For women who want to improve the shape, size, and position of their breasts, breast implants are often seen as the only solution. However, more and more people are recognizing the unique benefits of a mastopexy, also known as a breast lift.
Though breast implants are still the procedure of choice for most women, breast lifts have been steadily gaining in popularity. Between 2000 and 2013, there was a 70% increase in breast implants in the U.S. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that the increase in breast lifts has outpaced breast implants twofold. Even though lifts are steadily gaining ground on implants, it’s important to note that many women decide to have both procedures, depending on their goals.
Who is a good candidate for a breast lift?
A breast lift can benefit patients who are concerned about breast sagging, loose skin, or nipple ptosis (the nipple and areola are too low on the breast). All of these are conditions commonly associated with age, pregnancy, smoking, significant weight gain, and of course, genetics.
How a breast lift works
A breast lift can accomplish several things. First, it correctly positions the nipple and areola on the breast, lifting a nipple that is too low. Second, it can remove excess skin. Too much skin on the breast leads to sagging, so excess skin is “tailored” (just like excess fabric on a dress) and removed. This results in a lift and improved breast position on the chest wall–and no more sagging!
Finally, a breast lift can lift and shape the breast tissue itself. The goal is less sagging and more upper-pole fullness. A breast lift uses many different techniques to achieve these various goals, largely depending on a patient’s body type and the current condition of their breasts.
Will there be scars?
In some cases, the surgery will require an incision around the areola, and the resulting scar will be at the perimeter of the areola.
Sometimes, a vertical incision will also be necessary, especially if there is a need to elevate the nipple. This will result in a lollipop pattern scar, which includes a scar at the perimeter of the areola as well as a vertical scar.
During the surgery, your surgeon may also sculpt the breast tissue to lift and shape it. The incisions are closed with sutures that are absorbable. Wearing a bra 24/7 after surgery is extremely important.
What a breast lift can do
They are called breast lifts for a reason: the breasts will sit higher when the surgery is complete. This is an important benefit for many women with sagging breasts, and can actually help bras fit better. This result is especially beneficial for mothers who have experienced changes in their breasts from childbirth. After the surgery, breasts will also be firmer, giving them a more pleasing look and feel and providing a more youthful appearance.
What a breast lift can’t do
Women who are seeking to add volume to their breasts require implants as opposed to a breast lift. Many patients choose to have both procedures, often to offset the loss of tissue or redistribution of fat that can happen with age or pregnancy, as well as to correct any resultant sagging.
Whether you need an implant or not can usually be decided by answering the following question: “When I wear a bra, am I happy with my size?” If the answer is “yes,” a breast lift without an implant will usually solve the issue.
At the end of the day, it’s about your confidence and self-esteem. You deserve to feel confident, and for many women, that confidence is enhanced by having more youthful breasts.
This article was originally published on Dr. Pfeifer’s blog and adapted for Charlotte’s Book.
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