Have you noticed that your breasts are visibly sagging as you grow older? These common concerns are sources of insecurity for thousands of women. A breast lift can help you look and feel younger, more attractive, and more confident in your own skin. Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI is proud to offer this procedure to women seeking a visible transformation of their breasts and instant, natural, long-lasting results.
What Is a Breast Lift?
A breast lift is an outpatient cosmetic surgical procedure designed to lift sagging breasts to a higher position on your chest, reposition the nipples to achieve a more youthful look if needed, and reverse the natural sagging effects caused by time or pregnancy. The surgery, which creates incisions in your breast tissue, lifts and reshapes your breasts to reach a height and shape that looks natural. It is often combined with breast augmentation to create a fuller appearance. It’s safe and effective for most patients and is generally performed on women between the ages of 25-65.
This procedure is a proven method to achieve a perkier, rounder silhouette in one simple surgery. It’s also the perfect way to give your breasts and your confidence the boost they need and can allow you to enjoy life to the fullest in a body you love.
How Do I Know If I Need One?
When you look at your breasts in the mirror, you probably notice some features that aren’t part of your ideal breast image. These can include a loose, deflated appearance in the breast tissue, downward-pointing nipples, nipples which sit low on the breast, and breast asymmetry.
If you aren’t sure whether your breasts are sagging, you can check by putting a sheet of paper flat against your torso with the top edge sitting right under your breasts (you should not wear a bra during this test). If your nipples fall below the top edge of the paper, you may be a good candidate for a lift.
What Causes Breast Changes?
Our breasts, like the rest of our bodies, are affected by the passing of time, pregnancy and breastfeeding, genetics, and even repeated heavy workouts without proper breast support. The most common result of these conditions is loose, drooping breast tissue, which can lead to dissatisfaction with your appearance and low self-esteem.
While these changes are natural, you don’t need to live with cosmetic concerns like sagging breasts. Your doctor can help you determine whether a breast lift procedure is right for you.
How Does It Work?
This procedure lifts the breasts by creating incisions in the breast tissue and manually raising the height of the breasts before removing excess skin and closing incision sites to create a smooth silhouette. Your doctor can also reposition your nipples and areolas to a higher location, which will appear more natural on your newly lifted breasts.
Issues like breast asymmetry can be addressed through the use of implants, and if you’d like to increase your breast size, breast augmentation can be easily combined with this procedure.
Types of Lifts
There are two main types of lifts available. The first is called the anchor lift because of the incision shape created during surgery. This lift is ideal for a more extensive surgery where the breasts need to be raised a significant amount, excess skin needs to be removed, and nipples need to be repositioned. The scar left by this surgery encircles the areola and then goes down under the inframammary fold, or the crease under your breast.
The second surgery is called a vertical lift and involves a modified surgical method which creates smaller scars around the areola and vertically down the breast under the areola, creating a lollipop-shaped scar. This lift is typically used for less extensive lifts and doesn’t create any incision under the inframammary fold. Your doctor will recommend the best lift for you after evaluating your breasts and discussing your ideal results.
The first step in your journey to lifted breasts is an initial consultation with your doctor. This appointment allows your doctor to examine your breasts, talk through your ideal results, and give you a detailed summary of what to expect during and after the lift procedure.
Your doctor may make some temporary lines on your breasts to show you the sites of the incisions and the location of your scar after your breasts heal. You should feel free to ask any questions you may have during this appointment.
Your doctor will ask questions to determine your medical and surgical history, your regular medications, and your lifestyle habits, which will help them determine your candidacy for this surgery. This is also the time to discuss the possibility of combining a breast augmentation and lift to create rounder, fuller breasts. Your doctor can give you more information on implant options and how this combination will affect your surgery and recovery times.
Once your consultation is complete, you can schedule your surgery and begin preparing. Patients have the best recovery experience when they live healthy lives–this involves regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and avoidance of unhealthy habits.
The Month Before
Your doctor will give you detailed pre-operation instructions to help you prepare for your procedure. In general, you should be conscious of your activity levels and your diet in the month before surgery, and if you’re a regular smoker, you should consider quitting at least a month before surgery. This can greatly improve your overall health and wellness as well as reduce your risk of blood clots after surgery. Your doctor can provide more information if needed.
Stop taking blood-thinning pain relievers like ibuprofen at least 3 weeks before surgery to reduce the chance of bruising during recovery. You should also stop taking any medications your doctor instructed you to avoid before and after surgery, which may include some herbal supplements. Your doctor may ask you to schedule some labs or a mammogram before your surgery to ensure that your breast tissue is healthy and that your body is ready for surgery.
The Week Before
The week before your procedure, stop drinking alcohol and drink more water to remain well-hydrated. This is the perfect time to take care of normal household chores and activities that you won’t be able to do after surgery, so release some energy by doing a deep clean or completing workouts to keep your body energized and healthy. You should also use this week to fill prescriptions, schedule any child or pet care which may be necessary during your recovery time, and even prepare meals to eat during your first week after surgery.
