Breast Lift

A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts.  As a woman ages, skin loses some elasticity and the supporting tissues of the breast stretch which can cause the breasts to lose their natural shape and firmness.  This uplift procedure is designed to elevate the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance.  A breast lift may also be performed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery (augmentation).

Reasons for Considering a Breast Lift:

  • Elevate the breasts due to sagging caused by the effects of aging and gravity.
  • Firm the breasts if they have lost substance due to pregnancy and subsequent breast-feeding.
  • Re-align the nipples/areolas if they point down or to the side.
  • Bring back natural shape after weight loss.

General Procedure

The breast lift surgical procedure usually takes one to three hours.  Techniques vary, but the most common procedure results in an anchor-shaped scar that passes around the areola and along the underside of the breast.  The incision goes around the area where skin will be removed, thus defining how the nipple will be relocated.  When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola, and breast gland are moved into a higher position.  The scars are on the underside of the breast and usually fade well with time.  The breast remains the same size but is elevated on the chest and returns to a more youthful shape.

Some women with less sagging may be candidates for modified  uplift procedures requiring less extensive incisions.  One such procedure is the "crescent mastopexy" where a crescent of skin is removed above the areola and the nipple and areola can be raised about and inch.  Large areolas can be reduced in diameter and the breasts elevated with a "doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy."  With this procedure circular incisions are made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.  Innovations in breast lift surgery include these minimal incision techniques and procedures to help ensure good nipple sensation.

If the patient is having an implant inserted along with the breast lift, the implant will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue or under the muscle of the chest wall.

Recovery Process

Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time.  Bandages and a gentle supportive bra are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts.   Usually the patient can wear any bra she likes after the first week.  Patients frequently report only minor pain in the first few days, similar to the discomfort after exercising too much, or like a bad bruise.  While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions given by Dr. Reavie and his nurses.