Mastopexy, more commonly referred to as a breast lift, is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to lift and reshape sagging breasts. A woman’s breasts will naturally become less firm and sag slightly with aging and gravity. The addition of pregnancy, breast feeding or changes in body weight further undermines the skin’s elasticity and will contribute to drooping of the breasts and stretching of the size of the areola. Breast lift is designed to restore breasts to their natural, youthful state while maintaining their current size. The breasts will be lifted higher on the chest wall and the nipple will be restored to its correct position.
The addition of breast augmentation may accompany mastopexy for the woman that would like increased breast volume. During consultation, Dr. Hand will clearly describe the anticipated size and shape of the breast that should result from the breast lift. The addition of breast implants needs to be carefully planned to include the patient’s wish for increased size. She should also understand that the base diameter of the implant needs to be appropriate for the size of the chest wall in order to create the most natural appearance.
Dr. Hand performs the breast lift procedure in our accredited Marin County outpatient surgical faculty. The mastopexy procedure is always performed utilizing general anesthesia. Mastopexy is performed with several variations on technique depending on the amount of sag and stretching of the areola. The most common procedure addresses the entire breast and involves an incision that runs completely around the nipple and as an inverted T, with an incision from the nipple to the crease of the breast and underneath the breast. This approach is always used on the woman that has a nipple pointed significantly downward with a loose skin capsule. The reason for this approach is that Dr. Hand can restore the areola to a youthful, pre-pregnancy size and extra skin volume can be resected horizontally and vertically creating an optimal contour. The result will be firmer, more youthful breasts.
Another procedure for the patient that has less breast sag is the “lollipop” or “vertical” pattern. This procedure that does not involve the incision under the breast is best for breasts with only a small amount of sag.
Recuperation and Healing
Immediately after the surgery, Dr. Hand will wrap the breasts in a compressive dressing that is to remain undisturbed until the 1st postoperative appointment the following day. The breasts will be rewrapped for another 2 to 5 days for compression. The patient should wear a non-underwire supportive bra for another 4 to 6 weeks most of the day and at night to lend further support to the breasts. The breasts will appear bruised and swollen for the 1st week following surgery. They will continue to “round out” over the next several weeks. Postoperative pain is easily controlled with oral pain medications. The incision sites should gradually fade over 3-12 months.
Mastopexy may be combined with other body or facial rejuvenation procedures simultaneously. Dr. Hand can address any other areas of requested improvement at the time of consultation.