Gravity is a tireless worker, never taking a day off, never calling in sick, and always pulling our tissues and muscles downward. Gravity is particularly tough on the breasts, especially if you add in changing breast size due to pregnancy or from weight gain and loss. If this sounds like what you’ve been noticing with your own body, Dr. Alfonso Barrera can perform a breast lift in Houston, TX to bring the breasts back up to a higher position on the chest.
What is a breast lift?
Clinically known as mastopexy, a breast lift has the goal of reducing the sagging and stretching that has brought much of the breast volume down to the bottom of the breast and far lower on the chest. Dr. Barrera trims excess skin and tightens underlying support muscles. The breasts will again be higher on the chest, and they will be firmer. Many patients also combine implants with their lift to replace volume lost during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Am I a good candidate for a breast lift?
Breast lifts are a great option for women who don’t like the way their breasts have accumulated volume at the bottom, losing volume on the higher areas above the nipples. This procedure also addresses breasts that have flattened. In some cases, the nipples are pointing downward rather than forward.
Most women who have had children or whose weight has fluctuated could benefit from a breast lift.
How is a breast lift performed?
A breast lift usually involves fairly significant incisions to gain access to the skin to be trimmed. If there is excessive sagging skin, Dr. Barrera will likely use what is known as the anchor incision, which circles the areola, moves straight down to the breast crease, and then moves outward in both directions. Once the excess skin has been removed, the nipple/areola complex is moved to a higher position on the breast.
In some cases with less sagging skin, it may be possible to make a doughnut incision around the areola, removing a doughnut-shaped area of skin.
If the patient has opted to also add volume to her breast lift, Dr. Barrera will insert breast implants after the lift portion of the procedure is complete. This is easy to do, as the implants can be placed through the incisions already made for the breast lift.
Are Breast Lifts Painful?
Breast lifts are not painful. This procedure is performed in a surgical center using general anesthesia. A board-certified anesthesiologist oversees the administration of anesthesia and monitors the patient’s vital signs throughout the procedure. Vital signs are monitored until the patient begins to regain alertness in the recovery area of the surgical center. The effects of general anesthesia support a comfortable transition from the surgery center to home. Patients may be ready for their first dose of prescription pain medication before they have regained full sensation after surgery, making their transition even more comfortable. Soreness and tenderness may occur, but pain should be easily managed by taking medication as directed.
What is the Recovery from a Breast Lift?
Patients usually go home the day of their breast lift procedure. However, they cannot drive due to anesthesia. Reliable transformation must be arranged before the day of surgery. Immediately after surgery, a gauze dressing and surgical bra are applied. Small drainage tubes may be present, as well. For the first several days at home, it is necessary to sleep on the back. The improvements achieved with surgery are noticeable, though somewhat obstructed by swelling. The shape of the breasts is expected to change throughout the recovery timeline.
Discomfort is most intense during the first four or five days after surgery. Prescription pain medications are usually taken during the first week to help manage this side effect. It is not uncommon for nausea to occur due to anesthesia. This should resolve in 24 to 48 hours. Near the end of the first week, a follow-up visit occurs to remove bandages and drainage tubes. This is also our first glimpse of the healing process. It is necessary to continue wearing the compression bra after this follow-up visit and to continue avoiding certain activities as outlined in the post-operative instructions.
After several days of healing, patients may be able to shower. Care should be taken to avoid overreaching, lifting, bending, or otherwise disrupting incisions. A significant amount of bruising and swelling resolves within the first week of recovery. Many patients are ready to go back to work at this time.
Incisions may be healed approximately two weeks after surgery. Pain is at a minimum at this time, as well. Still, patients must not resume strenuous activity yet. This includes sex. In some cases, another office visit is scheduled to remove stitches and perform another progress check on recovery. At the two-week mark, it may be possible to resume normal bathing.
Approximately one month after breast lift surgery, patients can resume most of their normal activities. Heavy lifting and activities that are demanding on the chest must continue to be avoided. At this time, most patients can stop wearing their compression bra. By six weeks, patients are expected to reach full recovery. At that time, all activities can be resumed, including sex and strenuous exercise.
How Long do Results from a Breast Lift Last?
The results of a breast lift can last up to 15 years before the signs of aging begin to be noticeable again. Many women who have undergone this procedure report satisfaction that lasts well beyond this time frame. Every body is unique and will change differently over time. With healthy habits that maintain weight and muscle tone, the results of a breast lift can remain satisfactory for many years.
Are Breast Lifts covered by insurance?
Breast lifts are typically not covered by surgery because they fall into the cosmetic category of care. For patients who have undergone mastectomy as a part of breast cancer treatment, breast lifts and other procedures may be covered by insurance due to their medical necessity in the goal of reconstruction.
How much does a Breast Lift Cost?
A breast lift can vary in cost based on several factors. Aspects of surgery that contribute to cost include the surgeon’s fees, surgical center fees, anesthesia, medical supplies, and prescriptions. The cost of care is also influenced by the degree of work being done. Many patients combine breast procedures, such as breast lift and breast augmentation, to achieve the best results in a single surgical process. When you consult with Dr. Barrera, you will receive the cost information you need to make the most confident decision about your surgery.
Are Breast Lifts Safe?
Every surgery comes with certain risks. Plastic surgery procedures like mastopexy are generally considered low risk because they do not alter internal organs. However, breast surgeries should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Education and skill navigating nerves and ducts in the breasts are vital to a successful surgical outcome. Our team checks in with patients via periodic follow-up visits after surgery to ensure they are healing well. We are available to answer questions and concerns at any time during the recovery process.
Risks associated with breast lift surgery include:
- Temporary numbness
- Temporary discomfort
Patients receive detailed pre-and-post-op instructions from our staff. Following these instructions greatly reduces the risk of potential complications. If you schedule breast surgery and have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Schedule Your Consultation for a Breast Lift in Houston, TX
Do your sagging breasts make your spirits sag along with them? Call Dr. Barrera at (713) 468-5200 and set up a consultation for a breast lift.