What is a Breast Lift?

Breast Lift by Dr. Alan Durkin

We very commonly employ breast lift procedures in conjunction with breast augmentation. However, not everyone needs a breast implant to get their best result. Dr. Alan Durkin, our Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, explains that “it is a common misconception that all breast lift patients require breast implants. Whether we decide on placing implants or not, we routinely achieve excellent results in almost all types of breast patients.

Our success is not dependent on an implant, but rather on our innate understanding of breast aesthetics, and our technique”. According to Dr. Durkin, the key concept to breast lifts is careful and thorough preoperative evaluation, wide open communication between our patient’s and surgeon, and complete focus in the operating room. We believe that each procedure deserves our utmost attention. We are not out for volume. We are out for quality. By focusing on each patient on a daily basis, we achieve outstanding breast lift results routinely.

Breast lifts are of the more challenging procedures undertaken by plastic surgeons, especially when it involves placement or exchange of implants. There are different types of breast lifts, and each lift has different benefits and liabilities. At its foundation, however, a breast lift seeks to reduce the amount of tissue beneath the inframammary fold, and replace the nipple-areolar complex in its appropriate anatomic position.


Breast Lift Procedure Types


The Crescent Breast Lift:

In this type of breast lift, a crescent of skin above the nipple-areolar complex is excised, and the nipple is sewn into its new superior position. This type of lift, in general, should be avoided. We do not provide this lift to women seeking cosmetic breast surgery for a number of reasons.

Short-term Results: It does nothing to the overall architecture of the breast gland, and because of this, the results are very short lived.

Scarring: Because it does nothing to the breast gland, the gland tends to weigh down the incision, and the incision grows over time into a noticeable scar.

Loss of Shape: The breastlift is based upon an excision of skin in a crescent shape above the nipple. When the nipple is sutured into the new position, it tends to lose its oval or round shape, and become an egg.


The Circumareolar Breast Lift:

This type of breast lift involves an incision around the entire nipple-areolar complex. The circumareolar lift allows the surgeon to redrape both the nipple position as well as the breast gland. This is a fantastic approach as it allows the incision to be well camouflaged while providing good access for the surgeon to work his or her magic. We use this incision commonly in our practice, especially in younger women who require a mild to modest lift with minimal tissue removal. When used in conjunction with breast augmentation, we commonly get fantastic results. However, if you are looking for a very large augmentation, it is safer to stage that procedure. Placing too large of an implant in conjunction with breast lift procedures can lead to the devastating loss of the nipple-areolar complex.


The Circumvertical Breast Lift:

An outstanding breast lift procedure that provides consistent and safe results. The only liability of this procedure is that a vertical scar (lollipop) is required. With this type of breast lift procedure, almost any degree of breast fall can be offset with outstanding results. As well, combination augmentation with this procedure offers excellent and consistent results. In patients with moderate to severe ptosis (a.k.a breast fall), this is the best procedure. The scar is minimized at our center with laser scar resurfacing sessions postoperatively, as well as skin and scar care.


The Anchor Breast Lift:

This is the most common procedure performed by plastic surgeons nationwide for breast lift procedures. However, it is our least common breast lift procedure because the scarring underneath the breast is largely unnecessary in many patients. We use this incision only in patients with breast diameters greater that 14.5 centimeters, patients who have undergone massive weight loss, and patients with significant excess skin laterally in the armpit area. This is a great operation, but if you are going to receive that much scar, there had better be a better reason than “Well thats the way I do it”. Using a vertical lollipop scar tends to be much more technically challenging, but the results for the patient are outstanding and the scarring is much less. Remember, once you have this scar, it cannot be taken away. Make sure you need this much incision before you buy it.

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