Mastopexy, or breast lift, is a cosmetic surgery that lifts breasts that have begun to sag over time for a selection of reasons. These may include age, pregnancy, nursing, heredity, gravity, or weight loss. The mastopexy is not meant to change the size of the breasts but is commonly conducted with augmentation (implants) or reduction surgeries to alter the size. Immediately after the surgery, the breasts will appear firmer, younger, and have a perkier shape.
What is a Breast Lift?
Breast tissues may sag or lose elasticity over time due to old age, genetics, pregnancy, lactation, gravitational pull, or significant weight loss. Breast lift surgery, also called mastopexy, counteracts the problem by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissues. Not only does a breast lift surgery tighten the breast muscles, but it also addresses breast asymmetry and other imperfections. Results can be noticed immediately, but breast lift surgery carries certain potential risks like any other surgical procedure.
During a breast lift surgery, your surgeon will likely take the following corrective measures:
Lift your breasts higher
Make your breasts symmetrical with each other
Reduce the areolar size and make the nipples protrude forward instead of hanging downward
Remove extra loose skin
Reshape the breast for a rounder appearance
Tighten breast tissues to provide enhanced support to the areola and nipples
It is a common misperception that breast lift surgery is undergone solely for aesthetic reasons. It can also be performed to correct the following physical imperfections:
Areolas facing downward
Nipples pointing in different directions
Hunched back due to heavy breasts
Before the procedure
The breast lift surgery procedure starts with a consultative meeting. In this meeting, you would discuss your surgical goals, your past and current health record, allergies, previous surgeries, and mammogram results. Your surgeon would also ask if you had a family history of breast cancer. Also, your surgeon will adjust your current medication according to the procedure requirements.
Before starting the procedure, your surgeon will take the following steps:
Examine and measure breasts
Outline the area with a marker
Take pictures of your breasts
Review your options for the surgery and make the necessary recommendations
Talk about anesthesia to relieve pain and discuss the potential risks of the surgery
As a preparatory measure, your surgeon might ask you to quit smoking, bring a baseline mammogram to compare the post-treatment results with the pre-treatment condition and stop using aspirin, anti-inflammatory, or blood-thinning medicines. These steps ensure a successful surgery.
During the procedure
A breast lift can be performed through a variety of incision patterns and ways, but the suitability of a specific incision pattern depends on the patient's unique breast condition, such as:
Breast shape and size
The size and position of the areola
The extent of breast sagging
Skin elasticity and the amount of extra folds of skin to be removed
As the procedure begins, the nursing team follows the following protocol:
Give you a surgical gown
Position you on the surgical table
Administer anesthesia and clean the surgical area
Mark your skin to decide where to make incisions
Make cuts around the areola outward or downward from there
Cut, shape, or reposition tissues according to the desired look
Sew the lifted and tightened muscles
Move the drooping nipple higher
Trim extra sagging skin or muscles
Close the incisions
Apply bandages and compression garments to support your breasts during the healing process
After the procedure
The results of a breast lift surgery are immediately visible and the patient is usually able to go home the same day. The swelling caused by the procedure will disappear and the incision lines will gradually become less noticeable over time. The majority of individuals who undergo the surgery report being pleased with the results, which continue to improve over the course of a few months. Even though the incision marks remain visible, they become subtle over time. The results of a breast lift are generally long-lasting, although age and gravity may cause the breasts to change shape. To preserve the results of the surgery, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a consistent weight. Furthermore, your doctor will provide guidelines to follow in order to prevent post-operative complications. They may include:
Take pain-relieving medicines.
Avoid strenuous activities.
Sleep on your back.
Wear a support bra to reduce swelling and facilitate healing.
Take care of the drains and change the dressings.
Move carefully and ensure not to bring your arms above your head, as it may cause stretching of muscles. Keep your elbows on your sides.
It's important to know that breast lift surgery should be undergone after completing the bearing of children. Typical breast changes caused by pregnancy and lactation might reverse the results.
Types of Breast Lifts
Which Breast Lift is Right for You
Breast lift or mastopexy is designed to lift the sagging or drooping breasts to give them a firmer and more youthful appearance. If you are considering breast lift surgery, your surgeon will discuss a few incision options with you. The choice of incision is based on the following:
Your skin elasticity and how much extra skin you have
Your breast size and shape
The extent of the breast sag
Based on the factors mentioned above, the following are the common incision types:
The incision begins in a rounded fashion around the circumference of the areola and then descends into the breast's crease, also known as the infra-mammary fold. This kind of incision is popular for those seeking a moderate elevation of the breast tissue with fewer scars compared to a full breast lift (anchor incision breast lift).
The crescent incision option is utilized when minimal lifting is performed. This incision is a semi-circular arch on top of the areola. Scars from the crescent incision are permanent but get camouflaged along the areolar margin. Women with significant sagging are not the right candidate for crescent incisions.
An Anchor incision, also called an inverted T incision, circles your areola, then goes vertically down to your infra-mammary fold, then horizontally along your infra-mammary crease on the chest wall. It's often used in people with excess sagging or undergoing breast reduction.
A periareolar incision, called the donut incision, is made around the entire areola. Because of the darker color and texture of the areolar border, the scar gets camouflaged and sometimes is virtually invisible. Periareolar surgery is also for patients who want minimal skin removal. However, a periareolar incision is linked with a higher risk of capsular contracture and other scar-related deformities.