What Is An Auto Augmentation Breast Lift?

Written by Timothy McGee, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on September 19, 2023 No Comments

auto augmentation lift woman

Changes in breast shape is a normal part of aging and is caused by numerous factors such as pregnancy, breast feeding, fluctuations in weight, and hormonal changes that occur with menopause.  For women who have some degree of ptosis, a condition that describes breasts that sag, droop or hang low on the chest, breast lift surgery or mastopexy is a popular surgical procedure to reshape the breasts. During a breast lift procedure, the size of the breast typically decreases a small amount. For patients wanting a decrease in breast size of one cup or more a breast reduction procedure can be performed. For patients wanting an increase in breast volume of one cup size or more a breast implant can be place at the same time of the breast lift or done as a second staged procedure.

A breast lift procedure can enhance breast shape and restore the breasts to a more youthful position. However, there is one drawback: traditional mastopexy procedures typically involve some reduction of breast size. One way to counteract this volume loss without having to use a breast implant is through an auto-augmentation breast lift technique.

An auto-augmentation breast lift utilizes the same lifting techniques as a traditional breast lift with the added benefit of repurposing an excess tissue to add volume to the breasts. Fat grafting, also called fat transfer, can also be performed to add an additional 100-150cc of volume on top of the auto-augmented breast.

Auto-augmentation breast lift vs traditional breast lift

The typical patient with breast ptosis (sagging breasts) has less fullness in the upper/medial portions of the breast (cleavage) and too much fullness in the lower/lateral portions of the breast. In most traditional breast lift techniques, the excess lower/lateral tissue is excised and discarded resulting in a smaller breast volume. An auto-augmentation breast lift surgical technique utilizes the same lifting function of a traditional mastopexy with one key difference: An auto-augmentation preserves any removed tissue and uses it to enlarge the breast size, specifically in the upper part of the breast.

How is an Auto-Augmentation breast Lift Performed?

The auto-augmentation breast lift procedure is an outpatient procedure that requires general anesthesia. The patient is marked in the pre-operative holding area representing the new nipple areolar position and proposed incisions while in the upright position. Once in surgery, the incisions are made and the breast tissue is relocated from the lower/lateral quadrants to the upper/medial quadrants. The breast tissue is typically rotated in a clockwise manner on the right and counter-clockwise manner on the left in an auto-augmentation breast lift. The breast tissue is sutured in place in produced an auto-augmentation of the upper/medial quadrants. In some cases, the surgeon will choose to place a support material like allograft or mesh. Once the new breast shape is complete and secured with the nipple/areola in its new lifted location the excess skin is trimmed and sutured.

How long does Auto-Augmentation Breast Lift take to perform?

Most auto-augmentation procedures take 2 hours to perform under general anesthesia. If fat grafting is added or if support allograft material is used then the procedure typically takes 3 hours.

Who is the Ideal Candidate for an Auto-Augmentation Breast lift?

Any women who is in good overall health and wishes to lift the position breast and improve the overall shape of her breasts without reducing breast size is a great surgical candidate. Since the procedure does not use any silicone breast implants the results tend to look and feel very natural. Patients who want a natural rather than a fake appearance are good candidates for an auto-augmentation breast lift.

What is recovery like after an Auto-Augmentation Breast Lift?

Recovering from an auto-augmentation lift is very similar to traditional breast lift recovery, most patient will be fully recovered and cleared for all physical activity within 6 to 8 weeks after the procedure.

Immediately following auto-augmentation breast lift surgery, most patients can expect some level of swelling, tenderness and bruising along the chest. Pain and discomfort can be minimized with regional nerve block. Any break through pain can easily be managed with prescription pain medicine. Patients remain in a sports bra in the immediate post operative period.

Within 3 days of the procedure, most patients are cleared to shower. By the end of the first week, all sutures and drains (if used) are removed and most patients are cleared to return to work. Swelling decreases greatly in the second and third week and bruising resolves. Exercise and large arm movements will need to be limited for 4-5 weeks.  After 6-8 weeks patients are typically cleared to resume all forms of exercise, sleep in any position and wear any type of bra(underwire).

What is the scar like in an Auto-Augmentation Breast Lift?

Since most of the reshaping and suturing of the auto-augmentation breast lift procedure is done inside the actual breast tissue the external scarring is very similar to a traditional mastopexy. The initial scars are slightly pink and fade over the next 6-12 months. There are a variety of scar minimizing cosmetic treatments available to address and further minimize scars.

Is Auto-Augmentation Breast Lift Permanent?

Unlike breast enhancement through implants, the auto-augmentation breast lift provides results with healthy living breast tissue. Since no breast implants are used, there are no problems requiring future implant exchange or removal. However, it is critical to understand that no procedure stops the natural aging process. To maintain the results of auto-augmentation, patients should maintain their post-procedure weight, follow a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and daily exercise, avoid becoming pregnant, and follow a sound skin care regimen.

What are the possible risks and complications of an Auto-Augmentation Breast Lift?

Auto-augmentation breast lift procedures are safe and effective with low instances of serious complications. Common minor side effects include temporary numbness, bruising, swelling, pain, and mild asymmetry. Although rare, more serious risks can include infection, bleeding, and changes in breast and/or nipple sensation. These risks can be minimized by working with a board certified plastic surgeon who is experienced with the procedure.

Timothy McGee, MD

Dr. McGee has been practicing plastic surgery for more than 18 years in all areas of the field, including cosmetic surgery and reconstructive breast and facial surgery. Dr. McGee is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He has numerous hospital affiliations in the Round Rock and greater Austin areas and is a member of the American Society of plastic Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American College of Surgeons and Austin Smiles.

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