Breast surgery: breast lift, breast reduction and augmentation
The skin, the glandular mammary tissue, and the fat give the breasts their shape; since these elements vary from one woman to the other, breasts take on different shapes and sizes in proportion to the body’s profile or not.
Breast surgery helps harmonize the silhouette.
Breast surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed at the clinic. It all begins with your consultation visit with Dr. Bernier, during which she will answer all your questions and you will be able to understand the details of the procedure. Your expectations will be discussed and listened to. Be sure to watch our videos carefully and take the time to look at our before/after photos to get an idea of the result you are looking for. Then, do not hesitate to contact us.
This document aims at giving you a general idea of the different breast procedures available, their indications, limitations and expected results. Dr. Bernier will discuss with you in detail the type of surgery that is most appropriate for your particular needs. It is very important not to hesitate to ask all the necessary questions and to check if you have understood well all the explanations given.
Are you a suitable candidate for breast surgery?
Any woman of any age in good health sincerely wishing to augment, lift or reduce her breasts is a possible candidate. By helping you to determine properly your expectations and objectives, your surgeon can—after reviewing your medical history and your health condition—recommend, if surgery is an option, the type of procedure most appropriate for your condition.
It is important to have realistic expectations about this procedure since it will bring an improvement—not perfection. Wishing to obtain perfect symmetry is an example of unrealistic expectation. Most women normally have asymmetric breasts and can expect, after surgery, to have some residual asymmetry. The surgeon will first aim at observing historic and general standards of body harmony. He or she must take into account the limitations of each individual, which means it would be unwise to compare the results of one woman with those of others. Each breast has an individual morphology; each person has individual healing capacities, which are determined by their health condition, age and tissue biology. One must beware of public idols, which are sources of disappointment. Sometimes a surgeon will be asked to show photos of results obtained with other patients. Dr. Bernier deems more constructive to work with the patient’s own photos or drawings made on her and by trying different augmentations.
Are there risks associated with these procedures?
Breast surgery is one of the procedures most in demand by women. Nevertheless, as with any such procedure, there is a certain amount of risk associated with it (infection, bleeding, unsightly scarring). Even if complications with this type of surgery are infrequent, they do exist and they can occur. Your surgeon and her team will make sure you get all the necessary explanations and information concerning this type of procedure so as to minimize the risk of complications. The final cosmetic result will not be influenced by these complications if they are treated early and adequately. Hence the importance of diligently observing the follow-up visits planned with the surgeon as well as the precautions indicated before and after the procedure (e.g. no alcohol intake at least 2 weeks before and 1 week after the procedure, no medication that could modify coagulation, no smoking 1 month before and 1 month after the procedure).
Breast surgery is performed on an external basis in a specialized center with the assistance of a professional in anesthesia. Depending on the type of procedure, local anesthesia with or without narcoanalgesia will be required. You will need to be accompanied by an adult to return home and to help you for a few days.
Duration of the procedure
The usual time for a breast augmentation procedure is about 1 hour. A breast lift takes about 2.5 hours but that can be prolonged if it is also associated with a reduction or a breast enlargement.
Is there an increased risk of cancer after breast surgery?
No matter what the breast surgery type—breast enlargement, lifting or reduction— serious investigation has demonstrated that there is no increased risk of developing breast cancer in the future. You will be able to continue self-examination of your breasts after the procedure.
It is important, and also your responsibility, that you have your breasts examined yearly by an informed physician. The X-rays will be performed as is prescribed for the provincial screening program for breast cancer detection.
If you want to learn more about the risks of developing an extremely rare cancer known as large cell anaplastic lymphoma, you can read our blog article regarding this subject.
It is recommended to wait 1 year following breast augmentation before having a pregnancy. This is to allow the skin to recover some of its elasticity and to avoid, during lactogenesis, the formation of stretch marks on the skin that has already been stretched by the implant. In cases of reduction and/or augmentation followed by early pregnancy, especially if there is feeding, the breasts could then take a “deflated” look.
Will I be able to breast-feed?
Current breast procedures (augmentation or reduction) should not influence your capacity to feed. Whether a woman has undergone or not breast surgery, it is a fact that breastfeeding attempts have a 10% rate of failure.
About nipple sensitivity
Modern procedures (augmentation or reduction) usually do not alter innervation of the areola-nipple complex. Rarely (1%) will individual anatomical variations compromise innervation viability. Nevertheless, the nerves can be stretched or compressed and therefore produce inappropriate sensitivity, thus creating what is called dysaesthesia. This phenomenon is felt by the patient as a painful increase of breast or nipple sensitivity, especially when scraping, or as small electric shocks, which are felt worse during some movements of arm elevation. This is a normal phenomenon and usually of a temporary nature.
To learn more about breast augmentation by implants, please visit the breast augmentation page.
If you want to have more information about both types of implants (saline or silicone breast implants), you can do so on our page dedicated to breast implants.
To learn more about the breast lift procedure, also called mastopexy, please visit the breast lift page.
Breast reduction aims to remodel breasts and to reduce their size. It brings relief of the pain caused to the back and shoulders by excessive weight.
Breast reduction consists of removing excess mammary tissue. Usually, there is excision of some skin and a portion of the breast, which results in a reduction and a lifting. Although in use for several years, this procedure has undergone improvements with enhanced results. Sometimes, when a patient’s breasts have elasticity and minimum sagging, it is preferable to resort to liposuction, thereby minimizing scarring. The Régie de l’assurance maladie of Quebec ensures some reductions that cause functional disorders and that go beyond minimal weight. These procedures are performed by a surgeon in a hospital environment.
Bandages will protect your incisions. The sutures will be removed 4-7 days after the procedure. You can expect some swelling and ecchymoses. The pain felt varies from patient to patient and also depends on the implant site. In all cases, the prescribed analgesics will offer relief. A few days later, you will be able to attend to your personal care and light activities. Physical exercises and heavy activities should be avoided for 2-3 weeks. It is also preferable to avoid driving vehicles and operating heavy machinery and tools for a few days (2-5 days).
You absolutely must not lift any weight over 30 pounds after your surgery. After 2 weeks you may gradually resume your normal activities, except for sports requiring effort such as tennis, golf, swimming, weight training. However, these activities may be resumed after 4 to 6 weeks.
Your new look
It is important to understand that the healing process is gradual and that a few months will elapse before you will be able to fully appreciate your new figure. Your breast surgery, once the healing process completed (which can take up to 1 year), will bring you overall satisfaction about its symmetry as well as better proportioned and more normal breasts. This will enhance your self-esteem and femininity.
Your surgeon does not perform miracles and if your expectations remain as reasonable as possible, your satisfaction will be met.
Sedation-analgesia for Breast Surgery
To learn more about anesthesia and sedation, please visit the anesthesia page.