Types of Breast Lifts
Your plastic surgeon may use a variety of incision techniques to perform a mastopexy surgery. The exact technique used will differ depending on your existing breast tissue, removing excess skin, and your personal aesthetic goals. A board-certified plastic surgeon will recommend the best type of breast lift to help you achieve the best results with the least conspicuous scarring possible.
Crescent Mastopexy: Minimal Scarring Correcting Minimal Sagging
A crescent lift technique is only used for women who have a small amount of sagging to correct. The incision is carefully made halfway around the top half of the areola, above the nipple. This lift is typically only performed if a patient is having additional breast augmentation procedures (i.e. breast implants) – and even then it is not very common.
Periareolar Lift: Corrects Mild Sagging with a Single Scar
A periareolar lift is for women who are experiencing mild sagging but may still benefit from a cosmetic breast lift. A periareolar lift utilizes a small, circular incision running around the edge of the areola, above the nipple, and, like with the crescent lift, is often performed alongside breast augmentation (i.e. breast implants). These cosmetic procedures are also effective in areola and nipple size reduction. The scar will trace alongside the edge of the areola.
Vertical Lift: Corrects Moderate Sagging & Provides More Extensive Reshaping
A vertical breast lift , also known as a “lollipop lift,” is one of the more commonly used techniques. This procedure allows for the doctor to remove any excess skin and reshape the entire breast with modest, easily hidden scars. A vertical lift does involve two different incisions: one around the areola and another that will run vertically from the bottom of the nipple to the inframammary fold (where the breast meets the chest), creating a “lollipop” shape.
Inverted T Lift: Dramatic Reshaping to Correct Extensive Sagging
An inverted T lift, also known as an anchor lift, helps correct considerable sagging or pendulous breasts (breasts that are not self-supporting). This technique allows a plastic surgeon to remove significant amounts of excess skin and sagging breast tissue in order to ensure the best results. An inverted T lift will involve three connected incisions: one along the edge of the areola, one vertically from the bottom of the areola to the inframammary fold, and another along the crease of the breasts (this incision will be hidden in the breast crease). Your surgeon may also utilize this technique if you are combining a breast reduction procedure with a breast lift. Although the scarring is more visible than with other techniques, the scars will fade significantly over time with proper care, and are easily hidden by a bikini top.
What to Expect After a Breast Lift
After your breast lift surgery, your doctor will apply dressings or bandages to the surgical site. Following the procedures you’ll be required to wear an elastic bandage or a support bra in order to minimize swelling and to give support to your breasts as they heal.
A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess fluid that may collect. You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- Proper aftercare for your breasts
- Topical or oral medications to take to encourage healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Instruction on how to watch for any potential concerns at the surgical site or for your general health
- When the proper time will be to follow up with your cosmetic surgeon
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual breast lift recovery period.
Breast lift surgery takes 2-3 hours. Recovery time is 3-5 days for regular daily activities and 2 weeks before any strenuous activities.
Before you consider having any procedure performed, it is best to ask your surgeon any questions regarding expectations for your individual procedure, recovery time, and aftercare. Some important questions to consider include:
- Where will I be taken post-operation?
- Are there any medications I will be taking after my surgery?
- Will I need dressings or bandages once I return home? When will I need to remove them?
- If applicable when will I need to have my stitches removed?
- When can I resume my normal, daily activities and exercise?
- When is the best time to return for follow-up care?
Is a Breast Lift Permanent?
As with any cosmetic surgery there are no absolutes, since the human body continues to change over time. And along with your body, your breasts can change shape due to aging and gravity. However, the results of your breast lift will be long lasting. The key to the best results is to maintain your weight and to observe a healthy lifestyle based on good eating habits and exercise.
Will My Scarring be Permanent?
Just like with implants, the incision lines from a breast lift are permanent. However, they will fade and become near invisible over time. Also, a skilled plastic surgeon can “disguise” the incisions by working along the natural folds of the breast as well as the natural edge where the areola meets the lighter skin of the breast.