Ptosis, or sagging, of the breasts is an extremely common occurence. It can be the result of stretching from pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight changes, or it can simply be caused by natural decreases in collagen and elastin due to aging. In any case, a breast lift is a surgical solution that can lift the breasts, providing a return to a younger-looking body. Your consultation is an opportunity to discuss your concerns and what you would like to achieve from a breast lift procedure and the professional examination will determine pertinent information, such your skin elasticity and the amount of remaining breast tissue. This consultation will help to decide the type of lift that will best meet your goals.
The periareolar technique provides the least scarring of any of the common breast lift methods. It uses an incision around the areola and can be done either completely around the areola, called the “donut lift”, or just around the top half, known as the “crescent lift”. Both types of incisions are used to lift the areola and nipple to improve the appearance of the breast without significantly lifting the breast itself. The crescent lift is only useful for women with small breasts and very minor ptosis, but the donut lift is capable of lifting the areola 2-4 centimeters, making it useful for more moderate sagging.
The vertical technique is the most common method and uses a full periareolar incision as well as one vertical incision that runs from the areola to the crease below the breast. The incision around the areola will be used to raise the nipple up to 7 centimeters, while the vertical incision allows access to remove excess skin and reposition breast tissue. Since the vertical technique allows repositioning of the tissue itself, it is useful in many more situations than the periareolar technique and can be used on most breast sizes with moderate sagging.
Finally, the Wise pattern uses the same incisions as the vertical technique with the addition of another incision in the crease below the breast. This allows for removal of the maximum amount of loose skin from the bottom and sides of the breast, and it allows full access to reshape the breast tissue. This method is necessary to get good results for very large breasts or for those with a large amount of sagging.
A comprehensive consultation with Dr. Schwartz can help guide you to the best surgical plan to achieve your goals.
A breast lift on its own normally reduces the breasts by about half a cup size. This is due entirely to skin removal, since no actual tissue will be lost. Of course, if you would like to reduce them more, a reduction is always an option, and for those who do not want to lose any size at all, the lift could be coupled with an augmentation to offset any volume loss.
An augmentation will add volume to deflated-looking breasts, but it will not correct serious sagging. A professional opinion is the most reliable, but nipple position can give you a quick idea of the situation. If the nipple is pointed straight ahead, augmentation should be sufficient, but if it is pointed down, a lift is probably necessary.
Unfortunately, no. Since the breast is made of breast tissue and fat, exercise will not improve its shape at all, and lasers and creams are ineffective. A breast lift is the only reliable way to correct sagging.
Unless your sagging is very minimal, there will be some scarring after your breast lift. Fortunately, most patients are pleasantly surprised by how light and flat the scars heal, particularly when care is taken to avoid unprotected sun exposure. If you would like them to be even less apparent, you can take additional measures such as breast massage and corticosteroids during the healing period to help reduce their appearance.
While gravity may continue to take its gradual toll, a breast lift will keep your breasts significantly higher than they would be without it, particularly with Dr. Schwartz’s modern surgical techniques that help to support the shape from within the breast. You can help minimize the affects of aging on breasts even further by maintaining a steady weight and avoiding habits, such as smoking, that reduce skin elasticity.
It can be frustrating to live with sagging breasts, but you should hold off until you are at a stable weight. If you get your breast lift now, you may develop even more sagging and excess skin and have to redo the procedure once you are finished losing weight.
Most patients can successfully breastfeed after a breast lift. However, since most breast lifts, to some extent, involve rearranging the breast tissue, it is possible that lactation will be reduced despite all efforts to leave milk ducts intact.
Certainly. Although the classic breast lift patient develops sagging later in life due to aging or childbearing, many women have ptosis of the breasts early in life due to breast size or to genetics. There is no reason not to correct sagging breasts simply because you are young.
Dr. Schwartz is very careful to keep dissection to a minimum as to avoid severing nerves in the area. However, some dissection is necessary, so some patients do have numbness in the area after surgery. In most cases, this resolves within a few weeks or months as the nerves adapt, but for a few people, it will remain for longer.
Waiting a few months is a good idea to prevent the breasts from changing after surgery. It will take a little while for the hormones to calm down and allow your breasts to settle into a permanent post-breastfeeding size and shape. Normally 3-6 months is enough of a wait.