Following pregnancy, aging, or a dramatic loss of weight, women often find themselves with breasts that are not as youthful in appearance as they once were. Sometimes these women need more fullness with an implant and a breast lift. Other women have their desired breast volume, but need to have the breasts reshaped and the nipples centralized with only a breast lift.
Every woman’s anatomy and breast shape is different, so it is best to see Dr. Burgess at her Portland area plastic surgery practice for an evaluation of a breast lift (also known as a mastopexy).
Am I a candidate for a breast lift or a breast lift with augmentation?
There are many reasons to undergo a breast lift or breast lift with augmentation, including:
- To reshape sagging breasts and reposition the nipples
- To decrease areolar size (pigmented portion around nipple)
- To regain the breast shape that women may have had prior to having children or weight loss
- To attempt to create symmetry between two unequal breasts
- To reshape and provide greater volume (with an augmentation) for those who feel that their breast size is too small
Women who decide to undergo a breast lift in Portland may have varying degrees of sagging breasts, or ptosis. A mild sag means the nipple is level with the breast crease. A moderate sag occurs when the nipple is below the breast crease. When the nipple is at the lowest point on the breast and pointing downward, it is categorized as a severe sag. A less visible scar occurs with those with a lesser sag than those with severe sag. The scarring is related to the amount of skin that has to be removed (i.e., the more skin removed, the more scar created). Women that have enough volume will only need a breast lift.
For a woman that desires an augmentation with a circumareolar (Benelli) lift, the implant can be put in place under the chest muscle through the same lift incision. A donut shape of skin and tissue is removed around the areola (pigmented area around the nipple). Using a special, permanent suturing technique, the nipple and areola are lifted and the breast is reshaped. The leaves a final scar disguised along the areolar edge. However, women will sometimes need more of a lift with their augmentation. This might require a “lollipop” or “anchor” type of incision. Ideal patients for these surgeries should have breasts that are relatively small or midsize, be nonsmokers, and not currently be pregnant or nursing. If over the age of 30, you should have a healthy mammogram.
What will the breast lift or breast lift with augmentation be like?
These procedures take between two to four hours to complete and are usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning you will go home after surgery. For smaller procedures, a local anesthetic will be used while a larger procedure will likely require a general anesthetic. In a traditional breast lift (or mastopexy), the procedure contours and repositions the breasts, resulting in a more proportional, aesthetically pleasing look. A breast lift in Portland removes a small amount of breast tissue, skin, and fat to lift the breast and nipple via a two part incision–an incision around the areola, and vertically from the areola to the base of the breast or crease. This incision looks similar to a “lollipop” shape. If more skin needs to be removed, then a horizontal incision is made underneath the breast and along the crease. This results in an “anchor” type of incision. Finally, the incisions will be closed with sutures. Pictures below depict the anchor type scar, and the lollipop scar.
This illustration depicts typical incisions and results of a breast lift
What should I expect during my recovery following a breast lift in Portland?
A standard breast lift (or with augmentation) is an outpatient surgery, so patients typically go home the same day with friends or family. You should prepare for 1-2 weeks of recovery and many are asked to wear a tight camisole during this time. Individualized instructions will be given with regard to breast massages and special compression bras or garments. Dr. Burgess will encourage you to walk around after surgery, and your pain can be managed with medication. It is imperative to avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks. Traveling long distances is not recommended in the first month following surgery. Ensure that you attend all scheduled exams following surgery and understand that implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and may require future revision surgery. Scars from the procedure will be noticeable at first, but will improve over the next year. Results of the procedure are not permanent, as gravity and aging continue to play a role. It is important to keep up with breast exams, mammograms, and other breast studies for your general breast health in the long term.
As with any surgical procedure, complications and side effects are possible and may include changes in nipple sensation, hematoma or seroma, infection or inflammation, implant rupture, implant position issues, scar formation, ALCL (anaplastic large-cell lymphoma), or other unforeseen risks.
Women interested in learning more about giving their breasts a lift through plastic surgery with Dr. Burgess are encouraged to contact our office in Lake Oswego, which is convenient for women in both Portland and Vancouver.