Breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a surgical procedure performed to raise and reshape breasts that have sagged as a result of aging, pregnancy, breast feeding, weight loss, gravity or other factors. By trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissue, patients can achieve an uplifted, more youthful breast contour. After surgery, the breasts are higher on the chest and generally firmer to the touch. The nipple and areola is also be repositioned and can be resized during this procedure to further enhance the appearance of the breast.
Since a breast lift does not change the size of the breasts and offers little improvement in the way of firmness, many women often choose to combine a breast lift procedure with a breast augmentation procedure. For women who already have larger breasts that sag, and who do want to be larger, rather than a standard breast lift, a mini-breast reduction, which includes a lift offers more firmness and longer lasting results, than a breast lift alone.
Candidates for Breast Lift
A breast lift is a safe and effective procedure for many women seeking to enhance the appearance of their drooping breasts, although there are certain restrictions on eligibility. The ideal candidates for a breast lift are women with:
- Sagging breasts
- Breasts that have lost shape or volume
- Breasts that are flat or elongated
- Nipples or areolas pointing downward
- One breast lower than the other
In addition to sagging breasts, it is also important for women considering this procedure to be in good overall health, maintain a stable weight and have realistic expectations for surgery. It is recommended that women still planning to have children postpone this procedure, as pregnancy and nursing can counteract or undo the effects of a breast lift.
Breast Lift Procedure
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and usually takes one to three hours, and if combined with a breast augmentation, can take longer. Depending on the size and shape of the breasts, as well as the degree of sagging and amount of excess skin, Dr. Bershof will determine an appropriate incision approach for the procedure:
This involves a removal of a quarter-moon or so shaped skin above the nipple areolar complex. A nipple lift lifts the nipple areola, not the breast.
This involves removal a circumferential skin around the entire areola and is a hybrid between a nipple lift and a breast lift. Depending upon the design of the skin excision, the nipple areola complex can be lifted and made smaller, and the skin envelope tightened somewhat. There is little actual lifting with a donut mastopexy, it is more of a tightening.
Tear Drop Mastopexy
This involves removal of skin around the nipple areola complex and down to the mammary crease in the shape of a tear drop (sometimes called a Sno-Cone Mastopexy). This can lift the nipple areola complex, lift the breast, make the areola smaller, and tighten the breast skin envelope. It is also called the Lollipop Mastopexy because the resulting incision is in the shape of a lollipop.
Key Hole Mastopexy
This involves removal of skin around the nipple areola complex, down towards the mammary crease and skin along the mammary crease in the shape of a keyhole that one might see in an old-fashion door. This is the most powerful of the breast lifts and can lift the nipple, lift the breast, make the areola smaller, and tighten the breast skin envelope. It is also called the Anchor Mastopexy because the resulting incision is in the shape of a ship's anchor.
Recovery from Breast Lift
After a breast lift, patients will likely experience bruising, soreness and swelling for a few days. The breasts will be in a surgical bra for about a week, followed by a support bra worn continuously for a 4-6 weeks. Stitches will be removed after one or two weeks. Most patients will be able to return to work within a week, although exercise and other strenuous activity should be avoided for about a month. Recovery might be a little longer if a breast augmentation is combined with the lift.
Results of a Breast Lift
The results of a breast lift are visible immediately after surgery and will continue to improve as swelling subsides and scars fade. Additionally, it can take several months for the incision areas to soften and for the bottom part of the breast to assume a more natural shape. Most patients who maintain realistic expectations and thoroughly discussed their goals prior to surgery are satisfied with the look of their lifted breasts. While results are not permanent, they will allow patients to enjoy a younger-looking appearance for many years to come. The larger the breasts, the more gravity will drag on the breasts making results not last as long; as a result, sometimes Dr. Bershof recommends a mini-breast reduction rather than a breast lift. This is a good alternative in women whose breasts are already on the larger side. Additionally, although some think adding an implant "lifts" the breasts, they do not. Implants make a sagging breast "look" better proportioned, but not lifted.
Risks of Breast Lift
Although a breast lift is considered a safe procedure for ideal candidates, there are certain risks associated with any type of surgical procedure, which may include bleeding, infection, reaction to anesthesia or permanent visible scarring. These risks can be reduced by following the Dr. Bershof's instructions before and after treatment.
To learn more about the breast lift procedure, please call us today to schedule a consultation.