Breast Lift Surgery
What is a breast lift?
Table of Contents
Breast lift, technically called mastopexy, is surgery to uplift and improve the shape of a female breast that:
- Sags or is pendulous, but is proportionate with the body frame
- Has lost firmness and skin elasticity
- Has a flatter, elongated shape
- When unsupported, the nipple falls below the breast crease
- Has a nipple and areola that point downward
A breast lift is appropriate for women who wish to improve breast shape and position. When an increase in breast volume is also desired, breast implants may be inserted in conjunction with a breast lift.
While a breast lift does not generally affect breast function, women who are planning future pregnancies should discuss this with Dr. Haas. The changes that occur in the breasts during pregnancy can minimize or reverse the improvement a breast lift provides. Likewise, plans for significant weight loss should also be discussed. For these reasons, good candidates for a breast lift are generally women of normal, stable weight whose breasts are fully developed and who have completed their family. Breast lift is appropriate in younger women as well, most commonly in cases of breast asymmetry where the position of one breast is lower than the other.
A breast lift is best performed on:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improving body image
A consultation with Dr. Haas is the first step to learn how a breast lift can improve your breast contours. A consultation is designed to fully educate you about breast lift in a non-pressured environment and will include:
- A discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your individual case
- The options available in breast lift surgery
- The likely outcomes of a breast lift and any risks or potential complications
- The course of treatment recommended
Dr. Haas and our experienced staff will answer your questions.
Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of breast lift surgery. These will be carefully evaluated. The success of your procedure, safety and overall satisfaction require that you:
- Honestly share your expectations
- Fully disclose health history, current medications, the use of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Be candid about any history of breast cancer in your family and your personal breast health
- Commit to precisely following all of Dr. Haas' instructions
By making the decision to consult with Dr. Haas and following all the instructions given, you are taking an important step in helping to assure your safety.
Dr. Haas is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery®. This certification designates surgeons who are specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body.
Breast lift is a highly individualized procedure achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for your case will be determined based on:
- Breast size and shape
- The size and position of the areola
- The degree of breast sagging
- Skin quality and skin elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin
There are many variations to the procedure, however one of the most common is a pattern with three incisions:
- Around the areola
- Vertically down from the areola to the breast crease
- Horizontally along the breast crease
Through these incisions, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height. If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter. Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity.
Alternative techniques eliminate either the horizontal incision at the breast crease, the vertical incision from the areola to the breast crease or sometimes both. In any case, incisions are usually placed so that they can be hidden under clothing and swimsuits. Non-removable sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin.
Incision patterns for a breast lift are determined based on the amount of excess skin, skin elasticity and the degree of lift necessary to achieve realistic goals. The incisions may include a circle around the areola, a line extending down the lower portion of the breast from the areola to the crease underneath the breast and a line along the crease under the breast.
Not every woman will require all of these incisions. It is possible to perform a breast lift through an incision around the areola only, or through a combination of incisions around the areola and a vertical incision down the lower portion of the breast. More commonly, three incisions including one along the breast crease are used. The combination, length and extent of incision depend on the amount of excess skin to be removed and the quality of the skin.
Once the excess skin is removed, the breast tissue is reshaped and lifted, and the remaining skin tightened as the incisions are closed. Some incision lines resulting from breast lift are concealed in the natural breast contours; however, others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve in appearance over time. Your more youthful and uplifted breast profile, and an enhanced body image, should bring you great satisfaction.
Dr. Haas and members of our staff will carefully explain your breast lift procedure. Prior to surgery, you will be given specific instructions that may include:
- Pre-surgical considerations, diagnostic testing and medications
- Day of surgery instructions and medications
- Specific information related to the use of anesthesia
- Postoperative care and follow-up
In addition, you will be asked to sign consent forms to assure us that you fully understand the procedure and any potential risks or complications.
Possible risks of breast lift include blood pooling beneath the skin (hematoma), infection or poor healing at the incision site, and changes in nipple or breast sensation that are usually temporary. All surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. These and additional risks will be discussed prior to your consent.
It is important to have all your questions answered and it is natural to feel some anxiety about surgery. Please discuss your concerns with Dr. Haas or any member of our team.
A breast lift may be performed in our JCAHO-accredited, office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and considerations of patient and surgeon preference. Dr. Haas and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
Once your procedure is completed, dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support the breasts as they heal. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect. Before being released, you and an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for the breasts following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific changes at the surgical site or in overall healthy
- When to follow-up with our office
Initial healing may include swelling and discomfort at the incision sites. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. A support bra may be recommended around the clock for first week or two. It is important to cleanse the incision sites and apply any ointment as directed. Follow all instructions carefully; this is essential to the success of your outcome. A return to light, normal activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, usually within a day or two of surgery.
Initial wound healing may take five to ten days, at which time any sutures will be removed. You will be ready to return to work and normal activity at this time, if you feel comfortable, so long as you do not engage in any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.
Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling dissipates and incisions lines continue to improve. Continue to follow Dr. Haas' instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
The results of your breast lift will appear over the next few months as breast shape and position continue to settle. Incision lines are permanent, but they most likely won't be visible even under your favorite bathing suit.
Over time, your breasts can change due to aging, weight fluctuations, hormonal factors and gravity. However, your new, enhanced breast profile is best maintained by maintaining your weight, a healthy lifestyle and proper support of your now firm and rejuvenated breasts.