A breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed to return youthful shape and lift to breasts that have sagged as a result of weight loss, pregnancy, loss of the skin’s natural elasticity or simply the effects of gravity. The procedure can also reduce areolar size (the dark skin surrounding the nipple), and it can be combined with breast augmentation for added breast volume and firmness. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but results last longest when they are originally small and sagging.
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract its effects by stretching the skin. However, mastopexy should not affect your ability to breast-feed.
What Happens During The Treatment?
Mastopexy is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, and usually takes 1 to 3 hours. Depending on the size and shape of the breasts, as well as the degree of sagging and amount of excess skin, one of the following types of incisions is often used:
- Two rings, one larger than the other, around the areola
- A keyhole shape, around the areola and down to the breast crease
- An anchor shape, beginning in the breast crease, and extending up to and around the areola
The first type of incision (above) is used for small breasts and leaves the least amount of scarring; the third type is used for breasts with significant sagging.
After the incisions are made, breast tissue is removed and reshaped to achieve the desired breast contour. The nipple and areola are usually moved higher on the breast or resized. Excess skin is trimmed to create a tighter, more defined appearance. Incisions are closed with stitches.