A breast lift can help restore a firmer, shapelier breast

A woman's breasts help define her femininity, and with the vast differences in shape, size, and appearance, breasts further help to define her individualism. Therefore, changes to the breasts can be dissatisfying and make women feel as if they are losing some of their femininity and youthful vitality.

This article on breast lift cosmetic surgery is written by Dr Foued Hamza, a cosmetic surgeon practising in Paris, France. View Dr Hamza's website.

Breasts that were once firm and shapely often begin to sag and droop giving them a loose or heavy appearance. A breast lift, or mastopexy, can help restore a firmer, shapelier breast, which will improve body contours and give the breasts a perky, youthful appearance.

What causes breasts to change shape?

Although there are many factors that can contribute to sagging of the breasts, the ageing process and the effects of gravity play a primary role in these changes. Just like facial skin, the skin around the breast loses its elasticity in response to a gradual breakdown of the skin's support network, which causes it to become lax. In addition, the suspensory ligaments that attach the breast to the chest wall weaken and stretch in response to gravity.

The breasts also enlarge during pregnancy and breast feeding, which further causes the skin to stretch. As the breasts reduce in size following pregnancy, the skin that was once stretched, is now loose and sags.

Lastly, fluctuations in your weight and even hormonal changes can cause your breasts to change in appearance. In combination, these factors can cause the breast to droop and sag, or in some cases rotate in a downward direction.

Vertical technique

I usually use the vertical technique for all kinds of breast reductions and breast lifts. It involves a v-shaped incision that extends around the top of the areola and down the midline of the breast.

Although this procedure is less invasive, as we reduce the scar (no horizontal scar), it also achieves a large degree of lift. This technique gives a better projection of the breast and a long-lasting result compared to the ‘anchor' technique. Therefore, this type of incision is appropriate for individuals with larger breasts and moderate to severe breast ptosis (drooping).

Breast lift recovery

I recommend that patients wear a type of compression garment following their procedure. This tight-fitting garment will help to reduce swelling by preventing fluid build up, as well as provide comfort and support as the patient heals. You will likely have to wear the compression garment for several weeks.

If surgical drains are present, they along with any bandages will likely be removed within 24 hours, while any dissolvable stitches may stay in place for one to two weeks. You may experience some minor pain, bruising, and swelling, as well as numbness around the areola-all of which should subside in several weeks.

Although you may feel well enough to return to work in approximately one week, you should continue to avoid strenuous activity such as exercise for three or four weeks after your procedure to allow your body sufficient time to heal.

Breast lift results

Patients will be able to notice a dramatic difference in the shape and position of their breasts immediately following your procedure and may continue to notice a change in the appearance of their breasts as swelling subsides and they settle into their new positions. In fact, it may take up to one year before the final results from the procedure are apparent.

Although there will be permanent scars following a breast lift, the scars will slowly face to thin white lines with time. It is important to realise that if you become pregnant after having a breast lift, the effects of pregnancy and breast feeding may compromise the results and cause your breasts to sag and change shape.

Although a breast lift cannot stop the ageing process, it can help you not only improve the position of your breast but restore the fuller, shapelier appearance that you desire for years to come.

Profile of the author

Dr Foued Hamza completed his medical studies in Tunisia and then moved to Paris in France to specialize in plastic and cosmetic surgery. From 1988 to 1997, Dr Hamza worked in the greatest Parisian hospitals such as Foch hospital, Henri Mondor and Saint Louis. He is a member of the French Board of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery and, with a new clinic in London's medical district, is registered to practice in the UK.

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