A woman’s breasts are fundamental to her feminine appearance. Women’s clothes are designed to feature the bust line. No other part of a woman’s body is more prominent to her female image. With so much attention going to her breasts, it is easily understandable that a woman may feel insecure about them.
The medical term for a breast lift is mastopexy. It is a surgical procedure performed by a specialized surgeon to change the shape of a woman’s breasts. Our surgeon at The Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, FL is Dr. Walt Sweeney. With years of dedicated experience, Dr. Sweeney is a leader in his field and offers a personalized approach many women have learned to trust.
A breast lift procedure removes excess skin and breast tissue to reshape and raise the breasts. Your bra size may become slightly smaller after a breast lift, but this is not a bad thing. Even though a breast reduction is not performed in combination with the lift, your breasts become firmer and rounder and thus slightly smaller. The result is a desirable, more youthful appearance.
Is Breast Surgery for You?
Breast lifts are highly sought-after procedures for women wanting to achieve more youthful and aesthetically pleasing shapes. Many women regain confidence in their figures by restoring their feminine proportions, helping them feel more comfortable in their bodies and clothes. As the name suggests, this procedure “lifts” the breasts by removing excess skin and reshaping surrounding tissue to support a more youthful breast contour.
Specific Reasons to Have Breast Lift May Include:
- Sagging breasts
- Sagging nipples
- Losing “perkiness”
Whether your breasts sag or your nipples point downward, a breast lift will boost your self-image and self-confidence. The procedure does not significantly change the size of your breasts. However, it can be performed in combination with breast augmentation or breast reduction if desired.
What Causes Breasts to Change?
Every woman’s breasts change as she gets older, losing elasticity and firmness. Causes for these changes include:
The ligaments supporting your breasts might stretch as your breasts become fuller and heavier during pregnancy. This stretching causes breasts to sag after pregnancy, whether you breast-feed your baby or not.
Fluctuations in your weight often cause breasts to grow larger with weight gain and shrink with weight loss, which makes breast skin stretch and lose elasticity.
Breasts project out from a woman’s body with no bones to support them. Even though you may diligently support your breasts with well-fitting bras, gravity causes ligaments in the breasts to stretch and sag over time.
Every Woman Is Different
A lift can be performed on breasts of any size. However, women with smaller sagging breasts tend to have longer-lasting results. Larger breasts are weightier, making them more likely to sag again. Still, large-breasted women will enjoy many years of pleasing results from the procedure.
A breast lift reduces the sagging of heavy breast tissue. We can raise the position of the nipples and the darker area surrounding the nipples (areolae). The procedure can also reduce the size of the areolae to keep them in proportion to the newly shaped breasts.
Several techniques are available to remove breast skin and reshape breast tissue. The specific technique Dr. Sweeney chooses for you will be very personal to your desired outcome. These decisions, made in your advance consultation, determine the location of incisions.
Depending on your situation, incisions might be made around your areolae, the darker area surrounding the nipples. In some cases, incisions extend downward from the areolae to the breast creases. Your procedure may require horizontal incisions along the breast creases.
Doctor Hartog might place stitches deep within your breasts. These strategic stitches reshape your breast tissue and, if necessary, shrink the size of your areolae. The procedure will remove excess breast skin and shift the nipples up to higher positions. After excess skin is removed, we bring together the healthy breast skin and close the incisions with stitches, surgical tape or skin adhesives.
Many women receive significant rejuvenation to their breasts’ appearance by repositioning the nipples higher on the chest wall. This simple shift brings back the perkiness so desirable in breast shape.
It’s Surgery, But Minor
Women usually get this procedure on an outpatient basis. There’s no overnight stay in a hospital or lengthy recovery at home. You will need some time to recover, of course, but most women can return to work within a few days and can resume all activities, including aerobic exercise and swimming, within a few weeks.
The procedure takes about three hours and can be done under general or local anesthesia. You will need to have someone drive you home afterward. Plan to be a bit groggy for the rest of the day, and someone should be with you at home to help with meals and other simple tasks through at least the day after.
How to Prepare
What you do before your procedure profoundly affects your recovery after. We have several suggestions and a few requirements for how to prepare.
Two Weeks Before
Your breast lift preparation begins two weeks out. Don’t put these steps off for the last couple days. An early start means you won’t be rushing at the last minute. Early preparation will also help ensure the necessary arrangements go smoothly. Here are a few things to do at least two weeks before surgery:
Schedule a Ride Home
A friend or loved one needs to drive you home from the clinic on the day of your surgery. We will not release you to drive yourself.
Schedule a Helper
A friend or loved one should stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after surgery. That person will prepare meals for you and assist with around-the-house tasks. You’ll also want to arrange help for childcare and pet care, if you have children or pets.
Shun Tobacco and Alcohol
If you need a good motivation to quit smoking, this is it. Nicotine prolongs recovery time and increases the chances of post-surgical complications. Now is the time to quit smoking altogether to avoid health problems in the future. Stop drinking alcohol, at least temporarily. Alcohol thins your blood, which will prolong healing and increase bruising. Drink water instead to hydrate and nourish your body.
Avoid Certain Pain Relievers
Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen. These drugs interfere with the body’s normal blood clotting ability. For a headache or other pain, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead.
