If you’re considering breast lift surgery, it’s only natural that you have questions. Deciding whether or not to undergo surgery requires careful consideration and the only way to make an informed choice is to understand the procedure and any possible complications.
We’ve broken down some of the most common questions about breast lifts that we have encountered in our Bergen County practice.
Our recommendations and answers are general responses and should not be taken as individualized medical advice.
The Most Common Breast Lift Questions:
As you look through this guide, you may develop additional questions about breast lift surgery. We recommended that you address each of your concerns with your Bergen County surgeon before having surgery.
What Is a Breast Lift (Mastopexy)?
Over time, a woman’s breasts change shape and lose their firmness. This happens for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy and breastfeeding, gravity, age and weight changes.
By removing excess skin and making the surrounding tissue is tauter, a breast lift raises a woman’s breasts and helps reshape them into a more youthful look. A breast lift can also help reduce the size of a woman’s areola if it has become enlarged over time.
What Can I Expect during My Consultation?
During your consultation, you should expect to be asked a variety of questions including ones about your health and lifestyle, as well as why you’d like to undergo the procedure. Some of the questions may seem very personal, however, it’s important to answer them as accurately and honestly as possible. These questions are being asked in a medical context to make sure that you are a good candidate for surgery and to assess the best course of action.
By answering candidly, you provide yourself with the best chance of success, reduce any chances of complications and protect your health.
You will likely be asked some of the following:
- A complete overview of your medical history.
- About any family history of breast cancer.
- If you currently take any medications, supplements or smoke.
- What expectations you have and what outcome you expect.
Your surgeon may also do a short physical exam to assess your general health, do a breast examination and take measurements and photographs. If you have any questions or concerns this is a wonderful time to bring them up.
Towards the end of your consultation, your surgeon will likely discuss treatment options and recommend a course of action. You should also go over any potential risks and complications and talk about the use of anesthesia during the procedure.
Will a Breast Lift Alter the Size of My Breasts?
No. Breast lift surgery is designed to change the contour and position of your breasts, not their size. However, breasts may appear smaller after a lift. If you’re interested in modifying the size or fullness of your breasts, you will need to undergo a breast augmentation or reduction. Often these surgeries can be completed at the same time if desired.
What Steps Should I Take to Prepare for My Breast Lift Surgery?
You and your surgeon will come up with a personalized plan to meet your specific needs. Common preparations include:
- A medical evaluation and lab tests.
- A baseline mammogram.
- Quitting smoking if you currently smoke.
Your plan will also include anything special you should do the day of your procedure, how to handle post-operative care and scheduling any necessary follow-up appointments.
You should arrange transportation and care well ahead of time. You should not drive yourself to or from surgery and it’s important to have someone with you for at least one night following the procedure.
What Risks Are Inherent to Breast Lift Surgery?
Like all surgeries, there are risks associated with a breast lift. A crucial part of your decision is weighing the potential benefits against any possible risks and complications. By being candid during your consultation, you can reduce the chance of any problems occurring. Some of the possible risks you may encounter include:
- Undesired scarring.
- Excessive bleeding.
- Temporary or permanent changes in sensation.
- Breast asymmetry or shape and contour irregularities.
- Temporary or persistent pain.
- Blood clots.
- Total or partial loss of the nipple and/or areola.
- Recurrence of sagging.
Not all of these risks specifically apply to you and are used more as a general guide to risks that are possible. You should have a conversation with your surgeon about the things you are at the highest risk of encountering.
Anesthesia also carries its own risks, which should be discussed during your consultation. These risks depend on the type of anesthesia used as well as your health and age.
What Happens during a Breast Lift Surgery?
Before you undergo your breast lift surgery you will be administered anesthesia. Your surgeon will recommend what type of anesthesia is best, usually IV sedation or a general anesthesia.
The procedure starts with the incision. There are multiple techniques and incision patterns that can be used for a breast lift. Determining which one will provide the most success for you depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The size and shape of your breasts and areolas.
- Your skin elasticity and quality.
- How much excess skin you have.
- The degree to which your breasts are sagging.
Most commonly, the incisions are made around the areola, although sometimes it is necessary to make an incision from the areola to the crease of your breast and then a horizontal incision along the crease.
Once the incision is made, your surgeon will lift and reshape the underlying tissue, reposition the areola and nipple, reduce the size of enlarged areolas and remove any excess skin. The nipples/areolas are almost never removed or detached from the underlying breast tissue during repositioning. This is a common misconception. Then, the skin is tightened as the incisions are closed with surgical tape, skin adhesives, and/or sutures.
Will Breast Lift Surgery Leave Scars?
All breast lift surgeries will leave scars. These scars may be very minor and hidden in the areola or more significant ones that extend on the breast or in the crease under the breast. In general, trying to avoid incisions in breast lift when they are necessary will lead to an unsatisfactory result due to persistent sagging. Incisions are permanent but scars are very variable and will fade over time. If you are concerned about scarring, ensure that you bring it up during your consultation.
What Should I Expect during My Recovery From Breast Lift Surgery?
Immediately after breast lift surgery your incisions will be dressed or bandaged. While they heal, it is important to wear a bra to keep your breasts supported and minimize swelling.
Before your procedure, you and your surgeon will go over any instructions for recovery, such as how to care for your breasts as you heal and what medications you should take. You should also discuss when you can resume your normal activities and how to best handle follow-up care.
Make sure to adhere to your recovery plan as the success of your procedure depends on healing properly. If you don’t allow yourself the necessary time to heal and subject your incisions to stress and motion, it could impair your results and damage your health.
During your recovery, if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, high fever or dizziness seek medical attention immediately. These are not to be expected and may be a sign that you need further treatment or hospitalization.
How Long Do the Results of a Breast Lift Last?
While you will see results from your breast lift immediately, the final results will become more apparent over the next few months as the swelling reduces and your breasts fully heal. These results should be long-lasting, although your breasts will likely continue to change due to gravity and age. In order to retain your youthful look as long as possible, make sure to keep a healthy lifestyle and maintain your current weight.
If you plan on having children or plan to lose a considerable amount of weight, you should discuss this with your surgeon prior to breast lift surgery.
Can I Get a Breast Lift If I Plan on Having More Children?
Generally, breast lifts do not impair function, which means that you should be able to get pregnant with minimal complications. However, it is generally best to wait until after you are done having children. The weight gain and changes to your breast tissue that occur during pregnancy can reverse the benefits of your breast lift. Furthermore, if you are planning on breastfeeding, you may have more difficulty doing so after a breast lift.
Make Sure to Ask Every Question You Have
It’s incredibly important that all of your breast lift questions are answered before you make your final decision. If you have any concerns, make sure to bring them up with your Bergen County surgeon. There’s absolutely no reason to rush such a procedure and doing so can only leave you with unsatisfying or unwanted results.
By taking your time, you can develop a relationship with your surgeon which will help you better assess whether or not they are the right doctor for you. Take an active role in your consultations– ask questions, both about the procedure and your doctor.
The results of plastic surgery can do wonders for self-esteem and body image, but, because they are permanent, make sure to carefully weigh your decision. Get all the information you need to make an informed choice, take control and do what’s right for you.