Breast Lift - Mastopexy
A WOMAN'S BREASTS OFTEN CHANGE OVER TIME, LOSING THEIR YOUTHFUL SHAPE AND FIRMNESS.
These changes, including loss of skin elasticity, can result from pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight fluctuations, aging, and gravity. Heredity may also be a factor, and a woman in her teens may experience loose, sagging breast tissue. Breasts that have lost their firm, uplifted contours can affect a woman's self-image and confidence.
If you desire to restore the firmness and shape of your breasts, then a breast lift may be right for you. In general, a breast lift raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. Sometimes the areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) has become enlarged over time, and a breast lift will reduce this as well. A breast lift rejuvenates the female figure with a breast profile that is more youthful, uplifted and firm.
Breast lift, technically called mastopexy, is surgery to uplift and improve the shape of a female breast that:
- Sags or is pendulous, but is proportionate with the body frame
- Has lost firmness and skin elasticity
- Has a flatter, elongated shape
- When unsupported, the nipple falls below the breast crease
- Has a nipple and areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) that point downward • Has stretched skin and an enlarged areola
A breast lift is appropriate for women who wish to improve breast shape and position. When an increase in breast volume is also desired, breast implants may be inserted in conjunction with a breast lift.
While a breast lift does not generally affect breast function, women who are planning future pregnancies should discuss this with their plastic surgeon. The changes that occur in the breasts during pregnancy can minimize or reverse the improvement a breast lift provides. Likewise, plans for significant weight loss should also be discussed. For these reasons, good candidates for a breast lift are generally women of normal, stable weight whose breasts are fully developed and who have completed their family. Breast lift is appropriate in younger women as well, most commonly in cases of breast asymmetry where the position of one breast is lower than the other.
A breast lift is best performed on:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving body image
A consultation with your plastic surgeon is the first step to learn how a breast lift can improve your breast contours. A consultation is designed to fully educate you about breast lift in a non-pressured environment, and will include:
- A discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your individual case
- The options available in breast lift surgery
- The likely outcomes of a breast lift and any risks or potential complications
- The prescribed course of treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon
Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of breast lift surgery. These
will be carefully evaluated in consultation with your plastic surgeon. The success of your procedure, safety and overall satisfaction requires that you:
- Honestly share your expectations with your plastic surgeon
- Fully disclose health history, current medications, the use of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Be candid about any history of breast cancer in your family and your personal breast health • Commit to precisely following all of your plastic surgeon's instructions
About the Procedure
Breast lift is a highly individualized procedure achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for your case will be determined based on:
- Breast size and shape
- The size and position of the areola
- The degree of breast sagging
- Skin quality and skin elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin
There are many variations to the procedure, however one of the most common is a pattern with three incisions:
- Around the areola
- Vertically down from the areola to the breast crease
- Horizontally along the breast crease
Through these incisions, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height. If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter. Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity.
Alternative techniques eliminate either the horizontal incision at the breast crease, the vertical incision from the areola to the breast crease or sometimes both. In any case, incisions are usually placed so that they can be hidden under clothing and swimsuits. Non-removable sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin.
Incision patterns for a breast lift are determined based on the amount of excess skin, skin elasticity and the degree of lift necessary to achieve realistic goals.
The incisions may include n circle around the areola, a line extending dawn the lower portion of the breast from the areola to the crease underneath the breast and a line along the crease under the breast.
Not every women will require all of these incisions. It is possible to perform a breast lift through an incision around the areola only or through a combination of incisions around the areola and a vertical incision down the lower portion of the breast. More commonly, three incisions including one along the breast crease are used.
The combination, length and extent of incisions depend an the amount of excess skin to be removed and the quality of the skin.
Once the excess skin is removed, the breast tissue is reshaped. and lifted, and the remaining skin tightened as the incisions are closed.
Some incision lines resulting from breast lift are concealed in the natural breast contours; however others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve in appearance over time.
Your more youthful and uplift breast profile, and an enhanced body image, should bring you great satisfaction.
Prepare for Surgery
Your plastic surgeon will carefully explain your breast lift procedure. Prior to surgery, you will be given specific instructions that may include:
- Pre-surgical considerations, diagnostic testing and medications
- Day of surgery instructions and medications
- Specific information related to the use of anesthesia
In addition, you will be asked to sign consent forms to assure your plastic surgeon that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any potential risks or complications.
Possible risks of a breast lift include blood pooling beneath the skin (hematoma), infection or poor healing at the incision site, and changes in nipple or breast sensations that are usually temporary. All surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. These and other risks will be fully discussed prior to your consent.
It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcomes or preoperative stress. Discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Following Surgery and What to Expect
A breast lift may be performed in your plastic surgeon's office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and considerations of patient and surgeon preference. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
Once your procedure is completed, dressing or bandages will be applied to your incisions, and an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect. Before being released following surgery, you and an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the breasts following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific changes at the surgical site or in overall health
- When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon
Progress and Healing
Initial healing will include swelling and discomfort at the incision sites. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. A support bra may be recommended around the clock for the first week or two. It is important to cleanse the incision sites and apply ointment as directed. Follow all instructions carefully; this is essential to the success of your outcome. A return to light, normal activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, usually within a few days of surgery.
Initial wound healing may take 5 to 10 days, at which time any sutures will be removed. You will be ready to return to work and normal activity at this time, so long as you dd not engage in any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.
Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling dissipates and incisions lines continue to improve. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
Result and Outlook
The final results of your breast lift will appeal over the next few months as breast shape and position continue to settle. Incision lines are permanent, but they most likely won't be visible even under your favorite bathing suit.
Over time, your breasts can continue to change due to aging and gravity. Your new breast profile is best maintained by maintaining your weight, a healthy life style and proper support of your now firm and rejuvenated breasts.