If you like how your breasts look in a push up bra but aren’t wild about the way they fall when the bra comes off, you may be a candidate for a breast lift. In the past decade, breast lift surgery has risen steadily in popularity. Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that since the year 2000, breast lift surgeries have outpaced breast augmentation surgeries at a rate of two to one.
What is to Blame for Sagging Breasts?
- Changes in Weight
- Aging Skin
Weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and aging all contribute to the stretching and sagging of breast skin. Over time, the once youthful skin of the chest loses both elasticity and collagen. As the skin stretches and gravity pulls breast tissue down, the result is a drooping breast.
Consider for a moment the skin on your breast as your body’s “natural bra.” Your breast tissues are the contents inside the bra. At a young age, the contents of your breast were held snug by tight skin. As the skin became loose, the contents sagged.
Traditional Breast Lift Procedures
By removing excess skin and reshaping the remaining skin into a tight envelope around the breast tissues, plastic surgeons are able to create an uplifted shape for the breast. In a traditional breast lift procedure, this reshaping of the skin is done without adding to or removing any of the contents below the skin.
Traditional breast lift procedures all involve the removal of some amount of breast skin. Where the skin is removed – both the length and location of the incisions – varies from patient to patient. Your plastic surgeon will choose a breast lift technique based on the amount of excess skin on your chest, the current shape of your breast and nipple, and the goal that you have in mind.
How Long Will a Breast Lift Last?
Although the results of plastic surgery are generally long-lasting, there may come a time when you need to have a procedure repeated. This is especially true when it comes to breast lifts, explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Restifo. “Time and gravity cannot be stopped; the breasts are going to fall again. If you want a longer lasting upper pole fullness, in other words, that round look that you get with a push up bra, you’re going to need something more than just the breast skin – the skin has failed once, and it will fail again.”
Extending a Breast Lift Result
External support for your breasts – wearing a good bra, doubling up your sport bras when you work out – may or may not help prolong the results achieved after a breast lift. So how can you reliably make your breast lift last longer and give your natural breasts a boost in the upward direction?
Dr. Restifo recommends adding a layer of support on the inside of the skin during a breast lift procedure. He refers to the added layer of support as an internal bra – something that is always present to provide 24/7 support to the breast tissue. “The patient doesn’t see it, or feel it, and in fact, over time, the mesh dissolves but leaves in its place a thin layer of scar tissue that provides long lasting support,” he explains.
What is an Internal Bra Made of?
To add internal support, plastic surgeons place a thin layer of mesh material, sometimes called a scaffold. The sheet of mesh is shaped like the panel of a bra and placed during the breast lift procedure. The mesh serves as support for the contents of the breast, alleviating the load that is placed on the skin. Less of a load on the skin translates to less stretch over time.
There are several brands of absorbable mesh available to plastic surgeons. Dr. Restifo prefers to use one by the name of GalaFLEX. The mesh from Galatea Surgical comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, making it possible for surgeons to achieve the best fitting application for their patient’s particular breast anatomy at the time of surgery.
“The most important component of GalaFLEX mesh,” emphasizes Restifo, “is that it’s dissoluble.” Permanent mesh tends to cause problems over time, often eroding through the body’s tissues. That is not the case with GalaFLEX. The body slowly absorbs the mesh material and replaces it with a layer of supportive tissue.
How Long Before the Mesh Dissolves?
For about a twelve month period after surgery, GalaFLEX remains present in the breast. When the mesh has fully dissolved, the breasts continue to benefit from the additional lift and support left behind.
Internal bras made of fully absorbable mesh materials such as GalaFLEX provide patients and surgeons with longer-lasting breast lift results and a greater potential for upper breast fullness than was previously possible with a traditional breast lift alone.