For many plastic surgery patients, all they know is that they don’t like the way their breasts look. They often don’t know the different procedures available to them of which ones they actually need.
That’s where our board-certified plastic surgeon and the rest of our medical staff comes in. We’re here to give you the lowdown on a cosmetic surgery combination not everyone thinks about: a breast lift combined with implants.
The obvious answer to why you would combine breast implants with a lift is to improve both size and shape. But there’s more to it than that.
If you’re a 22-year-old who wants to go from a B cup to a C cup, you might be happy with implants alone. But over time, gravity and skin aging take a toll on the breasts. The drooping is often intensified by pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you already have some degree of drooping, it’s important to recognize that implants will increase breast sagging. Because gravity is a major factor that causes breasts to sag, heavier breasts will sag more (whether the weight is natural or comes from implants).
For this reason, women with some existing sagging probably won’t be happy with their breast augmentation results if they don’t add a lift.
Some women know that they want both a lift and an augmentation, but they aren’t sure whether to have both surgeries at the same time. Combining the two actually offers a number of benefits.
First, the recovery time is shorter overall because you’re healing from both surgeries at the same time. Call it multi-tasking at its finest.
Second, combining the surgeries gives you your idea results sooner. If you get implants first and then wait a few months before having your breast lift, you’ll just spend months feeling disappointed unnecessarily.
Third, the cost is lower. You have three major costs with any plastic surgery: the surgeon’s fee, the hospital/surgical center’s fee, and the anesthesia fee. By combining two surgeries into one, you save yourself a second hospital fee and a separate anesthesia fee.
With all these advantages at stake, it’s worth seriously considering whether you’d be happier combining a breast lift and implants.
If you think a combination of breast implants and a lift may be your best bet, here’s the scoop:
The procedure for breast implants is pretty straightforward – a plastic surgeon makes a discreet incision and places a silicone or saline implant inside your breast. Depending on your goals and preferences, the implant can be placed above or below your chest muscle.
The process for a lift, however, is less well-known. In order to keep visible scarring to a minimum, excess skin is removed from the bottom of the breast. This gives the breast a more rounded shape and youthful height. The areola and nipple are also repositioned so they face forward rather than down.
The biggest concern patients have is usually the safety of the surgery. People tend to assume that a two-in-one surgery has a higher risk of complications than two separate surgeries.
Rest assured that this has been found to be untrue. A 2013 study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is just one example showing that combining a lift with implants is safe.
Another common question is what the scars will look like after a combined breast augmentation and lift.
A breast lift typically requires a “keyhole incision,” which goes around the areola, down the middle of the bottom of the breast, and across the breast crease. An implant is usually placed through these same incisions, so the scar for a combined procedure is the same as a lift alone.
This might sound complex, but it means that your scars will be hidden any time you’re wearing a bathing suit or bra. The scars will also continue to fade over time.
The healing period for a breast lift and breast augmentation is easier than most patients expect. While everyone is different, most patients are back to work and their other daily activities within a week to ten days.
You’ll still have limitations on exercise and lifting, but most patients are back to their normal lives (except with better breasts) in no time.
You’ll have several types of breast implants to choose from for your surgery. There are three primary types today: saline, silicone, and form-stable silicone (or “gummy bear implants”).
As you may have guessed, saline implants are filled with saline – sterile saltwater. They’re much more fluid than typical saline implants, which are the most popular today. Silicone implants are filled with a soft silicone gel.
Form-stable implants are new on the scene, and they’re shaped to adjust the shape of the breasts. While the filling is silicone, it’s much firmer than the silicone in a traditional silicone implant.
All three of these types of implants are FDA-approved as safe and effective. But they all have pros and cons which Dr. Simmons will discuss during your pre-surgical consultation.
Understandably, patients want to know whether they’ll be happy with their results. Every patient is an individual with unique circumstances, but patients consistently report high satisfaction with this surgery. In fact, a study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 99% of breast surgery patients (including those who combined a lift with implants) were happy with their decision.
It’s pretty easy to tell if you want your breasts to be larger, but not all women know if they have enough sagging to warrant a breast lift.
Here’s a quick test:
First, put a pencil in the crease under your breast and let your breast hold it there. If it doesn’t stay in place, you don’t have sagging.
Next, you can use the pencil to see how severe your sagging is. This is measured by how far below the pencil your nipple falls. If they’re at about the same height, your sagging is mild. If your nipple is below the pencil, the sagging is moderate. If your nipple is the lowest point of your breast and is pointing down instead of forward, you have more severe sagging.
This handy test gives you an idea of how much your breasts stand to be improved with a lift.
While all the information above is helpful, it’s not a substitute for a true consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. If you think this procedure might be right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Simmons where he can discuss the details and determine if you’re a candidate.