Women of all ages and stages of life can start to notice a change in their breast shape. As people age, the skin ages as well, and the decrease in elasticity often results in laxity or stretching in multiple parts of the body, particularly the breasts. At Precision M.D. Cosmetic Surgery Center in Elk Grove, California, we are well prepared to treat these changes in a variety of ways – specifically, with a breast lift.
What Should You Expect When You Get a Breast Lift?
Like any surgery, the procedure in-and-of-itself isn’t the only part of the whole process. A breast lift has multiple stages that each need to be discussed in detail. That being said, there are a few general things to expect – a consultation beforehand, possibly a few tests, and then a recovery period afterward.
After the procedure, an immediate change in breast shape and perkiness can be expected. The initial results will likely change slightly throughout the healing process, but an initial change can be both seen and felt. Many women also notice a change in the way their chest looks in clothes.
Why Are Breast Lifts Done?
As we said before, aging and other experiences such as pregnancy or significant weight gain or loss can change the texture and laxity of the skin. This, combined with gravity, can result in looseness of the breasts, as well as an enlargement of the areolae. A lift can be done to help alleviate any of these factors.
Stages of the Lift Process
There are three main stages in preparing for and going through with this procedure – a consultation, the lift itself, and recovery. Though all parts of the larger process, each of these has its own facts and steps.
If a lift is something you are considering, the first thing you should do is contact a surgeon or cosmetic surgery office such as Precision M.D. Cosmetic Surgery Center and schedule an appointment.
At the appointment, the doctor will ask you a few background questions – namely about your medical and family history, any current medical conditions, and medications. The doctor might also ask you to get a mammogram before concretely deciding whether a lift is the right choice for you.
Next, your doctor will perform a physical exam of your breasts. This is so they can see exactly what is going on and how they may be able to help.
They may also take photos of your breasts for your medical record or planning your procedure.
Expectations and Desired Results
During the consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what exactly you want to come out of this surgery. This can be any of a variety of things. For example, a patient with loose skin would ask about tightening and lifting while a patient with loose skin and enlarged nipples would bring up both of these at the appointment.
This is an important part of the process because it is where the patient and the doctor come to an agreement about what is going to happen and what can be expected. Your doctor will check in with you about things such as smoking, intent for future weight loss, or a desire for future pregnancy, as these can all affect your procedure.
Before taking you into surgery, your doctor will meet with you to make sure you are on the same page and everything is ready to go.
During the procedure, at least one incision will be made on each breast, which the doctor will use to remove excess skin. Additionally, stitches may be placed underneath the skin to reshape the breasts. Finally, the surgeon will check for symmetry and a few final factors before closing the incisions.
Upon waking up, you will be groggy. Your doctor will have prescribed you pain medication to help you in the first few days after the procedure, but breast lifts are outpatient procedures, so you will be able to go home the same day and recover there.
Expect recovery to take a few weeks initially, then more gradually over the next few months.
The First Few Days
In the first few days after surgery, you will be dressed in gauze, padding, and a surgical bra after your surgery, and you shouldn’t take these off at home or by yourself. These, along with your drains, will be looked at and cleaned or removed during your post-operative check-ins with your doctor.
Initially, you shouldn’t stretch, bend, or lift anything heavy so you don’t disrupt your healing. You might need someone to help you take a shower.
You will go see your doctor at least once in the first days of your recovery so they can inspect the wound and make sure everything is healing according to plan. They will likely take off the surgical bra and bandages to look at how everything is going.
Though your doctor will give you more nuanced instructions and updates on your progress during your check-ins, usual progress to expect at this point would the removal of your drains and the replacement of your surgical support bra with a softer support bra.
The Next Few Weeks
As time goes by, your breasts will continue to heal. You will notice less and less difficulty in doing more strenuous activities. That being said, do not push yourself to heal too fast – it’s important to take your time and not exceed what your doctor recommends.
After three or four weeks, you will likely be able to stop wearing even the softer support bra. Your swelling will have gone down as well as any bruising that might’ve happened, and your incisions will most likely have closed.
A variety of post-operative side effects, such as numbness, will also start going away or heal completely as well.
The Following Months
Many surgeries heal dramatically in the period immediately following the procedure before entering a longer, more subtle healing period over the months and even years following, and a breast lift is no exception. The swelling will continue to go down, your breasts will settle into their final shape and size, and your scars will continue to shrink and become more subtle.
You will likely also have at least one post-op check-in with your doctor at this stage as well so they can give one last exam to the area and verify that everything is going as planned. You could also be asked to get a mammogram to ensure breast health.
1. How Long Does a Breast Lift Take?
It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on the extent of the issues being addressed.
2. Are the Results Permanent?
A lift is a permanent removal of existing lax skin or tissue. As long as no significant bodily changes take place, the effects of a lift should be relatively permanent. In the case of a significant weight gain or a new pregnancy afterward, it could be a good idea to talk with your doctor about how this could affect your results.
3. Who Is a Viable Candidate for a Lift?
Anyone with normal, healthy breasts in need of a general perking-up is a suitable candidate. That being said, it’s important to discuss your medical history and family history with your doctor to make sure.
4. Is This the Same As a Breast Reduction?
No. Though a lift does remove excess skin, it isn’t designed to remove breast tissue. Your breasts can and likely will appear smaller or fit into a slightly smaller bra afterward, but this is due to tightening and lifting and not to any removal of breast tissue.
5. Is This a Substitute for a Breast Augmentation?
No. A lift provides a rejuvenated and full look to the breasts that can also be seen with a breast augmentation, but it is not a substitute procedure.
6. Can It Be Done at the Same Time as a Breast Augmentation?
Yes, they can be done during the same surgery. Seeing as one of these procedures tightens the breasts while the other enlarges them, you and your doctor should discuss factors such as the desired size and shape before deciding whether this is the right choice for you.
7. Will There Be Scars, and Will They Be Visible?
The extent of a patient’s scars has to do with both the extent of the surgery and the patient themself. A small amount of scaring around the incision is to be expected.
In terms of visibility, any scars that you do have will fit under a bathing suit or bra. If scarring is something that concerns you, make sure to bring it up with your doctor as you think about and plan your procedure.
8. Does This Affect Breastfeeding?
In most women, a lift doesn’t affect their ability to breastfeed. In some women, though, there can be a slight decrease in milk quality. Plans to have more kids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.
9. Will My Sensation Be Affected?
Most likely no, though initial numbness after the procedure is normal. Though your doctor may advise you to postpone becoming intimate with anyone for a while after the procedure, erotic feeling in the breast is rarely affected.
10. How Can I Know if This is Right for Me?
A lift is a good idea for anyone looking to increase the perkiness and shape of their breasts. If these are things that you are interested in, a lift could be a good idea for you. It heals relatively quickly and doesn’t take too long in the operating room, making it a good idea for many women.
What to Expect From a Breast Lift
The Long and Short of It
All in all, a lift is a lot like many other surgeries. It includes consulting with a doctor, getting certain tests done, and a recovery period. The biggest thing to expect, though, is an immediate change in breast appearance and perkiness. In the long term, many women report a significant change in how their breasts appear in clothing.
On the other hand, if you become pregnant or experience significant weight gain, it could be a good idea to discuss these changes with your doctor.
A Weight Off Your Chest
A lift is a good way to improve the appearance of breasts with large amounts of lax or loose skin or enlarged areolae. It’s an outpatient procedure that lets you recover at your own home while still being checked in on by your doctor at post-op appointments. If a breast lift is something you or a loved one are interested in, contact Precision M.D. Cosmetic Surgery Center in Elk Grove, California today!