Breast augmentation and lift is a tremendous operation to reshape and enhance the breasts. It actually is two operations done at the same time. The first is breast augmentation or enlargement and the second is a breast lift. The goal of the procedures is a more attractive, elevated, and perkier breast. This educational writing will cover the essentials of this procedure. I will also emphasize important things that the patient should learn and remember when choosing this operation. The writing was done at the request of a patient from Philadelphia, Pa. Additional information on breast augmentation and breast lift can be found in their respective sections in the educational writings.
With the passage of time and often with having babies, the breasts can become lower, smaller, and less full. Actually, many young women also have hanging of the breasts. Young women in their early twenties will come in for consultation saying, “I’m seem too young to need a lift. But I do.” I reassure them that it is actually very common. The amount of women with breast hanging does significantly increase with age and pregnancy. If you have this problem, it is a common to wish you had more attractive and elevated breasts. Hanging of the breasts is called ptosis. A breast lift or mastopexy is the name of the operation to lift them.
Mastopexy is done to reshape the droopy breast. It is mainly done with three different incision patterns. The first is with incisions that are kept just around the nipple. The second patten is the lollipop pattern. The third is the anchor pattern. The amount of hanging determines which pattern you will need. The one just around the nipple is for women who have the the slightest degree of hanging. More commonly, women have more hanging and need the lollipop incision pattern. The anchor pattern is for women who have the greatest degree of droppiness. I will closely help you figure out which pattern is best for you.
The second part of the operation is the augmentation or enlargement of the breast. Lifts elevate and enhance the breast, but they do not make it bigger. The lift will give some fullest to the upper part of the breasts, but not to the degree of breast implants. If a women wants a fuller breast in addition to a lifted one, the use of an implant is often best. This is a decision that is made with me during the consultation. If someone does not want an implant, the lift alone can be done. It is rare to regret using an implant. Small ones can be used for those who want a more natural look. It is more common to regret NOT using an implant. However, if this happens the implant can always be placed safely at a later time.
The implants are placed thru small incisions that are typically placed in the crease of the breast. The length of the incision is very small, but the incision increases for those choosing larger implant sizes. The implant is almost always placed beneath the muscle. This provides the best “soft tissue coverage” that gives a more natural look, softer feel, and lower problems. For additional information view the educational writing “What About the Muscle?” which discusses the muscle and why implants are usually placed beneath them. The patient has the choice of different implants. The size, type, and shape of the implants are discussed in detail with you. It is most common to pick new gummy-bear silicone implants, because they have such a nice feel and shape.
The operation takes about 2 hours, but can be up to 3-1/2 for woman requiring more lifting. Smaller lifts will take significantly less time than longer ones. The operation is done with general anesthesia. Recovery includes the use of a Pain Buster or Pain Pump. This machine pumps local anesthetic into the surgical site to give dramatically less pain. I believe it is a fantastic devise to help women recover from this operation.
Many women will be surprised at how quickly they can resume activities. Post operative recovery and instructions are given to you in detail. Many women can resume driving, desk jobs, and house hold responsibilities in as little as 3-5 days. Although, one week is a more common recovery time that gives you a bit more time to heal. Activity is restricted for about one month. However, for those who want to exercise, some activities can be resumed in as little as 10 days. Walking, stationary bicycles, and elypticals (holding on- no arms) are recommended by me after 10 days from surgery. This is ok and allows for the patient to exercise safely. More strenuous activity and unlimited exercise is allowed after a month from surgery.
If you are considering breast enhancement, please come in for a thorough consultation. I will review your options, technical aspects, recovery, risks, and different implants. This will help you make an informed and complete decision about possible cosmetic surgery.