At Victorian Body Surgical Arts in Chevy Chase, MD, we understand a breast lift changes more than your body. It can change your life as well, which is precisely what it should do. Knowing you look good can be a key component to elevating your self-confidence. As this soars, your relationships, professional goals, and even your outlook on life and the future can shift.
What Is a Breast Lift?
This procedure does exactly what you might think: lifts breasts so they no longer sag or droop. Sometimes, a woman may benefit from this surgery without even knowing it. How does this happen? The body changes gradually, over a period of time, so that you don’t necessarily realize your breasts sit lower than they did five or 10 years ago.
That is, until you wake up one morning and notice you no longer have the proud and supple bust you once did. Clothes fit differently, your profile is less appealing, and you’re just not as happy with your shape as you once were. A breast lift can correct this by removing the excess tissue from around the breasts to lift and pull the skin taut.
Changes to Breasts
Different factors contribute to the drop that many women experience in their breasts. One of the most likely culprits is a loss of elasticity in skin tissue. When we’re younger, we produce quantities of collagen and elastin that keep the skin and tissues surrounding our breasts strong. In turn, they appear plump and round.
With time, however, our natural production of these proteins declines. Breast tissue tissues lose their plasticity and thus start to sag. Breasts also lose their fullness, as internal fat is pulled down. This accounts for the bulbous appearance breasts get, in which the tops – nearest to the breastbone – look thin and diminished, while the bottoms look round and disproportionate.
More Contributing Causes
Gravity also causes the Cooper’s ligaments to stretch. These connective tissues provide breasts with their round shapes. As they stretch, breasts look less round and more flat – or, depending on your cup size, breasts look more bulbous, as we described earlier.
In addition, breasts naturally develop more fat and less tissue as we age. This contributes to a deflated look so the breasts look like they’re hanging rather than sitting. Smoking, excessive sun exposure, and yo-yo dieting also contribute to a break down of natural elastin fibers. Sometimes, these factors cause breasts to prematurely sag. This is why a lift can help women of many different ages.
The nipple and areola are not exempt from changes. With weight gain, the areola may become substantially bigger. Other women, as they age, experience shrinkage in this area.
In addition, natural sagging causes the nipple to point downward. This is in stark contrast to the projection of younger breasts where nipples point outward. This downward position contributes to an overall sagging appearance.
Details of this Procedure
We commonly perform breast lifts as outpatient surgeries. General anesthesia will be administered so you remain comfortable throughout the procedure. Dr. Gordon will then make incisions in the exact places you and he discussed during your consultation. The goal of surgery is to remove loose skin and reshape tissue so breasts look rounder and more youthful.
Dr. Gordon then moves both breasts so they sit higher, ensuring throughout this process that you have smooth and symmetrical contours. After, each incision is meticulously closed in a way that minimizes skin tension. It’s important to remember that your incisions will be discreetly placed. In total, the procedure takes between three and four hours.
During your surgery, we can also reduce the size of your areola so it’s more consistent with your breast size. Finally, we can move the nipple to create a forward projection. The combination of these actions helps breasts look boosted. They will lose that heavy, tired appearance to give you a more youthful silhouette.
Immediately after surgery, you will spend time in recovery. This allows our staff to watch as you safely come out of anesthesia. Before you’re released to go home, we’ll submit several prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice and provide you with post-op instructions. Included will be tips to stay comfortable, reduce swelling, and care for your incisions.
Patients usually feel a significant improvement after just a few days of rest and relaxation. Your body will immediately start to heal, but throughout this process, it’s crucial that you refrain from strenuous activities. This means staying home from work, avoiding exercise, and limiting lifting to less than eight pounds.
Within a few days of surgery, you should be ready to start walking. We encourage this for two reasons: to stimulate blood flow that will in turn help you heal more quickly and to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Most patients are able to return to work after a week. While you may continue to experience some mild degrees of swelling or bruising, you’ll likely be able to resume your normal schedule within two weeks. We’ll also schedule check-ups for you at regular intervals so we can monitor your progress and answer any questions you may have.
Many times, a patient will opt to combine her breast lift with a breast augmentation. The distinction between these procedures is important because patients can rightfully confuse the goals of each.
Augmentation is performed to increase breast size. It does not lift breasts; instead, it uses implants to make flat or disproportionately small breasts bigger. A lift, on the other hand, focuses on breast position. This procedure does not make breasts bigger, but it does lift them so they look more youthful.
