The Surgeon Minute

Is a Breast Lift Necessary? Will it Require an Implant?

Is a Breast Lift Necessary? Will it Require an Implant?

According to new statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast lifts have grown 70% since 2000. What is it about the procedure that has maid it so popular?

Dr. Camille Cash sees many prospective breast enhancement patients in her Houston practice. “Often patients will come to my office and they are unhappy with the appearance of their breasts,” says Cash. “It may be the result of having children and nursing, or after major weight loss…and some present naturally with less than ideal shape to their breasts. Oftentimes they request to be fixed with an implant.” An implant alone is not always the answer.

by Camille Cash, MD
and The Plastic Surgery Channel

The misconception about implants

During consultation, Cash evaluates a prospective patient’s size and shape of their breasts, the quantity and quality of their breast tissue, and placement of the nipples and areola. Depending upon the patient, there will be varying degrees of ptosis (sagging). If the breasts have very minimal sag, a breast implant may be all that is necessary to enhance the breasts. However if the breasts are sagging–an implant will do nothing to lift them, actually creating an undesirable look some have termed “a rock in a sock.” “I can fill the skin envelope with a very large implant,” says Cash. “But then you have a very large low hanging breast.” Bottom line: implants create volume, they do not reposition breasts higher on the chest.

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How to tell if a breast lift is needed

Cash explains it this way: “If patients come in with…too much skin looseness or breast tissue hanging below the bra line and the nipple is below that….you may need a breast lift.” Looking in a mirror with breasts unsupported, if the nipples fall below the breast crease, point downward, the skin is stretched with enlarged areolas, or one breast is lower than another–these are all indications that a breast lift may be advised.

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“I want the lift. I just don’t want the scar.”

Many patients are most hesitant when it comes to the unfortunate fact that breast lift procedures come with scars. While there may be no way around the scar, they can be hidden quite well and minimized in appearance.

“The downside to a breast lift is that there are actual incisions that are placed on the breast, and that is a deterrent for the patient,” admits Cash. “So, we will talk about it…there are tradeoffs. I don’t want to make an incision if I don’t have to, but it might be the only way to give the right results.”                             

Ultimately, Dr. Cash’s patients are usually willing to accept a small scar in exchange for the benefits of a more youthful profile. “They are able to wear bathing suit tops, strapless dresses, evening gowns, and t-shirts with confidence.” A better alternative than always wearing a special bra required to hoist breasts up. “It is a trade off, but there are benefits which really give patients the look they want.”


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