What Is a Breast Lift (Mastopexy)?
Breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that can elevate your breast to a more youthful and attractive position. A breast lift is the treatment of choice in women with sagging or drooping breasts (ptosis) caused by development, aging, weight fluctuations, pregnancy and nursing.
Many women believe that breast augmentation with implants is the procedure they need to lift the breasts, which is untrue. In fact, placing breast implants in a sagging breast which lacks good support will only worsen breast ptosis over time. Therefore, women who wish to enhance or restore the size, shape and projection of their sagging breasts will benefit from breast augmentation surgery with implants at the same time as their breast lift surgery.
Currently, there is no exercise routine, cream or pill that can significantly lift the breasts in the same way that a skilled plastic surgeon such as Dr. Dahan can with breast lift surgery.
Breast Lift Candidates
Women who are unhappy with the appearance of their breasts and have an undesirable degree of breast ptosis (sagging) are good candidates for breast lift surgery. Dr. Dahan will evaluate your condition and classify you in the appropriate breast ptosis category. By assessing the position of the nipple in relation to the breast inframammary crease, the degree of breast ptosis can be measured.
Based on the degree of breast ptosis (mild, moderate or severe), Dr. Dahan will recommend the best breast lift technique for you. You must be in good health and a nonsmoker. It is advised that smokers quit 4-6 weeks before and after surgery. Breast lift surgery should be delayed if you plan to have future pregnancies, are currently or in the future plan to nurse. Dr. Dahan recommends to wait at least 1-3 months after you discontinue nursing (dry) before proceeding with breast lift surgery.
Should I have a Breast Lift If I Want More Children?
Women who are planning future children, and especially if they plan to nurse, should postpone breast surgery until at least three months after nursing the last child. Pregnancy and nursing will definitely affect the results of breast lift surgery as it will lead to engorgement of the breasts, stretch marks, breast tissue and skin laxity, and recurrent breast sagging
Will I Be Able To Nurse After A Breast Lift?
The majority of patients who have undergone breast lift surgery should be able to nurse in the future. Obviously, if a woman was unable to nurse a child prior to undergoing breast lift surgery, she will likely not be able to nurse after breast lift surgery.
Breast Lift Techniques
There are 4 breast lift techniques that are currently used on patients with breast ptosis. None of these techniques involve removing the nipple areola complex and tend to preserve nipple sensation and the ability to nurse. Breast ptosis has 3 grades based on the position of the nipple relative to the inframammary fold. The 4 breast lift techniques are:
- Crescent Mastopexy –
- Circumareolar Mastopexy (Benelli Lift or Doughnut Lift)
- Vertical Mastopexy (Vertical Lift or Lollipop Lift)
- Wise Pattern Mastopexy (Full Lift or Anchor Lift)
For patients with only slightly low position of one or both nipple areola complexes, the Crescent Mastopexy is the treatment of choice. In this procedure, an ellipse of skin is removed above the nipple areola complex to place it in the desired position with minimal scar. This technique is limited to patients requiring only approximately an inch of nipple areola complex and breast lift.
For patients with minimal to moderate breast ptosis and dense, well-formed breasts, the Circumareolar Mastopexy (Benelli Lift or Doughnut Lift) is a good option. This technique resizes the nipple areola complex and removes circumferential excess areola and breast skin allowing the nipple areola complex and breast to be placed in a more desired position with minimal circumareolar scar. A permanent purse string suture is placed to maintain the new breast position and areola size. Dr. Dahan has performed hundreds of the Circumareolar Mastopexy especially in patients requesting breast augmentation at the same time.
Circumareolar Technique or Doughnut Lift
The Vertical Mastopexy (Vertical Lift or Lollipop Lift) is performed on women with moderate to severe breast ptosis. This technique is excellent in patients who have moderate to large breasts and wish to have a breast lift with or without breast implant augmentation. The vertical mastopexy is the most common breast lift technique. It is performed in women who do not wish to have breast implant augmentation at the same time or who wish to remove their breast implants and require a breast lift. Dr. Dahan is one of the only plastic surgeons in Nevada who uses a vertical breast lift technique. This technique lifts and repositions the bottomed-out lower portion of the breast under the upper portion of the breast where it is sutured to the muscle. This enhances the shape and contour of the breast while lifting the breast.
In Dr. Dahan’s hands, this technique results in a breast with a longer lasting younger appearing shape and projection. Dr. Dahan has performed hundreds of the vertical mastopexy with great results.* This technique results in a more youthful and attractive breast which is also longer lasting compared to most other vertical breast lift techniques. Dr. Dahan’s vertical mastopexy technique also resizes the nipple areolar complex and removes circumferential excess areola and breast skin as well as lower mid vertical breast skin. This allows the nipple areola complex and breast to be placed in a more desired position with minimal circumareolar and vertical lower breast scar (lollipop).
