Sagging of the breasts can occur over time due to factors such as pregnancy, breast feeding and changes that accompany weight loss or it may be simply a genetic predisposition. Breast lift (or mastopexy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure to correct the droopy shape, creating a perkier look. Breast lift surgery provides a long-term result improvement in breast shape. Anyone with sagging breasts is a candidate for a breast lift, however, the larger and heavier the breast size, the harder it is to elevate the shape and maintain the improvement. Because of this, sometimes a mastopexy is combined with a reduction procedure to achieve a longer lasting correction.
I typically advise my patients to wait until plans for children are complete before having a breast lift, but their since the milk ducts and nipples are not disturbed during breast lift surgery, a woman’s ability to breast-feed will not be affected should she later become pregnant.
A breast lift procedure involves incisions to remove excess skin in order to recreate a snug natural breast contour. Skin markings are carefully measured pre-operatively while the patient is standing. This allows the best accuracy in creating a symmetric shape for the lifted breasts. The incision defines the area of skin that will be removed and a new, higher location for the nipple is outlined. The nipple is never detached, but rather repositioned to a higher area on the breast once the excess skin has been removed. The excess skin is removed and the incision stitched around the areola and downwards from the nipple in a “lollipop” pattern. Surgical tapes are applied to reinforce the new shape and a sterile bandage finishes the procedure.
Pain or discomfort following this type of surgery is surprisingly little. Patients often tell me that they only needed one or two pain pills during the whole recovery! I always prescribe antibiotics for a few days to help prevent infections as well as something for pain - just in case.
I recommend that patients wear a soft supportive bra like a sports bra for the first weeks after surgery. There is no big bandage after the first 24 hours, just the waterproof tapes protecting the incision, so patients can shower the next day. Breast lift surgery stitches all dissolve so suture removal is not an issue. I see my patients for the first check-up after one week and then every few weeks for several months. During this time the breast shape is slowly rounding out. It takes about 3 months for the final shape to stabilize. Most patients return to full activities including the gym after 4 weeks.