A breast lift or mastopexy raises and reshapes sagging, droopy breasts by removing excess loose skin and making the breasts tighter. If the breasts are very small, it may be combined with a breast augmentation (implant) and if the breasts are large, it may be performed as part of a breast reduction.
Who is a candidate for a breast lift?
Good candidates for this procedure are healthy patients who have breasts that are sagging, droopy, deflated, and asymmetric with nipples pointing downwards. The breast lift should be performed after you are completed with childbearing and breast-feeding, as pregnancy tends to stretch and deflate the breasts. If indicated, you may need to have a mammogram before your surgery.
How is a breast lift performed?
There are several techniques used to perform the breast lift, dependent upon the extent of excess skin and sag. For severe breast ptosis (saggy breasts), an anchor-shaped incision is made. This incision goes around the perimeter of the areola, extends down to the breast crease and continues horizontally along the breast crease. For moderate saggy breasts, a “lollipop” shaped incision is made around the perimeter of the areola and extends down to the breast crease only. For mild degree of sagging, a concentric or circumareolar incision is made around the perimeter of the areola only. Every attempt is made to minimize scarring while at the same time address the sagging breasts. For patients with small breasts, the breast lift may be combined with a breast implant. For those with large breasts, it may be performed as part of a breast reduction.
What to expect after surgery?
Dr. Farris and his staff at Farris Plastic Surgery will provide specific instructions regarding your surgery.
Patients typically go home the same day after surgery. Postoperative pain is limited. A surgical bra will be worn until the first postop visit and a snug sports bra may be used after that. Drain care will be required if drains are used. Drains are commonly removed within a few days after surgery. Stitches are placed under the skin during surgery so there is nothing to remove in the office. An underwire bra may be used beginning at 4-6 weeks after surgery. Avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for 4 weeks. You may use vitamin E cream and scar products beginning 3 weeks after surgery to optimize healing of your scars. Scars change in appearance and improve over time up to 12 months.
- What does a breast lift do?
A breast lift tightens and lifts a droopy breast by cutting out the excess loose skin and leaves your breast tissue volume unchanged. This is performed with rearrangement of skin and tissue using several different techniques.
- Are there different techniques for a breast lift?
Yes, the technique depends on the extent of excess skin and droopiness. For the most severe cases, an anchor-shaped incision is made. This goes around the perimeter of the areola, follows down to the breast crease and continues horizontally along the breast crease. Moderately saggy breasts may require only a lollipop shaped incision, which is made around the perimeter of the areola and extends down to the breast crease only. For mild breast skin excess or sagging, a concentric or circum-areolar incision is made around the perimeter of the areola only. The goal is to correct the saggy breasts but also to minimize scarring at the same time. During the breast lift, some patients may want to increase their breast volume with a breast implant. Others with large breasts may want a breast reduction to achieve their lift.
- Can a breast lift reduce the size of my areola?
Yes, a breast lift can reduce the size of the areola with any of the different techniques used.
- Will a breast lift address breast asymmetry?
In addition to tightening and lifting the breasts, a breast lift can also improve symmetry. Keep in mind that perfect symmetry is essentially impossible and women often have some degree of minor asymmetry naturally.
- Should I plan a breast lift before or after pregnancy?
Definitely plan your breast lift after your childbearing years if you can, as pregnancy tends to deflate and change the appearance of your breasts.
- Is there much pain with a breast lift?
No, the breast lift has some moderate pain during the first couple of days and becomes much tolerable afterwards. The prescribed pain medication will take the edge off during the first couple of days. Tylenol can be used subsequent to that.
- When can I wear an underwire bra?
You may wear an underwire bra about 4 weeks after surgery. You may use a sports bra until that point.