Breast sagging — also known as breast ptosis — can be caused by weight loss, breastfeeding, genetics, or simply be the result of aging.
Depending on the patient’s needs and the extent of the sagging, different surgical techniques can be employed to lift the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance.
The lollipop breast lift technique requires two incisions: one around the areola, and another that extends down the front of the breast. Although any surgical incision will result in some scarring, in most cases lollipop scars will fade over time until they are barely noticeable.
What is the lollipop lift, and how does it compare to other techniques?
The three most common breast lift techniques are the donut lift, the anchor lift, and the lollipop lift.
The donut lift is generally performed as a nipple repositioning procedure, and is only recommended for patients with mild sagging. An incision is made around the areola, allowing the surgeon to raise the nipple complex by 1 or 2 centimeters. It is also an option for women who want to reduce the size of their areolae.
The anchor lift technique is more suitable for patients with significant ptosis, as it allows the surgeon to remove larger amounts of excess skin and tissue. Incisions are made around the areola, down the front of the breast, and in the inframammary fold.
The lollipop lift falls somewhere in-between these two approaches, and offers an effective alternative for patients with a moderate amount of sagging.
How much scarring should I expect after a lollipop lift?
Patients tend to favor the donut lift technique, since it doesn’t require a vertical incision across the front of the breast and therefore produces very little scarring.
Feel free to ask your surgeon if you are candidate for this approach, but bear in mind that it may not provide the lift you are hoping for. Furthermore, you may find in time that your scar appears bumpy and stretched.
These are drawbacks that can be avoided by choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who will be able to recommend the right technique for your individual needs.
Ask your surgeon to show you before and after pictures of former patients, which will give you an idea of how their scars healed. You will find that many of these pictures were taken during their last follow-up appointment, typically four months after surgery.
Plastic surgeons like to show these pictures so that patients know what to expect in the first months after their operation, but remember that scars continue to fade over time.
Actual patients of The Breslow Center. Click here to view more.
Can scars be avoided entirely?
The short answer is that there is no such thing as a scarless surgical breast lift. Radiofrequency and other non-invasive procedures may be beneficial for patients with mild skin laxity, but more dramatic results can only be attained through mastopexy surgery.
With proper care however, post-surgical scarring can be significantly reduced. Initially they may be reddish and raised, but in most cases breast lift scars fade into thin, barely noticeable lines after 10 to 12 months. Also note that surgical scars tend to heal better than scars caused by trauma.
How to reduce scarring
Your surgeon will devise a specific regimen for you to reduce scarring. Here are some of the most common recommendations:
- Silicone scar therapy
Many surgeons have patients use silicone sheets or gels roughly three weeks after surgery to minimize the appearance of scars. This can be continued for several months. Research shows that silicone gel and sheeting is very effective at preventing scars.
- Scar massage
A scar massage, which you can do at home, can help flatten the scar and break up collagen fibers. Gently massage the scars in circular motions, both up and down and horizontally, for ten minutes twice a day. Note that this should only be done once the dressings have come off and your incisions are healed.
- Wear sunscreen every day
You may be surprised to learn that UV rays can cause scars to become more visible and pigmented — even if they aren’t exposed to direct sunlight. As soon as your wounds are healed, it’s recommended that you wear a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 on a daily basis.
- Laser therapy
Once your wounds have completely healed, professional laser treatments like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can also be performed. Lasers help “blend” scars into the background by reducing their height, redness, and hardness.
Ask your plastic surgeon if you are considering alternative scar treatment options that he or she hasn’t specifically recommended.
Also note that there are certain behaviors that can worsen the appearance of scars, including excessive exfoliation (especially as you are healing), heavy lifting during the first 6-8 weeks, scratching, and tanning.
Breast lift patients report very high satisfaction rates in the months following surgery. In fact, 99 percent of women are happy with their results, according to a study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. To find out more about this transformative procedure, contact The Breslow Center in Paramus, New Jersey today!