All you need to now about Breast Lifting
Many women suffer from real psychological problems because of that. If breast sagging worries a woman so much that it starts affecting everyday life and sexual activity, breast lifting (mastopexy) should be considered. During such operation, a doctor lifts breasts and improves their form. The method used for breast lifting is chosen depending on patient’s overall health, and her ideas and demands.
Undoubtedly, breast lifting can improve well-being and self-esteem. However, such operation is closely connected with certain risks and complications. There’s no warranty that lifted breast will have the desired shape. Therefore, a doctor should discuss all risks and desired results with the patient and evaluate all pros and cons. In most cases, mastopexy is made because of aesthetics benefits, not due to health conditions. It means that a patient has to cover operation cost of 4000-6000 Euro. If implants are installed additionally, the price of the operation will be even higher.
In 2019, 25,407 breast lift surgeries were performed in Germany.
Breast lift in numbers
- In 1897 the first documented breast lift with breast reduction was carried out.
- Fifty-one years after the first breast reduction, Alfred Pousson performed the surgery with simultaneous tightening.
- In 1923 the first breast lift was performed with a cut around the nipple and displacement of the nipple.
- 16,732 breast liftings were performed in Germany in 2017.
- 657,832 breast liftings took place worldwide last year.
- Breast lift was 12% higher in 2017 compared to 2016 worldwide.
- 79% of all plastic surgeons in Germany perform breast lift procedures.
What is breast lift and when is it useful?
Breast lift (mastopexy) is a surgical procedure in which sagging, sagging breasts are raised and reshaped. Reasons for the loss of shape can e.g. Pregnancy, weight loss or genetically poor connective tissue. Depending on the initial situation, a breast lift can be combined with enlargement or reduction of the breast volume. Up to 20 different cutting techniques can be used. The intervention is carried out over 25,000 times a year in Germany alone.
Particularly large, heavy breasts can make it necessary to combine firming and reduction of the skin, glandular and fatty tissue in one operation. But even small breasts can sag and lose volume and elasticity. If, after losing weight, the firming alone is not enough to compensate for the lost volume, it is advisable to combine the breast lift with implants as a volume donor. This enables the breast to be optimally shaped in terms of contour, position and size. In addition, fat can also be used as a natural filling material.
Especially with pronounced excess of skin, effective breast lifting is hardly possible without an operation, but with the onset of loss of elasticity, a gentle, natural tightening of the tissue can be achieved through special sports exercises.
What should be taken into consideration before breast lifting?
First and foremost, the operation is made when patient’s breast is fully formed, and its growth has stopped. The procedure can be performed after pregnancy and breastfeeding only, because surgical invasion can complicate breast feeding. If a woman has just born a baby, she needs to wait for at least eight months after finishing breastfeeding until the breast fully restores.
During detailed consultations, a plastic surgeon may explain how different surgical methods are performed, and what the possible risks of skin lifting are. A woman can tell the doctor what her demands and wishes are. Together they can decide whether breast lifting should be made, and which methods of mastopexy are the most optimal.
How breast lifting is performed?
As a rule, skin lifting is performed in stationary conditions. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes from two to three hours. There are more than twenty methods of tissue cutting, and some of them are used for breast reduction. The surgeon selects an optimal reduction method, and the choice of it depends on several factors. First, patient’s demands and ideas are taken into consideration. Secondly, breast size, structure of the skin and connective tissue, and nipple position matter a lot. Anyway, the main aim of surgery is to restore normal breast shape leaving as little scars as possible. This is why breast lifting can be combined with breast augmentation (sometimes implants are used) or breast reduction.
Basic surgical methods
The technique of periareolary lifting leaves the least amount of scars. When this technique is used, a surgeon removes a small strip of skin in the form of a ring surrounding the nipple, and closes the wound above the upper skin layer with a thin suture. This method is good when a patient has excessive skin, and whedn the breast should slightly be lifted.
T-shape cut allows reaching maximum results of lifting. This method implies making a cut around areola from its lower edge to breast fold, and then inside and out, making a turned T. L-shaped cut to breast fold is made the same way, but it’s turned outside. When a surgeon makes a vertical cut only, this procedure is called M. Lejour’s technique, or I-shaped cut.
All these surgical methods imply removal of excessive skin, and the nipple is moved up. When it has been made, a doctor installs drainage tubes that help to remove blood and wound secretion, then the cut is stitched, and I-shaped cut and cut made by M. Lejour’s technique are closed with special sutures. As the result, a wavy scar forms that is naturally evened thanks to natural skin contraction. Finally, a woman has to wear a hermetical seal or a special bra that fixes breasts.
In principle, any technique removes excess skin and raises the remaining breast tissue. The different methods differ. a. regarding their cut.
The small periareolar breast lift - often also called donut lift or breast lift according to Benelli - is considered to be particularly gentle and scar-saving for smaller tightenings: excess skin can be removed and the breast gently tightened using a circular (circular) cut around the areola.
