Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity take their toll on a woman’s breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts–at least, for a time. (No surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity.) The best candidates for mastopexy are healthy, women who are realistic about what the surgery can accomplish. The best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts. Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you’re planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift.
Planning Your Surgery
In your initial consultation, it’s important to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon and to listen to his or her opinion. Every patient–and every physician, as well–has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape for breasts. The surgeon will examine your breasts and measure them while you’re sitting or standing. He or she will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure–such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the condition of your skin–and whether an implant is advisable. You should also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; they’ll be moved higher during the procedure and should be approximately even with the crease beneath your breast. Your surgeon should describe the procedure in detail, explaining its risks and limitations and making sure you understand the scarring that will result.
Mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. Another common technique involves an incision around the areola and a vertical component only. This is sometimes referred to as a “lolly-pop” scan. The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast. Incisions outline the area of skin to be removed and the new position for the nipple.
What to Expect After Surgery
After surgery, you’ll wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by your surgeon. Within a few days, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra. You’ll need to wear this bra around the clock for three to four weeks, over a layer of gauze. The stitches will be removed after a week or two. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. If you have any unusual symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your surgeon.
Real Patient Stories
I recommend Dr. Perez 100%. After enduring a bilateral mastectomy due to breast cancer Dr. Perez was my plastic surgeon in a breast reconstruction. The reconstruction was a complete success. I never imagined my breast would look this perfect again. He is very caring and makes his patients feel great. After something as frightening and discouraging as breast cancer we should all have a plastic surgeon like Dr. Perez to turn to. -Verified PatientRead & Write Reviews
The New You
You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won’t keep you firm forever–the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer. Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic. A personal consultation with your plastic surgeon is the best way to gain information about your particular complaint, and about potential treatment options to address the same.