A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts. As a woman ages, skin loses some elasticity which can cause the breasts to lose their natural shape and firmness. This procedure is designed to elevate the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance. A breast lift may also be completed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery (augmentation).
Reasons for Considering a Breast Lift
- Elevate the breasts due to sagging caused by the effects of aging and gravity.
- Firm the breasts if they have lost substance due to pregnancy and subsequent breast-feeding.
- Re-align your nipples/areolas if they point down or to the side.
- Bring back natural suppleness after weight loss.
The breast lift surgical procedure usually takes one and a half to three hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-like incision along the underside of the breast. The incision goes around the area where skin will be removed, thus defining how the nipple will be relocated. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved into a higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is brought down and together to reshape the breast.
Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for minimal incision techniques that result in less scarring. One such procedure is the “doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy” in which circular incisions are made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed. In other circumstances, a vertical incision alone may be sufficient.
If the patient is having an implant inserted along with the breast lift, the implant will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue or under the muscle of the chest wall.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Bandages are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. Once the bandages are removed, the patient will need to wear a supportive bra for several weeks. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery which can be treated with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions given by the surgeon.
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