Your doctor will ask you to find a friend or family member who will commit to accompanying to you your surgery, driving you home afterwards, and staying with you for at least 24 hours. Most patients find that it’s helpful to have someone at your home to assist you with normal activities as needed, especially during the first 2-3 days.
The Day Before
Use the day before surgery to prepare your home for your recovery period. This means setting aside your most comfortable clothing, purchasing any snacks you may want at your home, lining up some entertainment options, and making sure that you’ll be able to easily access everything you need without reaching or bending over.
It’s helpful to have some bland foods and stool softener on hand in case your digestive system is affected by the general anesthesia. You may also want to have a body pillow available to make sleeping more comfortable.
Plan to shower before your procedure and thoroughly clean your breasts to reduce the risk of infection. Go over your pre-operation checklist and ensure that you’re carefully following any instructions your doctor gave you regarding when to stop eating and drinking before surgery. You should try to go to bed early the night before your procedure to give your mind and body time to rest.
On the day of your procedure, wear comfortable, loose clothing, avoid makeup and jewelry, and, if you’d like, you can skip wearing a bra. Your doctor will provide a special compression bra to wear during recovery. Bring your friend or family member with you to the appointment—they will usually stay in the waiting room until it’s time to drive you home. Before your surgery, your doctor will answer questions you may have and draw the guiding lines for incisions on your breasts. You’ll be placed under general anesthesia for the duration of surgery.
Your doctor will make incisions based on the lift you selected and raise your breasts to their new height. Your nipples will be repositioned as discussed and implants will be inserted if you chose to include a breast augmentation in your lift surgery.
Finally, your doctor will close incision sites, clean and bandage your breasts, and fit you with a compression bra designed to hold your breasts in place and promote healing during your recovery. Surgery can last between 2-5 hours depending on the type of lift and any additional procedures performed in addition to the lift.
After an hour or two of observation, your doctor will release you to return home with your friend or family member. Drink plenty of water and take short walks around the house every couple of hours to encourage healthy blood circulation. You should be able to shower after 24 hours. You should sleep on your back for at least a week after surgery to avoid discomfort. Plan to avoid lifting anything or completing strenuous workouts for 6-8 weeks. Your doctor will assess your results about a week after surgery.
Most patients return to work within a week. You can quickly return to your normal daily routine but should be careful to listen to your body as it heals. Consult your doctor before reintroducing workouts into your daily routine and stop any activity which causes you pain. You should wear your compression bra until your doctor tells you that you can switch to your regular bra.
You may find that a wireless bra is more comfortable to wear for a few weeks once you stop wearing the compression bra. By the 6-week mark, your breasts should be completely healed. Your scars will fade to their final appearance over a year.
Thanks to the surgical nature of this procedure, results are instant. You may notice that your breasts appear larger than anticipated in the first two weeks. This is due to natural swelling after surgery, which will reduce over time. Your breasts will settle into their new location over the next month or so. Full recovery is complete at about 6 weeks. The scars which remain after surgery will soften and fade over the year following surgery. Most patients find that the scars are easily concealed by clothing or bathing suits.
This procedure can result in a permanent improvement in the height of your breasts. While age and gravity will continue to have natural effects on your breasts, a lift can combat these factors in women who have healthy lifestyles, are not planning on becoming pregnant or breastfeed following surgery, and support their breasts while completing vigorous workouts. With proper care and life choices, your results can last for years to come.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate?
A breast lift is an excellent option for women who are unsatisfied with the height or asymmetry of their breasts. It’s also a good procedure to combine with breast augmentation, which is only designed to fill out your breasts and cannot lift them. This surgery is safe, requires minimal recovery time, and delivers instant results.
Women who are considering pregnancy in the future may not be ideal candidates for this procedure. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can undo the results of this surgery. Those who are planning to lose weight in the future may also not be ideal candidates as the weight loss could create excess skin, which causes breasts to sag. Finally, those who are regular smokers, living with certain medical conditions, or taking medications that could interact negatively with surgery should talk to their doctors to determine whether this procedure is right for them.
Many women find that time, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and weight loss have a visible effect on their bodies, but many aren’t sure how to address steadily drooping breasts. Dissatisfaction with the appearance of your breasts can lead to insecurity and low self-esteem in your daily life–you may feel like you appear less attractive or that your sagging breasts cause you to look older than you are. A breast lift can help address these problems with a one-step, effective surgical solution to your cosmetic concerns.
This procedure can help you reclaim your confidence and vibrancy by lifting breasts and creating a more youthful, fuller silhouette. It can even address the placement of your nipples and be combined with breast augmentation to increase your breast size or correct breast asymmetry. This procedure can dramatically improve the appearance of your breasts in clothing, bathing suits, or out of clothing and leave you feeling your best in every situation.
If you’re ready to learn more, contact the professionals at Southwest Michigan Plastic and Hand Surgery in Portage, MI to schedule your initial consultation today! We look forward to helping you achieve your cosmetic goals.