The question of needing a Breast Lift comes up often. A breast lift can be performed by itself, or inconjuction with Breast Augmentation or Breast Reduction. In the cases combining Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation, the two procedures compliment each other. Breast Augmentation alone cannot "lift" the breast; it simply augments the preexisting shape.
The determination of which procedure will give you the best results can only be made during your consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Experience helps make the proper determination. Two aspects of the evaluation are needed:
At the risk of over simplifying, here is a quick trick that may provide some clarity:
Like every good rule there are exceptions. Sometimes a lift is used to change the shape of the breast even when the nipple is not low. Conversely, sometimes an implant is placed lower on the chest and a lift is not needed even when the nipple is low with respect to the IMF.
To add to the confusion, there are several ways to do a lift. My goal is always to do the smallest amount of surgery that can give you the best results. If there is a small amount of sagging, then a lesser lift with a smaller scar will usually suffice. If the nipple is pointing south, then a more involved lift is necessary, otherwise the nipple will be low, even with large Breast Implants.
Contrary to what you may read, when I do a Breast Lift, I do not remove the nipple and the areola (the colored part around the nipple) and then replace it on the breast where it looks good. While this is a valid surgical technique, leaving the nipple attached preserves its nerve and vascular supply and maximizes the circulation and sensation after your breast lift. Except in unusual circumstances, the nipples remain attached to the underlying breast tissue, and the entire breast is lifted.
Do you need a Breast Lift? Clearly, it's elective surgery, so there is time to find out. When thinking about any Breast Enhancement, a Breast Lift is always considered. When indicated, a breast lift can provide a needed boost. Will it help you? Only your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon knows for sure.
By: Joseph Mele MD, FACS