Breast Lift Surgery
Women who have sagging breasts (ptosis) may benefit from breast lift (mastopexy). As women age, the breasts lose shape and firmness. The skin gradually loses its elasticity and no longer holds the breasts in a youthful, upright position. Pregnancy, breast feeding, weight gain and loss are additional factors that can effect skin elasticity. If there are also problems of excess volume or size of the breasts, a reduction may also be done at the same time. Volume loss or small breast may be corrected by breast augmentation at the same time. Breast lift surgery does not significantly change the size of your breasts. Minor corrections of asymmetry may also be done with the surgery.
Breast lift candidates include:
- Individuals who are physically healthy and maintain a stable weight
- Individuals who are bothered by sagging breasts
- Individuals whose breast have lost volume or shape
- Individuals who have a flatter, elongated shape breast
- When unsupported, your nipples fall below the breast crease
- Individuals whose nipples and areolas point downward
- Individuals who have stretched skin and enlarged areolas
- Individuals who have one breast lower than the other
There are three common incision patterns your plastic surgeon may use when performed breast lift surgery. The first is around the areola. The second incision pattern used in breast lift surgery is around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease, like a lollipop. The third is around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease like an anchor.
After the incisions are made, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve the breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are then repositioned to a natural and more youthful look centered on the breast mound. If it is necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter. Finally, any excess skin is removed to compensate for elasticity loss.
Breast asymmetries may also be improved. Excess skin is removed, the nipple areola (dark skin around the nipple) complex is lifted and the breasts are recontoured to create a more youthful appearance with firmer breasts. There are incisions made directly on the breasts which may extend around the nipple areola complex, into the front of the breast and into the breast fold, depending on the degree of droop, asymmetry and volume considerations.
After the breasts are reshaped and excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is tightened and closed with incisions. Some of the incision lines from breast lift surgery are concealed in the breasts natural contours. There will be visible incision lines on the breast surface which are permanent but will fade over time.
Sutures are layered within the breast tissue to create the newly shaped breasts. More sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape will be used to close the skin.
Length of Proceudre
Breast lift surgery typically takes 3 hours and is performed at a hospital or surgery center. It is performed under general anesthesia.
Recovery, Risks and Results
Breast lift surgery risks include:
- Poor healing of incisions
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation
- Breast contour and shape irregularities
- Breast asymmetry
- Fluid accumulation
- Loss of nipple and areola sensation
Dressings and bandages will be applied to the incisions after your breast lift surgery is complete. During the recovery process you’ll need to wear a surgical sports bra to help minimize swelling and support the bests as they heal. Rarely, a small tube may be placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid. This is temporary and will be removed 7-10 days after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will give you specific instructions that will inform you how to care for breasts after surgery, which medications to take orally and topically and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Strenuous exercise needs to be avoided for 4 weeks after surgery.
Breast lift surgery results are immediately noticeable. Swelling and the incision lines will fade over time. Breast lift surgery usually resets the clock in terms of the nipple and areola staying above the inframammary crease, but your breasts will lose volume naturally over time. The key to preserving your breast lift surgery is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and stable weight.