Are the “girls” feeling a little low these days?
Whether you’ve had kids, a major weight change, or are just a victim of gravity, you may be thinking about having plastic surgery. If you’re considering a breast lift, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what’s involved—both the good and the bad.
If your breasts are sagging or they’ve lost their volume or shape, a breast lift can significantly improve their appearance. It’s important to remember that a breast lift is a surgical procedure and, like all surgeries, it does carry some risks.
Read on to learn about the techniques, tips, and the truth about scars when you have a breast lift!
What to Expect
During your procedure, your plastic surgeon makes one to three incisions in the breast, depending on the kind of lift being performed. The most common method involves making an incision shaped like an inverted T, or “anchor” scar. Another method, the Vertical Lift, calls for an incision around the areola and straight down the breast called a “lollipop” scar. In a third method called the Circumareolar Lift, the surgeon only makes an incision around the areola, which is sometimes referred to as a “donut” scar. These incisions are placed strategically and carefully so they won’t be visible even in low-cut clothing.
Know The Risks!
When you have breast lift surgery, there are four main risks:
- Loss of sensation
For many women, scarring is the biggest downside to getting a breast lift, especially since it can be hard to predict the extent to which an individual will scar post-surgery. Most women’s scars will lose their redness and fade after a year or so. For others, though, the scars may be keloids or become hypertrophic (thick and raised), making them much more noticeable.
Some individuals are at higher risk for bad scarring after a breast lift no matter how well they follow their doctor’s advice. African Americans and people with darker skin tones are likely to scar noticeably because they are genetically predisposed to keloid and hypertrophic scarring.
The Battle to Fight Lines and Lumps
Luckily, there are ways to reduce the risk of developing keloid or hypertrophic scars. Silicone sheet therapy can help to soften or flatten your scars as they heal, making them less visible. Steroid injections can also minimize the likelihood of bad scarring. You can also try the V beam laser to reduce scaring. If you think you might want to take advantage of these scar-reduction methods after your surgery, you should discuss your concerns and your options with your surgeon prior to your breast lift.
No Butts About It! Quit Smoking BEFORE Your Surgery!
We all know that cigarettes are bad for us, but did you know they’re bad for your scars, too? Smoking and secondhand smoke decrease the level of oxygen in your blood. This constricts your capillaries and slows down your healing process, and can lead to necrosis (death of healthy tissue) in extreme cases. All of these things put you at a high risk for both infection and for bad scarring. Speak to your doctor about a smoking cessation plan that’s right for you.
Top Tips for Your Best Result
For smokers and nonsmokers alike, it’s imperative to listen to your surgeon’s directions following surgery and to strictly adhere to the guidelines that they give for your recovery. Restricting physical activities, especially those that are strenuous or require bending over, is crucial. This keeps tension off of your stitches, which can mean less scarring in the long run. In the same spirit, keeping your incisions clean after your lift is key. The better-tended your incisions are, the better your wounds will heal.
While the danger of scarring from a breast lift is a reality, for many patients the positive results outweigh the risks. It’s important to go into your surgery with an informed understanding of the kind of scarring associated with the particular type of breast lift your surgeon will be performing. Every woman who has a breast lift gets a permanent scar… some heal beautifully and some don’t. The question for you to ask is not “Will I have a scar?”, because everyone will, but rather “Do my sagging breasts bother me more than scars would?”. If the answer to that second question is yes, then you’re ready to make an appointment with a plastic surgeon!
While scarring can be an unfortunate side effect of a breast lift, the payoff is better-shaped, perkier breasts. Remember, the improved self-confidence that will result from those changes is the most uplifting part of all!
Usha Rajagopal, MD Plastic Surgeon San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center www.sfcosmeticsurgery.com
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.