Short Scar Breast Lift: Say Goodbye to The Anchor
Article by John LoMonaco, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
A Learning Experience
I recently had a delightful patient inform me of a new condition in plastic surgery I was unaware of. “Doc” she told me. “I have Furniture Syndrome.” I quickly reviewed my medical database mentally, hoping I had not forgotten about some rare breast condition. Before I had the chance to plead ignorance, she said “Doc, my chest has gone down into my drawers.” With that, was born a new phrase in our office. My patient’s description was not only entertaining, it was also accurate. Needless to say, she was a great candidate for a breast lift, and after surgery was delighted with her new size and shape.
An Uplifting Moment
The breast is composed of fat and your actual breast tissue all covered by a skin “envelope.” Weight loss, pregnancy, and the natural aging process can all result in relaxation and sagging of these tissues. As a result, the breast “bottoms out” as the tissues move lower on your chest. The natural, rounded shape of the breast gives way to a flatter shape, and the nipples move lower down on the breast. The skin fold beneath the breast also becomes longer. Many women are actually satisfied with the amount of breast tissue that they have, they are just concerned about it’s location. Others may feel that they have always been too large, and desire a new, smaller size in addition to a nicer shape. Mastopexy, or breast lift, can accomplish the dual goals of removing excess tissue plus providing a nicer shape. I like to tell patients “I am going to help change your long thin breast into a short, fat one.”
The Long and Short of Scarring
My training and initial experience was with the traditional “anchor-shaped” incision. This technique provides a reliable reduction in the amount of breast tissue, and is useful for women with very large breasts. In reviewing my experience, though, I was dissatisfied with the amount of scarring, and the lack of a rounded, natural breast shape. Especially lacking was fullness at the top of the breast and an unnatural “pancaked” look to the breast.
Various short-scar techniques are used in Europe and South America with excellent results, and it was at an international symposium that I observed live demonstrations of these techniques, and eventually brought them home to my patients. My preference is to use this shorter scar to reshape and re-size the breasts. As with any surgery, the improvement in size and shape is the trade off for the scars. I have found that if women are given a chance to see numerous results with all levels of scarring, they are able to make an informed decision. Nearly all patients are thus delighted with their results.
Bring Your Own Implants
A mastopexy, or breast lift, can reverse all of the changes associated with a sagging breast. It can also help a breast that is too “bottom heavy.” It can also remove a certain amount of tissue if there is too much breast tissue. Through use of relatively short incisions, the breast is changed from a long, thin shape to a shorter, perkier, and fuller shape. By relocating the breast tissue from the bottom of the breast to the top, a pleasing fullness in the upper portion of the breast can also be achieved.
A Versatile Technique
The short scar technique has proven very versatile over the years, and I use it for patients who want a breast reduction, a breast lift, and more commonly these days, a breast lift with implant for more fullness. As with any surgery, understanding the surgery and it’s likely outcomes is the key to your satisfaction.