Plastic Surgery
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Breast Lift

A woman's breasts change with time.  This is simply part of life.  As a woman ages, gravity takes its toll, and the breasts begin to sag.  A lot of women have this problem (technically known as ptosis), and int the past there was nothing that could be done.  However, today breast lift surgeries make it possible for a woman's breasts to return to a younger, perter, perkier state.

What Is Breast Lift?

The technical term for a breast lift is mastopexy.  This word derives from the Greek roots mastos, meaning “breast,” and pexy, meaning “to affix.”  Thus, a breast lift is a surgery which helps to affix the breasts in their proper place.  In doing this, it can improve the aesthetic appeal of the breasts, reduce sag, and correct the contours of the breast. 

Breast lifts have been performed since at least the 1800s, and surgeons just keep improving the techniques.  During the surgery, incisions are made to allow access to the breast tissue.  Then, the breast tissue is reshaped and lifted, and the nipples and areolas are repositioned.  If desired, the areolas may also be reduced during the surgery.  Excess breast skin will also be removed, thus granting a tighter, tauter appearance.

Common Breast Lift Techniques

There are a number of different techniques that can be employed during a breast lift.  For the most part these techniques will vary in the sort of incision that is made.  Here are some of the most common.

Crescent Breast Lift

The crescent technique involves making an incision along the top of the areola.  Tissue is removed in a crescent shape, and the remaining tissue is moved higher.  This technique provides a relatively small amount of lift, and it works best on patients who only have slight amounts of drooping.  If the patient's breasts are excessively heavy, or if the patient dow not wear proper bras after the surgery, it is possible that the skin will stretch at the incision line, leading to an egg-shaped areola.  This is not one of the most common forms of breast lift.

Benelli Breast Lift

The Benelli technique is known by many names.  Concentric lift, periareolar lift, and doughnut lift are all synonyms for this procedure.  In this technique, an incision is made around the entire areola, and then a ring of tissue is removed.  The remaining tissue is then sutured to the areola.  This technique can help women with low to moderate ptosis.  Some women decide to use use Benelli breast lifts in combination with breast implants, as this can help to combat droop while increasing breast size.

Lollipop Lift

A lollipop lift (or keyhole lift) combines a circular incision around the areola with a straight incision running from the bottom of the areola to the inframammary crease.  This shape looks a little bit like a lollipop, which is what gives the surgery its name.  This technique is best-suited to women with moderate sagging.  It is good for women who have too much sagging for a Benelli lift, but who do not wish to get implants.

Full Mastopexy

Full mastopexy is the oldest and most common breast lift technique.  It uses an anchor-shaped incision that includes that a vertical cut from the areola to the inframammary crease, a circular cut around the areola, and a curved incision around the bottom of the inframammary crease.  This is the most invasive and traumatic form of breast lift.  However, it is also the one that can offer the greatest amount of lift.  It is well-suited to women who have severe breast sagging.

Breast Ptosis Levels

Because the amount of breast sag a woman has will help to determine the ideal breast lift technique for her, it can be very helpful for women to get a general idea of the levels of breast ptosis (or sag).  One easy way to determine your own level of breast ptosis is to get a ruler and take off your shirt and bra.  Place the ruler in your inframammary crease (just under your breasts.)  Then let your breasts hang normally.

If your nipples are directly in front of the top of the ruler, or if they lie slightly above it, you probably have mild, or grade 1, ptosis.  This is typically referred to as grade 1 ptosis.  This type of ptosis can frequently be corrected via a crescent lift.

If your nipple is between 1 and 3 centimeters below the top of the ruler, you have grade 2 ptosis.  This is considered to be in the mild to moderate range of ptosis.  This level of ptosis may require a Benelli breast lift.

If the central point of your nipple is over 3 centimeters below the top of the ruler, you have grade 3 ptosis.  This is relatively severe ptosis.  To fix this degree of ptosis, a lollipop lift or a full mastopexy may be required.

It should be noted that breast ptosis is a naturally occuring phenomenon.  It is simply something that happens with age, and there are no adverse health phenomena associated with it.  Aesthetic concerns are the only reason to take measures to correct breast ptosis.

Breast Lift Benefits

The breasts are a very important part of a woman's body, and for many women they form an actual part of a woman's feminine identity.  Having attractive breasts helps women to feel young and self-confident.

By fixing drooping breasts, a breast lift can help women to look better clothed and unclothed.  It can also help women to feel comfortable wearing a wider variety of garments and undergarments.  In some cases, women report that they have an easier time being intimate because they are more comfortable with their bodies.

Some women similarly report an improvement in their overall quality of life because they feel more confident and beautiful.

Popular Reasons To Get A Breast Lift

Sagging breasts can come for a variety of reasons.  Some people simply naturally have saggy breasts.  These people may remember having nipples that pointed down to the floor since puberty.  These women frequently wish that they could experience having breasts that are closer to the ones that are celebrated in today's media.

