What is Breast Lift?
A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a procedure to raise, reshape, balance and rejuvenate breast that has lost its youthfulness due to aging, breastfeeding, weight loss, etc. In this procedure excess stretched skin is removed from the breasts and the surrounding tissues are tightened. You can combine a breast lift surgery with breast augmentation procedure to increase the fullness of the breast. Alternatively, you can choose to undergo a breast reduction surgery in combination with a breast lift surgery if the size or weight of your breasts is causing you discomfort.
Who is a good candidate?
You are a good candidate for breast lift surgery if:
• Your breast development has stopped
• You are not planning for future pregnancies and breastfeeding
• You have saggy breasts either genetically or due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss or aging
• You are otherwise healthy and do not have a serious illness or medical condition that may impair the healing
• You are a Non-smoker or can abstain from smoking for at least three weeks before and after the surgery
• You have a positive outlook, with a clear and realistic vision of what you want the procedure do for you
There are three common incision patterns that are used in breast lifting procedure. Which of these incisions is used for you depends on the extent of the correction needed for you and also the kind of procedure you want to combine with your breast lift surgery.
The traditional method requires three incisions: Around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease. This pattern is used when there is a significant degree of sagging in the breasts and if the procedure is combined with breast reduction.
A vertical incision is used when there is a moderate degree of sagging of the breast but you are comfortable with the size and fullness of your breast and do not wish to have breast implants or breast reduction. The incisions, in this case, will be around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease.
If your breasts have a mild degree of sagging and you want to increase size and fullness of your breast with a breast implant the incision can be placed only around the areola.
In all three methods, the nipple and areola which are still attached to their original blood and nerve supply are shifted to a higher position and the underlying tissue is lifted to produce a more youthful contour. Some extra skin is removed and if the areola is relatively large and stretched it will be adjusted to a more balanced size.
Next, the incisions are closed and are sutured deep into the underlying tissues to support the new shape of the breasts.
The surgery takes about 2 to 3 hours and is usually done under general anesthesia. However, it can also be performed under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia at your surgeon’s discretion.
After the surgery drainage tubes may be placed on your incisions. Your breasts will be wrapped in gauze bandage and you will be asked to wear a compress garment bra for support. The wound dressing can be removed by the end of the first week after the surgery. You will experience some pain, however, the pain is manageable by prescription painkillers.
Within 3-7 days after your surgery, you will be able to take shower and return to work. You should limit movement, never the less you need to walk every few hours to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 4-6 weeks after the surgery.
Over time the incision lines will fade. The final appearance of the scars, however, is dependent on many factors including your age, genetics, exposure to nicotine, etc.
Like any other surgical procedure, though infrequent, complications may occur and they include Fluid retention or excessive loss of blood and fluids, infection, reaction to anesthesia medications, pigmentation changes (hypo/hyper), skin numbness – this is to be expected and is usually only temporary.
Some potential complications specific to breast lift include:
• Temporary or permanent changes in nipple or breast sensation
• Breast contour and shape irregularities
• Breast asymmetry
• Unfavorable scarring with keloid formations