A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts. As a woman ages, skin loses some elasticity which can cause the breasts to lose their natural shape and firmness. This procedure is designed to elevate the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance. A breast lift may also be completed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery (augmentation).
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 involves a 3 to 4 inch vertical incision beneath the areola, and sometimes a samll horizontal scar under the fold of the breast. The incision also is hidden around the areola, where skin is removed to lift the nipple.
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. Recent innovations in breast lift techniques include minimal incision techniques and nipple sensation reducing procedures.
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 rest and limited activity in the immediate post-operative period. Bandages or a surgical bra 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. 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.
More information about breast lift can be found on the site of our national society, the ASPS, at www.plasticsurgery.org