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Unfortunately, breasts do not maintain their youthful volume and shape forever. As women age, their breasts begin to sag as the supporting tissue and structures wear out. This can result from gravity, weight fluctuations, pregnancy, or nursing. Sometimes a lift alone will create the look you desire, but often a breast enlargement is performed with an implant along with the lift. Using an implant in addition to performing a lift restores the natural volume that has been lost because of pregnancy, nursing, weight loss, or aging. Sometimes patients desire a small to moderate decrease in the size of their breasts in addition to the breast lift; this can be achieved by performing a breast reduction to achieve the best size for you. Dr. Fryer will listen to your concerns during your consultation in his Salt Lake City area medical office and individualize your treatment plan to achieve the beauty and confidence that you desire.
How do I know if I need a breast lift?
One of the most frequent questions that patients ask is, “How do I know if I need a lift?” The best answer always results from a consultation with Salt Lake City area board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard Fryer because there is no simple answer; there are a lot of different variables to consider. There are a few things you can consider prior to a consultation with Dr. Fryer to help give you a better idea of whether you need a lift or not.
First, if you think you need a lift, then you’re probably right. Some women know for sure that they need a lift in order to tighten the skin and improve the shape and appearance of their breast. This may be because they know friends or sisters that had lift and they have compared themselves with them. Other times women just know they need a breast lift because when they look in the mirror there is no question in their mind that they need a lift in order to achieve their best outcome. It is rare for a patient to think they really need a lift when they really do not need one. So, if you think you really need a breast lift, then you’re probably right.
Next, you can stand facing the mirror and look at the position and shape of your breast. Still staring in the mirror, raise both hands fully but gently above your head. How does the shape of your breast change? Do you like the shape of your breast and the position of the nipple better? Without considering the size of the breast, are you happy enough with the shape and position of your breasts with your arms raised? If you answered yes to the last two questions then there is a reasonable chance that you may be able to achieve that result with an implant alone and not need a lift. Obviously, this means that you would need to feel comfortable increasing the size of your breasts. If you absolutely don’t want to increase the size or fullness of your breasts at all then this test does not work very well for you. Sometimes Dr. Fryer can perform a dual plane placement of the implant if you are borderline needing a lift and achieve a beautiful, natural looking result without performing a breast lift. Once again, this is not a substitute for a consultation with Salt Lake City area board certified cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr. Fryer but can give some helpful information.
Lastly, you can try the pencil test; yes, the pencil test. You’ve probably heard about this previously, and yes, there is some predictive value to this. Stand facing a mirror and lift the skin of the breast with one hand and use the other hand to place a pencil against your chest wall in the crease at the bottom of the breast and then allow the tissue and skin to relax. What happens to the pencil? If you have enough looseness to the skin of your breast so that it folds over the front of the pencil and holds it in place without dropping, then you probably need a lift. If you now raise both hands fully, but gently above your head and the pencil still does not drop, then you most likely need a lift.
How do I know what kind of lift I need?
There are many different kinds of breast lifts and the best way to determine which one is right for you depends on how much extra skin needs to be removed and where the skin is located. There is a progression between the different lifts, each one removing more skin. The crescent lift removes a very small amount of skin immediately above the areola leaving a semi-circular scar around the top of the areola. The amount of skin that can be removed with this type of lift is minimal and therefore the change of the nipple position is minimal. Dr. Fryer uses the crescent breast lift only rarely because the amount of improvement provided with this type of lift is often not worth the risk and appearance of the scar. The periareolar lift removes a little bit more skin than the crescent lift. The periareolar lift removes skin immediately around the areola in all directions, but the amount is restricted by geometry and the amount of nipple adjustment is limited to about 1 cm (1/2 inch). The resulting scar is a complete circle around the entire areola. Lollipop lifts remove yet more skin than the periareolar lift. This time more skin can be removed above and below the nipple in order to better adjust the nipple position and create a breast firmness that patients are looking for. This leaves a circular scar around the areola (just like the periareolar lift) and a linear scar that extends from the bottom of the circular scar at the areola down to the crease or fold at the bottom of the breast (the scar looks like a lollipop). When even more skin needs to be removed then an anchor lift is used. This allows Dr. Fryer the ability to remove as much skin as necessary to obtain a firmer, perkier breast with the nipple in the correct position. The anchor has the same scars as the lollipop lift and adds a scar in the crease at the bottom of the breast, typically from one side all the way to the other.
