Losing weight is no easy task. Likely, you switched to a healthy diet and exercised as much as possible to achieve your new body. A breast lift and breast implants are two common post weight loss surgeries that women can choose to enhance their new bodies.
After weight loss, you may notice that your skin doesn’t look the same. The skin has lost elasticity, and you may be left with sagging, loose skin. It’s common for your breasts to sag after weight loss because when you were carrying your extra pounds, the skin was stretched. However, now that the fat is gone, the skin doesn’t always quite bounce back the way you may have hoped.
What is a Breast Lift?
A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that changes the shape of the breast. A board-certified plastic surgeon does a removal of excess skin and reshapes the underlying tissue to raise the breasts.
Breast lifts do not significantly alter the size of your breasts as implants would. However, it can be done in combination with a breast augmentation or reduction to help you achieve the look you want.
Why Breast Lifts Are Done
You may choose to have a breast lift when you notice significant sagging. Breast lifts can also boost your self-confidence.
As you get older, your breasts change alongside the rest of your body. They lose elasticity and firmness due to:
The ligaments that support the breasts often stretch during pregnancy as breasts get fuller and heavier. The stretching could lead to sagginess whether or not you choose to breastfeed.
Your skin can lose elasticity and stretch as a result of changes in your weight. The skin of your breasts is no different. When your weight fluctuates, the skin must adapt to it. However, if you lose weight, your skin might have stretched too much for it to bounce back completely on its own.
Over time, gravity can cause ligaments in the breast to stretch and sag. It’s a natural part of the aging process.
Breast lifts are a type of skin removal surgery that reduce extra skin and raise the position of the nipples and areolas. You and your plastic surgeon may choose to also reduce the size of the areola during the procedure so that they remain in proportion to your new shape.
Read More: Girlfriend’s Guide to a Breast Lift
Who Gets a Breast Lift?
You might consider getting a breast lift if:
- You have sagging breasts. Your breasts have lost shape and/or volume, or you’ve noticed that they’ve gotten flatter and longer.
- Your nipples point downward. Your nipples fall below your breast creases when your breasts are unsupported.
- Your areolas have changed size. Your areolas have stretched out of proportion to your breasts
- Disproportion. One breast falls lower than the other.
When Not to Have a Breast Lift
It’s important to note that a breast lift is not for everyone. If you’re considering getting pregnant in the near future, you should delay a breast lift. Pregnancy stretches the skin of the breast as they become fuller, so it could skew the results of a recent lift.
If you decide to breastfeed, you may still be able to do so after a breast lift. The nipples are not separated from the underlying tissue. However, some women may have difficulty producing milk.
No matter the size of the breasts, a lift can be beneficial. However, women with smaller breasts often have longer-lasting results. Larger breasts are heavy and more likely to sag again, which is why many women choose to have a breast reduction with a breast lift.
How to Prepare for Breast Lift Surgery
When you decide that you want to have a breast lift, or are at least considering one, you will talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon. During this initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will:
Ask about your medical history
Be prepared to answer your surgeon’s questions about your current and past medical conditions. If you have a family history of breast cancer, this is an important detail he or she needs to know.
Make sure to share the results of mammograms or breast biopsies, and talk about medications you’re taking, along with surgeries you’ve had.
The number one priority of your surgeon is your safety. Using your medical history, they can decide whether a breast lift is right for you.
Perform a physical exam
Your surgeon will need to examine your breasts to determine the available treatment options. You may walk into your initial consultation, thinking one type of surgery is right for you, but ultimately your surgeon knows best. He or she will examine the position of your nipples and areolas as well to determine whether or not a breast lift is the right course of action.
Discuss your expectations
As a patient, it’s important that you consider your expectations. Explain to your plastic surgeon why you want a breast lift and what you’re hoping for in terms of the results. Patients sometimes have high expectations that aren’t possible, and your surgeon needs to make sure you’re aware of the realistic results. Make sure that you understand the risks and benefits and can make an informed decision.
Is Plastic Surgery Right for you After Weight Loss?
You are most likely a good candidate for a breast lift and other plastic surgery after weight loss if:
- You are at a stable weight
- You are in good health
- You have realistic goals
- You don’t smoke
- You are committed to a healthy lifestyle
After your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will schedule the procedure with you. When the day comes, the technique your plastic surgeon uses will determine the location of the incisions. Possible areas for incisions are:
- Near the areola
- From the areola to the breast creases
- Along the breast creases
After making the incisions, your surgeon will reduce the excess skin and likely shift the nipple to a higher position. They will then bring the breast skin together and close the incisions with stitches or surgical tape.
The entire procedure typically only takes two to three hours. Patients go home on the same day so that the healing process can begin.
After the procedure, your breasts will likely be covered with gauze and a support bra. The breasts will be swollen for about two weeks, with discomfort and soreness around the incisions. These incisions may be red or pink for a few months following the procedure, while numbness around the nipples and breast skin could last for up to six weeks.
Read More: 72 Hours After a Mastopexy
Breast Lift Results
After your procedure, you will notice a change in your breasts immediately. The shape will continue to change and settle over the next few months. Your scars will also soften and should become thin and faint over time.
Your breasts will be firmer and rounder than before the procedure. As a result of this, you may notice a change in your bra size, even if you didn’t have a breast reduction or augmentation alongside the lift.
How long your breast lift lasts will depend on you. The best way to keep your results is to maintain stable, healthy body weight after your cosmetic surgery procedure.