A woman’s breasts may droop as a result of the natural effects of aging, heredity, gravity, pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight loss. A breast lift is also called a mastopexy. It is performed to return a youthful shape and lift to the breasts that have sagged or lost volume and firmness.
Breast lifts rejuvenate the breasts by trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissues to achieve an uplifted, youthful contour. After a mastopexy, the breasts are higher on the chest and firmer to the touch. Breast lifts can also reposition and reduce the size of the areola, the dark skin surrounding the nipple, which may have stretched or drooped.
Breast size does not change after a breast lift, nor does the fullness or roundness change in the upper part of the breasts. Women who desire larger, smaller or more rounded breasts may want to consider a breast augmentation or breast reduction together with a breast lift.
The best candidates for a breast lift are women whose breasts meet some or all of the following conditions:
It is very important that breast lift candidates maintain a stable weight, are generally healthy and do not smoke. Be sure to discuss realistic goals with Dr. Kurtzman.
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract the effects of a breast lift by stretching the skin. Mastopexy does not affect breast size or upper fullness. Women who desire larger, smaller or more rounded breasts may want to consider a breast augmentation or breast reduction together with a breast lift.
Mastopexy may be performed in either a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or a surgeon’s office-based facility. It is usually done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and takes from 1.5 to 3.5 hours. There are several types of incision methods that can be used when performing a breast lift. The technique the surgeon chooses depends on the following for the patient:
The three most common incision types are two rings around the areola in a doughnut shape (small-incision mastopexy, generally only recommended for patients with small breasts and minimal sagging); around the areola and down to the breast crease in a lollipop shape; and the lollipop with an additional half-moon incision along the breast crease in an anchor shape.
In all cases, breast lift surgery begins with administration of anesthesia or IV sedation. Dr. Kurtzman makes the necessary incisions and then he lifts and reshapes the breast tissue into its new rejuvenated contour. Nipple and areola are moved higher on the breast and the extra skin around the perimeter is removed, if the areola is enlarged. Excess breast skin resulting from poor elasticity is trimmed. Stitches are layered deep throughout the breast tissue that support the lifted breasts. When the procedure is completed, the skin is closed with either stitches, tissue adhesive or surgical tape. Some of the incisions are hidden in the breast crease and others may be visible. Scars will mature and fade with time.
After surgery, the breasts are wrapped with gauze dressings. An elastic bandage or a surgical bra may need to be worn. After a few days, the dressings are replaced with a soft support bra which is worn 24 hours a day for about a month. After surgery, the breasts will probably be bruised, swollen and uncomfortable. These post-surgical effects will pass in a few days. Any numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides. Stitches are removed after one to two weeks at which time many patients return to work.
If you agree on realistic goals with your plastic surgeon, then you should be very satisfied with the look of your lifted breasts. You will be able to see the results of your mastopexy immediately after surgery; and you may become even more satisfied as swelling goes down and incision lines fade.