Aging, pregnancy, nursing, and even gravity can take their toll on a woman’s breasts. The skin loses its elasticity and breasts can lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. Today, women who are concerned about sagging or drooping breasts can be helped by a procedure known as a breast lift or mastopexy.
A breast lift can impart a more youthful look and shape to your breasts. The procedure will usually allow you to feel quite comfortable without having to rely on devices to help support your breasts. Remember when you could wear bathing suits without pre-formed cups or underwires or could even go without a bra?
About the Procedure
A breast lift or mastopexy can lift and reshape the breast as well as reduce the size of the areola (the dark skin circling the nipple). A breast lift may also be performed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery. A breast lift is performed in our fully accredited OR right inside our office and is an outpatient procedure. The procedure usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours to perform. It uses your own tissue to support your breasts and keep them in a more youthful position.
The various patterns of incisions that are used were first developed after studying and understanding the mechanics of how bras are constructed and how they work. In combination with the lift, the areola and nipple can be modified to better fit with the new breast shape and position.
Women with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging may be candidates for a modified procedure requiring less extensive incisions. This involves concentric circular incisions made around the areola where a doughnut-shaped area of skin and/or areola is removed.
When breast augmentation is performed in conjunction with a breast lift, an implant is placed in a pocket created under the breast tissue or the muscle of the chest wall.
Recovery and Healing
Following surgery, you will wear either bandages or a special garment. This is then usually replaced with a regular or surgical support bra that is worn for several weeks, 24 hours a day.
If you are operated on in a hospital, you will normally be released the same day. Occasionally an overnight stay may be necessary. Sutures are removed in about seven to 10 days. Numbness around the treated area may occur, but this condition is usually temporary. Any swelling will gradually disappear over the next few weeks, and you will want to avoid strenuous sports and overhead lifting for about a month. After that, you can resume these activities slowly.
Your breasts will probably be uncomfortable for a day or two following surgery. However, the pain should not be severe and can probably be relieved with minimal medication.
In addition to the risks associated with anesthesia and surgery in general, the most important risks are the quality of healing and your acceptance of the resulting scars. With a breast lift, the most significant tradeoff for better-positioned breasts is the appearance and permanence of the surgical scars that may take some time before they flatten and become pale.