Which Is Right for You?
It’s possible that both procedures may be right for you, depending on your ultimate beauty goals. Commonly, women with large breasts don’t need augmentation. They simply need a lift to restore the “perky” appearance that wanes with age.
If you’re looking to add volume and reposition your breasts for a higher profile, however, both surgeries may be of benefit. This is a discussion we can have during your consultation, at which time we’ll evaluate your breasts for size, position, nipple projection, and volume. Together, we’ll develop a treatment plan that provides the results you want.
Reasons to Consider This Surgery
Many women are reluctant to discuss certain health issues, including skin chafing under the breasts. This is a common ailment – probably more common than you know – of drooping breasts. The constant rubbing of the skin can induce rashes, redness, and pain.
A lift serves to move breasts away from the skin and thereby stop chafing. You’ll notice an immediate improvement, and even wearing a bra will be much more comfortable.
The effects of a breast lift are permanent. You won’t need to contend with alleged “home” remedies like creams and expensive shaping garments to give you the contours you crave. You’ll finally have a more lifted and sculpted appearance.
But breasts can change with pregnancy and weight loss or gain. For these reasons, we recommend you wait and have this procedure once you’ve met your family planning goals and after you achieve your ideal weight. Otherwise, you may need a second corrective procedure.
Reduced Back Pain
Women who suffer from chronic back pain for no apparent reason can likely blame their breasts. Just as large breasts can put pressure on the back, so, too, can those that sag. This condition adds stress to your neck, as well, which may even contribute to headaches. The benefits of this procedure can therefore extend well beyond aesthetics.
You probably don’t realize it, but the pull of your breasts can cause you to sit and walk with a forward hunch. This dramatically affects your posture so you look older and more tired than you are.
By restoring your breasts to their more natural position, you’ll be able to once again walk in a proud, upright manner. Improved posture not only relieves back pain – again – but also sends the message that you are a confident, controlled person.
Restoration to Physical Activity
For many women, exercise is directly related to their breasts. Just as females with large busts refrain because of discomfort, those with drooping breasts may have a hard time with activities like running, jumping, and weightlifting. This can be accompanied by a deep sense of anxiety when women think of doing these exercises in a gym, with others watching.
A lift allows you to move much more freely. It repositions and redistributes breast weight in a way that is more proportionate to the rest of your body. This allows you to participate in a wide range of activities without fear.
Slowing the Spread of Myths
A variety of myths cloud the truth about breasts and their propensity to sag over time. One of these concerns breastfeeding, which is commonly listed as a reason breasts lose their natural elasticity. The truth is that breastfeeding does not impact breast tissue in this way. It can make them look deflated, but it does not cause tissues to stretch.
A greater culprit is pregnancy, which causes weight gain followed by loss. This process can lead breasts to expand and then sag.
Bras Don’t Prevent Drooping
Another common myth is that wearing bras can prevent drooping. But the data simply doesn’t support this. Similarly, women shouldn’t feel compelled to wear a bra while sleeping. Sagging is caused by a loss of elasticity in tissues; wearing a bra cannot improve inherent body changes.
We do need to add, however, that a sports bra can provide necessary support during exercise. The support these provide can prevent substantial, long-term bouncing that may break down tissue and potentially lead to sagging.
Chest Exercises Make Breast Look Smaller
A growing – and incorrect – tale suggests chest exercises can diminish the appearance of breasts. First and foremost, muscle is not found within breasts. Instead, breasts are comprised of lobes and ducts for milk. Between these are pockets of fat. Without muscle, exercises have nothing to target.
What chest exercises can do is improve breast appearance. By building the pectoral muscles, you can help firm your breasts and even slightly elevate them. These effects will further enhance your breast lift procedure.
Small Breasts Don’t Sag
Gravity affects all breasts. While this happens in varying degrees, small breasts can still fall victim to ligaments being stretched. A key factor in drooping is the ratio of fat to breast tissue. More tissue means less droop, while more fat means more droop. So, yes, even small breasts may benefit from a breast lift.
Enjoy a Lift
The changes this procedure can bring are, as we said earlier, life-changing. Women feel re-invigorated, not only because of a boost in confidence, but because of the freedom a lift can provide. Freedom from worrying about how they look and what others might be thinking.
Learn about the benefits of this surgery for yourself. Call Victorian Body Surgical Arts in Chevy Chase, MD, today and schedule your consultation appointment.