If you’ve noticed changes in your breasts over the years, it’s important to know that this is a perfectly normal side effect of pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss and aging. Unfortunately, these changes can take their toll on your overall confidence and self-esteem. Sagging, loss of firmness, and changes in shape and size are all common in women over time, but you don’t have to live with these problems forever. A common breast enhancement procedure known as a breast lift, or mastopexy, can lift and reshape the breasts to create a more youthful contour. The breasts become perkier, firmer, and more like they were before time took its toll. Our Chicago, IL, plastic surgeons have helped many women regain their confidence through breast lift surgery.
What is a Breast Lift?
A breast lift is a surgical breast enhancement procedure that is used to restore the cosmetics of the breasts after they have changed in size, shape, or perkiness. Many women experience loss of shape and size after pregnancy and childbirth, whether or not they have breastfed. Even women who have not had children often notice sagging and loss of firmness due to aging and hormonal changes. The breast lift procedure removes excess skin and lifts the breast tissue for a rejuvenated appearance.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Breast Lift?
If you are considering a breast lift, then it’s important to ensure that you are a good candidate for the surgery before you proceed. The best candidates for a breast lift are women who are in good general health, with sagging and loss of firmness in the breasts. Some women choose to wait until they are done having children, since subsequent pregnancies can have an impact on the results of the surgery (though becoming pregnant will not be dangerous after a breast lift).
Patients should have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery, and they should be aware of the limitations of the procedure. It is a good idea to look at a wide range of before and after photos prior to scheduling a breast lift in order to get a realistic idea of the results that can be expected. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your candidacy with you prior to the surgery to make sure that it is safe for you to undergo the procedure.
Your Breast Lift Consultation
Before you can undergo a breast lift procedure, you will need to discuss your surgery with one of our talented plastic surgeons in Chicago. In order to evaluate you and plan your surgery properly, our surgeons need to meet with you in a consultation to determine your goals for the procedure and assess your candidacy.
Your consultation is a valuable opportunity for you to get to know your surgeon and to ask questions about your upcoming procedure. You should come into the meeting with any concerns you have so they can be addressed directly by an expert. It’s a good idea to come up with a list of questions before your appointment so that you don’t forget to ask any of your most important questions.
During the consultation, you’ll discuss the surgery with your plastic surgeon, and you will learn more about the techniques that will be used during the procedure. Don’t be shy; this is a learning opportunity for you, and your input will help your surgeon tailor the procedure to suit your needs.
The Breast Lift Procedure
Typically, breast lifts are performed under general anesthesia, as it is a fairly invasive procedure. Depending on the degree of lift you would like to achieve, your surgeon will use one of three different incision patterns. Once the incisions are made, your surgeon will begin to reshape the breast tissue. The underlying tissues will be lifted, and your breasts will be shaped into a more youthful contour. The nipple and areola will be lifted and repositioned, resulting in a “perkier” appearance. If necessary, the areola will be reduced in size and reshaped, according to your wishes. Your surgeon may need to remove excess skin and tissue for a firm, attractive breast contour. Once the breast has been reshaped, the incisions will be closed and the procedure will be complete. The entire process usually takes one to three hours, and is generally performed as an outpatient procedure.
Breast Lift Recovery
Once you’re out of surgery, the work of recovery begins. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to rest following the surgery, so be sure that you understand all the instructions provided by our doctors and take enough time off of work to allow for proper healing. It’s a good idea to arrange for someone to help you around the house for the first few days after surgery, especially if you have young children in the house.
In the first few days following surgery, you will be wearing surgical dressings and a special compression bra to give the tissues the support they need and to prevent as much swelling as possible. Generally, you will need to allow about 2-3 weeks of recovery time before you can expect to start returning to normal activities. Lifting will be severely restricted, and you’ll have to hold off on strenuous activities, such as exercise, for several weeks after surgery. It will take several months for all the swelling to subside and for you to see the final results of the procedure.
When is the best time to get a breast lift?
Choosing a breast lift is a very individual decision, and it’s difficult to say what the optimal time for the procedure is. However, many women decide to undergo the procedure once they are done having children and want to regain their breasts’ beauty and youth. Other women decide to pursue the surgery around age 30, when the breasts begin to sag naturally. However, it’s up to you when the best time is for you!
Will I lose volume during breast lift surgery?
There may be some tissue (such as excess skin) removed during the procedure, but the overall volume lost will be minimal. However, the changes in the breast shape might change your bra size, or make your breasts seem smaller following surgery.
Can a breast lift be combined with breast implants?
Many women decide to combine a breast lift and breast augmentation in order to improve both the lift and volume of the breasts. Generally, these two procedures can be performed at the same time, eliminating the need for two separate surgeries and recovery periods.
What are the risks and complications of a breast lift?
As with any surgery, there are some risks associated with breast lift surgery. These risks are minimized when you choose a plastic surgeon that is focused on safety and results like the surgeons at Doctors Plastic Surgery in Chicago. Bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, poor healing, asymmetry, and poor aesthetic results are all small risks of the procedure, but most people get through the process with no issues.
Can a breast lift correct asymmetry?
Asymmetry is common, but it can be frustrating to deal with. While there are no guarantees, asymmetry can usually be addressed during a breast lift procedure to make the breasts more even in size and shape. This is something that will be discussed during the consultation.
What are the activity limitations of breast lift recovery?
After you undergo a breast lift, you will need to take it easy and be sure to follow any activity restrictions provided by our Chicago surgeons. Lifting is very dangerous for breast enhancement patients, so you must avoid bending, reaching and lifting objects or children during your initial recovery for optimal healing and to prevent complications.
Will the results look natural?
Since the procedure only alters the natural breast tissue, the end results typically looks very natural. Aside from some inevitable scarring, your breasts should look normal and better following the procedure—that’s why many women find that their confidence is boosted after the procedure!
What kind of incisions will be used in the surgery?
There are three main incision patterns that can be used during a breast lift, and your surgeon will choose the pattern that will give you the results you want while minimizing potential scarring as much as possible. Incisions are made around the areola at a minimum, sometimes extending down the breast, and even continuing in the crease under the breast in some cases. The technique will be discussed before the procedure begins so you know exactly what to expect.
Will I be able to breastfeed after the procedure?
While many women choose to undergo breast lift after having children, women sometimes do have further pregnancies after the surgery. In rare cases, breast surgery can affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed, but many are able to do so quite successfully. It’s a small risk you’ll have to weigh if you want to undergo a breast lift.
How is a breast lift different from breast augmentation?
A breast lift is used to lift and rejuvenate existing breast tissue, while breast augmentation is used to add volume to the breasts and improve overall contour. The procedures are often combined.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
When it comes to breast enhancement, it’s important to choose the best of the best in your plastic surgeon. Our plastic surgeons will be with you every step of the way during your breast lift at our Chicago offices. To learn more about scheduling a consultation, give us a call today and get ready to feel more confident!