The procedure | Breast lift

A breast lift is used to reinstate the balance of a breast after loss of volume. When this loss of volume does not coincide with shrinking of the skin envelope, it results in drooping of the breast. Correction of this excess of skin involves a resection of skin surplus, either or not combined with an increase of volume. For this, breast implants are used, which are nowadays made in many different shapes and sizes. This makes it possible to adjust to the desires and needs of each individual. With breast lift surgery one can achieve remarkable results, but the resection of skin inevitably results in the creation of scars. They are however positioned in inconspicuous locations and tend to fade over time.

The consultation

During your first consultation it is the aim to clarify as much as possible what you would like to achieve with your treatment. Your surgeon will determine whether you are a good candidate for treatment by conducting a physical examination, which will include measuring your current breast dimensions. It is important to realise that no two breasts are the same – it is normal to be asymmetrical – and that some of these differences will remain after surgery or even become more obvious after surgery. Your physics also play a role in determining whether to use an implant or not, and, if so, where to place it. If the choice is made to use an implant in combination with the breast lift, different sizes of external sample implants will be used to view their impact on your body image, in order to determine the volume that best fulfils your expectations. At the end of the consultation you will be given an overview of options, which will include the preferred option, the risks and the possible complications.

Where will I be operated?

The operation will be performed in one of the private clinics of Vienna. If you have a preference then we will of course take this into consideration.

What can I expect of the operation?

Your surgeon will always see you before the operation and will talk you through the steps. Markings will be made on your breasts and pictures will be taken for documentation. The operation will be performed under general anaesthetic and will take approximately 90 minutes. The procedure will start with the resection of the excess of skin. When indicated a pocket will be made to fit the implants either under the gland or under the muscle, as discussed during the consultation. With a small instrument the blood vessels that are transsected will be sealed. Only when the pocket is made exactly according to plan, the implant will be taken out of its sterile wrapping and inserted immediately. The wound is then closed in layers to cover up the implant. After the operation you will have to remain in hospital for the first postoperative period. The drains that are left in your breasts at time of the operation will be removed before you are discharged.

What are the risks?

In breast lift surgery the risks are limited. Most common complications are the risk of postoperative haemorrhage or infection (1-3%). Both can be dealt effectively and at limited physical cost if noted at an early stage. Significant infections however may require removal of an implant, which then can only be reinserted after a “cooling down period” of 3 to 6 months. The sensitivity of your nipples may be changed after surgery, both loss of or increased sensitivity does occur in a minority of cases, but in most cases this normalises over time. Long-term complications include the increasingly uncommon capsular contracture, most of which are transient. In some cases however, this may require a reoperation to remove the scarred capsule.

What can I expect after the operation?

Immediately after the operation you will experience tightness upon your chest as the implants not only enlarge your breasts, but also rest on your ribcage. Your skin will adjust to the new situation and the initial swelling will subside in a matter of days, after which this feeling will disappear. You are allowed to shower on the day after the procedure, but should take care not to remove the shower resistant tape covering your wounds, until the postoperative consultation after one week. You are required to wear the sports bra we provide you with day and night for 6 weeks.

What will the scars be like?

The scars will be placed around your areolas, straight down from there to the fold underneath your breasts, and may extended into that fold both ways when needed. Scars are usually visible in the first few months because of the difference of colour compared to their surroundings. Thickness and colour however will disappear over the course of a few months and the scars will be come less conspicuous over time.

How long before I can resume my normal life?

Most woman manage to return to light activities in the first few days after surgery, while some manage to return to work after a week (depending on physical requirements). Realistically it will take two weeks to reach this stage for most. Sports activities can on average be resumed after 6 weeks. Please listen to your body though; pain is a protective mechanism so if certain movements are painful please refrain from doing them. In the following months the final swelling will slowly disappear, but it may still be uncomfortable to lie on your front for a while. Sometimes unexpected movements still may give rise to sudden twinges, but this frequency will reduce over time. Total healing time is known to take one year.

What is good to know about the long term?

Breast-feeding Even though the nipple complex will remain attached to the underlying gland, this breast tissue will be repositioned. The operation could therefore interfere with breast-feeding. However, it is good to realise that the ability to breastfeed is not guaranteed for woman in general. Changes in body shape over time While a breast lift aims to optimise the current physical situation, the process of aging, changes in lifestyle or variations in weight may all influence the shape of your breasts again. This means that over the course of your life these alterations may evolve again into a situation that is not to your liking. Breast cancer International studies have proven that the use of breast implants does not interfere with the occurrence of breast cancer. For the screening of breast cancer an X-ray taken with the use of the so-called “breast displacement” technique is preferred. Alternatively, an ultrasound or MRI may be of benefit. Palpable implants Implants used to enlarge the breast need to be covered by the breast tissue as much as possible. Implants however may be palpable, especially as the breast tissue thins over time. This may result in rippling which for instance can be noticeable in your cleavage when bending over. At the first consultation this risk is evaluated and in order to reduce this as much as possible, both the operative technique as well as the choice of implant are adjusted accordingly.
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