A breast lift is a surgery designed to restore a more youthful appearance to sagging breasts. Breasts may sag for a number of different reasons, but there are several ways to surgically correct the issue. Women who want their old breasts back after breastfeeding, women who notice significant sagging due to age and women who have never been happy with the position of their breasts can all benefit from this surgery. Dr. Patterson, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, is the top local surgeon for breast surgery, including breast lifts. Due to his extensive experience and remarkable talent for assisting patients achieve the best version of themselves, Dr. Patterson is now the go-to plastic surgeon for everyone in the Gulf Coast area.
The Breast Lift Process
The breast lift process may vary according to the amount of correction needed. The doctor will make small incisions to loosen the breast skin. The breasts are then lifted surgically and tightened into their new position on the chest cavity. The breast lift process is very straightforward and is focused mainly on repositioning rather than major reshaping. Improved breast symmetry is often a side effect of the surgery, as well.
Breast Lift Techniques
There are a couple of different breast lift techniques. The technique chosen depends upon the degree of change needed and the doctor's recommendation for the best result. For patients who need a small level of correction, the periareolar lift technique is typically best. In this method, circular incisions are made in the areola area. This breast lift leaves slight scars that can be well concealed by the areola. The vertical incision technique is often used for moderate corrections. It involves an areola incision, along with a single vertical incision that ends at the breast crease. For a larger degree of correction, the Anchor or Keyhole technique is typically best. This technique involves an incision around the areola, along with a keyhole-shaped incision that encompasses the majority of the breast tissue. This larger incision allows Dr. Patterson to get access to a large amount of breast tissue needed to perform the breast lift. Dr. Patterson will always choose the least invasive method possible, as long as the patient's desired results can be achieved with that method.
Benefits of a Breast Lift with Dr. Patterson
The major benefits of a breast lift are twofold. First, the greatly improved appearance. A breast lift can take sagging unattractive breasts and turn them into youthful looking breasts that are unaffected by gravity. Along with this improved appearance can come a dramatically improved self-esteem level. Most breast lift patients say that when they looked better, it also made them feel better about themselves.
Planning Your Breast Lift Surgery
Step one to planning a successful breast lift is working closely with Dr. Patterson and the staff at Patterson Plastic Surgery. Patients should always be honest about how much time they have to devote to the surgery and recovery. This allows for the best planning and a realistic recovery timeline.
Preparing for Your Breast Lift Surgery
There are several ways that patients can prepare for breast lift surgery. Dr. Patterson provides patients with a preparation checklist, and it is vital that this list is followed closely. Patients should stop smoking prior to the surgery. Some medications should be stopped prior to the breast lift, as drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen sodium, and St. John's Wort can cause dangerous blood thinning during surgery.
Breast lifts are performed under anesthesia. Dr. Patterson will make the smallest incisions possible, and then lift the breasts while tightening the skin. Breast lift surgery generally takes between one and three hours.
Recovery from breast lift surgery is usually fairly fast. Most patients can return to work within a week, as long as they don't have a physically strenuous job. For the first 24 hours post-surgery, it is important to have someone at home with the patient. After that, most patients can do the general light movement around the house on their own.
Exercise After Breast Lift
Following breast lift surgery, vigorous exercise should be completely avoided for a full six week period. Even moderate exercise should be avoided for at least two weeks. Strenuous exercise can cause swelling and can inhibit proper healing. Light exercise is the best choice until fully healed.
Dr. Patterson provides patients with specific aftercare instructions. The more closely these are followed, the easier and faster the recovery will be.
- Wear button-down blouses that fit loosely to ensure maximum comfort during this recovery period.
- Leave gauze dressing on the breasts for 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. If minor bleeding occurs, gauze can be removed and replaced.
- Avoid moving the arms over the head for the first week after surgery. This can put strain on the stitches.
- Wear a heavy compression sports bra for a minimum of two weeks to reduce the swelling and pain. After that two week period, wear a medium compression sports bra for an additional four weeks.
- Avoid taking a shower for 24 hours after surgery, and avoid baths (or any full submersion) for a total of three or four weeks post-surgery.
- Pain may occur during the first few days, and could last slightly longer. This is normal and can be alleviated with pain relievers. Use narcotic pain relievers only when required, as they can have significant side effects. If the incision area itches, use an antihistamine like Benadryl.
- Patients normally retain surgical tape on the breasts for two to three weeks post-surgery. Patients should leave this tape in place and keep any creams or ointments away from it.
Dr. Patterson may recommend additional aftercare instructions for breast lift patients. Follow each of these instructions closely for the optimum results. While full healing does take time, a breast lift patient will ultimately have the sag-free, youthful breasts that they desire. Expect for the full breast lift results to be evident around six weeks post-op. Realistic expectations and a willingness to follow all care instructions closely will give the ultimate breast lift results.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if I need a breast lift, breast augmentation or both?
Breast lift and breast augmentation are often confused, but they're two completely different procedures. Deciding whether you need a breast augmentation, a breast lift, or both can depend on several factors. A breast lift is a solution for sagging breasts, whether they're drooping due to the passage of time or due to weight. Breast lift surgery repositions the breasts, moving them higher on the chest cavity. This surgery doesn't change your breast volume. If you like your current breast size and shape, but dislike their position, this surgery might be a good option. A breast augmentation adds volume to the breasts. Usually, women opt for breast augmentation because they want to go up one or more cup sizes. Breast augmentations don't change the position of the breasts, so if you suffered from breast sagging before the augmentation it would still be a problem afterwards. However, when you want both an increase in breast volume and a repositioning of your breasts, Dr. Patterson can usually do both procedures at the same time. Your needs and wishes may vary depending upon factors including your age and body type. Learn more about breast procedures in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond here.
Can an areola reduction be done during breast lift?
Yes, Dr. Patterson can perform an areola reduction during a breast lift. This is a common request among breast lift patients today, because the areola may seem overly large in the newly positioned breasts. The areola reduction helps to keep the nipples proportionate and properly centered when the breasts are repositioned during the breast lift.
Is the breast scarring very noticeable after a breast lift?
Dr. Patterson always strives to give you the very best results, with minimal scarring. He uses the latest and most advanced techniques to keep scarring at a minimum. The exact level of scarring can vary based on how much the breasts were moved and whether a breast augmentation was performed at the same time. Scarring can also be affected by ethnicity, sun exposure, and using a good scar product which we provide for all of our patients. Dr. Patterson uses internal stitching wherever possible to minimize the scars as you heal. Most women find that scarring is minor -- and that a small amount of scarring is well worth the dramatic improvement in their breast appearance.
Should I wait to have breast lift until after having kids?
Dr. Patterson usually recommends that patients wait to have breast surgery, including breast lift, until they're done having children and breastfeeding. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can both change the shape and position of the breasts dramatically, so it's easiest to achieve lasting results when you're not planning more children.
How much time off of work do I need?
Most breast lift patients are able to go back to work within a week. You'll usually be past the pain after just a day or two, and it's fine to resume light activity like walking within just a few days. However, if your job includes heavy or moderate physical activity you may need to take more time for recovery. For strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting, it's usually best to wait six weeks after surgery. Dr. Patterson will advise you about your specific situation. Need a breast lift and want to learn more? Contact Patterson Plastic Surgery anytime to arrange a consultation with Dr. Patterson, the leading breast surgery doctor in the Pensacola area.