Most women’s breasts change significantly in appearance and firmness over time, inevitable occurrences which are not necessarily welcomed. These changes are not just related to a woman’s chronological age or level of fitness but are also affected by pregnancies, breastfeeding, weight loss and sizable fluctuations, gravity, lack of regular effective breast support, hormonal factors, health and genetics. Combined, they can wreak aesthetic havoc on once-perky breasts leading to drooping and a deflated look.
A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, can address these deficiencies to variable degrees by reshaping the breast tissue, tightening the skin, reducing the size of the nipple-areola complexes and elevating them to a more natural position. The ultimate results can be alluring breasts that are firmer, perkier, and rejuvenated with a more aesthetically pleasing shape.
- Breast Lift Options
- Your Breast Lift Procedure
- Recovery from a Breast Lift
- Breast Lift Before-and-After Photos
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Additional Information About Breast Lifts from Dr. Turkeltaub’ Blog
Breast Lift Options
A breast lift (mastopexy) entails the re-elevation of the breasts to a more appropriate position which is accomplished by resecting the excess, stretched skin and recontouring the other elements of the breasts. It does not alter the breast volume significantly though women with larger breasts can actually have a concurrent small breast reduction. The lift does make the tissues more compact so that the breasts may actually appear much smaller than you would have anticipated.
For women who are quite satisfied with their present size, a mastopexy without the enlargement may suffice. However, it is Dr. Turkeltaub’s experience that the vast majority of women who choose a breast lift also want a breast augmentation as well. Before their breasts became droopy, many of these women had always wished to be larger and the need now for a lift presents the opportunity to obtain the enlargement. Breast implants will not only will enlarge the breasts but they can also create a full and alluring shape, improved cleavage, increased youthful firmness and a more rejuvenated appearance.
A mastopexy with implants constitutes two distinct procedures – a breast augmentation and a breast lift – performed in one surgical setting. Therefore, if you elect to undergo the lift along with breast implants, virtually all the same factors need to be considered as they would for a breast augmentation -plus a few more.
A breast reduction is very similar to a standard mastopexy including the incisions except that the amount of breast tissue removed is far greater. The difference is that the primary motivation of these women with very large droopy breasts is to significantly reduce their breast size and therefore, the weight on their chest in order to alleviate their symptoms. The lift portion is incidental in their priorities. In a mastopexy, it is the lift portion that is the main purpose for the surgery and not the small reduction.
Factors such as the extent of drooping, amount of excess skin, skin elasticity, current and desired breast size, nipple position and physician preference will influence the type of mastopexy that would be performed. The most common approaches include:
- Crescent or mini lift. This lift entails the removal of a crescent of tissue using an incision placed along the top half of the areola and extending upwards. This approach can be used only when the amount of skin laxity is very minimal.
- Periareolar mastopexy (also called a circumareolar, purse string, donut or Benelli mastopexy). The skin tightening, contouring and elevation of the nipple-areola complex are accomplished through an incision that encircles the entire areola. A donut of skin is removed from around the areola, converted a larger circle to a smaller one. This can be employed with somewhat minor sagging of the breasts. Patients will often request this approach because of the limited incisions used which translates into fewer scars. However, Dr. Turkeltaub will rarely recommend this technique because of the abnormal, significantly flattened contour that is created which is generally aesthetically unacceptable. (For more about this read Periareolar Mastopexy: Sacrificing Shape and More for Less Incisions which is in the blog section)
- “Lollipop” mastopexy. This incision in this approach encircles the areola then extends down to the crease at the lower part of the breast, creating the shape of a lollipop.
- Inverted-T or anchor shaped mastopexy. This is the most common technique used for a mastopexy and involves not only the circumareolar and vertical incisions extending to the lower breast crease but also adds a variable length incision extending along the crease. The resulting configuration is, therefore, an anchor shape or inverted “T” scar. This approach inherently allows for far greater flexibility and accuracy in contouring and positioning of the breast translates into a much more natural appearing breast.
Dr. Turkeltaub will discuss in detail these and all other relevant factors during your consultation.
Your Breast Lift Procedure
Breast lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia at Piper Surgery Center, part of Scottsdale Healthcare-Shea. The surgical time required would depend on the technique used for the lift and if a breast enlargement with implants is performed at the same time. For a full lift (inverted T) along with insertion of breast implants, the usual operative time is around 2 ½ to 3 hours followed by one to one and a half hours in the recovery room.
This procedure is commonly combined with a tummy tuck and liposuction as part of a “Mommy Makeover” in order to improve the areas affected by pregnancy.
Recovery from a Breast Lift
The mastopexy procedure by itself is usually associated with fairly mild postoperative discomfort. It is when breast implants are used and placed behind the muscle that the level of pain is more significant, typically similar to that for a breast augmentation.
You will have a comfortable and supportive circumferential dressing on your chest for a few days which will then be replaced in the office with a supportive bra. Dr. Turkeltaub recommends that you regularly wear a supportive bra in order to provide the needed support and to help slow down to inevitable sagging that will continue over time.
Most women can return to school or a non-strenuous job within several days to 1 week following surgery. It is strongly recommended that you avoid vigorous activities such as sports and aerobics for three weeks.
The results from the surgery can be quite gratifying with perky, attractive, alluring and more youthful appearing breasts.
Breast Lift Before-and-After Photos
The following are some before-and-after photos of some of Dr. Turkeltaub’s mastopexy patients, revealing the true benefits of the breast lift procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do the scars heal well?
A: The scars usually heal in an acceptable way and do fade to some extent with time. Their ultimate appearance depends on multiple factors such as your skin color, genetics, age, nutrition, early activity level, usage of anti-scar agents and continuation of smoking.
Q: My breasts are very droopy but I don’t want scars on my breast that are needed for a lift. Can Dr. Turkeltaub just do a breast enlargement without the breast lift?
A: Placing breast implants alone will not correct breast drooping except rarely in the most mild of situations. What would happen is that your breasts would be hanging off of the implants creating a bizarre appearance. Therefore, if you don’t want to undergo the breast lift, Dr. Turkeltaub would not perform surgery on your breasts.
Q: Will I lose sensation in my nipple?
A: There can be some permanent loss of sensation in your nipples following a mastopexy. However, it is Dr. Turkeltaub’s experience that most women retain nearly all if not all of their sensation. It is very rare to permanently lose all sensation.
Q: Is a breast lift permanent?
A: No. Your breasts will continue to droop over time, starting even within the first few months after your surgery but it doesn’t occur in the exact same way as originally. Typically, your nipples don’t descend much. Instead, it is the skin between your nipples and your lower breast fold that continues to stretch which is the result of multiple factors such as the loss of elasticity of the tissues along with the effects of gravity.
Q: Can I prevent my breasts from continuing to droop?
A: You can’t prevent your breasts from sagging over time but you sure can slow down the process. Some things you can do include wearing a supportive bra on a regular basis, minimizing weight fluctuations, keeping in a good nutritional state, and avoiding tanning booths or sun tans. Other influential factors that you don’t have control over include heredity, age and hormone levels. Larger breast implants will affect sagging to a much greater extent than smaller ones.
Additional Information About Breast Lift (Mastopexy) from Dr. Turkeltaub
Read more about breast lift (mastopexy) on Dr. Turkeltaub’s breast surgery blog.