One of the most common questions I hear from women considering cosmetic breast surgery is whether breast implants can provide the same results as a breast lift. As a woman and double board-certified plastic surgeon, I understand my patients’ desire to avoid incisions associated with a breast lift. In my office at The Woodlands plastic surgery practice, I thoroughly describe to patients their options related breast surgery.
I’ll explain here why some patients need a breast lift rather than breast augmentation and why combining breast implants with a breast lift is a popular choice for women who have had children.
When Is a Breast Lift Needed?
Aging, pregnancy, gaining weight, and even genetics can all cause breasts to sag. Primary reasons women pursue a breast lift (also called mastopexy) relate to the severity of the sagging and whether or not the individuals are self-conscious about the appearance and shape of their breasts. A consideration of breast surgery is the “degree of ptosis,” which is the clinical phrase for breast sagging. Ptosis refers to the how much the nipple and areola point down, and a breast lift can help with this concern.
Breast Lift Benefits
A breast lift gives breasts a more youthful, perkier appearance by re-positioning and elevating the nipple and areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple). The procedure also involves removing excess breast skin. The incision locations depend on the degree of sagging. In a handful of cases that involve minimal sagging, I can limit the incision to just around the areola. More commonly, an additional incision from the areola to the crease of the breast (a “lollipop” incision) is needed to create optimal results.
Combining Implants With a Lift
Breast lift surgery doesn’t increase the breasts’ volume. Women who want bigger, more youthful-looking breasts can combine a lift with implants to get the desired results. Implants alone won’t elevate sagging breasts and will actually cause them to sag even more. A combined lift with augmentation is often performed as part of a mommy makeover (which typically also includes a tummy tuck).
This is one of my favorite procedures to perform because it restores my patients’ confidence in their bodies. You can see the kind of results mommy makeover patients enjoy by viewing our gallery of before-and-after photos.
Breast Lift Recovery
At the end of a breast lift procedure, I apply dressings and bandages on the incisions. Your post-op discomfort can be managed with prescription pain medication. Most patients can switch to over-the-counter pain relief medication after a few days. Patients wear an elastic bandage and support bra to enhance the healing process and minimize swelling. Expect to take a week off from work and be prepared not to do any lifting.
Limit your exercise during the first 2 weeks to walking. After that, you can gradually resume lower body workouts that don’t involve jumping or bouncing. More strenuous exercises can be started 6 weeks after the procedure. Don’t wear underwire bras for at least 8 weeks.
If you’re not sure if you need a breast lift, breast augmentation, or a combined procedure, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call our office north of Houston at (281) 363-4546 to schedule an appointment.