Dr. Fryer does not have a favorite lift, but rather fits the lift to the particular needs of each individual patient. Some plastic surgeons only perform one type of lift, usually indicating that they want to decrease the amount of scarring. As one of the most experienced breast surgeons in Utah, Dr. Fryer has seen and tried it all. He has discovered that a surgeon can try to minimize the amount of scarring by “forcing” the geometric pattern of skin removal of a particular lift to work, but although it may produce shorter scars, he believes that it accomplishes this at the expense of not achieving the optimum breast shape and also produces lower quality scars. It is much harder to hide a breast shape that you don’t like than it is to hide scars. Dr. Fryer has the experience, skill, judgement and the artistic eye to choose and perform the breast lift that will give you the best outcome.
Being a physician myself, I knew a lot about what to expect and what are the reasonable expectations that I could have. Dr. Fryer…. took the time to explain everything to me. I was very pleased with his manner and knowledge.… My day of surgery went very smooth and I was surprised to get a result equivalent to a lift and augmentation despite only having a lift. He is a true artist, and I am extremely happy with the result and I believe it is the best result I have ever seen compared to all my friends or any pictures I have seen online. I would highly recommend Dr. Fryer!
Jen; Kaysville, UT
What is the recovery like after a breast lift?
After you have your breast lift in Dr. Fryer’s Draper ambulatory surgical center you will return home with tape covering your incisions and light bandages that are held in place with a comfortable cotton bra. You are given instructions to use medications as needed to keep you comfortable. He preferentially uses alternatives to narcotics to help keep his patients comfortable and minimize their pain while avoiding the dangers of excessive narcotic use. You are still prescribed a narcotic pain killer, but you are encouraged to regularly use the alternatives in order to minimize the narcotics that you need. There may be some mild drainage or bleeding into the bandages for the first 24-48 hours. Most of Dr. Fryer’s breast lift patients recover very quickly and usually don’t require narcotics after the first three to four days. Performing a lift decreases the blood supply into the breast skin and breast tissue and therefore Dr. Fryer does not want his patients to use ice packs because it further decreases blood flow into the breast tissues and can impair healing.
Patients return to clinic the day after surgery in Dr. Fryer’s Salt Lake City area plastic surgery clinic. This is a short appointment to make sure that your medications don’t need to be adjusted and to answer any questions that came up overnight. Your next appointment is one week after your surgery. During this appointment the tape is removed from your incisions and you will be instructed on scar care using professional grade scar creams that help to optimize the appearance of your scars. Other care and activity restrictions are discussed during this appointment. All of your instructions are written on a card for your convenience and peace of mind. He doesn’t use sutures that need to be removed; the sutures should all dissolve. In some circumstances Dr. Fryer places a permanent, circular suture deep in the tissue that does not dissolve, but it also doesn’t need to be removed. This suture is sometimes used to help maintain the breast shape especially if the areola size was reduced. Three weeks after surgery he will see you again in his plastic surgery clinic. Three weeks after surgery is the most likely time that issues dealing with spitting sutures or wound healing may need to be addressed. The last scheduled appointment with Dr. Fryer is three months after surgery and post-operative photos are typically obtained so that you can see your before and after pictures. Dr. Fryer may have you return for other appointments before three months as necessary on an individual basis.
Dr. Fryer operates on a significant number of women outside of the state of Utah. Follow up appointments for these patients can be modified as needed. Patients may be instructed to email photos to his office to evaluate their progress instead of driving back to Salt Lake City, Utah to be seen in his plastic surgery clinic. The office staff does everything possible to accommodate the convenience and safe recovery of patients that are traveling long distances to come to Utah. If out-of-town patients develop complications or wound healing issues then they will need to return to Dr. Fryer’s plastic surgery clinic in the Salt Lake City area for evaluation, management, and intervention. He discusses these possible risks and outcomes of breast lifts during the initial, very in-depth consultation.
The choice of which breast lift procedure will offer you the best result can only be determined during a consultation in Dr. Fryer’s Salt Lake City area plastic surgery clinic. Breast lifts provide the benefit of improved shape, fullness, and firmness of breasts, but there are associated risks involved of which you need to be familiar. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk, but major complications are rare.
Call us at 801-571-2020 to schedule your consultation or contact us online.
Call us at 801-571-2020 to schedule your consultation or contact us online