However, more cuts are required for larger tightening. For example, in Lejour's breast lift, the circular cut is followed by a vertical cut to the underbust fold. Techniques such as the L-cut or the T-cut (Strömbeck method), in which the access is extended horizontally to one or both sides, have proven particularly useful for large breast lifting. The skin excess can be completely removed in both the longitudinal and transverse directions.
OrbiShape offers a new, innovative method of breast lift. With this technique, thin silicone foil implants are fixed with silk ribbons, which give the breast support from the inside. An equally effective breast lift without silicone is made possible by the "inner bra", which is inserted as the body's own support structure for the toned breast. Both methods promise particularly long-lasting success.
The procedure can also be combined with a breast reduction (small or large reduction plastic) or a breast enlargement (optionally with or without an implant). Only the doctor can decide which method is best suited in an individual case after thorough examination and advice.
What is a breast lift with an "inner bra"?
The “inner bra” method is a newly developed technique in which the breast is not primarily raised above the tightened skin, but by means of an inner support. The excess skin is not completely removed, but is used to form a support structure in the lower part of the breast that supports the breast from below. The chest lies on this tight band and is thus permanently moved upwards. This method is considered to be very demanding operationally, but promises long-term success.
Will the nipple be moved if the breast is tightened?
In most cases, it is necessary to move the nipple upwards as part of the breast lift, as it has sunk due to the sagging skin and would no longer be in the correct position after the breast was lifted. A breast lift without moving the nipple is only possible if the breasts are only slightly sagging and the tightening of skin and tissue is sufficient to lift the nipple to the location of the highest projection of the breast.
What are the long-term experiences with breast lifting?
Without significant fluctuations in weight and a healthy lifestyle, the result of the breast lift can be retained for up to ten years. Modern methods of breast lifting such as the "inner bra" promise an even longer shelf life. Nevertheless, the breast is still subject to gravity even after a successful breast lift. With increasing age, the breast may sink again. In principle, the procedure can then be repeated and a second breast lift can bring the breasts back into shape.
What must be considered with stretch marks?
Stretch marks indicate heavy stress on the skin, often due to poor connective tissue. The result of this stretched, inelastic skin is a significantly reduced support force. If the stressed skin coat is filled with more weight - for example with an implant - the stretch marks can even become stronger and you can relax later. Therefore, a breast lift without implant is recommended in these cases. A good alternative is the "inner bra" because it relieves the skin by carrying the volume through an inner support made of the body's own material.
What happens after the surgery?
During the first days after the surgery, breast swells and aches. Until these symptoms subside, a patient needs to take pain killers. A few days after the operation, a surgeon removes drainage tubes. The woman is given a special bra that should be taken day and night during three weeks, then during three more weeks, but at daytime only. If there are no complications, a patient can go home a week after the operation.
During the first six weeks after the operation, a woman should sleep on the back and obtain from sports. Any other physical activity that imposes load on breasts, arm muscles and shoulders should also be avoided. During sexual intercourse, a woman should be careful with breasts, too.
As with any surgery, risks associated with breast lifting cannot be completely ruled out. However, complications are very rare. Typical side effects include bruising, swelling and temporary sensitivity disorders. Occasionally, wound healing disorders, infections and bleeding can occur after breast lift. On the other hand, a persistent numbness around the nipple or a restriction of breastfeeding is extremely rare. The risk of unsightly scars or aesthetic problems can be largely eliminated by choosing an experienced surgeon.
How painful is a breast lift?
A breast lift is a surgical procedure in which the skin and tissue are removed or repositioned. Pain after the procedure is therefore unavoidable, but can be treated well with medication. After the operation, the chest may feel tense and swollen. In addition to a feeling of pressure, wound pain and increased sensitivity to touch are possible. In order to keep the pain as low as possible after the breast lift, sufficient rest as well as thorough aftercare and care are essential.
Is general anesthesia necessary? When is local anesthesia possible?
As a rule, a breast lift is carried out under general anesthesia, since these are usually complex procedures that take two to three hours. For smaller interventions, in which the skin is only tightened without increasing or reducing volume, the breast lift can also be performed on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia or in the deep sleep.
Do permanent scars remain?
Every surgical procedure leaves scars. However, an experienced surgeon is able to make their course as natural and as unobtrusive as possible. Depending on the cutting technique, scars can appear around the areola after the breast lift, vertically downwards or in the breast fold. Experience shows, however, that even large scars from a breast lift fade after about two years and are barely visible.
Is my nipple and skin feeling affected after surgery?
Immediately after the breast lift, a sensitivity disorder can occur, since fine nerve tracts often have to be severed during the operation. As a rule, however, the feeling returns during the healing process. In rare cases, however, the sensation in the nipple can remain limited.