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Breast Enhancement Breast Lift
Breast Lift or Mastopexy
Breast Enhancement with Birmingham, Alabama Plastic Surgeons
A woman's breasts often change with age, losing their youthful shape and firmness as the skin becomes overstretched and no longer properly supports the weight of the breasts. These changes and the loss of skin elasticity can result from pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, aging, gravity and heredity.
A Breast Lift, or Mastopexy, raises the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new contour of the breasts.
At Hedden Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama, our board-certified plastic surgeons conduct an in-depth consultation for each patient where we review your goals and expectations for rejuvenating your figure with a breast profile that is more youthful and uplifted. By lifting and reshaping the breast tissue, a breast lift at our cosmetic surgery center is designed to give breasts that are sagging a firmer, more appealing look.
If you want your breasts to look larger and fuller, a breast lift can be combined with Breast Augmentation using breast implants. If you have overly large breasts that are causing pain, discomfort and self-consciousness, a breast lift can be combined with Breast Reduction to provide physical relief and a more proportionate figure.
Breast Lift Candidates
You may be a good candidate for a breast lift if:
- You are physically healthy and maintain a stable weight.
- You do not smoke.
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts sag or have lost shape and volume.
- Your breasts have a flatter, elongated shape or are pendulous.
- When unsupported, your nipples fall below the breast crease.
- Your nipples and areolas point downward.
- You have stretched skin and enlarged areolas.
- One breast is lower than the other.
Some women consider Breast Implants in addition to their breast lift. Implants can provide improved upper breast fullness or cleavage. Implants can be placed at the same time as your breast lift or as a second procedure.
Breast Lift and Pregnancy
Breast surgery should be entertained only after child-bearing is completed. Changes that occur in the breasts during pregnancy can minimize or reverse the improvement provided by a breast lift. Significant weight loss after breast surgery can also negatively impact breast appearance.
Your Breast Lift Consultation
By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for your breast lift procedure, you can be assured that you are choosing a highly-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS Member Surgeons must meet rigorous standards for training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.
During your breast lift consultation, be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals.
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments.
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Previous surgeries.
- If you have a family history of breast cancer.
- The results of any mammograms or previous biopsies.
Your breast lift surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
- Examine your breasts and take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality and placement of your nipples and areolas.
- Take photographs.
- Discuss your breast enhancement options and recommend a course of treatment.
- Discuss the likely outcomes of breast lift surgery and any risks or potential complications.
- Discuss the use of anesthesia during your breast lift.
Be sure to ask questions at your consultation. It is very important to understand all aspects of your breast lift. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether preoperative stress or excitement about your anticipated new look. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Breast Lift Risks and Safety Information
The decision to have breast lift surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits of a breast lift will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
The risks of a breast lift include:
- Anesthesia risks.
- Bleeding or hematoma formation.
- Poor healing of incisions.
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent.
- Breast contour and shape irregularities.
- Breast asymmetry.
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis).
- Fluid accumulation.
- Potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola.
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications.
- Possibility of revisional surgery.
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all of your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any breast lift risks and potential complications.
Preparing for Breast Lift Surgery
In preparing for breast lift surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation.
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.
- Get a baseline mammogram before surgery and another one after surgery to help detect any future changes in your breast tissue.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding.
A breast lift may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical facility, or hospital. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you for at least the first night.
Breast Lift Procedure
Your breast lift procedure can be achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for you will be determined based on:
- Breast size and shape.
- The size and position of your areolas.
- The degree of breast sagging.
- Skin quality and elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin.
Anesthesia choices for breast lift surgery include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Breast Lift Incisions
There are three common incision patterns for a breast lift:
- Around the areola:
- Around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease:
- Around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease:
After your doctor makes the incisions, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve the contour and firmness of the breasts. 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.
After your breasts are reshaped and excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is tightened and the incisions are closed. 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.
Breast Lift Recovery
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Following your physician's instructions is essential to the success of your breast lift and recovery. These instructions may include:
- How to care for your breasts following surgery.
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health.
- When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.
After the procedure is completed, dressings or bandages will be applied to the incisions. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluids that may collect.
You will wear an elastic bandage or support bra to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your breast lift recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery, and when will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed, and when?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Breast Lift Results
The results of your breast lift are immediately visible. The final, long-lasting results will appear over the next few months as swelling resolves and breast shape and position continue to settle. Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover from surgery.
Some breast lift incision lines are concealed within the natural breast contours. However, others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent but will fade and significantly improve over time in most cases. Your plastic surgeon will recommend the incisions which best suit your anatomy and will leave smallest scar possible.
Over time, your breasts can continue to change due to aging and gravity. You will be able to retain your new look longer if you maintain your weight and a healthy lifestyle.
Breast Lift Words to Know
- Areola: Pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
- Breast augmentation: Also known as augmentation mammaplasty, breast enlargement by surgery.
- Breast lift: Also known as mastopexy, surgery to lift the breasts.
- Breast reduction: Also known as reduction mammaplasty, reduction of breast size by surgery.
- Excision: To remove the skin.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection to help you relax.
- Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision to relieve pain during an operation.
- Mammogram: An x-ray image of the breast.
- Mastopexy: Surgery to lift the breasts.
- Sutures: Stitches used to hold skin and tissue together.
Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons
If you are interested in learning more about Breast Lifts, please contact our cosmetic surgeons in Birmingham, Alabama for a consultation today.