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A breast lift is performed to create a firmer and more uplifted look and feel. The position of the areolas and nipples will become enhanced and pleasing to the eye. Often, loss of skin elasticity due to gravity, weight loss, pregnancy, and breast-feeding can affect the shape, as well as firmness of breasts. Candidates for a breast lift surgery may have breasts that lack substance or firmness, nipples and areolas that point downward, or breasts that are pendulous.
Breast lifts can give a more youthful breast contour to a patient. The plastic surgeon will ask what your desired breast shape and size is and will discuss the repositioning of your nipples and areolas. The plastic surgeon will examine your breasts by taking measurements and carefully examining other aspects, like skin quality. It is important to tell your plastic surgeon if you have had any previous surgeries, especially breast biopsies, and medication you are currently taking. If you are planning on losing a significant amount of weight after the breast lift you should discuss this with the plastic surgeon. It may be recommended to stabilize your weight prior to the breast lift.
There are different techniques that are used for breast lifts. A common method of lifting the breast involves three separate incisions. One incision is made around the areola, another vertical incision runs from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease under the breast, and the third incision is horizontal from beneath the breast and follows the natural curve of the breast crease.
Breast lift surgery can vary in the design of the incisions. Size and shape of your breasts, size of your areolas, and extent of the sagging are some of the factors that will help the plastic surgeon determine the best technique for the patient. Sometimes the horizontal incision beneath the breast can be avoided and the vertical incision can be avoided in other techniques. The plastic surgeon will discuss modified techniques if you are a candidate for it.
The surgeon removes the excess breast skin and then shifts the nipple and areola to a higher position. The areola can also be reduced in size. The skin that had been located above the areola is brought down and together beneath it. Sensation is preserved because the nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, which also allows the ability to breast-feed.
Surgery is performed with a general anesthetic in most cases. Gauze or other dressings may be placed on your breasts and covered with an elastic bandage or surgical bra after the surgery. Normally you are allowed to go home within a few hours after the breast lift.
The day following the breast lift it is advised to get out of bed for short periods of time. After several days you will be able to move about more comfortably. Activities that can cause increased swelling or bleeding, like straining, bending, and lifting. Less sensation in the nipple and areola areas may result but is usually just temporary. It can take up to a year for sensation to return to normal and for a more natural shape to occur.
One week after a breast lift is normally enough time to return to work. Mild forms of exercise can resume after several weeks. Though there will be periodic discomfort during this time, these feelings are normal. Sexual activity should be avoided for a minimum of 1-2 weeks, but some surgeons may advise a longer period of time.
Breast lifts should last and remain constant. Significant weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and aging can affect the shape of the breasts. Incisions from the surgery heal and fade over time. The incision lines eventually become faint lines, but the appearance of the lines vary. Since the breast lift incisions are located low on the breasts they are easily concealed by low-cut necklines.
Possible breast lift complications can include bleeding, infection, and reactions to anesthesia. Breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical or nipple height may vary slightly following a breast lift. Adjustments can be made at a later time. Permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or areas of breast skin occurs, though very rarely. Some incisions may heal poorly after breast lifts.