What Is A Breast Lift?
A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, is performed to return a youthful shape and lift breasts that have sagged or lost volume and firmness. A woman’s breasts may droop as a result of the natural effects of aging, heredity, gravity, pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight loss. Dr. Charlotte Ann Rhee is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Long Island, NY that specializes in Breast Lift surgery.
Benefits Of Breast Lift Surgery
Breast lifts rejuvenate the breasts by trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissues to achieve an uplifted, youthful contour. After a mastopexy, the breasts are higher on the chest and firmer to the touch. Breast lifts can also reposition and reduce the size of the areola which may have stretched or drooped. If you are interested in breast lift surgery, Charlotte Ann Rhee MD offers free consultations to see if you are a good candidate.
Breast Lift Before And After
The best candidates for a breast lift are women who maintain a healthy weight, live an overall healthy lifestyle, does not smoke, and has a realistic expectation of their outcome. Additionally, women who are planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract a breast lift’s effects by stretching the skin.
Candidates must have breasts that meet some or all of the following conditions:
- Areola and/or breast skin is stretched
- Breasts have lost shape or volume
- Downward pointing nipples or areolas
- Flat, elongated, or pendulous (hanging) breasts
- Nipples or areolas are in the breast crease when breasts are unsupported
- One breast is lower than the other
- Sagging breasts
Types Of Breast Lift Incisions
There are several types of incision methods that can be used when performing a breast lift. The technique a surgeon chooses depends on the patient’s breast size, shape, and the degree of sagging. Additionally, the size and position of the areolas will need to be considered as well as the amount of excess skin and skin quality.
There are three common incision types to use during a breast lift. The first includes two rings around the areola in a doughnut shape. Dr. Rhee recommends this technique for a small-incision mastopexy and patients with small breasts and minimal sagging. The second type is around the areola and down to the breast crease which produces a lollipop shape. Finally, if you add an additional half-moon incision along the breast crease to the lollipop incision it is considered an anchor shaped incision.
The Breast Lift Procedure
A mastopexy may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or a surgeon’s office-based facility. It is usually done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and lasts from 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours.
In all cases, breast lift surgery begins with administration of anesthesia or IV sedation. Dr. Rhee will make the necessary incisions, and then lifts and reshapes the breast tissue into its new, rejuvenated contour. Dr. Rhee will move the nipple and areola higher on the breast and remove extra skin around the perimeter if the areola is enlarged. Finally, she will trim the excess breast skin that is a result of poor elasticity.
When the mastopexy is complete, the skin is closed with stitches, tissue adhesive and/or surgical tape. The stitches are in layers deep throughout the breasts tissue or hidden in the breast crease. Additionally, some are visible but all are in place to support the lifted breasts. All scars will mature with time.
Can Mastopexy Be Combined With Other Surgeries?
Mastopexy can improve breast shape nicely for many patients. However, a breast lift alone may not provide every woman with the results she would like. Breast lift surgery is often combined with breast augmentation, the procedure that enlarges and enhances breast size and shape. Breast augmentation achieves natural-looking results with saline or silicone medical implants made of durable, cohesive materials. Benefits of combining mastopexy with breast augmentation include:
- Combining breast augmentation and mastopexy is as safe as a single surgery (cited in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery).
- Lifting and enhancing breast size improves the overall appearance of the breasts.
- Combining procedures minimizes related fees.
- Overall recovery time does not increase substantially when procedures are combined.
Results Of Breast Lift Surgery
If you agree on realistic goals with your Dr. Rhee during your consultation, you should be very satisfied with the look of your lifted breasts. You will be able to see the results of your mastopexy immediately after surgery, and you may become even more satisfied as the swelling goes down and incision lines fade.
How Long Do The Results Of A Mastopexy Last?
The results of breast lift surgery are generally long-lasting. However, this is dependent on several factors. A patient’s age, dietary habits, general health, and genetics all factor into the resilience of tissue and skin. Patients are encouraged to wear proper supportive bras after surgery, to manage weight fluctuations, and to take care of their skin.
Breast Lift Patient Testimonial
“Dr. Rhee and staff are kind, caring, friendly, people. My surgery went Amazing not a complaint in the world. I HIGHLY recommend this surgeon and office.”
Breast Lift Recovery
After surgery, the breasts are wrapped with gauze dressings, and you may need to wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra. After a few days, this is replaced with a soft support bra, which is worn 24 hours a day for about a month.
The breasts will probably be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable after surgery, but this will pass in a few days. Any numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides. After one or two weeks the stitches can be removed, and many patients return to work then.
Risks Of Breast Lift Surgery
Besides the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, there are risks specific to mastopexy. These risks include the following:
- Irregularities in breast contour/shape
- Partial or total loss of nipple/areola
- Temporary or permanent change in nipple/breast sensation
Will I Have Scarring After Breast Lift Surgery?
All surgical incisions carry the risk of scarring. Scars are the result of tissue healing. The incisions made during breast lift surgery are typically thin. Initially, the skin looks red and raised along incisions. Over time, the skin should flatten and lighten. This process can take up to one year. Patients with very dark or very light skin may have more noticeable scarring. Scars may become more prominent due to sun exposure or tanning lamps.
To promote optimal healing of surgical incisions, patients should avoid:
- Scrubbing or rubbing the skin
- Scratching incisions
- Heavy lifting
Will The Appearance Of The Nipple Be Affected By A Mastopexy?
Nipple position can be addressed during the mastopexy procedure. Depending on the initial evaluation of the breasts, Dr. Rhee may reduce areola size to achieve the proper proportion between the colored part of the breast and the breast mound itself. Nipples can also be lifted to reduce sagging and restore forward projection.
Cost Of A Mastopexy
It is difficult to pinpoint the cost of mastopexy surgery because many variables contribute to this. Fees that patients can expect to determine the cost of their treatment include:
- The number of procedures included in the surgery.
- Surgeon’s fees (which usually include pre- and post-operative visits).
- Medical tests or lab fees.
- Surgery center fees.
- Anesthesia fees.
- Post-surgical garments and supplies.
Insurance coverage is not typically available for mastopexy procedures. However, patients may consider special financing offers to manage the costs of care.