Breast Lift with Augmentation
Breast lifts are meant to target the sagging, flattened breasts that come after a woman has children, gained and lost a good deal of weight, or simply has lost the fight with aging and gravity. Breast lifts bring the breasts back up to a higher position on the chest.
But they don’t replace lost volume. Because of that, many of Dr. Watterson’s patients opt to combine a breast lift with augmentation to address the sagging and flattening and to gain volume and shape.
What is a breast lift?
A breast lift, clinically known as mastopexy, has the goal of returning the breasts to a higher position on the chest. The breasts sag for different reasons. As we age, weakening support tissues put more stress on the ligaments that attach the breasts to the pectoral muscles, and these ligaments stretch. Changing breast size due to pregnancy or the gain and subsequent loss of a good deal of weight causes the skin to stretch. To reverse these changes, Dr. Watterson removes excess skin and repositions tissue to raise and firm the breasts. In most of these procedures, the nipples and areolae are repositioned to match the higher position
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation does not address sagging or excess tissue. Augmentation simply involves the insertion of breast implants either above or beneath the pectoral muscles of the chest. These implants can either be saline or silicone and they add volume to the breasts, especially at the upper area of the breasts. Implants have different sizes and projection characteristics, depending on the goals of the patient.
What are the advantages of combining a breast lift with augmentation?
As mentioned above, breast lifts don’t replace volume that has been lost due to breastfeeding. Augmentation doesn’t address excess sagging skin. That makes the combination of a breast lift and the insertion of breast implants the perfect marriage of procedures. Dr. Watterson is able to remove the excess, stretched sagging skin and bring the breasts back up to a higher position on the chest. By adding implants he can also increase the shape and volume of the lifted breasts. This solves the problem that many women have after a breast lift — they feel the procedure made their breasts smaller. This really isn’t the case; it’s simply that the breast mass is higher on the chest after the lift.
Plus, adding implants during a breast lift is simple because Dr. Watterson can place the implants through the incisions he has already made for the breast lift. The addition of implants doesn’t really change the patient’s recovery, so it’s really as if you’ve had a breast augmentation as an easy add-on to your lift surgery.
Are there additional risks when combining augmentation with a breast lift?
Breast lifts are complex surgical procedures. There are the usual risks involved with any surgery: poor wound healing, infection, excessive bleeding, reaction to general anesthesia, and the like. For the breast lift, there is a risk of loss of nipple and/or breast sensation, as the nipples usually are moved. This usually passes as the nerves adjust over time.
There are the later risks of augmentation that include capsular contracture, implant rupture, and rippling, but those are long-term risks.
How is a breast lift with augmentation done?
The breast lift is the major portion of these procedures. Dr. Watterson uses different incisions depending upon the patient’s unique circumstances. With a breast lift, the incision locations and the extent of the incisions vary depending on the degree of sagging and how much excess skin needs to be removed. There are three options for your incisions:
- Areolar incision — A donut-shaped incision is made around the areola. This is also known as a small-incision mastopexy. This method can be used with women with smaller breasts who have minimal sagging and minimal excess skin. It creates minimal visible scarring, as the incision is hidden by the areola.
- Lollipop incision — This starts with the donut-shaped incision, but it then extends downward, ending at the breast crease. In cases of moderate sagging and skin excision, this method should provide adequate access.
- Anchor incision — This follows the lollipop incision, but then extends in both directions along the breast crease. Obviously, this incision provides the most access for removing fatty tissue and trimming excess skin. It also creates the longest scars.
Once the incision has been made, Dr. Watterson lifts and reshapes the breast tissue to counteract how volume has moved lower on the breasts. If he uses the lollipop or anchor incisions the nipples and areolae will be relocated to a higher position on the breasts to match the new profile. Dr. Watterson can also make the areolae smaller if this skin has stretched. The final step is to trim away excess sagging skin.
Implants can be placed either before or after the breast lift. Because he already has made some incisions necessary to remove excess tissue with the breast lift, there is no need to make any additional incisions to insert the implants. Dr. Watterson first creates a breast pocket for each implant. This makes space for the implant. The implants are then placed. The breasts are checked for symmetry and overall natural contour, and then Dr. Watterson closes the incisions.
What will my recovery be like after a breast lift with augmentation?
In the beginning you’ll likely need prescription pain medication for at least a couple days. Your breasts will be bandaged and you’ll be in a surgical support bra when you return home later in the day after your surgery. You’ll have some continuing pain along your incisions, but you will improve pretty quickly. You should plan on swelling for a couple of weeks. You’ll transition from a surgical bra to a softer support bra, but you’ll need to be very diligent about wearing this 24 hours-a-day for at least one month. This is very important so not to place any pressure or stress on your incisions. This helps to minimize the scarring. As you would assume, adding implants to your breasts makes following this instruction even more important.
Most patients can return to work in about a week, but if your job involves any heavy lifting this needs to be avoided for six weeks. The same is true for strenuous exercise…six weeks. Any activity that causes your breasts to move, such as aerobics, can’t happen for a period of time. By being prudent with this advice, your scar tissue can reach its maximum strength. This will also allow the scarring to fade more dramatically with time.
What will my scarring be like?
Breast lifts done with the lollipop or anchor incision methods create noticeable scarring on the bottom of the breasts. This will fade with time, but is an inevitable part of this surgery.
What Our Patients Have to Say
“I had such a great experience with Dr. Watterson. He always answered any questions I had regarding my plastic surgery and even listened to and addressed my concerns. He personally followed up with me the day after my surgery to see how I was doing and to remove some dressings. I would definetly use Dr. Watterson in the future for any other plastic surgeries.” -Yuriko M.
What does it cost to have a breast lift with augmentation?
It’s very difficult to ballpark a figure for the cost of this combined procedure. That’s not being vague; it’s simply a reality based on your unique situation. Different degrees of sagging can make one patient need only incisions around the areola, while another needs full anchor incisions. Also, there is a difference between saline and silicone implants.
At the completion of your consultation with Dr. Watterson, he will have enough information to provide you with an estimate of what your breast lift with augmentation will cost.