When people think about breast surgery, breast augmentation is what usually comes to mind first. Though breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the country, it’s definitely not the only option for women who want to improve their breasts. Other options include a breast reduction and breast lift.
There’s often some confusion about the benefits of a breast lift and about the difference between a breast augmentation and a lift. Additionally, many women are unsure about who is a good candidate for a breast lift. If you’re not happy with the shape of your breasts and are looking for a change, here are a few signs that a breast lift might be the surgery for you.
How to Tell If Your Breasts Could Use a Lift
A breast lift repositions the breasts by removing excess skin and tissue and positioning the breasts higher up on the chest wall. While your surgeon can give you the best advice on whether or not a breast lift is appropriate for you, there are a few tests you can do at home to get a better sense of whether or not you’re a good match for the surgery.
One common method for evaluating the breasts at home is the pencil test. If you place a pencil beneath one of your breasts, in the crease between the breast and ribs, the pencil should fall to the floor when you let go of it.
If the pencil stays in place, snug between the tissue of your breast and the wall of your rib cage, there is likely enough drooping that you’d benefit from a lift.
Another way to test whether or not a breast lift is a good option for you is to look at the positioning of your nipples. How high or low the nipples appear is one visual cue surgeons use to determine how much drooping, or ptosis, is present.
If your nipples are above the fold of the breast or right at the fold, your breasts aren’t very droopy. Nipples that are positioned below the fold or that point towards the ground usually indicate a considerable amount of drooping.
How is a Breast Lift Different from Breast Augmentation?
Breast lifts are not the same as breast augmentation. During breast augmentation, a surgeon places synthetic implants in the breasts to enlarge them. The implants can be made from silicone or saline, depending on the patient’s preference. They are available in a range of sizes, shapes, and textures.
No implants are involved when a breast lift is performed on its own. The focus of the surgery isn’t size, but shape and positioning. The procedure typically involves removing excess skin around the breasts and repositioning the nipples as needed. In some cases, the surgeon performing a breast lift might also resize the areolas.
A surgeon has several incision options to choose from when performing a breast lift. One option is called the inverted T incision. The surgeon will make an incision around the areola, vertically down to the breast crease, then horizontally along the crease.
Although breast lift and breast augmentation are two completely different surgeries, they are often performed together. Some who are women looking to increase the size of their breasts can also benefit from lifting the breasts at the same time. If you are interested in breast augmentation, your surgeon can let you know if they think that a breast lift, performed simultaneously, is a good option.
Other Factors That Make You a Good Candidate for a Breast Lift
Having ptosis or drooping of the breasts is just one factor that might make you a good candidate for a breast lift. A few other factors can determine your candidacy for any sort of surgery.
For example, your overall health plays a role. If you have untreated conditions, your surgeon will most likely recommend putting off the surgery until those conditions are managed. Before you can schedule a breast lift, you’ll likely be asked to schedule a physical exam and a check-up to make sure your health is good.
Your lifestyle habits can also influence whether or not a breast lift is a good call. Usually, surgeons won’t perform plastic surgery on people who are current smokers. If you do smoke or use other nicotine products, you’ll be asked to quit at least a few weeks before the breast lift. You’ll also want to avoid nicotine and tobacco products for a few weeks after your surgery.
Dr. Paul Vitenas is a Houston-based, board certified plastic surgeon with nearly three decades of experience. He specializes in breast procedures and has regularly been ranked as one of the best breast surgeons in the area. He can help you decide if a breast lift or another procedure is right for you. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas, call 281-484-0088 today.