A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, can be tailored to suit all sizes and shapes of breast, and suited to the individual sagging of the breast.
Weight fluctuation, childbirth, natural aging, can all cause many women to watch helplessly as their breasts lose volume and shape. These factors all contribute to the sagging of breasts over time, and it is an issue that affects women of all ages. Young women see their breasts lose their natural form after childbirth, while older women find that time and the loss of skin elasticity has caused their breasts to sag. Breast lift surgery allows women to regain a youthful shape and form to their breasts.
A breast lift can improve the appearance of the breasts in several ways. It elevates the breast tissue, repositions the nipple and areola (pigmentation around the nipple), and enhances breast shape. If the areola have been stretched over time, they can be reduced in size. Women who undergo a breast lift may also seek to increase their breast volume. If this is the case, an implant can be placed behind the breast tissue or chest muscle to enlarge the breasts. It is important to remember that a breast lift can improve the position, shape and distribution of existing breast tissue, but it cannot make the breasts larger. However, breast augmentation can be performed simultaneously with breast lift.
Reasons for Considering a Breast Lift:
- Elevate the breasts due to sagging caused by the effects of aging and gravity.
- Firm the breasts if they have lost substance due to pregnancy and subsequent breast-feeding.
- Re-align your nipples/areolas if they point down or to the side.
- Bring back natural suppleness after weight loss.
The breast lift surgical procedure usually takes one and a half to three hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure in our practice involves a short-scar vertical mastopexy. The incision goes around the area where skin will be removed, thus defining how the nipple will be relocated. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved into a higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Occasionally, breasts with severe skin laxity and sagging require an anchor-like incision with the added incision at the breast crease to achieve the desired results.
Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the “doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy” in which circular incisions are made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.
If the patient is having an implant inserted along with the breast lift, the implant will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue or under the muscle of the chest wall.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for no heavy lifting or strenuous activity in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Bandages are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. Once the bandages are removed, the patient will need to wear a specialized surgical bra for several weeks. Since resorbable sutures are used, no suture removal is necessary and drains usually are not needed. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery which can be treated with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions given by the surgeon.