Like other parts of your body, aging and gravity take a toll on your breasts. Over time, your breasts sag and droop, and the effect can make them look smaller. Pregnancy and breastfeeding also cause the same effect, so even younger women may be bothered by sagging breasts. A breast lift may be the answer. Located in Atlanta, Dr. Christopher Killingsworth, a double board-certified Atlanta plastic surgeon, performs breast lift surgery for the residents of Forsyth County, Georgia at Atlanta Aesthetics.
Surgery to Lift the Breasts
Since the beginning of time the breasts are one factor that has defined a woman’s attractiveness and unfortunately, breast sagging or drooping is a natural, inevitable process that happens to almost every woman at some point in her life. One dictionary definition of sagging is “hanging down, as from exhaustion or weakness” and that is basically what happens when your breasts begin to sag. There are no set criteria for when sagging occurs since there are many teens with drooping breasts, and several women have drooping breasts even if they have never had children. Additionally, overweight women have additional fat tissue in their breasts that cause them to sag and for women with “too-large” breasts; gravity pulls them causing them to sag easier than “normal” sized breasts.
Breast Augmentation Case 14
Anatomy of the Breast
Breasts are composed of three kinds of tissue: fat, glands, and connective tissue. There are no supportive muscles in the actual breast itself, but it is connected to the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles that lie underneath the breasts by ligaments called Cooper’s ligaments. Also known as “nature’s bra,” the Cooper’s ligaments and the skin itself are the only support for the breast and with time, gravity pulls the breasts down stretching out the skin and Cooper’s ligaments allowing the breasts to droop.
Benefits of Breast Lift Surgery
The medical term for breast sagging is ptosis, and breast lift surgery helps with ptosis that is caused by:
- Genetics: Ptosis depends on the elasticity of your skin and ligaments, which is determined by your genes.
- Breast Size: Obviously large breasts sag easier since the gravity is pulling them down more.
- Exercise: When breasts bounce during active sports, the ligaments can be stretched or even torn without the proper support.
- Time: The skin and Cooper ligaments become less elastic over time
- Weight Loss: When you lose weight, some fat tissue is lost in the breast and typically the skin and ligaments inside the breasts do not retract accordingly resulting in an “empty” looking and sagging breast.
- Natural Aging Process: As we age, we don’t produce as much collagen and elastin, and consequently, the skin and breast ligaments naturally become less elastic.
- Pregnancy: The number of pregnancies a woman has changes the size of the breasts and composition of breast tissue weakening the ligaments and skin elasticity.
- Breastfeeding: In some cases, breasts lose firmness and substance after breastfeeding and the nipples and areolas can point down or to the side.
- Menopause: Changing hormones signal the breast that it no longer needs its milk ducts and lobes causing them to shrink and lose volume (breast involution).
- Breast Involution: Breasts can droop at any age, but the most notable sagging occurs with the process called breast involution. Breast involution is a process where the milk-making system inside the breast shrinks because it is not needed anymore, and this can happen during menopause, after pregnancy (even if the woman does not breastfeed), or when a woman weans her newborn. After weaning, a woman’s body usually deposits fat back to the breast (this process can take months), so eventually the breasts will regain volume but sagging remains. Many women find themselves with sagging breasts after childbirth/weaning and/or menopause, and that is a result of breast involution.
When the tissue inside the breast shrinks and the skin surrounding it does not, the breast can look “empty” and saggy. Regardless of how you diet or exercise, sagging cannot be totally prevented because it is the inevitable process of gravity at work. Although some women choose to live with the way their breasts look, many are bothered by the sagging because they feel it makes them less attractive, and a breast lift procedure may be the answer for you.
Evaluation for Breast Lift
At Atlanta Aesthetics, Dr. Killingsworth offers breast lift (mastopexy) surgical procedures to raise and reshape sagging breasts by trimming excess skin before tightening the supporting tissue achieving an uplifted, youthful breast contour. The nipple and areola (the darker skin around the nipple) can also be repositioned or resized during a breast lift procedure to further enhance the appearance of the breast. Since a breast lift does not change the shape or fullness of the breasts, many patients choose to combine this procedure with a breast augmentation to increase the size of their breasts at the same time for optimal results.
When you consider a breast lift, the first step is to contact Atlanta Aesthetics and let us schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Killingsworth. It is important that you attend this visit prepared to discuss what you want in regard to breast size and nipple position. Dr. Killingsworth will examine your breasts to assess the tone of your skin, areolar size, and quality of your breast tissue and if it is determined that you are a candidate for a breast lift procedure, further details will be explained and your medical eligibility will be thoroughly evaluated.
