Mastopexy is the medical term for a breast lift. Mastopexy procedures are similar to breast reduction procedures, except that the size of the breasts is not usually significantly reduced. Pregnancy and nursing frequently cause the glandular tissue to temporarily enlarge, stretching the skin envelope, causing the nipple areola complex to fall and the breasts to sag.
I perform the breast lift procedure at my Dallas plastic surgery practice to restore the breasts to a higher, more attractive position. The nipple areola complex is repositioned higher on the chest wall and the excess skin is removed, resulting in a tighter skin envelope. This surgery results in scars (related to the removal of excessive skin) including a scar around the nipple areola complex, a scar from the nipple areola complex in the lower pole down to the breast fold and a scar in the breast fold. Occasionally, the scar in the breast fold can be shortened or even eliminated; this procedure is called a short scar or limited incision mastopexy; however, this shorter scar pattern should not be considered if it would yield an inferior breast shape.
Video: Describing the Breast Lift Procedure
Breast Augmentation with Lift
Frequently, patients considering breast lift procedures desire an increase in breast volume in addition to a repositioned, higher breast mound. This is accomplished with the placement of a small implant at the time of the mastopexy procedure. This procedure, known as augmentation mastopexy, is a particularly common mommy makeover procedure. The breast lift procedure restores the drooping breast to a more desirable, higher position on the chest wall, while the breast augmentation procedure restores volume to the hollowed out upper pole. View augmentation with lift before and after photos >>
Your Initial Consultation
During your consultation at my Dallas practice, I will review with you your goals and desires regarding your desired breast shape and size. After examining you, I will discuss in detail what type or types of procedure will best meet your goals.
Current smoking is generally a contraindication to breast lift procedures because your skin is at significantly increased risk for injury and skin loss. You must refrain from smoking for at least six weeks before and after your procedure.
When a decision is made to proceed with surgery, preoperative photographs will be taken. These photographs are essential to the planning, execution and follow-up of your procedure.
Specific surgical fees for breast lift procedures depend on the nature and extent of the planned operation. My office staff will provide you with detailed estimates of the surgical fee, anesthesia fee and facility fee. Mastopexy or repositioning of the breasts without significant size reduction is considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually not covered by health insurance.
Your Breast Lift Procedure
Prior to going to the operating room, I will see you in the preoperative area and make skin markings on your breasts while you are standing. These marks are used for the planning and execution of your procedure.
Mastopexy procedures are usually performed under general anesthesia. This is done for your safety during the operation. The complete procedure will usually require from one to one-and-a-half hours in the operating room, depending on the extent of surgery planned.
You will be discharged home after breast lift surgery. Your incisions will be closed entirely with absorbable suture. This eliminates the need to remove any sutures. Steri-strips (small adhesive tapes) may also be applied to your incisions. These will remain in place for approximately 10 days.
Expect a mild to moderate amount of discomfort after breast lift surgery. You should expect a mild to moderate amount of swelling and bruising, which may peak up to 36 hours after surgery.
Breast Lift Recovery
After you return home from breast lift surgery, you should avoid any strenuous exercise for three weeks. However, returning to normal, non-strenuous activity (including full mobility of your arms and shoulders) as quickly as possible will speed your recovery and resolution of discomfort. Your incisions are closed with many sutures and can tolerate tremendous pressures.
Your breasts will feel swollen and areas will feel numb. These sensations are normal and will resolve with time. Initially the upper portions of your breasts will appear excessively full and the lower portions excessively tight and stiff. Over the course of six weeks to three months your breasts will soften, settle and assume a natural, pleasing shape. During this time, you may experience bra size/type changes.
Limitations, Risks and Possible Complications
All surgical procedures which involve an incision will leave a scar. All scars will be slightly raised, red and firm for a period following surgery, usually six to 12 months. As scars mature, they eventually, soften, flatten and fade to a color similar to or lighter than the surrounding skin.
Infection may develop after any surgical procedure. Infection is not common after mastopexy, but if it occurs, could require antibiotics or potentially surgical drainage. You will receive antibiotics at the time of the breast lift surgery to further minimize this risk.
During the course of elevation of the nipple/areola complex, sensory nerves (nerves controlling feeling in the nipple) may be severed. This could result in temporary or permanent sensation loss in the nipple.
Asymmetry (differences in the size and shape) of the breasts is always present to some degree pre-operatively. These differences will invariably persist after breast lift surgery, although I will make every effort to make you as symmetric as possible.
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your breasts, contact my Dallas practice today to find out if you are a good candidate for a breast lift or breast augmentation procedure.