The changes that occur in the breasts with aging, and following pregnancy, breast-feeding and weight loss include sagging, loss of skin elasticity, and loss of firmness. A breast lift or mastopexy is equivalent to a surgical “Wonder Bra” so that without the support of a bra, the breasts have an uplifted appearance. Although the volume of the breast remains essentially the same, the breasts are raised, the nipples may be repositioned and there is a tightening of the breast skin to give a more youthful appearance to the breast. Implants can be inserted simultaneously to increase size and firmness.
A breast lift or mastopexy is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape breasts that have sagged as a result of pregnancy, breastfeeding, aging, weight changes, and the natural force of gravity. We can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. A breast lift can sometimes be combined with the placement of an implant in some cases where volume needs to be enhanced or replaced. Several different techniques can be used to correct this condition, depending on the degree of sagging and breast tissue.
First we remove excess skin from around the areola, and possibly also from the bottom of the breast, in order to shift the skin of the breast and tighten the skin envelope and insertion of additional volume such as an implant for added projection and smoothing of the skin which elevates the position of the nipple and areola to a more youthful position.
Breast lift surgery can be performed under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. The standard breast lift has four components; the areola is reduced, breast tissue is repositioned, the nipple and areola are elevated to a better position, and excess skin and breast tissue is removed so that a new skin envelope is formed. The most common procedure still involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downward from the nipple area, with or without a suture line along the lower crease of the breast, depending on the method used.
In general, the more tissue that is removed, the more shaping is possible. In women with extensive sagging, the skin may be so stretched and thinned that a smaller incision will not allow us to remove sufficient tissue to lift the breast. In these cases, longer incisions may be required. The vertical mastopexy falls somewhere in-between the traditional and minimal scar technique, and is widely suitable for many types of breasts. We often favor this technique because most people like the idea of having less scarring.
After surgery, you will have minimal pain and bruising. You should wear your surgical bra after surgery around the clock, except when showering, for at least two to three weeks. You may begin to exercise approximately one month after surgery but you should wear a good supportive sports bra whenever you are running, bouncing or jumping. There may be a slight initial relaxation of the “lift” effect in the first few weeks after surgery, and then your breasts will continue to gradually respond to the effects of gravity over the years. As with surgery, the final appearance of the scars may take six months to one year to fade, soften and flatten. It may be necessary years later to have an additional skin tuck to treat the continued effects of aging and gravity.
Possible complications associated with a breast lift include mild asymmetries, scars and the potential for loss of sensation in the nipple areolar complex. If you are considering subsequent pregnancies, it is generally recommended that you postpone breast lift surgery until after your last pregnancy to minimize the affects of pregnancy on the final outcome.
The experienced surgeons with The Plastic Surgery Group offer breast augmentation and lifts in New Jersey and New York City. Contact us for a consultation at our Livingston, Montclair or NYC facility.
For additional information on Breast Augmentation & Lift, visit: www.plasticsurgery.org