Age and pregnancy can take their toll on breasts. In order to lift the breasts and restore them to a “perky” appearance, a breast lift (mastopexy) is performed to reshape and reposition the breasts. If more volume is needed, a breast implant can be placed during the same operation. We will carefully evaluate your breasts, discuss options available, and work together to plan the operation that best suits your needs.
Although a breast lift can be performed at almost any age, ideally we perform this after the patient is finished with childbearing. Pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding are possible after a lift but the results may be affected (more droop again). Of course, patients should be in overall good health and we insist patients be nicotine free at the time of surgery.
In addition to the purely cosmetic use of breast lift procedures, we also perform a significant number of lifts on our breast reconstruction patients to help their natural breast better match their reconstructed breast.
Types of mastopexy
The way we perform your mastopexy is highly dependent on the amount of excess skin you have, the amount of lifting that is required, and the quality of your breast tissue. The approach is highly individualized for each patient. If a relatively small lift is required, a periareolar mastopexy (also called a “doughnut mastopexy”) may be adequate, where the entire incision (and scar) is only a circular one around your areola. More commonly, there is excess skin that needs to be removed on the lower part of the breast and a circumvertical mastopexy will be required. This results in a “lollipop” shaped incision (around the areola and a straight line down the lower half of the breast.) Finally, when there is significant excess skin such as after massive weight loss, the “lollipop” scar will be extended horizontally beneath the breasts resulting in an anchor or inverted T scar.
When additional volume is required in the breast, and to increase fullness in the upper half, we may suggest placement of breast implants to improve your results. Implants can be placed with all the mastopexy techniques mentioned above. During your consultation, we will be able to described and detail which approach would be best for you.
We perform this procedure under general anesthesia in the operating room at the Lawrence Surgery Center or Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The procedure varies greatly in length depending on the extent of surgery we need to do and whether we are also placing implants, but generally runs 1½- 3 hours. Once we have achieved the shape we want, we close your incisions with sutures that dissolve over time. You will be placed in a surgical bra, and drains may occasionally be used. You will be kept in the recovery area for 1-2 hours until you are ready to go home.
Most patients are on their stronger pain medications for 2-4 days after the procedure, then transition to non-narcotic medications. There is generally more initial pain when an implant is placed. We keep our patients in a surgical bra for about a week, then switch you to a sports bra. The time before you can return to work and everyday activities varies from patient to patient, but 1-2 weeks is adequate for most patients. Again, some have returned to work much sooner, while others have taken longer, especially those with jobs requiring heavy lifting or strenuous activities.
As mentioned above, a breast lift is often combined with the placement of breast implants (augmentation-mastopexy). It also can be performed at the same time as other body contouring procedures such as abdominoplasty (“mommy makeover”), liposuction, thigh lift, and other procedures. We also have patients who choose to undergo facial cosmetic procedures at the same time as their breast operation. Patients appreciate being able to have these other procedures done while they are already asleep in the operating room so they can have a single recovery period. Of course, not all procedures are appropriate to be combined on a given patient, so be sure to ask. We don’t want to jeopardize your outcome or safety for the sake of convenience.
100,000 breast lift procedures were performed in the US in 2015. Almost 70% of patients were between the ages of 30 and 55.
5 Reasons why you should have your breast lift procedure performed at Lawrence Plastic Surgery:
- Experience– We commonly perform this procedure not only for cosmetic reasons but also to achieve symmetry for our breast reconstruction patients. These operations to achieve symmetry can be quite challenging and even more demanding than dealing with two healthy breasts. We bring this experience with us when we perform our purely cosmetic procedures.
- Accredited facilities– We only perform this operation at Lawrence Memorial Hospital or the Lawrence Surgery Center, both licensed and accredited facilities.
- Choices– A breast lift is not a single procedure but several. Any surgeon performing this procedure should be comfortable with a variety of incision types and approaches. We are glad we can offer you these choices, as this is definitely not a “one size fits all” procedure.
- Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In addition, our surgeon achieved board certification in General Surgery prior to his Plastic Surgery certification.
- Personal attention– While we’re a busy practice, we give you the personal attention you deserve.