Mastopexy, or more commonly referred to as a breast lift, is a cosmetic procedure that surgically raises and reshapes sagging breasts. It improves contour and elevation, creating a more youthful and perky bust.
A breast lift is often performed by removing excess skin so as to tighten and enhance the breasts’ shape. In my practice, the breast tissue itself is reshaped to a more youthful position to minimize the appearance of scars and provide long lasting results. Nipple position is improved by lifting the nipple and areola to a higher, more aesthetically proportionate position on the breast.
Breast lift can be performed on its own or in conjunction with other procedures such as a breast reduction. It is often performed after pregnancies as part of a Mommy Makeover.
There are different degrees of sagging for each patient, so all women will receive a procedure method based on their individual needs. All procedures can tighten the breast, position the nipple in a more aesthetically pleasing position, and make the areolas smaller if needed.
One of these techniques is called a Crescent Lift. This improves minor cases of sagging or asymmetry. An incision is made on the top half of the areola. The outcome of this method is a more perky and symmetrical bust. This procedure can be paired with a breast augmentation. Scarring is faint and hidden in the border of the areola.
Otherwise known as a Circumareolar lift, a Donut Lift is a method that uses an incision made around the entire areola. It is meant to address minor sagging while at the same time reducing the size of the areola.
Similar to the actual shape of a lollipop, a Lollipop Lift technique uses essentially the same incision as the Donut Lift, but the outer incision is bigger to allow for more skin removal. The repair is around the areola as with the Donut Lift, but also extends down the breast from the areola to make the “stick” of the lollipop. This method is for those who need more than a minor lift. Excess skin is removed with this procedure in order to shape the breasts to a more perky position. Scarring will fade with time.
An Anchor Lift method is for women who have a large amount of sagging and excess skin that needs to be removed in order to lift the breast. One incision is made around the areola, one from the base of the areola to the base of the breast, and one more that is made along the crease of the breast. This method will produce the most dramatic change.
Prior to your surgery date, you will come in for a pre-operative visit with Dr. Lee. She will give you instructions to follow leading up to your surgery which you will take home. She will write you medication prescriptions which you are to fill prior to your surgery so you don’t have to worry about getting them afterwards.
You will be asked to get a preoperative mammogram as indicated by the recommendation of American College of Surgeons and other regulatory boards for accepted standards of breast cancer screening. These recommendations change with patient age and with patient breast risk factors. And depending on your specific case, sometimes further testing by your regular physician is necessary. Dr. Lee may ask you to stop aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medication several weeks prior to surgery. Smoking or the use of nicotine containing products, chewing gum or patches significantly increase the risk of surgical complications and you must have stopped all of these for 2 months prior to surgery.
Breasts change in size and shape from a variety of factors. The best way to correct those changes depends on your goals and your anatomy. In some cases, Dr. Lee will see alternative methods fit for your specific case. Breast Reduction can create a smaller and perkier breast for those who feel the breasts are too large.Breast Augmentation may be the correct choice for women with pseudoptosis; a condition where the breasts look “droopy” because of loss of breast volume rather than actual drooping of the nipple position. Breast Lift combined with an implant augmentation is appropriate for women who need to correct drooping and want more volume.
Ptosis, or sagging of the breasts, can be caused by many different factors such as age, genetics, or pregnancies and breastfeeding and significant weight loss. The breasts tend to lose their fullness and firmness over time. Few women have perfectly matched breasts; most have one larger than the other and may also have nipples that are may be at different heights. These entirely normal differences, called asymmetry are also corrected during breast lift.
Candidates for a Breast Lift are women who are pretty much happy with the size and volume of their breasts, but would like a more youthful shape. Those wanting more volume may benefit from a lift with a Breast Augmentation with implants. For those who would like smaller breasts, a lift with Breast Reduction may be the best approach.
Implants do not raise nipples. That is a common misconception. However, implants can improve pseudoptosis, a condition where the breasts look “droopy” because of loss of breast volume rather than actual drooping of the nipple position (depicted below.)
Grade 1: Mild/Moderate ptosis – The nipple is at the level of the inframammary fold (breast crease) but still above some breast tissue.
Grade 2: Advanced ptosis – The nipple is below the inframammary fold and there is no tissue that hangs below.
Grade 3: Severe ptosis – The nipple is significantly below the inframammary fold and it points toward the ground.
During your private consultation in Lafayette, you and Dr. Lee will discuss the shape and firmness you desire. You can also take this time to talk about any concerns you may have such as size of your nipples or your overall breast. Dr. Lee will explain all of your possible options and the pros and cons of each one. All of your questions will be answered during this time so you fully understand your procedure and the steps to take before and after to ensure optimal results. You will also be provided a quote so you have an idea of finances associated with your procedure.
It is highly recommended to take about a week off from work to ensure you have enough relaxation time. Rest is key for recovery, and this may include having someone watch your children or help around the house for a while.
Your first day of recovery will include a post-operative visit to the office to change your dressing and place you in you a new support bra. Depending on your case sometimes the drains will be taken out during this visit. This will be one of several upcoming visits to make sure that your healing process is going smoothly and let you know when you can return to your daily activities. We will support you every step of the way.
Breast lift is sometimes needed with a switch to smaller breast implants. While it is not possible to make full recommendations over the internet, there are several points to consider based on your description. 1. Saline implants that are still soft and natural and intact do not need to be replaced just because they are 10 years old. 2. Stretched out skin causing droopy breasts may not tighten with an implant in place, even if the implants are exchanged for smaller ones. 3. Several things can contribute to the droopy appearance of breasts including low nipple position and loss of upper breast volume. If you want smaller breasts, changing your implants may be the way to go. However, it is not necessary to exchange implants just because they are 10 years old. The shape of your breasts now and the position of your nipple relative to the crease under the breast will play a part in determining whether a lift is your best bet when downsizing implants. As always, see a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic surgery for an in person consultation to get the best treatment options.
Breast lift results can be long lasting. You already know that pregnancy and breast feeding often changes the size and shape of your breasts, but a breast lift (mastopexy) can help restore contour. Bear in mind: 1. Future pregnancies and nursing will change the shape of your breasts again, but not necessarily to the same extent. 2. Results are, in a sense, permanent, however not cast in stone. The aging process continues and gravity will always work against us. Having a lift should have the effect of turning back the clock, but the clock keeps ticking. 3. You should wait to have surgery for at least 6 months after weaning. By that time, all milk should have dried up and your breasts be at a steady size and shape.
Mastopexy is the medical term for a breast lift. The procedure usually involves repositioning the nipple and removal of extra skin in order to reshape a droopy breast.