A breast lift, also referred to as a mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure to correct fallen or sagging breasts. The breasts will present as lower than they once were and can even become pendulous (or oblong in shape).
The causes for sagging breasts can be any one or a combination of the following:
- Time: Age of the patient (skin has lost some of its elasticity)
- Gravity: Prominent in older patients or those with larger breasts
- Pregnancy: Hormones, changes in size that occurred during and after the pregnancy
- Breastfeeding: Overfilled milk ducts and changes in hormones and fatty tissue inside of the breasts
- Fluctuations in Weight: Can be due to weight gain/loss for any reason
- Hereditary Predisposition: Genetics are a factor in breast size, shape, and elasticity in the skin
For women who have sagging breasts for any of these reasons, a breast lift is an excellent option. A breast lift offers patients the ability to lift sagging breasts as well as condense the existing breast tissue into a more appropriate space, thus producing a firmer and more youthful appearance. Many of our patients describe feeling “old”, “worn down”, or “unattractive” prior to their procedure. It is very rewarding for us to be able to provide our patients with renewed and rejuvenated breasts that look and feel more youthful. The transformation can truly change a patient’s life!
If you are looking to replace lost cup size in your breasts in addition to lifting them up, then a breast lift + augmentation would be your best choice. During your free consultation one of our surgeons will sit down with you to discuss all of your concerns, answer every question, and inform you of the surgical solutions available for your individual situation. As every patient is unique, so are the steps taken to make a surgical plan that’s just right.
Some things to consider prior to coming in for a consultation:
- Are you unhappy with the position of your breasts?
- Are you at a stable weight currently?
- Are you healthy enough for surgery?
- Are you on any medication that can potentially affect your weight?
These, as well as many other questions will be covered during your free consultation. However, it doesn’t hurt to consider them prior to coming in. If you have a medical condition that would make it unsafe to undergo general anesthesia, please call our office prior to deciding to schedule a consultation. If you currently take medications (such as anti-inflammatory steroids or immunosuppressant medications) that can adversely affect your weight, please also give us a call. A major change in weight can certainly affect the overall outcome of how the breast lift looks and should be avoided whenever possible.
How the Procedure is Done
A breast lift is done under general anesthesia, or when the patient is unconscious, under the care of an anesthesiologist. Your vital signs (respiration rate, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate) will be carefully monitored by the anesthesiologist for the duration of the procedure for safety. For the actual breast lift, several types of incisions can be used by the surgeon. This can depend upon the personal preference of the doctor as well as the extent of correction and lift the patients requires.
The first type of incision is where a horizontal incision is made in the crease of the breast (underneath where the fold is located) so that minimal scarring is evident afterwards. A vertical incision is then made up the center of the breast from the crease to the nipple. The second type of incision closely resembles the first with an added incision around the areola (or outer rim of the nipple area) to allow for a higher position of the nipple after the lift is completed. The third incision option is the “keyhole” where one continuous incision is made in the crease, resembling a keyhole with the bottom of the keyhole tapered wider from the nipple area down towards the crease. This incision is often times the most commonly used because it is efficient and allows for the fewest cuts. No matter the type of incision used, the extra skin that is leftover is excised and discarded.
Temporary closures (usually a stitch or two) hold the position of the breasts in place while the patient’s upper body is slightly elevated to allow for the surgeon to take a step back and see if the breast lift is symmetrical (even) on both sides. Adjustments, if any, are made at this time. The patient’s incisions are then closed up using dissolvable sutures in the deeper layers of the tissues and staples, dissolvable sutures, or liquid stitches are used to close up the outside skin. A compression garment or surgical bra will be applied to the chest to help keep swelling down during the first few weeks after the surgery. Drains may or may not be used and is usually dependent upon the surgeon’s preference.