A Breast Lift also known as Mastopexy is a procedure for correction of ptotic (hanging or sagging) breasts. Because the breast is so identified with femininity, a woman’s breast shape may be very important to their self-image. That is why mastopexy is one of the more popular aesthetic procedures today and a frequent operation performed by Dr. McDonald. Of course breast shape and ptosis, and the concern it creates is unique to each individual, therefore, correction should be tailored to match the desires of each patient.
Breast ptosis is a condition with multiple causes. The amount of sagging of the breast may be influenced by a woman’s breast size, or overall health. Weight gain or loss such as in pregnancy and associated breast feeding may be a factor in the shape of the breast and is a frequent cause of breast ptosis. In addition, the aging process and the genetics of an individual have a significant influence in how much ptosis a woman may exhibit. Many times the suppleness of the breast may change dramatically with the development of ptosis and the breast may become flaccid or flabby, another element of the aging breast. A breast lift can correct these processes by restoring the shape including symmetry, and improve the overall feel of the breast. The Breast Lift Plastic Surgeon offers complimentary consultations at his state of the art surgical facility in.
The breast is made up of several types of tissue and each contributes to the shape of the breast and the amount of breast ptosis a woman demonstrates. The amount of breast glands is variable as is the amount of fat of the breast. Suspensory ligaments that attach to the breast tissue and chest wall are also important components of the breast. All of these undergo changes with age, weight gain or loss and hormonal influence. A mastopexy takes all of these components into consideration when performed.
The size and shape of the areola (brown or pink pigmented tissue around the nipple)is also a concern for some women. The areola shape can be be related to the changes of the breast or it may be of a congenital nature that a women has inherited. The size (typically increased) can be changed by a mastopexy. It is generally made smaller and into a more round shape with more defined borders.
The operation is typically performed under general anesthesia and in an outpatient surgery center, a certified office operating room or hospital. The operation time may range from one and a half to four hours and depends on the complexity of the operation needed to perform. A simple lift in a small breast may be performed very quickly; however, some breasts may demonstrate severe ptosis with asymmetry (different shape and size) and may require the addition of an implant to obtain the desired shape, size and symmetry. Most patients may be discharged home after the surgery, although some desire to stay one night for observation or convenience.
The patient is marked prior to the procedure in the preoperative staging area and then carefully prepared by an Anesthesiologist and Registered Nurse. At times other procedures such as breast augmentation, abdominoplasty or liposuction may be performed and these procedures are fit into overall procedure with appropriate precautions for known operative complications.
The incision used varies with the complexity of the changes that are desired. Small lifts with minimal ptosis and excess skin require only an incision around the Areola. This is called a Periareolar mastopexy. If there is more sagginess to the breast and more skin removal is needed then a vertical component is added to allow more adequate contouring. If major correction is required including substantial volume changes then the standard T incision (a vertical incision combined with an incision of varying length hidden in the fold below the breast). A breast implant can also be placed with any of these incisions.
After surgery and a short recovery period where a registered nurse will monitor progress, discharge instructions will be given on use of the surgical bra, management of any drainage catheters that are occasionally used, cleansing and showering, antibiotic and pain management, activity instructions, warning signs for complications, and appointment for postoperative checkup. A surgical bra should be worn for several weeks to assist in support of the breast to help reduce swelling and bruising and aid the healing process. Sutures may require removal although this may vary. Many patients will feel capable of returning to work within one week of surgery, however, regular activity and exercise routines may need modification for up to 3 to 4 weeks.
Scarring is usually the most frequent concern of patients with mastopexy and it is understandable. The thought of having large incisions across the breast and chest can be quite daunting. While the incisions initially are scary, over time most improve dramatically and, in fact, some become almost imperceptible. Interestingly, most patients quickly forget about the incisions when they see the major improvement in the shape of the breast. Occasionally some incisions become thick, raised or overly pigmented (hyperpigmentation). Fortunately there are several treatments available to limit or reverse these issues. Rarely a scar revision may be desired.
Other complications include bleeding or infection. These are very rare and care is taken to prevent these. Many women worry about being able to breast feed after surgery or whether a loss of sensation can occur to the nipple. Although it is true that some patients can lose the ability to breast feed after mastopexy, many still can. Changes in nipple sensation is also not uncommon but many times if it does occur sensation will return to an almost a normal preoperative state.
Mastopexy will provide immediate improvement in the shape of the breast and give back that youthful feeling that is desired. Although the aging process is not stopped and changes to the breast can occur, especially if a patient becomes pregnant and breast feeds or experiences weight loss or gain, the results usually last for years.