Vertical Technique or Lollipop Lift
Wise Pattern Mastopexy
Finally, the Wise Pattern Mastopexy (Full Lift or Anchor Lift) is reserved for patients with severe breast ptosis usually related to large breasts, significant weight loss, pregnancy and nursing. These women also tend to have thin skin with abundant stretch marks and very poor support of the breast tissue. Dr. Dahan performs a technique similar to the vertical mastopexy, but also excises lower breast skin at the inframammary fold to further tighten and reposition the breast tissue. Dr. Dahan has performed hundreds these breast lifts with excellent results as well.*
Wise Technique or Full, Anchor Lift
Dr. Dahan commonly performs the Crescent Mastopexy and Circumareolar Mastopexy in his office under local anesthesia. This is unless the patient chooses general anesthesia or wishes to undergo breast augmentation at the same time. These procedures take approximately 30-90 minutes. Patients undergoing Vertical Mastopexy or Wise Pattern Mastopexy undergo these procedures under general anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center and usually take approximately 90-120 minutes. The goal of the breast lift is to tighten and elevate the breast tissue moving the nipple areola complex into a more aesthetic position while removing excess unwanted skin. Incision patterns may vary based on the procedures mentioned above. The breast tissue may be removed from one or both breasts to achieve better symmetry and outcome.
The incisions are closed with sutures that minimize scarring and most of them resorb (melt) over time significantly decreasing discomfort. A non adherent supportive gauze dressing is applied for comfort and to diminish swelling as well as bruising. You will return home 1-2 hours after surgery with minimal discomfort. You should be able to move around without difficulty. Pain medications, antibiotics and anti nausea medication prescribed by Dr. Dahan will allow you to have a comfortable and uneventful recovery.
How Long Do The Results of Mastopexy Last?
Breast lift surgery is designed to remove excess breast skin in order to reposition and lift the breast. There are different breast lift techniques which are designed to treat different levels of severity of breast sagging (ptosis). Women with smaller breasts (less breast weight) and better quality of breast skin (minimal stretch marks and good elasticity) tend to have the longest lasting breast lift outcomes which may exceed 10 to 15 years.
On the other hand, women with larger breasts (greater breast weight) and poor quality of breast skin (significant stretch marks and poor elasticity) tend to have shorter lasting breast lift outcomes. Adding the weight of breast implants to breasts undergoing breast lift surgery may also lead to shorter lasting breast lift outcomes. Other factors include fluctuations in weight, genetics, bra wear, health, nutrition, and age.
Combining Breast Lift and Breast Augmentation Procedures
Most board-certified plastic surgeons perform breast lift surgery and breast augmentation surgery at the same time in women who wish to increase the size of the breasts and improve the position of the breasts. Some surgeons prefer to perform the breast lift surgery first and then three months later, they will perform the breast augmentation surgery. These surgeons tend to be more conservative and feel that they may achieve better results performing these procedures in two stages. However, this increases the overall cost and recovery time for the patient, since they will require two separate procedures.
Dr. Dahan almost always perform breast lift and breast augmentation surgery at the same time in healthy patients who wish to increase the size of the breasts and improve the position of the breasts, unless there are certain contraindications. In our practice, the overwhelming majority of patients wishing to undergo breast augmentation and breast lift surgery at the same time experience very good long-term results with very high levels of satisfaction.
Breast Lift Recovery
Dr. Dahan will see you the next day in his office to change the dressing. You may shower 2-3 days after surgery, after which you will wear a comfortable sports bra for support. Dr. Dahan removes the sutures 7-10 days after surgery. Dr. Dahan recommends that you wear a supportive bra as much as possible for the next few months to have the best results. He will also recommend scar creams to minimize the scar.
It is important that you limit activities and avoid tension on the incisions for the first 2-4 weeks. You may return to exercise approximately 3 weeks after surgery. Most patients experienced minimal discomfort, bruising, swelling or change in sensation. The results in Dr. Dahan’s hands is a younger looking and much more attractive breast. Although the results are long-lasting, breast lift surgery cannot prevent the normal effects of aging, weight fluctuations, pregnancy and nursing.*
Will I have Scarring After My Breast Lift?
Unfortunately, all breast lift surgery techniques require incisions and excision of excess areola and breast skin to achieve correction of breast ptosis, resulting in areas of breast scars. The quality of scars after breast lift surgery depend on the position on the breasts, technique and time. The least noticeable scar is usually the vertical lower mid breast scar, followed by the circumareolar scar, and the most noticeable scar which takes the longest time to improve is the inframammary crease scar.
Topical scar creams such as Silagen or Bio-Corneum significantly improve all of the breast scars associated with breast lift surgery. Occasionally, silicone scar sheets may be necessary to achieve the best scar outcome. Most scars are fully mature by one year postoperatively and may continue to improve over the next 2 to 3 years. Over time, the majority of patients develop very inconspicuous, well-healed scars.
Dr. Dahan, Just wanted to tell you how much I love my new friends. Thanks so much for the awesome job.*
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*Individual results may vary