A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that lifts sagging or drooping breasts. It involves the removal and/or adjustment of excess skin and breast tissue. The result is a perkier, more youthful chest.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a deflated chest. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, gravity, genetics, dramatic weight loss, and the normal affects of aging can all contribute to breasts that are no longer as firm as they once were. A breast lift will erase these effects, placing the breasts higher on the chest wall with the nipples pointing outwards, instead of down.
Unlike a breast augmentation, a breast lift will not alter the size of your breasts. This makes the surgery an excellent option for women who are satisfied with the size of their breasts, but not their shape or firmness. Patients who want to alter size or position of their breasts along with their size should consider getting a breast augmentation and a breast lift at the same time.
If you are unhappy with your breasts but otherwise have a good self-image, there is no reason to live with this one issue. A breast lift can give you back the perky, firm breasts you were used to before children or gravity took their toll. Whether you want to look good in a bikini or to be more physically comfortable while running, a breast lift might be right for you.
A good candidate for a breast lift will be in good physical and mental health. The candidate should have a positive outlook and realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery. She should be getting the procedure for her own personal reasons, and not to satisfy anyone else.
Good candidates will have breasts that droop or sag, with nipples that point down instead of out (the nipples may even be below the breast crease). The breasts may have lost volume, resulting in a “pancake chest.” They may be difficult to control with a sports bra during exercise. These issues can be the result of circumstances, or of genetics.
While you can continue to breastfeed after a breast lift since the milk ducts are not harmed during the surgery, there is no way to predict how further pregnancies will affect your breast lift. So, it’s a good idea to wait until you are done having children before you have the surgery. Patients should also be near their ideal weight because significant weight fluctuations could alter the results of the surgery.
During your initial consultation, the Board Certified Plastic Surgeon performing the breast lift will do a physical examination your breasts. This may include taking photographs and using a computer-imaging program to see estimates of your final result. The surgeon will evaluate the size and shape of your breasts, as well as your skin condition and muscle tone. He will discuss your surgical options, including incision sites and post-operative care.
Your surgeon will probably order some lab tests to make sure you are in good health before surgery. You will need to stop smoking at least six weeks before hand, and will stop eating and drinking at an instructed time the night before the surgery. The surgeon might have you stop taking any blood-thinning medications or herbal supplements about two weeks before your scheduled breast lift. Your surgeon may ask you to get a pre-operative mammogram to detect any issues with the breasts before surgery.
Review any paperwork and post-operative instructions beforehand, and make sure you have cold compresses, your pain medication, and button-down shirts on hand at home. You will need to arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.
You will be prepped for surgery and given the anesthesia selected by your surgeon. He will then make the incision in the manner discussed with you during your consultation.
There are three breast lift incisions. The first is around the areola (the dark skin around the nipple). The second is around the areola and down to the breast crease, and the third is around the areola, down to the breast crease, and then horizontally across the breast crease in either direction.
After the incision is made, the breast tissue will be lifted along with the nipple and the areola. Excess skin above the nipple can be brought around the nipple and below it, to lift the nipple position. Any remaining extra skin will be removed. The surgeon can also decrease the size of the areola by removing a portion of it along the outer rim.
Once the breasts are in their new position, sutures will be placed to help the breast tissues stay in place. The incisions are then closed and you are taken to the recovery room while the anesthesia wears off.
When you are done with the surgery, there might be drains in place to help with fluid build-up. There will be dressings covering the incision site, and some patients will have a surgical bra or other compression in place to help keep swelling down. The drains will be taken out after a few days, but you will need to continue wearing the support garment for several weeks as instructed by your surgeon.
There may be some swelling, bruising, or discomfort in the two to three days after surgery. The surgeon will recommend a medication to help with any tenderness, and the swelling should begin to go down after about three days. During the first week after surgery, avoid bending over, lifting things, or wearing shirts you have to pull over your head.
Most patients can go back to work within one to two weeks. You will need to avoid strenuous physical activity for four to six weeks. There may be mild changes in nipple sensation for a few months after surgery, but that should return to normal.
The results of a breast lift are immediately apparent after the surgery, but your final results will become more obvious after the swelling goes down and the breast tissues settle into their new position. It can take up to six months for this to happen, and for the scars to begin to fade.
Breast lift results should last for several years, but the surgery will not prevent the natural aging of the breast tissue or the effects of gravity. If your breasts become saggy or droopy over time, you may need to get a second lift to correct it. This is more likely in patients with large breasts or breast implants.
A breast lift surgery comes with risks, just like all surgeries do. These risks include infection, bleeding, reactions to anesthesia, changes in skin sensation, skin discoloration, breast asymmetry, nipple asymmetry, dissatisfaction with the results, and the need for revisional surgery later.
Select a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for your breast lift-it’s one of the best ways to reduce the risk of complications. Board Certified surgeons have the training and expertise necessary to perform the procedure with meticulous attention to every detail. They use highly trained staff and the best medical facilities to help prevent complications from arising.
Following all your pre- and post-operative instructions will also help prevent complications. Your surgeon will discuss the risks with you in more detail at your consultation appointment.
If you would like to schedule a breast lift in Northern Virginia, or if you have questions for our surgeon, please call the office at (703) 574-2588. Dr. Nukta will be happy to answer any questions you have.