Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, or age can cause a woman's breasts to lose elasticity. The breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. A Breast lift, or Mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts -- at least, for a time. (No surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity.)
Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple, and lift it to a more satisfactory position if it is too low. If your breasts are small or have lost volume, for example after pregnancy, breast implants inserted in conjunction with Mastopexy can increase both their firmness and size. If you're considering a breast lift, a consultation with Dr. Grenley will give you a better understanding of the procedure--when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect.
Breast Lift Photos
Why undergo Breast Lift surgery?
Many women seek breast lift because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you are planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, Mastopexy usually doesn't interfere with breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
Mastopexy usually takes approximately two hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. In some cases, a breast lift is combined with breast implants to achieve lift and improved contour simultaneously.
The incision outlines the area from which excess breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When this excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are shifted to the higher position. The nipple is not detached during this procedure, but left attached to the underlying breast tissue, and therefore sensation is almost always preserved. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Incisions are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast.
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 "Periareolar Mastopexy," in which circular incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed. There is, however, a limit to how much lifting and tightening of the breast can be accomplished through this more limited incision, so not everyone is a candidate for this technique of breast lifting.
If you're having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall.
Recovery Following Breast Lift Surgery
After surgery, you'll wear an elastic bandage over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be mildly bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn't be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by Dr. Grenley.
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 six weeks. The stitches are absorbable and beneath the skin so they will not need to be removed.
Healing is a gradual process. Although you will be up and about in a day or two, don't plan on returning to work for a few days, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks.
Dr. Grenley will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it's important to remember that Mastopexy scars are permanent and everyone heals their scars differently. They will remain pink for months, and then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.