How is Breast Lift Surgery Performed?
In today''s cosmetic surgery environment, several breast lift techniques exist. The patient and surgeon will determine the most appropriate breast lift technique based on various factors such as the desired outcome, the patient''s pre-operative state and the surgeon''s preference and level of experience.
In its most general form, breast lift surgery, regardless of the specific technique utilized by the surgeon, consists of removing excess skin around the areola, and possibly from the lower section of the breast, and shifting the skin of the breast in a manner that tightens it. To achieve additional breast volume and projection, as well as to further smooth the skin, the insertion of a breast implant may be utilized. Through this process, the placement of the nipple and areola is enhanced and elevated to a higher, more youthful looking, position.
While specific breast lift surgery techniques may vary depending on the surgeon''s level of experience and skill, breast lift techniques typically fall into two categories: the "concentric" mastopexy and the more commonly performed "anchor shaped" mastopexy.
Also referred to as a "doughnut" mastopexy, this breast lift technique is frequently used to treat women with smaller and less severely drooping breasts. Concentric mastopexy requires fewer surgical incisions and in some cases, may be performed using a local anesthesia with a sedative instead of general anesthesia.
This breast lift technique derives its name "doughnut" mastopexy from the concentric circles that are drawn and cut around the areola. This concentric shaped skin surrounding the areola is surgically removed and the nipple and areola are moved upwards. Following the movement of the nipple and areola, the outer skin surrounding the areola is sutured into place. Occasionally, this sutured skin surrounding the areola may wrinkle and pucker since there is now more skin than is needed following the stretching of the breast''s skin. Typically, this wrinkling will subside in a few weeks following the breast lift as the new skin adapts to the surgically modified weight and shape of the breast tissue. In breast lift cases where the cosmetic surgeon believes that this wrinkling or puckering will not subside naturally, the surgeon may chose to make a surgical incision that descends from the areola down to the bottom fold of the breast where there skin connects to the chest wall. Along the resulting incision, a vertical strip of skin is removed and the two sides are pulled and sutured together. Taking into account this additional surgical incision, "concentric" mastopexy still results in less scarring than the frequently performed "anchor-shaped" mastopexy.
Anchor Shaped Mastopexy
"Depending on the type of
breast lift technique used, surgery usually requires anywhere from one to five hours to complete."
This breast lift surgery technique is designed to treat women with larger, more severely drooping and sagging breasts. This particular breast lift technique derives its name from the type of surgical lines the surgeon incorporates in determining where to make the surgical incisions. For example, initially the cosmetic surgeon draws a "key-hole" shape directly above the nipple and the areola. At the bottom of this drawing, the surgeon then draws an "anchor shape" - thus the name - extending from the right to the left side of the breast. Following the implementation of this "anchor" drawing, the breast skin in the upper region of the "anchor" is removed along with any excess breast tissue. Following the removal of this skin and tissue, the nipple and the areola are repositioned towards the lower portion of the previously drawn "key-hole" shape. Next, the breast skin is sutured around the areola, on a vertical plane, down to the chest and side-to-side along the newly created lower fold of the "lifted" breast.
Depending on the type of breast lift technique used (i.e., "Concentric" versus "Anchor Shaped") breast lift surgery usually requires anywhere from one to five hours to complete.
How Much Pain is Associated With Breast Lift Surgery?
While the amount of pain experienced following breast lift surgery varies from patient to patient, as well as from the surgical technique used, most breast lift patients experience soreness for two to four days following breast lift surgery. Moreover, the greatest amount of pain is usually experienced in the first forty-eight hours. As with any surgical procedure, the amount of pain decreases each day and is frequently treatable with a wide variety of pain medications.
Frequently, breast lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis within a surgical suite. This fact allows many patients the luxury of returning home within a few hours of their breast lift surgery. Occasionally, if a large amount of breast tissue is removed, it may be recommended that the patient spend the night in the hospital so that their post-breast lift surgery recovery process may be monitored by trained medical staff.
As mentioned earlier, most breast lift surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, especially those cases involving the "anchor-shaped" surgical technique. In those cases where the procedure requires fewer incisions and sutures (i.e., "concentric" technique) the patient may be administered local anesthesia combined with intravenous sedation. The type of anesthesia used will be discussed with the patient during their initial consult visit with the cosmetic surgeon designated to perform the breast lift procedure.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Breast Lift Surgery?