Some women develop sagging breasts as a result of weight loss.  Because the breasts are largely made of fat, large-scale weight-loss can decrease the amount of tissue in the breasts.  This in turn causes the skin to seem droopy and empty.

Some women find that pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause the breasts to droop.  Because the breasts swell toward the end of pregnancy but then shrink after breastfeeding is finished, this can result in excess skin and a more noticeable droop.

Menopause changes the composition of the breasts, and it can also lead to ptosis of the breasts.  Furthermore, as the body ages, the skin becomes less elastic, and the fascia and suspensory ligaments of the breasts also grow lax.  These all contribute to a sagging or ptotic breast.

People get breast lifts for all of these reasons and more.

Are The Results Of Breast Lift Permanent?

Just as the natural breast sags and droops with age, the surgically altered breast will also do the same.  Aging and gravity will always take their toll eventually.  However, breast lift patients can console themselves with the fact that their breasts will be perkier and less saggy than they would have been without the surgery.  Patients can help their results to last longer by avoiding serious weight fluctuation and by ensuring that they have finsihed having all the children they want before undergoing breast lift surgery.

Drawbacks And Risks Of Breast Lift

There are many benefits to breast lift, but there are also some risks and drawbacks.  It is important that patients know about these so that they can make informed decisions.  First, patients should know that there will be some scarring with any breast lift procedure.  Surgeons will do their best to make the scars as small as possible, and the scars will fade with time, but they will not likely entirely disappear.

Secondly, patients hould know that there is the chance for some amount of asymmetry after the surgery.  Every patient heals differently, and the individual breasts can heal differently too.  Because of this, there is the chance that there will be small differences between the breasts and/or nipples once they have finished healing.  In fact, nearly all women experience some amount of breast asymmetry, whether they have been operated on or not.  If the asymmetry seems excessive, an additional surgery can be performed to help minimize it.

Patients should also know that there is the possibility of experiencing altered levels of breast sensation after the surgery.  Many women experience a loss of sensitivity in the nipple and areola.  This is frequently temporary.  However, in some cases the numbness can be permanent.  Some women actually experience heightened and uncomfortable nipple sensitivity after a breast lift.  This is also usually, but not always, temporary.

Finally, any surgery to the breasts can interfere with breastfeeding, no matter how carefully the surgery is performed.  Although a breast lift will not necessarily remove your ability to breastfeed, it may well impact it.

Breast Lift Procedure

Most breast lifts can be performed as outpatient procedures, meaning that they do not require an ovenight stay at a hospital or surgical center.  Patients are typically given general anesthesia.  However, in cases where not muich skin needs to be removed, it is sometimes possible to perform the surgery under local anesthesia and sedation.

After the patient is anesthetized, the surgeon will begin to make the appropriate incisions.  He or she will reshape the breast tissue, remove unwanted skin, and reposition the nipple.  The exact nature of the incisions will depend on which technique the doctor is using.

When the doctor has removed and reshaped as much of the breast tissue as he or she is planning, the incisions will be sutured shut.  The patient will then be fitted with a surgical bra that will help to support the breasts as they heal after the surgery.

The entire surgery will probably take around 2 or 3 hours.  After the surery is complete, the patient will be moved to an observation room where she will be monitored carefully.  After a couple of hours, if all is going well, she will be able to return home.

Breast Lift Recovery

Breast lift patients will need to arrange for someone to drive them home from their surgery, because they will not be able to.  When patients first get home, they can expect to experience some amount of pain, swelling, and bruising.  These will typically go down relatively soon.

Patients should take sponge baths as long as their sutures are in, and they should avoid sleeping on their stomachs for at least a couple weeks after the surgery.  Patients should also wear their surgical bra for as long as the surgeon directs.

Most patients can return to sedentary work after a week or so.  However, exercise and strenuous activities should be avoided for longer than that.  Patients should especially avoid actions that put excessive pressure on the chest.  Patients should not lift anything heavy for over a month after their surgery, and they shouldn't lift anything above their heads for three or four weeks.

Breast lift scars may be obvious and red at first, but they will typically fade with time.  It will probably take about half a year for these scars to fade.

Breast Lift Cost

Breast lift costs can vary greatly depending on a number of factors.  The extent of the procedure will certainly play a role.  Relatively quick and easy procedures do not tend to cost as much as lengthier and more complicated surgeries.  Also, different surgeons charge different fees. Experienced surgeons tend to demand more, while newer surgeons charge less.  Furthermore, surgeons who operate in metropolitan areas tend to charge more than doctors who work in suburban areas.  Similarly, surgical centers in urban areas tend to charge more for their time.  Finally, the sort of anesthesia you use will play a role, given that general anesthesia tends to cost more than local anesthetic.

Although it is difficult to give an exact number for the cost of a breast lift, it is possible to give a ballpark.  Most breast lifts cost somewhere between $3,500 and $6,000.

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