss should also be discussed. For these reasons, good candidates for a breast lift are generally women of normal, stable weight whose breasts are fully developed and who have completed their family. Breast lift is appropriate in younger women as well, most commonly in cases of breast asymmetry where the position of one breast is lower than the other. A breast lift is best performed on:

  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving body image

The Consultation

A consultation with your plastic surgeon is the first step in learning how breast lift can enhance your breasts’ contour. A consultation is designed to fully educate you about breast lift in a non-pressured environment and will include:

  • A discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your individual case
  • The options available in breast lift surgery
  • The likely outcomes of a breast lift and any risks or potential complications
  • The course of treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon

Dr. Dees will answer any questions you might have.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Choosing to have cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery is an important decision; so is selecting a plastic surgeon. Consider these important guidelines:

  • BOARD CERTIFICATION – Not all physicians who perform plastic surgery or who use the title plastic surgeon are board-certified in plastic surgery.
    • The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada certify physicians in plastic surgery of the face and entire body. To be certified by either board, a plastic surgeon must:
      • Graduate from an accredited medical school
      • Complete a minimum of five years of surgical training following medical school, including an accredited plastic surgery residency program
      • Pass comprehensive written and oral exams
  • PRIVILEGES – Your surgeon should have operating privileges at an accredited, local hospital for the same procedure you plan to have performed; even if that surgeon suggests your procedure be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility or at an ambulatory surgery center.

The Evaluation

Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of breast lift surgery. These will be carefully evaluated in consultation with your plastic surgeon. The success of your procedure, safety and overall satisfaction require that you:

  • Honestly share your expectations
  • Fully disclose health history, current medications, the use of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Be candid about any history of breast cancer in your family and your personal breast health
  • Commit to precisely following all of your plastic surgeon’s instructions

My Safety

By making the decision to consult with your plastic surgeon and following all the instructions given, you are taking an important step in helping to assure your safety. Dr. Dees is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. This certification designates surgeons who are specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body.

Breast lift is a highly-individualized procedure achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for your case will be determined based on:

  • Breast size and shape
  • The size and position of the areola
  • The degree of breast sagging
  • Skin quality and skin elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin

There are many variations to the procedure; however, one of the most common is a pattern with three incisions:

  • Around the areola
  • Vertically down the areola to the breast crease
  • Horizontally along the breast crease

Through these incisions, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height. If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter. Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity. Alternative techniques eliminate either the horizontal incision at the breast crease, the vertical incision from the areola to the breast crease or sometimes both. In any case, incisions are usually placed so that they can be hidden under clothing and swimsuits. Non-removable sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin. Once the excess skin is removed, the breast tissue is reshaped and lifted, and the remaining skin is tightened as the incisions are closed. Some incision lines resulting from the breast lift are concealed in the natural breast contours; however, others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve in appearance over time. Your more youthful and uplifted breast profile and an enhanced body image, should bring you great satisfaction.

Before beginning the process, Dr. Dees recommends that you research breast lift on the American Society of Plastic Surgery website to ensure that you completely understand the procedure along with the facts that the surgery delivers different results for each patient. The first step in the process of getting a breast lift begins by simply picking up the phone to call Dr. Dees’s office to schedule your free initial cosmetic consultation. During this consultation, you and Dr. Dees will go over the surgical techniques that are best for you. A personalized plan will be agreed upon and photos will be taken. After you have the necessary information and Dr. Dees is comfortable with your knowledge of the breast lift plan, you will return home and spend time reviewing the information in order to decide if the surgery is right for you. If you decide to proceed, call the office to schedule your surgery. Once your surgery is scheduled, it is important to organize your life, job, school, and family. Recovery times vary from patient-to-patient; therefore, it is recommended that you be prepared in advance. Approximately two-to-three days prior to surgery you will have a preoperative office visit. After you are cleared for surgery, Dr. Dees will give you written preoperative instructions, prescriptions, and order an evaluation by the anesthesia department at the surgery center. Lab work may be required. Fees will be paid at this time. On the day of your surgery, you may take a preoperative oral sedation before arriving at the outpatient surgery center. This will require you to have someone drive you to and from the surgery. Upon your arrival at the center, you will complete any required paperwork, verify all of your information, and give your final consent for the surgery. Before surgery can begin, you will have one final anesthesia evaluation. After you are cleared for surgery, an IV will be started and medication will be given. Once the procedure is complete, the healing process begins, which will vary from patient-to-patient. You will be in recovery for at least two hours. After you are released from the anesthesiologist and given post-operation instructions and a follow-up appointment time, your driver may take you home.

Post-Op

Once your procedure is completed, dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend, or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • How to care for the breasts following surgery
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
  • Specific changes at the surgical site or in overall health
  • When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon

Progress and healing

Initial healing will include swelling and discomfort at the incision sites. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. A support bra may be recommended around the clock for the first week or two. It is important to cleanse the incision sites. Follow all instructions carefully; this is essential to the success of your outcome.

Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling dissipates and incision lines continue to improve. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.

Results and outlook

The final results of your breast lift will appear over the next few months as breast shape and position continue to settle. Incision lines are permanent, but they most likely won’t be visible, even under your favorite bathing suit.

Over time, your breasts can continue to change due to aging and gravity; therefore, your new breast profile can continue to change due to aging and gravity. Your new breast profile is best maintained by maintaining your weight, a healthy lifestyle, and proper support of your now firm and rejuvenated breasts.

This material is provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. It is not intended to make any representatives or warranties about the outcome of any procedure and is not a substitute for a thorough, in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

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