"Most patients notice
an immediate and dramatic change in the shape, contour and projection of their breasts."
Following breast lift surgery, most patients notice an immediate and dramatic change in the shape, contour and projection of their breasts. A minor degree of numbness following breast lift surgery is normal and may persist indefinitely. Most breast lift patients are encouraged by their surgeon to wear a support bra for a couple of weeks to several months following breast lift surgery. Moreover, it is frequently recommended that the breast lift patient avoid wearing an underwire bra in that it may blister the sensitive postoperative tissues, sutures, etc.
The previously mentioned breast lift techniques (i.e., "concentric" and "anchor-shaped") are designed to minimize bleeding, bruising and subsequently, scarring. For most breast lift patients, bruising, swelling, pain, loss of sensation, etc., should diminish significantly within the first three to six weeks following breast lift surgery. Over time, the long-term results of breast surgery will express themselves as surgical scars fade and the breasts settle into their modified state, look, contour, etc.
Directly following breast lift surgery, most patients are advised, by their surgeon, to limit their physical movements and activities. Such a practice is common with most surgical procedures. This time period provides the body with the time and resources needed to heal properly and minimize scarring. Excessive physical movement may result in sutures breaking and scars stretching. In an effort to expedite and maximize the healing process, breast lift patients are strongly encouraged to adhere to any and all instructions from their cosmetic surgeon.
As time passes and gravity takes its effects, it is important to recognize that a breast lift will NOT keep your breasts firm and youthful looking forever. However, for those individuals who have undergone breast lift surgery, their breasts will maintain a more enhanced, contoured appearance than if they had not undergone breast lift surgery at all.
What are the Risks of Breast Lift Surgery?
Keeping in mind that no surgical procedure is completely risk free, breast lift surgery is considered to be fairly safe. In those breast lift surgery cases where breast implants are used, the associated risks increase proportionately by introducing various characteristics associated with the implants themselves. Specific risks associated with the use of breast implants may be found by consulting the U.S. Food And Drug Administration''s website
What Are the Typical Costs Associated With Breast Lift Surgery?
"The national average for
surgeons fees, relative to the breast lift surgery, is $4,207."
According to cost data supplied by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for 2011, the national average for surgeon fees, relative to breast lift surgery, is $4,207. It should be noted that surgeon fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the practice is in an urban, suburban or rural area. As indicated by ASPS, the national average fee covers the surgeon''s fee only and does not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, or other miscellaneous costs related to breast lift surgery. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the cosmetic surgeon. Make sure the total figure includes any and all costs associated with the breast lift surgery. Due the various costs associated with breast lift surgery, most surgeons offer multiple financing options.
Ten Questions Every Breast Lift Surgery Patient Should Ask Their Surgeon:
Prior to any breast lift procedure, a consultation will occur between the prospective patient and the providing surgeon. During this consultation the surgeon and patient will discuss issues such as the desired outcome, various options that are available to achieve said outcome, the procedure itself as well various risks and limitations. The surgeon will also provide information regarding anesthesia options, the location and description of where the breast lift procedure will be performed (i.e., hospital vs. office surgical suite) and associated costs. A discussion regarding the patient''s medical history, as well as a physical examination of the area to be treated will also take place during the consultation.
In an effort to educate the patient about breast lift, as well to assist in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient view numerous before and after photographs, speak with previous breast lift patients, as well as obtain responses to the following questions:
"It is recommended that
the patient view numerous before and after photographs."
- Am I a good candidate for breast lift surgery? If so, what breast lift surgery technique is the most appropriate for my case?
- Are the desired results I described realistic?
- Where is the breast lift procedure performed and how long will it take?
- What kind of anesthesia will the surgeon use during the breast lift surgery?
- What does the surgeon charge for a breast lift and what elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
- What is the surgeon''s level of experience in performing breast lifts?
- What percentage of patients experience complications with breast lifts?
- What is the surgeon''s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the breast lift surgery does not meet the agreed upon goals?
- What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level, etc?
- Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
It is also recommended that interested persons request and view several before and after photographs of recent patients who have received breast lift procedures from the surgeon. These photos may be supplemented with additional valuable information by requesting the names and contact information for several of the surgeon''s breast lift patients.
In addition to the previously mentioned questions, it is imperative that breast lift patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, breast lift patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.
This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to an individual''s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure that our information is accurate and useful, we recommend that you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.
The Best Candidates for a Breast Lift
Internal Lift (Internal Mastopexy)