A breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed to return a more youthful shape to breasts (and nipples) that have sagged. Sagginess results from weight loss, pregnancy, loss of the breast’s natural elasticity or simply the effects of gravity. The procedure can also reduce areolar size (the dark skin surrounding the nipple), and it can be combined with breast augmentation for added breast volume, firmness, and sustained support. Small or large breasts can be lifted, but a smaller breast lift may have a longer lasting result. Regularly wearing a bra after breast lift surgery can help maintain the shape and position.
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone breast lift surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract its effects by stretching the skin. However, having mastopexy should not affect your ability to breast-feed.
What Can I Expect During Breast Lift Surgery?
Examination by Dr. Birchenough will determine the best approach for mastopexy. Measurements of the breasts and chest, and discussion with him about the desired size and shape of the breast and location of the nipple will inform the patient.
During the procedure an incision is made around the nipple-areola as it is lifted into the new position. For the breast lift, an incision can be extended from the bottom of the areola down to the lower breast crease (and sometimes along this crease) to tighten the skin and elevate the entire breast mound. Excess skin may need to be removed. If an implant is needed for additional volume or shape, it is placed behind the breast or the pectoralis chest muscle at this time, as in a breast augmentation.
The length of the surgery depends on how much of a lift is needed, and whether implants will be placed, but typically it takes 2 ½ hours or less.
How Long Will It Take For Me to Recover?
Recovery is similar to breast augmentation, but lifting restrictions may be recommended for longer periods of time (two to four weeks) to ensure full healing prior to arm and shoulder activity.
Dr. Birchenough follows his patients closely after surgery to individually recommend which activities can be started and when.
Typical recovery times can be from five to ten days, to get back to work or moderate exercise, though getting back to some normal daily activities is recommended as soon as possible after surgery.
What Questions Should I Ask Dr. Birchenough?
- “What incisions are needed to help lift my breasts?”
- “How long will a breast lift last, and what can I do to make it last longer?”
- “My breast are very deflated after pregnancy, so how long do I have to wait before I can have surgery on them?”