Patients who have small breasts that have begun to droop with age, pregnancy, or breastfeeding may be looking into their treatment options. While a breast implant with lift procedure is commonly used to increase volume and improve contour of the breasts, some women simply want to avoid having implants placed. For these patients, a breast lift paired with the fat grafting procedure is an excellent alternative. In this treatment option, Bay Area plastic surgeon John R. Griffin can perform the appropriate breast lift technique, and inject the patient’s own fat into the breasts. The result is a more youthful, and shapelier bust line.
Good candidates for the breast lift with fat grafting procedure include those who:
- Have a skin envelope that has stretched out
- Have nipples that have drooped down on the breast mound
- Do not want implants placed
- Only desire a conservative increase in size
- Do not smoke
- Are in good health
- Have realistic expectations
Dr. Griffin will choose the appropriate breast lift technique based on the patient’s degree of breast ptosis. The breast lift options include:
- The crescent lift: This is best suited to patients who only need a small amount of tightening of the skin envelope, and no repositioning of the nipple.
- The doughnut lift: This approach is well suited to patients who need the skin envelope tightened, and the nipple repositioned, both to smaller degrees. The size of the areola can also be reduced.
- The lollipop lift: This approach allows for moderate degrees of skin envelope tightening and nipple repositioning.
- The anchor lift: This technique is recommended to patients who require the most skin removal and movement of the nipple up the breast plane.
In addition to a breast lift, the fat grafting technique will be performed. This involves the liposuction procedure to remove fat cells from another area of the body. The fat cells are processed, and then re-injected into the breast mound to increase the size and shape of the breasts.
The breast lift with fat grafting procedure involves several steps since three procedures are being performed at once.
- The breast lift and liposuction incisions are marked with a surgical pen
- The patient is put under general anesthesia
- Antibacterial solution is applied to the breasts and the area undergoing liposuction
- The liposuction incisions are made
- A cannula is inserted and fat is removed from the body
- The fat is filtered
- Fat is injected into the breast mound
- The breast lift incisions are made
- The skin envelope is tightened and excess fat is removed
- The areola may be resized and the nipple is moved up to a higher location
- The breast lift incisions are closed
- The breast mound is shaped and the breasts are checked for symmetry
- Bandages are applied to the treatment areas
Since three separate procedures are performed in the breast lift with fat grafting treatment process, patients will require time to recover from surgery. Patients should take one to two weeks off of work so they can rest and allow time to heal after surgery. During the first week after surgery, patients should spend most of their time relaxing, with the exception of brief, light walks to keep circulation flowing. About a week after surgery, patients will return to Dr. Griffin’s office for a follow-up appointment. During this appointment, Dr. Griffin will check your healing progress, look for signs of any problems, and remove stitches.
After a week or two, patients are able to return to most of their regular activities. However, for six weeks after surgery, patients should avoid strenuous exercise and possibly wear a surgical bra and compression garment.
The side effects of the procedure include:
- Itching or numbness at the incision sites
Most of these side effects should subside within a couple of weeks. The exception is swelling, which may take a couple of months to dissipate.
The risks of the breast lift fat grafting procedure include:
- Allergic reaction
- Permanent nipple or skin numbness
- Uneven fat removal
- Breast asymmetry
- Loss of fat in the breasts
- Slow wound healing
- Unfavorable scarring
- Oil cysts
- Calcifications or other changes on mammogram
It is also important to note that fat grafting does not provide the surgeon with as much control over the increase in the size and shape of the breasts. Patients who desire a specific and larger size increase are better candidates for breast augmentation with implants.
The results of surgery are visible as soon as the bandages are removed. However, residual swelling may last for two months, affecting the visual results of the procedure.
The results of the breast lift should last for a decade or more. The fat grafting results are intended to be permanent, but fat loss may occur in the breast area; in this case, an additional fat grafting procedure may need to be performed.
To schedule a breast lift with fat grafting consultation, contact Dr. Griffin’s practice today.