The effects of gravity can have a significant effect on the appearance of a woman's breasts. This combined with pregnancy and nursing will cause the breasts to lose their youthful shape and firmness. With time breast tissue begins to be replaced by fat, accelerating their decent.
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure designed to elevate and reshape sagging breasts. The procedure can also reduce the size of the areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple). Depending on the starting shape of the breasts, various surgical options exist to limit the scarring, thereby tailoring the surgery to fit your needs.
Breast lifts rejuvenate the breasts by trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissues to achieve an uplifted, youthful contour. After a mastopexy, the breasts are higher on the chest and firmer to the touch. Breast lifts can also reposition and reduce the size of the areola - the dark skin surrounding the nipple - which may have stretched or drooped.
Breast size does not change after a breast lift, nor does the fullness or roundness in the upper part of the breasts. Women who desire larger or more rounded breasts may want to consider a breast augmentation together with a breast lift (see Augmentopexy).
The best candidates for breast lift are women whose breasts meet some or all of the following conditions:
It is also very important that breast lift candidates:
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract a breast lift's effects by stretching the skin.
A mastopexy may be performed in a hospital, or an outpatient facility located in the New York City area. This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, and lasts from two to three hours.
There are several types of incision methods that can be used when performing a breast lift. The technique Dr. Roland chooses depends on the patient's:
The three most common incision types are two rings around the areola in a doughnut shape (small-incision mastopexy, generally only recommended for patients with small breasts and minimal sagging); around the areola and down to the breast crease in a lollipop shape; and the lollipop with a small horizontal scar in the crease under the breast.
In all cases, breast lift surgery begins with the administration of anesthesia. Dr. Roland makes the necessary incisions, and then he lifts and reshapes the breast tissue into its new, rejuvenated contour. The nipple and areola are moved higher on the breast and extra skin around the perimeter of the areola is removed if enlarged. Finally, he trims the excess breast skin that resulted from poor elasticity. Sutures are layered throughout the breast tissue to support the lifted breasts.
When the mastopexy is complete, the skin is sutured closed and surgical tape is applied. All scars mature with time.
After surgery, the breasts are wrapped with gauze dressings, and you wear a sports bra for one month. Surgical drains may be used, and removed after a few days.
The breasts will probably be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable after surgery, but this will pass in a few days. Any numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides. Sutures are absorbable and many patients return to work within a week.
If you agreed on realistic goals with Dr. Roland, you should be very satisfied with the look of your lifted breasts. You will be able to see the results of your mastopexy immediately after surgery, and you may become even more satisfied as swelling goes down and incision lines fade.
Possible complications of a breast lift include:
Dr. Roland and our staff will discuss all the risks and benefits of a breast lift with you.
Very often breast implants or a breast lift alone aren't enough to correct sagging, deflated, breasts. In this situation an augmentopexy is performed, whereby breast implants can be inserted in conjunction with a breast lift. This dramatically corrects breast position, shape, and size. Many Surgeons stagger these procedures when both are necessary. This can significantly increase the total expense by duplicating anesthesia and operating room fees. Dr. Roland finds this challenging work very gratifying and performs the augmentopexy procedure as a single stage procedure. This not only helps financially, but also allows for a single recovery phase to get you back to your active lifestyle more quickly.
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Donald Roland, MD
BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON