by Dr. Michael Fiorillo, Plastic Surgeon
A woman’s breasts may start to sag due to the natural effects of aging, heredity, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss or simple gravity. A breast lift – also known as a mastopexy – is performed to return youthful shape and lift to a woman’s breasts after they have lost their volume and firmness and begun to sag.
A breast lift will rejuvenate the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the supporting tissues, thus achieving an uplifted and more youthful shape. After a mastopexy, your breasts will be higher on your chest and feel firmer to the touch.
A mastopexy can also reduce and/or reposition the size of the areola. This is the dark skin surrounding the nipple which also can stretch or sag over time.
The ideal candidates for a breast lift are women who satisfy one or more of the following conditions:
Good candidates for a breast lift should also:
Women who are planning to have a baby are advised to postpone their surgery. This is because pregnancy and breastfeeding can stretch the skin and thus undo the good effects of a breast lift.
Mastopexy will not change your breast size or fullness in the upper region. If you desire larger or more rounded breasts, you may want to consider a breast augmentation together with (or instead of) a breast lift. If you want smaller breasts, a breast reduction may be the better option.
Mastopexy can be done in a hospital, in an outpatient surgery center or in a cosmetic surgeon’s office-based facility. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis while under general anesthesia, and the entire procedure lasts from 1 ½ to 3 ½ hours.
There are a variety of incision methods that can be utilized when performing a breast lift. The technique a surgeon chooses will depend on:
The three most often-used incision types are:
Breast lift surgery always begins with administration of anesthesia or IV sedation. The surgeon makes the necessary incisions, and then lifts and re-contours the breast tissue into its new and rejuvenated shape.
The surgeon will move the nipple and areola higher on the breast and remove extra skin around the perimeter in cases where the areola is enlarged. Finally, the doctor trims the excess breast skin that came from poor elasticity. Stitches layered deep throughout the breast tissue will now support the newly-lifted breasts.
When the breast lift is finished, the incisions are closed with stitches, tissue adhesive and/or surgical tape. Some of the incisions are hidden in the breast crease, while others will be visible. All scars from the breast lift will fade over time.
After mastoplexy surgery, the breasts are wrapped with gauze dressings, and the patient may need to wear a surgical bra or elastic bandage. After a few days, this will be replaced with a soft support bra, to be worn 24 hours a day for approximately one month.
The breasts are usually bruised, swollen and uncomfortable after breast lift surgery, but this will pass in a few days. Any numbness in the breasts and nipples will also fade as the swelling subsides.
The stitches will be removed after one to two weeks, and at this point many patients are able to return to work.
Provided that you have realistic goals that were discussed with your plastic surgeon ahead of time, you should be very satisfied with the look of your lifted breasts.
Most patients are able to see the results of mastopexy immediately after surgery, and usually become even more satisfied as the swelling goes down and the incision lines fade away.
(published May 23, 2012)
Michael Fiorillo, M.D., is a highly-respected and well-known New York plastic surgeon. Board-certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Fiorillo graduated with his medical degree at the top of his class at Chicago Medical School, and completed residency training in general surgery at Staten Island University Hospital. Dr. Fiorillo’s New York plastic surgery practice is located at 350 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014, with additional offices in Montvale, NJ and Pearl River, NY and can be reached at 866-537-0954 or http://www.drfiorillo.com.