It’s no secret that the firm, perky, lifted breasts that women enjoy when they are young can be substantially impacted by aging, childbearing, breastfeeding, weight loss, weight gain, and other factors of life. If your sagging or drooping breasts are impacting your self confidence, a breast lift with or without breast augmentation may be able to help you achieve the look you desire.
Breast lifts are rapidly becoming one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the United States, with breast lift surgery increasing 70 percent in popularity since 2000. Breast lift growth actually outpaces breast augmentation, the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure, at a rate of two to one. If you are wondering whether a breast lift might be right for you or what to expect after a breast lift, you’ll find the answers with board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Applebaum.
What is a breast lift and what can it achieve?
Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is a breast surgery that lifts the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the breast tissue; breast lift surgery also reshapes the breasts. Women experience sagging or drooping of the breasts for reasons such as aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss or weight gain, heredity, and even gravity. Each or all of these factors contribute to the loss of skin elasticity and can cause changes to breast shape, leaving women with sagging or drooping breasts.
Women seeking a youthful and uplifted breast profile can often achieve their goal by having a breast lift performed. Additionally, women who have seen the size of one or both areola increase over time can have the size of the areolae reduced during a breast lift as well. It should be noted that although breast lifts do lift and reshape the breasts to provide a more youthful profile, the size of the breasts is not changed substantially as a result of the lift technique.
Women who want to change the size of their breasts or increase volume in the upper part of the breast while also addressing sagging and drooping should consider having a breast lift performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation. Women with excessively large breasts who would like to reduce the size of their breasts can have a breast lift performed in conjunction with a breast reduction.
What should I consider before having a breast lift?
Having any type of breast surgery is never an easy decision, but there are some patients who are better candidates for breast lifts than others. Often, how appropriate a breast lift is will depend on the stage of life that a woman is in. Women who may benefit from a breast lift include:
- Patients whose nipples fall below the breast creases when unsupported
- Patients with nipples and areola that point downward
- Patients whose breasts have lost shape or volume or have gotten flatter and longer
- Patients who have one breast that falls lower than the other
- Patients whose areola are out of proportion to their breasts due to stretching
Sometimes, women may have these symptoms but are not well-suited to a breast lift due to their stage in life. Breast lift surgery should be postponed for women who are considering becoming pregnant in the near future, women who are planning to breastfeed in the near future, or women who are planning on significant weight loss in the future. Each of these life stages can cause changes and stretching in the breasts even after the healing process that could offset the results of a breast lift, making it more practical to wait until you are done bearing children and losing weight before having the surgery.
What is the difference between a breast lift and breast augmentation?
There is often some confusion regarding the difference between a breast lift and breast augmentation because both breast surgeries result in perkier, more youthful breasts. However, the major difference between breast augmentation and breast lifts is that breast augmentation uses breast implants to enlarge the size of the breasts and increase their volume. By contrast, breast lifts correct drooping or sagging breasts caused by a loss of volume due to aging, pregnancy, weight loss or weight gain.
Some women who think they need breast augmentation would actually benefit from a breast lift or a breast lift with augmentation, and vice versa. While a breast augmentation does not treat or prevent sagging or drooping, it does restore some youthful volume. It is possible to have a breast lift with or without augmentation depending on your personal anatomy and goals.
What to expect after breast lift surgery?
As with most types of plastic surgery, the recovery process, the recovery time, and the side effects following a breast lift procedure will vary depending on the patient’s unique anatomy. In general, the first week or so after breast lift surgery is the most uncomfortable. Pain medication, which can be as low-dose as tylenol, is generally taken for the first few days following plastic surgery, although some patients may take medication for up to a week through the primary stages of the healing process. Additionally, showering is generally not advised in the first seven days after surgery, and sun exposure should be limited for at least the first week.
Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least two to three weeks following a breast lift. Patients who receive breast implants in conjunction with their breast lift should expect a more significant recovery period, as the scar tissue has to form around the breast implants in order to keep them in the proper place.
Following a breast lift, most patients return to work within a week, but patients with jobs requiring physical labor as part of their daily activities may not return for longer. Any activity that would cause bouncing or jarring of the breasts, including running or heavy lifting, should be avoided for six weeks after surgery.
In order to provide ample support to the breasts during the breast lift recovery process, most patients will wear a sports bra or recovery support bra that provides substantial stability and allows the breast to heal naturally.
Following breast lift surgery, most patients report a boost in confidence in wearing everything from exercise clothes to evening wear. Dr. Applebaum will give you clear expectations regarding what to expect from both your breast lift procedure as well as the breast lift recovery period during your consultation.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Applebaum
Dr. Robert Applebaum is a world renowned and highly respected Plastic Surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In his nearly 30 years as a practicing physician, Dr. Applebaum has become known as an innovator in the field of laser technology techniques for plastic surgery procedures. He has published numerous articles and scientific papers about the use of laser technology and educates physicians worldwide on the applications of laser technology for plastic surgery. Dr. Applebaum primarily practices out of his private outpatient surgery center, Four Thirty Six Aesthetic Surgery Center, which is located in Beverly Hills.