Pregnancy, nursing, aging, and genetics can all contribute to sagging breasts, causing them to hang lower on the chest and even point downward. Women who want to address this cosmetic problem can choose a breast lift at Ohio’s Fine Arts Skin & Laser, where Dr. David Hartman offers a minimal-incision technique for patients.
By creating only small, carefully placed incisions, Dr. Hartman minimizes any signs of surgery, so breast lift patients can feel confident not only in their results but also that their youthful, perkier breasts will appear natural. The newly positioned breasts should not just look better, but fit more comfortably in clothes and swimsuits. If you’re unsure whether a breast lift is your best option, consult with Dr. Hartman for an honest assessment and recommendation.
What Does a Breast Lift Do?
Breast augmentation can enlarge or reshape the breasts, but the best way to specifically counteract sagging is with breast lift surgery.
Since breasts sag due to excess, stretched-out skin that allows gravity to pull them down, a breast lift works to raise them higher on the chest by removing redundant skin, lifting and reshaping the tissue, and suturing the breasts into their newly elevated place.
A breast lift is customized to meet the needs of individual patients. There are several techniques available for accomplishing a lift, with specifics determined by a woman’s unique features, including the degree of sagging, skin elasticity, breast size and shape, and more.
Dr. Hartman may use any of several techniques for a breast lift, including the crescent lift, periareolar or donut lift, vertical or lollipop lift, and inverted T or anchor lift. For a crescent lift, the incision runs halfway around the border of the areola. The donut lifts incision circles the edges of the areola, creating a familiar-looking circle with a “hole” in the middle. For a lollipop lift, Dr. Hartman makes one incision around the perimeter of the areola and another extending vertically to the breast crease, creating a keyhole shape. Finally, when an anchor lift is used to address severe sagging, Dr. Hartman makes three incisions: around the areola, down to the breast crease, and around the curve of the breast.
When breasts droop, the nipples and areolas can also be affected. The pigmented circles of skin and protruding tissue can descend below the creases of the breasts and point toward the ground. A breast lift may include repositioning the nipples so that they point outward and slightly upward instead of down, as well as reducing the size of overly large areolas. A breast lift can also correct uneven, mismatched, or asymmetrical breasts by reshaping the tissue.
Women who want to make a change to their breasts should know that a breast lift changes the breasts’ position, but not their size. A patient who wants more volume can consider a breast augmentation, which Dr. Hartman accomplishes with living fat transfer. The living fat is harvested from stubborn fat of the tummy area, outer thighs, or love handles areas by liposuction/body sculpting techniques.
Sometimes, a breast lift is combined with breast augmentation or breast reduction surgery for enhanced results.
What Causes Breast Ptosis (Sagging)?
Some of the most common causes of saggy breasts are aging, pregnancy, and massive weight loss. All three of these factors can impact the skin, which is pliable and elastic in youth, but more prone to stretching—and staying stretched out—later in life.
Women who gain weight or become pregnant often find that their breasts expand and become heavier. The added volume causes the breasts to pull downward on their supporting skin and ligaments. Weight loss can cause the breasts to become smaller again. Breasts can also shrink in size after milk production stops once a baby finishes nursing. In either case, the skin supporting the breasts may not change along with the breasts themselves. This can leave the breasts looking elongated, flattened, or disproportionate since the excess skin allows them to hang and point downward instead of remaining perky and pert.
Preparing for a Breast Lift
Prior to breast lift surgery, patients may need to make some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking several weeks in advance of the scheduled operation and adjusting how certain medications are taken. Blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs increase the chance of bleeding or bruising from surgery, so these should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
Dr. Hartman will assess your overall medical history during your initial consultation, perform a physical exam, and discuss your expectations. Patients will also need to reach a stable, healthy weight before having a breast lift. Women should ask a friend or a loved one to pick them up after the surgery, stay overnight, and assist with routine activities as they recover.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for a Breast Lift?
Any woman who has sagging breasts may be a breast lift candidate. This is especially true for women who have given birth and nursed a baby, as hormone fluctuations and volume changes in the breasts themselves can cause them to stretch. If you plan to become pregnant again, it’s best to wait until you’ve finished having children to have any kind of “lifting” procedure, since physical changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding can “undo” the results of a successful surgery.
The breast lift procedure is designed for women who are ideally physically active, keep up a stable weight, and are non-smokers.
These women may also find that a lift restores the silhouette on the upper half of their torso, but that their midsection could still use re-contouring. A tummy tuck can address sagging there, providing a flatter belly for an overall rejuvenated look.
Recovering After a Breast Lift
As with any surgery, a breast lift will cause some swelling and bruising that will recede in the days following the procedure. The breasts may be protected with surgical support bandages, and patients should avoid wearing underwire bras or bras made with material that irritates the skin for several months. Women should plan to resume light activity the next day and can generally return to work/normal routines within two or three days. Refrain from straining, bending, and heavy lifting. Strenuous tasks can gradually be added back into the routine by about the third week as healing continues.
Dr. Hartman will advise breast lift patients on how to care for their breasts, pain medications, the best sleeping positions to avoid placing pressure on the breast area, and when to return for follow-up care. Some types of sutures will need to be removed at a later date, while others are fully absorbable.
It may take up to a year for the breasts to fully settle into their new shape after breast lift surgery. Results are long-lasting, but a breast lift can’t prevent the continuing effects of aging and gravity on the breasts. To get the most attractive results, it’s best to follow the instructions from Dr. Hartman and his time and to avoid sun exposure on the breast area before and after the incisions have healed. Any scars should gradually improve in appearance if properly cared for.
Breast Lift Cost
Dr. Hartman will discuss specifics during a consultation to determine the full scope of the procedure and other details unique to each patient. If a lift is combined with other body procedures, the cost of each individual surgery can be lowered.