The Breast Lift Procedure
Raise and reshape sagging breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning tissue and nipples.
Breast lift techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding
Length: Mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours.
Anesthesia: Breast lifts are usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you'll sleep through the operation. In selected patients - particularly when a smaller incision is being made - Dr. Patterson may use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort.
In/Outpatient: Your breast lift is usually performed on an outpatient basis in the surgery centre. It is sometimes performed on an inpatient basis.
Side Effects & Risks
If your breasts are small or have lost volume - after pregnancy for example - breast implants, inserted in conjunction with mastopexy, can increase both their firmness and size.
The best candidates for mastopexy are healthy, emotionally stable women who are realistic about what this surgery can accomplish. Best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts.
Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you're planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift.
INCISIONS (SCARS): Using the standard technique for this procedure, you will have scars around the areola, in a vertical line from the areola to the crease below the breast, and horizontally in the crease. The scars usually flatten and fade with time, but thicker and heavier scars can persist and require subsequent treatment, including surgery. For some reason, scars extending toward the axilla (underarm area) are frequently thicker and heavier than those elsewhere. Redness of the scars may continue to fad for up to 2 years*.
SILICONE SHEETING: This recent advance in the treatment of thick scars will be used, if appropriate. Kenalog (steroid) injections can also help to minimize scars.
ASYMMETRY: Mastopexy operations involve very careful planning and execution in order to achieve complete symmetry and a natural look for each breast. Because the planning of this operation combines “art” and “science”, it is not always possible to predict perfect and equal breast shapes. Should you have slight asymmetry after healing, a small subsequent operation usually solves the problem.
TISSUE LOSS: During the operation, skin flaps are undermined, and the skin envelope around the breast tissue is tightened. The remote possibility exist that small or larger areas of skin or breast tissue or even the nipple can suffer from decreased circulation and can be partly or completely lost. Should this unlikely event occur, you may require extra time for healing or further surgery for closure and/or reconstruction.
LOSS OF SENSATION: Although uncommon, partial or complete loss of sensation to small or larger areas of the breast skin or nipple can occur. This usually, but not always, improves over time.
HARDNESS WITHIN THE BREAST: Postoperative scarring within the breast tissue may cause areas of hardness. Occasionally, areas of hardness, when discovered later may cause worries about cancer. Mammography or even biopsy are occasionally indicated.
POOR RESULT: Asymmetry, unhappiness with breast size, poor healing, unequal nipple height, etc. may occur. Minimal differences are usually acceptable. Larger differences frequently require revisional surgery.
INCREASED RISK FOR SMOKERS: Smokers have a greater chance of skin loss and poor healing because of decreased skin circulation. (See Preparing for Surgery)
After surgery, you'll wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen and uncomfortable for a day or two*, but the pain shouldn't be severe. Any discomfort you feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by the doctor.
Within a few days*, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra. You'll need to wear this bra around the clock for three to four weeks*, over a layer of gauze. The stitches will be removed after a week or two*.
You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks* or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more* and occasionally may be permanent. Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two*, don't plan on returning to work for a week or more*, depending on how you feel. Avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks*. If you have any unusual symptoms, don't hesitate to call Dr. Patterson.
Dr. Patterson will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it's important to remember that mastopexy scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months*, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes fading eventually to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.
You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won't keep you firm forever. The effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.
If your expectations are realistic, chances are you'll be satisfied with your breast lift.
Q. Is there any less extensive procedure for women with smaller breasts?
A. Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the "doughnut mastopexy" (or concentric mastopexy) in which circular incisions are made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.
Q. What can cause breasts to sag?
A. Gravity, pregnancy, breast feeding and weight gain are the main causes.
Q. Is breast lift surgery permanent?
A. A breast lift won't keep you firm forever. The effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again.
Q. Will scars be noticeable after the surgery?A. Mastopexy does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they'll be covered by your bra or bathing suit.