A breast lift (technically called a mastopexy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that will lift your breasts to a more attractive position. Due to age, genetics, child-bearing, nursing, weight loss or gain, and gravity, you may find that your breasts aren’t as firm as they once were (or perhaps never were!). A breast lift is an excellent remedy for droopy, sagging breasts. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding your nipples. If your breasts lack volume or firmness, inserting an implant can be done during the breast lift procedure, resulting in perkier, firm breasts. The implants especially help the upper portion (called upper pole).
The best results are achieved in women with smaller, sagging breasts. Although breasts of any size can be lifted, the results of a breast lift will not last as long in women with very heavy breasts as in women with smaller breasts. You may wish to have a breast reduction with your breast lift if heavy breasts are a concern for you, particularly if your bra straps dig into your shoulders or if you are experiencing back pain due to very heavy breasts.
Keep in mind that if you plan to have more children, pregnancy and nursing can “undo” the results of a breast lift. While you will still be able to nurse a baby after a breast lift, both pregnancy and nursing are likely to stretch the breast tissue again, leaving you with the same problem. For that reason, we advise women to wait until they have finished having children before having a breast lift procedure.
A breast lift will leave noticeable, permanent scars, although these will be covered by your bra or bathing suit. It can also result in unevenly positioned nipples or some loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts.
Breast lift procedures are performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis.
There are different types of breast lifts depending upon the degree of droopiness, or sagging of the breasts.
The most common incision is called an “anchor” incision because it looks like an upside-down anchor, with an incision around the areola, from the bottom of the areola to beneath the crease under the breast, and in the crease itself. Excess skin is removed to create a firmer breast and the nipple and areola are repositioned. Sutures are placed around the areola in the line under the breast and in the breast crease.
Variations to this technique exist and will be explained to you by your surgeon at your initial consultation.
Following your breast lift procedure, you will wear an elastic bandage or surgical bra over the gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a couple of days, but the pain should not be severe. We will give you pain medications for discomfort. This soft support bra should be worn 24 hours a day for up to a month. You’ll come back into the office within the first few days for your first postoperative visit at which time you’ll be examined to be sure everything is going as it should. Sutures are removed within a week or two, but most reabsorb by themselves.
You will have some loss of feeling in the nipples and breast skin which is caused by the swelling after surgery. This should subside over the next six weeks or so, though in some patients it may last longer or even be permanent.