As the breast skin loses its suppleness, the breasts often lose their shape. They begin to sag. Many things can cause this. Examples are: pregnancy, nursing, weight change, aging and gravity. Each of these can cause breast sagging. This changes the look of a woman’s breasts. This is called breast ptosis. Breast ptosis occurs when the breast mound and nipple are low in relation to the breast crease. Breast ptosis occurs when the breast has lost volume or fat. With this loss of volume, the breast descends to a less optimal position. Breast ptosis can be changed with surgery. Breast lift and breast reduction are both plastic surgeries to raise and reshape sagging breasts. These are both common in plastic surgery and are performed by Dr. Brown. There’s a variety of different surgery options used to change the shape and to lift the breast. Please contact our office to meet and discuss some options.
Breast lift and breast reduction are quite similar in terms of the process used. In both surgeries, Dr. Michael J. Brown MD, will strive to fix the breast ptosis. Both surgeries will raise the breasts. Both can raise or lift a low nipple and areola (the darker skin around the nipple). These surgeries can also reduce the size of the areola.
The major difference between a lift and a reduction is that a reduction will reduce the overall volume or weight. This will make the breast mounds smaller. A breast lift does not need any breast tissue to be removed. It can still result in symmetric, raised breasts. In fact, when asked, Dr. Brown will place breast implants during some breast lift surgeries. With breast ptosis, a breast lift surgery is mainly done to lift the sagging nipple and areola. This does not imply a breast size change. On the other hand, a breast reduction surgery also lifts the breasts, and it does imply a breast size change (smaller). Below are the initial surgical steps of a breast lift surgery. Click to see the surgical steps of a breast lift in 3-D illustrations.
The best candidates for both breast lifts and reductions are healthy, emotionally stable women. These are women who have realistic expectations about what these types of plastic surgeries can do. Breasts of any size can be lifted. They can be made smaller or larger. The ideal of symmetry is important but they may not be symmetric. They can be close but seldom are they ’perfect’. Some results may not last as long for women with heavy, large breasts. Wearing a support bra can help the result last longer. Both breast reduction and breast lift surgeries will leave lasting scars on the breasts. The scars do fade well with time.
In some cases, breast reduction may even be covered by major medical health insurance. In these cases, Dr. Brown will file with the insurance company. The amount of breast weight removed is the key. As long as enough is removed, the surgery will be covered under the health insurance policy.
Breast Lifts with Breast Augmentation
Some have a false impression that lifting the loose breast mound will result in a higher placement of the breast and will also make it feel firmer. This is not true. Breast lift and breast reduction surgeries do not improve the firmness of the breasts. There is no way to improve the firmness other than having a breast augmentation. Some women with breast ptosis want both a more youthful breast position and larger, firmer breasts at the same time. Breast implants used during a breast lift will do both. They will make the breasts larger, fuller and firmer. Patients that understand this are very pleased with the results.
How is the dual surgery performed?
First the nipple, areolar tissue and the breast gland are raised. They are moved to a spot that looks better aligned on the woman’s body. The shape and firmness of the breast mound is then improved with the implants. Sometimes a woman will only need a one sided breast lift. This occurs when the other breast is in a good position on the chest. After the one side has been lifted, both sides usually will have the implants placed. The end result is that both sides have been worked on to improve breast size, nipple position and breast shape. Performing these operations together carries the risks and benefits of both operations
Risks of breast lift or breast reduction surgery
Breast lift surgery for breast ptosis will allow some women to be less self-conscious about their breast shape and position. These surgeries come with risks though. Both of these types of plastic surgery involve similar risks since they are very similar surgery. The breast reduction surgery risks are greater. This is because cutting away the tissue carries more risk than just moving the tissue. Despite this, the breast lift risks are still important to consider. It is vital that you know the risks with any surgery. A choice to have a surgery is based on comparing the risk to the benefit. While most women do not have these problems, you should discuss each of them with your surgeon. Make sure you know the risks, potential issues, and all consequences of the operations.
Bleeding. It is possible, though unusual, to experience bleeding after either a breast lift or breast reduction. Should this occur, it may need emergency treatment. Do not take any listed medications for 14 days before either of these surgeries; doing so may increase the risk of bleeding during or after the surgery.
Infection. An infection is quite unusual after this type of surgery. Should an infection occur, treatment by the surgeon may be needed. This might include antibiotics or an additional breast surgery.
Change in nipple and skin sensation. After the surgery, you may have a change in how sensitive the nipples are. This can also affect and the skin of your breasts. Permanent loss of sensation can occur in one or both nipples. This could also occur in the skin around the area.
Skin scarring. All surgery leaves scars. Some of these may be more visible than others. Good wound healing is expected, but abnormal scars may still occur. This could be within the skin and in the deeper tissues. Scars may be unattractive. They may be a different color than the nearby skin tone. There is also the possibility of visible marks in the skin from the stitches. In some cases, the scars may mean you need a new plastic surgery to treat them.
Firmness. Excessive firmness of the breast can occur after a breast lift or breast reduction. This is due to internal scarring or scarring around a breast implant (if one is used during the breast lift). It is not possible to know if or when this will occur. Additional surgery may be needed to change it.
Poor result. There is the risk of a poor result from either a breast lift or breast reduction. There may be a visible deformity. Or there may be a disappointing breast shape. You may be unhappy with the final size of your breasts. You may need another surgery to improve your result. Slow healing. Some areas of the breast skin or nipple region may not heal normally after the surgery. They may take a long time to heal. Areas of skin or nipple tissue may die. This may require frequent dressing changes. It may mean more surgery to remove the non-healed tissue. Smokers have a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing problems.
Asymmetry. Asymmetry means the two sides do not match perfectly. Some breast asymmetry naturally occurs in most women. For example, one breast may be larger. The nipples may be different sizes. It is very important to remember that asymmetry is natural and persistent. Breasts can be asymmetric in many ways. Plastic surgery is not perfect; not every surgery will result in perfect symmetry. In other words, some degree of asymmetry should be expected even after surgery. Differences in terms of breast and nipple shape or size may occur. Additional surgery may be necessary to revise asymmetry after either plastic surgery.
Allergic reactions. In rare cases, local allergies can happen. Allergies to tape, suture material, or topical preparations have been reported. Systemic reactions are more serious. These may occur due to the types of drugs used during either surgery. There could also be these types of reactions to prescription medicines. Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.
Bad reaction to anesthesia. Both local and general anesthesias involve risk. There is the possibility of complications, injury, and even death from all forms of surgical anesthesia or sedation – even in cosmetic surgery.
Related concerns (not side effects)
Breast disease. Breast disease and breast cancer can occur separate from breast lifts or reductions. All women should perform self-exams of their breasts. Women should have mammograms done using the American Cancer Society guidelines. Always seek professional care if a breast lump is found.
Effects on future pregnancy and breast feeding. Breast lift or breast reduction surgeries are not known to hinder pregnancy or breast feeding. If you are planning a pregnancy, know that your breast skin may stretch; this will offset the results of your surgery.