Breast Reduction with Lift: An Uplifting Experience

Holly O'Neill

by Holly O'Neill | August 16, 2010 @ 10:00AM

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Breast reduction and breast lifting surgery is growing in popularity. Many women with large breasts suffer from back and neck pain and indentations in the shoulder from bra straps. It may be difficult to find clothes that fit and athletic women find it uncomfortable to have breasts shifting during exercise. Also, many women understandably feel self-conscious of their breasts and it can have a negative effect on self-esteem.

While many women look on breast reduction surgery as a godsend, there are negative factors attached to it. Considerable scarring can be sustained from a traditional breast reduction, and recovery from the procedure can take a while. Another problem is "fallout." This is where the lower half of the breast continues to distend after a reduction or lift, but the nipple, which had been repositioned during surgery, remains at the height the surgeon placed it.

Dr. Grant Stevens developed and registered the Stevens LIFTSM (Laser-assisted Internal Fabrication Technique). With the patient in an upright position, the new position of the nipple is marked. Then, once the patient is under a general anaesthetic, incisions are horizontally and vertically made, adhering to the natural contours of the breast. The laser is then used to preserve the pedicle of breast tissue that supports the nipple. The entire breast, along with the nipple, is lifted. In reduction, excess fat, tissue, and skin are removed from the sides of the breast. Once the breast is repositioned, the incisions are closed with dissolving sutures under the skin.

Dr. Steven's method minimizes the possibility of "fallout," of the breast. "The shape of the breast is maintained by creating an internal brassiere," explained Dr. Stevens. This is achieved by using laser to deepithelialize the skin that would have otherwise been discarded, forming a bra out of the patient's own tissue. This tissue is then attached to the chest wall, where it holds and supports the breasts. "I have done hundreds of these procedures now and have followed them up to see the results," said Dr. Stevens. "They have held up beautifully." The laser-fabricated internal brassiere cannot be felt under the skin.

The procedure generally takes two hours. Swelling and discomfort is minimal. Because lasers are used, blood loss and bruising is reduced. The amount of scarring is also reduced. "This procedure does not increase the risk in surgery," explained Dr. Stevens. "If anything, I would argue there is probably less risk, in terms of anesthesia. We trim 30 to 40 mintues off a breast reduction using lasers. So the patient has less time under anesthesia." Recovery time after a Stevens LIFTSM is 7-10 days, with full activities able to be resumed after three weeks.

Candidates for the Stevens LIFTSM are women who have large or sagging breasts. Age is not a deciding factor for this procedure, but patients must be healthy. Small implants may be inserted at the same time a lift is being formed.

Because the nipple is never detached, loss of sensation is minimal and some people report increased sensation once the heavy tissue has been removed. In addition, the majority of patients are able to breastfeed. 

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