Breast lift surgery  Northern Virginia

Breast lift surgery has two main categories. The first breast lift category would be the woman who would like her breasts improved and is not sure if she needs a breast lift.  This category will be called minimal breast lifts.  This term is misleading but it is basically in terms of the incisions. The other category is the woman who knows she needs a breast lift but is not sure if she wants the breasts the same size, smaller or larger. This category may require minor incisions if they elect to be made larger with breast implants. They may also require medium or full length incisions if they elect to have a reduction in size.  The degree of lift will also dictate the length and the amounts of breast lift scars.

Minimal incision breast lift surgery | Northern Virginia

The first group of breast lift candidates usually are the more minor breast lifts. They may actually be coming to have breast implants. During their consultation, the history of breast feeding, significant weight changes,  hormonal changes, bra size variations may make them potential candidates for some degree of breast lift. So it is a breast augmentation consult that  becomes a breast lift consult. Most of the time, these women only require minimal incision breast lifts. The breast lift scars are typically limited to involve the areola. Some may also get a vertical breast lift scar depending on many factors.

Significant  incision breast lift surgery | Northern Virginia

The second group of breast lift candidates have no doubt that they will need a breast lift. The questions of concern during the breast lift consultation will center on the present condition of their breasts. The first question is about the size. Is the woman happy with the size of her breasts? Does she want her breasts made smaller, larger, or remain the same size? Is the woman content with the firmness of her breasts? Is the woman looking for more fullness in the upper half of her breasts?

Any increase in size, firmness, or upper half fullness in the breast requires that a breast implant be placed. Keeping breasts the same size or reducing the size of the breast can be accomplished without using a breast implant, and she can have just a breast lift. The breast lift has risks that are different than the breast augmentation risks. The breast lift also has different instructions to follow.

Types of breast lift scars in Northern Virginia

The woman who wants breast implants and did not come in for a breast lift is often surprised that she is not a candidate for  just breast implants. When the nipple is located below the level of the inframammary fold (IMF), the woman needs to have the nipple and gland repositioned to a higher position. This determination is usually made with the woman standing up with her arms at her sides. A woman can stand in front of a mirror, turn sideways and look at her breasts from the side. In this position, if the nipple falls below the crease of the breast (IMF), then the woman should be prepared to have a breast lift. If her nipple is at or above this level, then she may have just breast implants.

breast lift surgery virginia breast gland positions

In the diagram above, the left most image is a breast augmentation candidate her nipple is well above the inframammary fold. This fold is marked with the blue line.  It is also called the breast crease.  The next image has mild sagging. Grade 1 is a marginal candidate for breast augmentation and would probably benefit to have a small breast lift with her breast implants. The amount of lift required would depend on how large of a breast implant she wants and how much extra skin she has.  The breast lift scar may be limited to the top part of the areola. This is called a crescent breast lift. Like a crescent moon. breast lift northern virginia

The Grade 2 has moderate sagging and the nipple is below the fold. She requires a breast lift. No breast implant will lift up the nipple enough to get into the proper position. With the nipple in this position, the options depend on how much breast gland she has and what she wants to do. If she does not want to be any larger, then she will most likely get the best result from the lollipop breast lift scar.  This is also more commonly known as vertical breast lift. This lollipop extension allows for a better reshaping of the breast skin and than the periareolar approach. It is very often worth the extra scar length. Some lollipop incision may have an extension off to the side. This will result in a lollipop with a ‘j’ or ‘l’ vertical scar. Surprisingly, this additional scar heals very well and often better than the donut component of the breast scar. In a small number of cases an anchor breast lift scar may be used. This will depend again on her breast condition and her desires.

Grade 3 has downward pointing nipples and significant sagging. This large breast skin envelop typically signifies a history of large breasts. The deflation of the breasts results in the sagging. Will typically get the best result from the anchor breast lift scar. In some cases, the lollipop breast lift scar will work wonderfully. It truly depends on many factors.

The next image demonstrates a breast that has lost volume. This breast has a large skin envelop but has remained with a nipple in good position. These women can be challenging cases. They have options to have a large breast implant placed to fill up the lost volume. In some instances this will work. In others the woman does not want to be the size required to fill up the skin envelop. So if a smaller breast implant is selected, then some lift is required. These patients may some times get away with the crescent breast lift scar, but most times may require the donut breast lift scar. Another name for the donut is the periareolar breast lift.

Goal of breast lift surgery in Northern Virginia

The goal of the cosmetic surgery is to raise the breast nipple position. It is a common misconception that the breast nipple is actually cut off and resewn in a higher position. That particular plastic surgery procedure is called a ‘free nipple graft’ procedure. Free nipple grafting in breast lifts are done probably less than 1 in every 1000 breast lifts. The re-positioning of the nipple on the breast gland is almost always done by keeping the nipple attached to some part of the breast or breast gland. The nipple is relocated to a higher position without removing it from the body. When lifting the nipple, the breast gland is also lifted in some fashion.

The degree of breast gland lifting that occurs is determined by the type of breast lift that the plastic surgeon recommends. Some breast lifts will be done without cutting away any breast gland, while other breast lifts are done by cutting away the extra unwanted breast gland. Sometimes cutting away breast gland is preferred to allow a better shaped and positioned breast gland. When breast gland is cut away during a breast lift, the remaining breast size will be smaller. The degree of breast size reduction will be determined by how much breast tissue is removed. The breast lift is done to restore a higher position of the breast mound on the chest and to attempt to restore fullness to the upper half of the breast mound. This upper breast half is also called the ‘upper pole fullness’, where the breast is considered to have both upper and lower poles.

Unfortunately, most breast lifts will restore some upper pole fullness to the breasts initially but over time, the breast gland will descend again to a lower position. This breast gland descent is usually not as low as the pre-surgical breast position. The nipple position will usually not descend again. In order to maintain fullness in the upper half of the breast, breast implants may be used.
There are many different breast lift surgeries. Some breast lift surgeries are very involved and others are less involved. The type of breast lift plastic surgery that is performed is usually a combination of the plastic surgeon’s preference and the woman’s existing breast characteristics. Visit the breast lift surgery illustrations page if you would like to learn more about the steps involved. You may also visit the videos section or Dr Brown’s Youtube page to watch other Northern Virginia plastic surgeries.