Breast Lifts

After pregnancy, many females may experience a loss of volume and sagging in their breasts, with the nipple pointing downward. This can happen with significant weight loss, and as a result of aging. Many females may not want to increase the size of their breasts with implants but desire to lift their nipples and have firmer breasts. This procedure can also be combined with breast augmentation; if one desires to have larger breasts after the lift is performed.

A breast lift is performed by making predefined incisions in the breast to elevate the nipple and allow redraping and tightening of the skin for a firmer more aesthetically pleasing breast. There are several different types of incisions used depending on the amount of nipple lift required. The simplest is a “Crescent Lift”. This involves placing an incision around only the upper half of the nipple areolar complex (the pigmented skin immediately surrounding the nipple). This allows the nipple to be elevated about half to three quarters of an inch. The second form of lift is a “Benelli Lift”. The incision goes around the entire nipple areolar complex and can elevate the nipple up to one inch. A “Lollipop Lift” involves placing the incision around the entire nipple areola complex, and a vertical scar down the front of the breast. For more dramatic lifts, the incisions for a breast reduction procedure are performed, except breast tissue is not removed. There is generally a vertical scar beneath the nipple, a horizontal scar under the breast where it meets the chest wall, and a scar surrounding the areola. This is referred to as an “Anchor Lift”. Liposuction of different areas of the chest may be performed in order to improve the contour. Other techniques may be performed depending on your anatomy or your surgeon’s preference.

The procedure can be performed as an outpatient at an outpatient ambulatory surgery center under general anesthesia. Surgical time is 2 to 3 hours. After the operation, you will wear a soft bra for support. Swelling and discoloration may occur but will disappear. You may experience a temporary change in nipple and breast sensation. This usually improves gradually. Drains may be present which require daily emptying. They will be removed in 5 to 7 days. Absorbable stitches are used and do not require removal. Activities are limited for the first few days. One can usually return to work in one week. Strenuous activity is limited for six weeks after surgery.

Complications associated with this procedure include bleeding, infection, and inability to breast feed. Less common risks include loss of nipple sensation, loss of tissue and nipple necrosis requiring dressing changes and possible reconstruction.

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