Is It Time for a Breast Lift?
During their lifetime, women will experience changes to the breasts just as they see changes in the face, skin, and hair color. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, aging, and other factors can contribute to these changes. With plastic surgery procedures like the breast lift, however, these changes need not be permanent. If you’re frustrated with the current state of your breasts and want to do something about it, read on to see if it might be the right time for a breast lift.
Breast Lifts: What it Is and How It’s Done
A breast lift procedure, or mastopexy, is a surgery that can restore breasts that have begun to sag to a more natural feel and position. Aging causes the loss of skin elasticity and breast size, while pregnancy and nursing can also deplete breast volume. Dramatic weight loss can also have a profound effect on breast size, sometimes leaving women frustrated by smaller, looser, and sagging breasts. The breast lift is a solution that can reverse some of the damage done to the breasts. While it can restore a more youthful shape and position to the breasts, it cannot stop the aging process. Besides the natural aging process, any post-operative pregnancies or large shifts in weight can also greatly impact your breast lift results.
A full breast lift procedure requires an incision in the shape of an anchor that begins around the areola, descends vertically from the nipple, and ends horizontally along the crease beneath the breast. While these incisions will leave some scarring behind, they can easily be concealed in most bras and swimwear tops, and most patients find them well worth the results. With the incision made, the plastic surgeon will move the areola and nipple to a higher position on the breast before beginning to remove skin and tissue from the lower part. Your areola can be resized and reshaped during this portion of the procedure if you wish.
Signs You May Be Ready for a Breast Lift
Every woman, and every pair of breasts, is different and unique. Understanding the needs of your own body and the effect surgery may have on your breasts is important when considering a breast lift. There are some basic signs, however, that can help you to know that you’re headed in the right direction. If you have experienced any (or all) of the following changes to your breasts, a breast lift could be the right procedure for you.
- You have low nipples that are in line with or below the natural fold of your breast.
- Your breasts have a lot of loose skin.
- You have lost volume in the upper part of your breasts.
- You’ve noticed that the majority of your breast tissue is in the bottom of your breast, a condition called breast ptosis.
The ideal candidate for a breast lift is a healthy woman with small- to medium-sized breasts. A breast lift procedure for a woman with larger breasts will simply not last as long because of the weight. If you have large breasts and want the effect of a lift, consider a breast reduction to lessen the size and improve the shape of your breasts. If you have smaller breasts and want to increase the size, you can add a breast augmentation to your lift procedure or just have the augmentation alone, depending on the recommendation of your plastic surgeon.
Timing Your Breast Lift Right
Is there ever really a perfect time to have a surgery that requires about one to two weeks of recovery? Not with today’s busy schedules. Making time for this procedure must be a priority if you’re going to plan for a breast lift. Your recovery is essential to healing properly, reducing the appearance of scars, and keeping in overall good health. While it might not ever seem ideal to plan your recovery, try to find time on your calendar between important dates like weddings and birthday parties, vacations and large-scale work obligations. You may need to put it off for several months, but the important thing is to find the time to make some time.
Beyond planning for a recovery, there are some other timing issues to consider. You want to be in good overall health before your procedure, so keep working towards a healthy weight for yourself if you are overweight. Don’t resort to crash diets or extreme measures, however; healthy weight loss keeps your body healthy and ready for surgery. If you’re not done having children or plan to breastfeed again, hold off on your breast lift until you’re totally finished. Putting yourself through the pregnancy/nursing cycle again can undo all the beautiful work of your breast lift, the same way it made your breasts saggy and loose the first time.
Get a Surgeon’s Opinion
It’s important to consult with a highly experienced, board certified plastic surgeon to evaluate your body’s need for a breast lift. During an initial assessment, he can tell you whether breast lift surgery is needed at all, or if another procedure might be better suited to you. Your plastic surgeon may also decide that your breast lift should be part of a combination procedure with a breast augmentation to achieve the results you desire. The best way to know if it’s time for a breast lift is to talk with a reputable surgeon who can give you an experienced, informed opinion.
Dr. Ronald Lohner is a Philadelphia breast surgery specialists and board certified plastic surgeon. He completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and medical school at UMDNJ-Rutgers. He is Chief of Plastic Surgery at Bryn Mawr Hospital and holds a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Lohner’s peers have selected him as a Philadelphia area Top Doctor for the last eight years. His office is located at [primary_address] in [primary_city], [primary_statefull], on the Main Line. Please call his office at [primary_phone] to schedule a consultation.