A breast lift is a surgery designed to restore a more youthful appearance to sagging breasts. Breasts may sag for a number of different reasons, but there are several ways to surgically correct the issue. Women who want their old breasts back after breastfeeding, women who notice significant sagging due to age, and women who have never been happy with the position of their breasts can all benefit from this surgery. Drs. Butler, Patterson, and Leveque have performed hundreds of breast lifts over the course of their careers. A breast lift can be done with or without implants. It will restore the shape and volume of the breasts.
Breast lifts are performed under anesthesia. Your doctor will make the smallest incisions possible, and then lift the breasts while tightening the skin. Breast lift surgery generally takes between one and three hours. Multiple incision patterns and subsequent scar patterns are used depending on the existing breast shape and degree of ptosis (droopiness). Small changes can be achieved leaving a scar only around the areola (circum-areolar, peri-areolar or donut). Most patients require at least a circum-vertical (lollipop-shaped) scar in order to achieve the desired amount of lift and reshaping. Many patients require the addition of a horizontal scar at the bottom of the breast creating an “anchor-shaped” or “inverted T” scar to achieve the desired amount of lift and reshaping.
A mastopexy trades droopy breasts without scars for lifted breasts with scars. The most critical portion of the procedure is the pre-operative markings which are made before surgery in the pre-operative holding area. A mastopexy involves tailoring the skin envelope and careful re-arrangement of the internal glandular architecture to reshape the breast tissue while maintaining adequate blood flow to the nipple.
There are a couple of different breast lift techniques. The technique chosen depends upon the degree of change needed and the doctor’s recommendation for the best result. For patients who need a small level of correction, the periareolar lift technique is typically best. In this method, circular incisions are made in the areola area. This breast lift leaves slight scars that can be well concealed by the areola. The vertical incision technique is often used for moderate corrections. It involves an areola incision, along with a single vertical incision that ends at the breast crease. For a larger degree of correction, the Anchor or Keyhole technique is typically best. This technique involves an incision around the areola, along with a keyhole-shaped incision that encompasses the majority of the breast tissue. This larger incision allows your doctor to get access to a large amount of breast tissue needed to perform the breast lift. Your doctor will always choose the least invasive method possible, as long as the patient’s desired results can be achieved with that method.
To improve breast shape. Most women will go down about one cup size after a mastopexy. For women to want to remain the same size or increase their breast size after a mastopexy, an augmentation-mastopexy may be a better option.
Surgery Center or Hospital
Step one to planning a successful breast lift is working closely with your doctor and the staff at Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery. Patients should always be honest about how much time they have to devote to surgery and recovery. This allows for the best planning and a realistic recovery timeline. Patients should be at a stable weight and cannot be using any nicotine-containing substances. There are several ways that patients can prepare for breast lift surgery. Your doctor provides patients with a preparation checklist, and it is vital that this list is followed closely. Patients should stop smoking prior to surgery. Some medications should be stopped prior to the breast lift, as drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen sodium, and St. John’s Wort can cause dangerous blood-thinning during surgery. Patients should not be pregnant, breastfeeding or recently postpartum.
IV sedation and local anesthesia or General anesthesia.
Recovery from breast lift surgery is usually fairly fast. Most patients can return to work within a week, as long as they don’t have a physically strenuous job. For the first 24 hours post-surgery, it is important to have someone at home with the patient. After that, most patients can do the general light moving around the house on their own. No hospital stay is required for this procedure.
You will be able to walk around, feed and bathe yourself. Depending on your pain medication requirements, you may not be able to care for others or drive a car.
You are encouraged to walk around as much as possible to help reduce the risk of DVT and thromboembolism.
After 48 hours you should remove your dressings and take a shower.
You should do mild/gentle stretching exercises immediately after surgery to prevent your arm and chest muscles from getting tight. Light exercise is ok 1 week after surgery with your new breasts well supported. No arm exercises (other than stretching) for 3 weeks. Following breast lift surgery, vigorous exercise should be completely avoided for a full six week period. Even moderate exercise should be avoided for at least two weeks. Strenuous exercise can cause swelling and can inhibit proper healing. Light exercise is the best choice until fully healed.
Wait 1 week because you don’t want to increase your blood pressure during the early healing period. After 1 week, sex is ok ONLY if your partner is able to resist touching your new breasts. You are the only person allowed to touch your breasts for the 6 weeks following surgery.
Depending on your type of work you can resume light office work as soon as you feel you are able to do so. Most people take about 1 week off of work following a mastopexy.
Usually, it peaks around 3 days and gradually goes away.
If present should subside within 1-2 weeks.
Inherent Risks & Complications
Hematoma, Infection, Poor scarring, Tissue necrosis, Need for revision, Complications related to anesthesia.
Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Lift
How can I tell if I need a breast lift, breast augmentation or both?A breast lift and breast augmentation are often confused, but they’re two completely different procedures. Deciding whether you need breast augmentation, a breast lift, or both can depend on several factors. A breast lift is a solution for sagging breasts, whether they’re drooping due to the passage of time, changes in weight, or breastfeeding. Breast lift surgery repositions the breasts, moving them higher on the chest cavity. This surgery doesn’t change your breast volume. If you like your current breast size and shape, but dislike their position, this surgery might be a good option. Breast augmentation adds volume to the breasts. Usually, women opt for breast augmentation because they want to go up one or more cup sizes. Breast augmentations don’t change the position of the breasts, so if you suffered from breast sagging before the augmentation it would still be a problem afterward. However, when you want both an increase in breast volume and a repositioning of your breasts, your doctor can do both procedures at the same time. Your needs and wishes may vary depending upon factors including your age and body type.
Can an areola reduction be done during breast lift?Yes, your doctor can perform an areola reduction during a breast lift. This is a common request among breast lift patients today, because the areola may seem overly large in the newly positioned breasts. The areola reduction helps to keep the nipples proportionate and properly centered when the breasts are repositioned during the breast lift.
Is the breast scarring very noticeable after a breast lift?Your doctor always strives to give you the very best results, with minimal scarring. He or she uses the latest and most advanced techniques to keep scarring at a minimum. The exact level of scarring can vary based on how much the breasts were moved and whether breast augmentation was performed at the same time. Scarring can also be affected by ethnicity, sun exposure, and using a good scar product that we provide for all of our patients. Your doctor uses internal stitching wherever possible to minimize the scars as you heal. Most women find that scarring is minor — and that a small amount of scarring is well worth the dramatic improvement in their breast appearance.
Should I wait to have a breast lift until after having kids?Drs. Butler, Patterson, and Leveque usually recommend that patients wait to have breast lift surgery until they’re done having children and breastfeeding. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can both change the shape and position of the breasts dramatically, so it’s easiest to achieve lasting results when you’re not planning more children.
How much time off of work do I need?Most breast lift patients are able to go back to work within a week. You’ll usually be past the pain after just a day or two, and it’s fine to resume light activity like walking within just a few days. However, if your job includes heavy or moderate physical activity you may need to take more time for recovery. For strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting, it’s usually best to wait six weeks after surgery. Your doctor will advise you about your specific situation.
Performed by: Dr. Butler, Dr. Leveque, Dr. Patterson