Breast Lift Popularity Surges

By Dr. James White

Whether due to weight-loss, breastfeeding or aging, many women are looking to restore volume and youth to their breasts. While breast implants can be a valid solution, many women are now opting to work with their own, existing breast tissue which typically allows for more natural-looking results. Cosmetic effects are based on better breast shapes, not just bigger breast shapes.

According to recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2013, more than 90,000 patients underwent breast lift surgery. Since 2000, this is a 70 percent rise in breast lift surgeries performed. When compared to the number of patients undergoing breast implant surgery, the rise in breast lift popularity exceeds the growth of breast implants by a two-to-one ratio.

Breast lift surgery, also known as Mastopexy, can be performed by various approaches. When a patient possesses a great deal of excess, sagging skin, an anchor incision is typically performed. The anchor approach involves an incision around the areola, vertically under the nipple down to the base of the breast and in the horizontal crease of the breast. The breasts are then reshaped by removing or lifting excess tissue and repositioning the nipple and areola in a higher position. The incisions are then closed with sutures. Recovery time is around three to four weeks. Upon healing, scars will be present at the incision but can be significantly concealed with a combination of laser skin resurfacing and topical scar treatments.

The anchor method is the most aggressive type of lift. For patients with less severe sagging, there are less invasive types of incisions to include donut mastopexy, lollipop mastopexy and “T” mastopexy named after the shape and style incision utilized. Breast lift surgery typically starts around $5000. Mastopexy can often be performed in conjunction with breast implants for optimal volume and fullness. Mastopexy is completed by adjustment of the skin envelope of the breast. Breast tissue may or may not be removed during the mastopexy; based on cosmetic effect.

Whether a patient decides to solely perform breast lift surgery or combine the procedure with breast implants depends on a few factors. Does the patient have enough tissue to allow for the desired amount of volume? How much volume does the patient want? Does the patient want breast projection in addition to volume?

While breast augmentation is still more popular than breast lifts, these growth statistics reveal a trend towards more subtle, natural enhancements. Many women are straying from the overtly augmented look (which was more popular in the 1990’s) and choosing smaller implants or simply a breast lift. Although a lift alone can provide volume, it will not increase the profile of the breast size or vastly alter breast shape. This can only be performed with the help of breast implants.

Before undergoing breast lift surgery, it is important to do your research. Are you willing to accept that some scarring will result? Do your homework. Choose a Board Certified Surgeon with experience with breast surgery. Do you like the before and after photos on their website? Breast lift and augmentation surgery is surgery. Make sure that you like the before and after results of your chosen surgeon. Know your risks and expected results. Look for accredited surgery facilities. Have realistic expectations.

Many patients are looking to restore volume and youth to their breasts working with their own, existing breast tissue. Not bigger shape, just better shape.

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