No Herbal Supplements
Several herbal supplements, such as St. John’s wort, ginkgo biloba, green tea extract, ginseng, and garlic are known to interact negatively with anesthesia. It is highly advisable to stop taking all herbal supplements two weeks prior to surgery.
One Week Before
It’s a good idea to cook and freeze meals for easy preparation while you’re recovering. Leave the salt shaker alone. Sodium increases fluid retention and swelling.
Here are a few items to pick up before your procedure, so you’ll have them on hand:
- Antibacterial soap
- Laxative or stool softener (pain medication may cause constipation)
- Pick-up tool to help you grab items without having to bend or reach above your head
- Shirts that button in the front
- Comfortable robe and/or pajamas
- Entertainment – books, magazines, and movies to keep you occupied while you rest
- Food – fruit, prepared meals (if you choose not to cook your own), saltine crackers, gelatin or pudding, soup
The tasks you perform the night before surgery are some of the most important to prepare for your breast lift:
- Wash your hair and then cleanse your body with antibacterial soap
- Do not eat or drink anything during the final eight hours prior to your surgery – not even sips of water or chewing gum
- Get a good night’s sleep.
Day of Procedure
These final preparations will help you be ready for your breast lift and help everything go smoothly:
- Do not wear any jewelry, makeup or contact lenses
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Don’t eat or drink anything. Sorry, no coffee that morning
We’ll go over all pre-operative instructions and recommendations well ahead of time in your consultation. Following these instructions will help ensure your comfort, avoid complications, and speed your healing.
After the Procedure
You should stay in bed or lie comfortably on a couch for the first couple of days. It’s best if someone can help you go to the bathroom and take a shower. Stay at home as much as possible for the first week. Driving is not recommended for the first few days. You should not be cooking, cleaning, running errands, shopping, or picking up kids.
Leave everything we applied to your breast area alone for 36 hours after surgery. At that time you can start showering, but be sure to leave the steri-strips (small white tapes) in place over your incisions.
How to Take a Shower
- Remove the bra
- Remove the gauze (the white squares held on by tape)
- Do not remove the steri-strips (the white tape on the incision)
- Take shower (no tub bath) with soap and water
- After shower, gently pat dry in all areas
- No tape or gauze needs to be reapplied over the incisions, but do put the bra back on
For the first few days, only “hospital food” is recommended – soups and bland food that are easy on your stomach. Start eating only in small quantities; have a little at a time until you are sure your stomach is ready for larger, hardier meals.
Post-Procedure – One Week After
Wear a sports bra at all times, preferably one that buttons in the front. The support of a sports bra is particularly important at night while you sleep. Do not wear an underwire bra for one month. After a month, wear any bra you like. Avoid sexual activity for at least one to two weeks after the breast lift.
No heavy lifting. Don’t take out the trash, don’t move a couch to clean under it, and this is not the time to start a piano moving service. Listen to your body. If an activity hurts, don’t do it. Light walking is okay, or do a low setting on a treadmill, elliptical machine, etc. Do not run, jog or perform upper body exercises for one month. After that, start slowly with low weights and increase gradually if it doesn’t hurt.
Post-Procedure – First Month After
After a month you have completed the initial phase of healing from the surgery. Congratulations! Now it’s okay to start exercising regularly, including upper body workouts. Take it easy at first and increase as you feel each movement is comfortable. Stop doing any exercise that causes pain.
Incisions will continue to heal, but no dressings or treatments are needed. Do not expose your breasts to the sun or tanning beds yet. Nude tanning needs to wait a bit longer. You can start wearing normal bras, including underwire bras, during the day. If the wire rubs against incisions, don’t wear it, or pad the incisions until it is comfortable. Always sleep in a sports bra to support your breasts.
The Big Question – How Long Do Results From a Breast Lift Last?
You’ll see an immediate change in the appearance of your breasts. If other procedures were performed at the same time, such as augmentation or reduction, your breasts likely will continue to change and settle over the next few months.
Most women enjoy very satisfying results that last decades, while others may want minor revisions after a few years. Results from a typical breast lift surgery depend on many factors, such as age, genetics, health and dietary habits. There are several things you can do to help prolong your desirable new look:
Take Care of Your Skin
Skin elasticity has a lot to do with genetics, but you can be proactive in helping maintain skin rejuvenation. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. A deep tan does terrible things to your skin’s texture, and it doesn’t even look as good as most deep tanners think. Vitamin C and E have been shown to help promote skin elasticity.
Avoid Weight Swings
Rapid weight gain and loss are never good for your health. They are also bad for any cosmetic surgical procedure and can have negative effects on breast lift results. Don’t allow yourself to put on pounds quickly and certainly don’t lose weight quickly with fad dieting. If you are heavy and plan to lose weight, don’t seek a breast lift until you have reached your desired size.
Wear Proper Support
You may want to show off your firm, perky new breasts by going braless, but going without or wearing ill-fitting bras will cause your breasts to sag faster. That defeats the point of getting your breast lift in the first place! Invest in and wear the right bras to support your breasts.
Central Florida Breast Surgeon
Dr. Sweeney is double board-certified and has performed thousands of breast surgeries over decades of experience. He and his staff will be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Contact The Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, FL for a free consultation to decide if a breast lift is right for you.