The shape of a woman’s breasts can be affected by several factors. Usually, the breasts lose shape through a combination of aging, gravity, pregnancy, nursing, and simple genetics. The loss of tissue elasticity related to gravity and collagen depletion often results in breasts that droop and sag below the natural crease on the chest. Breast lift surgery can restore height and a fuller shape as needed to support optimal body contours.
What is a Breast Lift (Mastopexy)?
Time can take its toll on the firmness and elasticity of a woman’s breasts. Factors ranging from pregnancy and nursing to the force of gravity can make breasts lose their shape and firmness, causing them to sag. Performed at our surgical facilities in Rochester, breast lift, medically known as mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that can be used to raise and re-contour breasts that have begun to sag. Our board certified plastic surgeons can also use the breast lift procedure to reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin that surrounds the nipple.
How do I know if I need a breast lift?
There are several notable indications that a breast lift may be needed. These include:
- Breasts appear full below the areola and much flatter above it.
- Fullness has fallen more to the sides of the breasts.
- The nipples point downward.
- Fatty tissue droops below the crease beneath the breasts.
Who is a good candidate for a Breast Lift?
Breast lift surgery can enhance the appearance of the breasts but, on its own, will not dramatically alter breast size. Therefore, the best candidates for mastopexy are women who are in good general health and who are satisfied with the overall size of their breasts but not the position. One way to determine this is by observing how breasts look when supported by a well-fit bra (not a push-up). If the appearance of breasts in a bra is smaller than you would like, you may be a good candidate for a breast lift with augmentation.
It is important to recognize that breast augmentation is not the answer to sagging breasts. Breast implants can increase volume but do not provide support to existing breast tissue. In fact, it is the opposite that occurs. Without adequate support from internal structures, breast implants can also appear noticeably saggy.
Breast Lift Surgery
At The Plastic Surgery Group of Rochester, breast lift techniques vary, but in our most common mastopexy procedure, we make an anchor-shaped or vertical limited incision that follows your breast’s natural contour, outlining the area of skin that will be removed and defining the location where the nipple will be repositioned. We then remove the excess skin during the breast lift procedure, and move the nipple and areola to the higher position. Finally, we bring the skin surrounding the areola down and together to reshape the breast, and close the incisions with stitches.
Recovery After Breast Lift Surgery
Breast lift surgery is an outpatient procedure. After a short postoperative period of observation, patients are released to a loved one to be driven home and watched over for a day or two. Bruising and swelling are common side effects to expect during the first several days of breast lift recovery. Soreness or tenderness should be expected but discomfort is typically mild and controllable with prescribed medication.
Patients are encouraged to begin walking (around the house at first) as soon as they are able. It may be possible to return to work and light activities one week after mastopexy surgery with breasts supported by a surgical or compression garment. The surgical bra will need to be worn for approximately 4 weeks. Light exercise may be resumed within 3 to 4 weeks. By this time, most of the swelling and bruising that have occurred will be gone. Strenuous activity will need to wait until up to 6 weeks post-op.
After breast lift surgery, breasts gradually settle into their final shape over 3 to 4 months. Scars gradually improve over several months. At first, scars will likely appear red and feel firm. Scar creams and good skin care can help soften and lighten tissue.
Can a breast lift be combined with breast augmentation?
Breast lift and augmentation are a perfect pair when a woman is interested in elevating her breasts to appear perkier and also would like more volume. Breast augmentation inserts implants to increase fullness in the upper pole of the breasts, the area above the nipple. If natural tissue has lost a significant amount of elasticity, optimal upper pole fullness cannot be achieved. For this reason, many women opt to combine mastopexy with augmentation.
Will I have noticeable scars after a breast lift?
Breast lift surgery is conducted through incisions situated around the areola and spanning down to the breast crease. This results in visible scarring. However, scars are hidden beneath undergarments and swimwear and should fade away over time to a point at which they are barely perceptible.
risks of breast lift surgery
Surgery of any kind carries risks that include bleeding, infection, scarring, and poor healing. Risks specific to breast lift surgery also include asymmetry or misshapen breasts. The risk of poor aesthetic outcome is significantly decreased by choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for your procedure.