A breast lift or “mastopexy” procedure is performed to raise and reshape sagging breasts. The procedure can also reduce the size of the areola (the darker skin around the nipple). If you would be interested in having the size of your breasts enlarged while having them lifted and reshaped, we recommend that you consider combining your breast lift with a breast augmentation, both of which can be accomplished with a single procedure.
Many patients after breastfeeding lose breast volume and wish to have this replaced. If only a small amount of sagging is present, a breast augmentation procedure alone may be all that is necessary. If your breasts are very large, a breast reduction procedure can be performed at the same time.
For more information about breast lift, augmentation, and other cosmetic breast surgery options, please call Advanced Cosmetic Surgery at 913-341-2188 for a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Levi Young serves patients throughout the Kansas City area, including Leawood.
Does a Breast Lift also increase the size?
No. Breast lifts do not increase breast size; breast lifts simply bring the breasts back to a higher position on the chest, hence the “lift” moniker. Breast lifts bring more of the breast mass back to a higher position on the chest, more akin to where it was before sagging and flattening occurred. Breast lifts can actually make you decrease bra size by one cup. This isn’t because the breasts are smaller; it’s because the breast mass isn’t accumulating at the bottom of the cup.
If you want to increase the size of your breasts, in addition to elevating them, you need to have Dr. Young place breast implants during your breast lift procedure. This adds volume, especially in the upper breasts. Adding implants during this procedure is actually quite easy, as Dr. Young can use the incisions he has made for your breast lift to place the implants. Plus, you only have a single recovery period for what, in effect, are two procedures.
At the initial consultation, it is important to discuss what exactly you are wanting in regards to nipple position and breast size. We will examine your breast to assess the tone of your skin, areolar size, and quality of your breast tissue. If you are 35 years old or older, you should have had a recent mammogram prior to surgery. Providing photos of the look you want to achieve is helpful.
Are there any risks to the procedure?
Breast lifts are involved surgical procedures. There are the usual risks involved with any surgery: poor wound healing, infection, excessive bleeding, reaction to general anesthesia, and the like. For the breast lift, there is a risk of loss of nipple and/or breast sensation, as the nipples usually are moved. This usually passes as the nerves adjust over time. If you’ve opted to have augmentation, this doesn’t add any additional risk to the surgery.
This is because the incisions are already made, and Dr. Young can insert the implants through those incisions. There are the later risks of augmentation that include capsular contracture, implant rupture, and rippling, but those are long-term risks and are not related to the surgery.
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What do I need to do to prepare for a Breast Lift?
Breast lift surgery with Dr. Young is major surgery, so you’ll need to prepare as you would with any surgery. We will have you stop taking any blood-thinning medications, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, and most herbal supplements one week prior to your surgery. These can all cause increased bleeding, which also leads to increased bruising and swelling. If you’re a smoker, you’ll need to stop for two weeks prior to and following your surgery, as smoking constricts the blood vessels, and this impedes healing. We advise our breast lift patients to plan for their recovery when thinking about necessary preparations.
You’ll want to prepare a cozy recovery nest, as you’ll need to lay low for the first few days after your surgery. Have plenty of pillows, blankets, and all the entertainment you need. Also plan on having someone around to help with meals and anything around the house. Remember, you’ll have to limit the amount you lift for a few weeks, so be cognizant of that.
The surgery is performed under a general anesthetic and usually takes about 2 to 3 hours. After the surgery, you will recover for 1 to 2 hours before you go home.
Incision options include around the areola (round block), around the areola and a vertical incision (known as the lollipop), and the last is around the areola with a vertical incision and an incision in the fold of the breast (known as the anchor). Your doctor will discuss these options at the time of your consultation.
Day of Surgery
You will spend 1-2 hours in the Recovery Room. Bring a pillow to place between you and the seat belt. Wear a shirt that buttons or zips up the front to allow easier dressing. A family member or friend will need to drive you home. Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated to reduce swelling.
Day 1 After Surgery
It is not uncommon to notice drainage from your incision. You may resume light activity. You may notice more pain and swelling on one side. Asymmetry during the healing process is normal.
Days 2-7 After Surgery
Shower today but do not remove the incision tape. You may wear a front closure sports bra while laundering the surgical bra. Tapering off of the pain medication usually begins by day 4 or 5. A 1-week post-op appointment should be made.
After 1st Week
Pain and swelling improve. You may return to work and light activities. Steri strips will begin to come off the second week after surgery. Cardio exercise may begin at the 2nd week but avoid arm exercises.
After 1st Month
After this visit, you will have no restrictions after 6 weeks. Swelling will continue to decrease.
The goal of these procedures with Dr. Young is to reverse the sagging and flattening that have occurred due to aging and possibly having children. This surgery brings your breasts back up to a higher position on the chest. This reverses the sagging that has brought more and more of the breast volume to the bottom of the breast.
Lifts are very satisfying procedures for women whose breasts have become pendulous. They can downsize enlarged areolae. They can take nipples that may be pointing downward and bring them back to their natural higher position. And if you’ve opted to have Dr. Young add implants, you’ll gain a curvier figure at the same time.
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What kind of scarring should I expect from a Breast Lift?
Scarring will be a part of these procedures, as the incisions are somewhat lengthy. But you’ll be surprised at how they fade with time. The anchor incision will create the most scarring, as you would assume. The best advice for managing or attempting to minimize the appearance of your scars is to leave the silicone wound dressings in place until Dr. Young removes them at your follow-up. Also, always wearing your surgical bra and then your support bra during the first 4-6 weeks is critical. This eliminates any pressure on your incisions, which keeps the scars as narrow as possible.
It also helps eliminate some of the redness. Topical scar-minimizing treatments keep the area moisturized and help to minimize the appearance of the scars. SkinMedica makes one such product called Scar Recovery Gel with Centelline. Lightly massaging your scars can help them heal more smoothly. But you cannot do this too early and put stress on your incisions. Ask Dr. Young when massage could be appropriate, along with the proper technique.
Will my Breasts have any sagging after the procedure?
No. Breast reduction downsizes and firms up overly large natural breasts. A breast reduction is a similar procedure to a breast lift, but a reduction removes breast tissue in addition to loose sagging skin. You can think of a breast reduction as achieving the same results as a breast lift while also downsizing the breasts.
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If you are interested in learning more about Breast Lifts, please contact our office by calling 913-341-2188 to schedule a consultation today!