Breast ptosis, or sagging, can occur as a result of age, pregnancy or breastfeeding, and weight loss. Breast lift surgery is a cosmetic procedure that raises and restores the breast's youthful appearance. Excess skin is removed, and the breast tissue is tightened, reshaped, and supported.
Breast lift surgery employs a variety of incision patterns and techniques. Each technique is best suited to different types of patients and outcomes. Some of these techniques have been around for a while, while others are relatively new.
This article discusses some of the most common lifts, such as the anchor, lollipop, donut, crescent, and "scarless" lifts.
The anchor lift incision is made around the areola's perimeter, vertically down to the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease.
This technique causes the most scarring and is recommended for women with severe sagging who less invasive techniques will not adequately help. The anchor incision is the most traditional technique for breast lifts and is preferred for large-volume breast reductions.
Vertical scar techniques, such as the anchor incision, are best suited for removing smaller volumes of skin and internal tissues, resulting in shorter scars and a lower risk of puckering and indentations.
An incision is made around the perimeter of the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease for the lollipop lift. A vertical breast lift is another name for it.
This technique is appropriate for women with moderate sagging who will not be adequately helped by less invasive techniques and do not wish to have breast implants inserted.
The donut lift involves only an incision around the perimeter of the areola. Then, a peri-areolar incision, also known as a Benelli lift, is performed (so named for the surgeon who pioneered the technique in 1990). The donut lift was created to reduce scarring, maintain nipple sensation, and shorten surgery time.
This technique is appropriate for people who have mild to moderate sagging. The donut lift, however, can produce satisfactory results for women with more pronounced sagging when used by a skilled surgeon in conjunction with the placement of breast implants.
The crescent lift, while less common than the other techniques, involves a crescent-shaped incision that runs just along the upper half of the areola.
Fine sutures are then used to reattach the ends of this crescent-shaped skin. This lift is usually performed in conjunction with breast augmentation and is best suited for people with only minor sagging.
The crescent lift can also be used to lift only the nipple and areola, as well as to correct nipple asymmetry (when one nipple is higher than the other). Again, the results are generally very good, with 98% of patients pleased with the new appearance of their breasts.
There are "scarless" procedures available to lift the appearance of the breast for a select few people whose cosmetic concern is more about volume loss than actual sagging.
To lift the breasts with minimal scarring, these procedures can use or combine various techniques such as thermage (radiofrequency skin tightening), laser liposuction, and quill threads (barbed sutures that do not require knotting).
Many of these procedures, however, necessitate incisions of some kind, no matter how small or well-hidden. As a result, they cannot be called "scarless."
These procedures best suit people with very little sagging in their breasts. They, like the crescent technique, will not achieve the same amount of lifting as those that use larger incisions.
There has been little research into the success rate of scarless breast lifts. Breast liposuction is the most researched procedure; it is best for those with minor asymmetry and is less suitable for those with severe drooping or poor skin elasticity.
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