What Are the Different Types of Breast Lifts? : Regardless of cup size, it is common for breast tissue to droop and lose volume as women age. Particularly true for women who have been pregnant or breastfeed their children, this aging process frequently manifests itself in bottom-heavy breasts that have enlarged areolas and misshapen nipples that point down.
Drooping of tissue, also known as ptosis, can increase the difficulty of finding bras and clothing that fit comfortably, negatively impacting a patient’s self-esteem.
If ptosis of the breast is impacting your daily life, consider restoring your youthful silhouette through breast lift surgery.
What is a breast lift?
A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that reverses the ptosis, or drooping, of breast tissue resulting from significant weight loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or aging.
In a breast lift, a series of incisions give a surgeon access to subcutaneous breast tissue that is sculpted into a youthful shape and elevation. After the underlying tissue is reshaped and excess skin is removed, the nipple-areolar complex is moved higher on the breast and all incisions are closed.
While a breast lift can be a standalone procedure, it is most often combined with either a breast augmentation or a breast reduction.
Patients with small, deflated breasts often use implants (silicone or saline) or fat transferred from another part of the body to restore volume. On the other hand, patients with large breasts who experience back pain or shoulder pain may combine their lift with a reduction that decreases their cup size while also moving their breasts back to a position that matches their body’s proportions.
Three Common Types of Breast Lifts
The type of breast lift technique used will depend on the amount of correction needed, breast size, skin elasticity, and medical history. If a significant amount of skin and tissue is required to achieve the desired result, the procedure will be more involved than a simple areolar resizing.
The three most common breast lift techniques are the circumareolar lift, the lollipop lift, and the anchor lift.
A circumareolar lift is the least invasive type of mastopexy and is most effective for patients with minimal ptosis.
Through a single incision around the border of the nipple complex, a surgeon can remove a small amount of tissue to lift and resize the areola. Because a circumareolar lift does not allow for the removal or repositioning of internal breast tissue, the results of this surgery are usually subtle.
Also called a vertical mastopexy, the lollipop lift sits between a circumareolar lift and an anchor lift both in terms of surgical complexity and recovery intensity.
Primarily used for patients with an average amount of breast tissue and a moderate amount of drooping, a lollipop lift involves one incision that circles around the outer edge of the areola and another that travels vertically from the breast fold to the areola.
An anchor lift is an older technique and is best for patients with severe ptosis and significantly enlarged areolae.
The anchor lift incision follows the same path as the incision in a lollipop lift, except instead of terminating with a vertical incision, the incision continues in a curved horizontal line along the breast fold.
Breast lifts and pregnancy
Because further pregnancies or significant weight gain can re-stretch breast tissue and result in the drooping and volume loss that inspired the original surgery, most surgeons recommend patients wait until they are done having children to undergo a breast lift.
It is not dangerous to become pregnant after a breast lift. If a patient is planning on having more children and they wish to breastfeed, it is important to let the surgeon know so they can preserve as many milk ducts as possible.
How long will a breast lift last?
Breast lifts are permanent in that the removed skin and tissue will not grow back, but that doesn’t mean the results will last forever.
A mastopexy cannot halt the effects of aging or prevent changes due to postoperative pregnancies or weight fluctuations. The decreased collagen production and skin elasticity associated with age can result in additional ptosis, but the breasts will still be more elevated and shapely than they would have been without the initial lift.
To preserve breast lift results, it is important to:
- Follow all postoperative instructions carefully
- Maintain a stable weight through healthy diet and exercise
- Wear well-fitting bras that provide adequate support, especially during strenuous physical activity
- Use sunscreen to protect skin on the chest
Choosing the right surgeon
A good surgeon will also have an extensive portfolio of before-and-after photos that prove their ability to get results, but the best way to achieve the desired results is to select a qualified surgeon with a reputation for excellent patient care.
Surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have proven both their technical and artistic skills through rigorous training and testing.
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