The Breast Lift Procedure
A breast lift can take from one to three hours to complete, and it is typically performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. There are different types of breast lift surgeries and the main criteria for selecting the correct approach is the degree of lifting desired, the looseness of your skin, and the amount of breast tissue (glandular and fatty tissue) inside your breast skin.
Breast Lift Options
Breast lifts are usually categorized by the type of incisions and some techniques that may be used include:
- Periareolar/Circumareolar Breast Lifts: Both of these breast lifts are done solely through an incision around the areola. With a periareolar or crescent lift, the incision extends partway around the upper edge of the areola, and a small amount of skin is removed. This allows the nipple and areola to be repositioned slightly higher, and this procedure is the least invasive breast lift surgery. However, it is not intended to produce dramatic lifting results. With a circumareolar or “donut,” breast lift, the incision is made all the way around the areola before a donut-shaped area of skin is removed from the breast around the nipple. The edges are then drawn in toward the areola and sutured, and this technique allows Dr. Killingsworth to provide a modest amount of lifting. The circumareolar or donut lift also provides an opportunity to reshape or resize the entire areola if necessary and for patients combining breast augmentation with a breast lift, a circumareolar incision permits the placement of a breast implant. The circumareolar incision is not large, so a saline implant is typically used since it is filled after implant placement. A woman with smaller breasts might be a candidate for a breast implant with this type of breast lift since she may not have sufficient natural breast tissue to create her desired breast shape and size.
- Vertical Breast Lifts: This type of procedure is known as a “lollipop” breast lift combining a circumareolar incision with a vertical incision down the underside of the breast to the breast crease resulting in a lollipop shape. Unwanted skin is removed from both sides of the vertical incision, and this technique reduces drooping by creating a tighter “pocket” of skin to hold the existing breast tissue. The result is a breast that appears more youthful with a rounded cone shape (rather than an elongated shape) and the circular incision is used to move the nipple complex upward, so it is positioned properly on the newly reshaped breast mound. Women who have larger breasts with some sagging from skin laxity are usually the best candidates for a vertical breast lift.
- Traditional Breast Lifts: An anchor or “inverted-T” breast mastopexy combines the lollipop incision with a crescent-shaped incision along the width of the breast crease where the breast meets the ribcage. This is the most extensive breast lift surgery and is usually reserved for patients with advanced ptosis. Because of the placement of the incisions in the traditional breast lift, Dr. Killingsworth can remove a large amount of excess skin and reshape the breast dramatically although the scarring is extensive, and the recovery and healing may take longer. The traditional breast lift can be combined with a breast reduction for women with very large breasts and for women with small breasts that have very pronounced drooping, either a saline or silicone implant can be easily placed through the anchor incision.
After the incisions are made, Dr. Killingsworth will remove breast tissue and reshape the remaining skin to achieve the desired breast contour. The nipple and areola may be moved higher on the breast or resized and when the breast lift is complete, the incisions will be sutured. Some patients are concerned about losing sensation in their nipple following a breast lift but this is not always a typical outcome because the nipple and areola remain connected to the underlying breast tissue, nerve, and blood supply allowing sensitivity to remain intact. Temporary sensation may occur after your breast lift surgery, but this normally resolves after several months.
Following your breast lift procedure, you will recover for one to two hours before you are released to a family member or friend to take you home. You will likely experience bruising, swelling, and soreness for a few days and when necessary, any discomfort can be controlled with medication. Your breasts will be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra that you will be required to wear for one week to reduce swelling, and after that, you will be fitted for a support bra that you must wear continuously for at least one month. Dr. Killingsworth will advise you to avoid any heavy lifting, as this can cause increased pressure on the breasts, and most patients are able to return to work within a week, although exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for approximately one month depending on your healing capabilities.
After your breast lift surgery, your breasts will be firmer to the touch and sit higher on your chest giving them a “perkier” appearance. At Atlanta Aesthetics, our patients love their shapelier breasts following breast lift surgery, and many report a renewed sense of confidence and sensuality. We want you to be thrilled with your breasts too, so please call Atlanta Aesthetics today and let Dr. Killingsworth discuss your goals and help you regain your youthful breasts.
Atlanta Breast Lift Surgery Cost and Financing Options
Breast lift surgery is an individualized surgery that is planned according to the specific needs of each woman, so the cost varies from patient to patient. We will know the cost of your breast lift surgery after your consultation appointment. We accept payment by cash, personal check, credit card and CareCredit® financing
Breast lift surgery can help you regain a more youthful, flattering shape again. If you live in Atlanta, Cumming or Forsyth County, Georgia, contact Atlanta Aesthetics to schedule a personal consultation with Atlanta plastic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Killingsworth, a double board-certified Atlanta plastic surgeon.