As a woman ages, her breasts may begin to sag. The effects of normal aging and gravity are made worse by pregnancy, weight loss, and genetics. The breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a surgical procedure designed to lift the breasts, making them look increasingly healthy and more proportionate to the body. This procedure is often combined with other procedures such as a breast augmentation (to provide fullness in the upper portion of the breast).
A good candidate for this surgery is a woman, disappointed with drooping breast tissue that is occurring with age. Non-smokers, women in generally good health, and people who have reasonable expectations from the surgical procedure make up the ideal candidate for this procedure. At Holcomb and Kreithen Plastic Surgery, a consultation will be scheduled before deciding on having surgery. When we review the medical history, and perform a physical examination, it can be determined if this is the right procedure for the individual situation.
The Breast Lift Procedure:
The procedure will take between one and two hours under general anesthesia. The surgeon begins with a periareola and inverted T incision, running horizontally along the natural crease, underneath the breast. From this incision, excess skin, tissue, and muscle can be removed. If needed, a breast implant can be placed at this time. The skin and muscles of the chest will then be lifted to a higher position on the body. When needed, the areola and nipple can be adjusted in size, as well. Once the breasts are in place, the nipple will be placed in a position proportionate to the breasts. Finally, the incisions are sutured closed.
Breast Lift Recovery:
The breast lift procedure will be performed on an outpatient basis; patents are able to rest and relax at home the same afternoon. Women need to expect the recovery from their lift to take between seven and ten days. Generally, pain after surgery is only mild to moderate, although the surgeon will prescribe appropriate medications for comfort. Swelling, bruising, and numbness are common, but are temporary. Initially after the procedure, bandages will be worn; then a surgical support bra will be used for several weeks to allow for appropriate healing. Patients generally feel well enough to return to work or school in two to three days, but strenuous exercise should be postponed for four to six weeks.
Noticeable scars will occur after the procedure, but everyone’s body is a little different. Regardless, the scars will be easily covered under clothing or swimwear. Complications after surgery are extremely rare, but can include infection, bleeding, and asymmetry. Avoid the risk of complication by choosing a Board Certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Joshua Kreithen.
To schedule a consultation for a Breast Lift, contact Holcomb and Kreithen Plastic Surgery at (866) 218-4810. We are here to answer your questions and explain your options for a rejuvenating breast procedure. Our goal is to make every woman look natural and beautiful, as well as comfortable with her own body. We look forward to seeing you in our Sarasota office.
The best Sarasota breast lift candidates are healthy, emotionally stable women who are realistic about what the surgery can accomplish. The best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts. Smokers are most likely to experience poor healing of the skin; therefore, smokers must quit at least one month prior to surgery and refrain from smoking at least one month after the surgery.
Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you’re planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn’t interfere with breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
Procedure: Raise and reshape sagging breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning remaining tissue and nipples.
Length: 1 to 3 hours.
Anesthesia: Local with sedation, or general.
In/Outpatient: Usually outpatient. Sometimes inpatient.
Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, discomfort, numbness, dry breast skin. Permanent scars.
Risks: Thick, wide scars; skin loss; infection. Unevenly positioned nipples. Permanent loss of feeling in nipples or breast.
Recovery: Back to work: 1 week or more. Strenuous activities: 1 month. Fading of scars: several months to a year.
Duration of Results: Variable; gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight changes may cause new sagging. Results may last longer or be enhanced when breast implants are inserted as part of the procedure.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
A breast lift is not a simple operation, but it’s normally safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications or a reaction to the anesthesia. Bleeding and infection following a breast lift are uncommon, but they can cause scars to widen. You can reduce your risks by closely following instructions both before and after surgery.
Mastopexy does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they’ll be covered by your bra or bathing suit and the extent of scarring varies with technique. (Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.) The procedure can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples, or a permanent loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts.
Planning Your Surgery
During your initial consultation, it’s important to discuss your expectations frankly. Every Sarasota plastic surgery patient–and every physician–has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape for breasts.
Dr. Kreithen will examine your breasts and measure them while you’re sitting or standing. He will discuss the variables that may affect the procedure–such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the condition of your skin–and whether an implant is advisable. You should also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; they’ll be moved higher during the procedure, and should be approximately even with the crease beneath your breast.
Dr. Kreithen will describe the procedure in detail, explaining its risks and limitations and making sure you understand the scarring that will result.
At the completion of your consultation, you will meet with our patient coordinator. You will be given an estimate of the cost of your procedure, and have the option to schedule your procedure if you so choose. You are also encouraged to bring your spouse, significant other, family member, or a friend to your consultation. Dr. Kreithen realizes the importance of your decision, and will be happy to meet with you a second time to discuss the surgery.
Preparing for Your Surgery
Depending on your age and family history, Dr. Kreithen may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. You’ll also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
While you’re making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.
Where Your Surgery Will be Performed
A breast lift will most likely be performed at our new state-of-the-art Holcomb – Kreithen Plastic Surgery Medical Center operating room. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis. Complex procedures may require a short inpatient stay.
Types of Anesthesia
Breast lifts are usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you’ll sleep through the operation. In selected patients–particularly when a smaller incision is being made—Dr. Kreithen may use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You’ll be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort.
Mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. Techniques vary; one type of lift results in a keyhole shaped incision while others have less extensive scarring. Decisions about technique are made on individual breast shape and size.
Keyhole shaped incision:
The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area. Usually the skin underneath the nipple is slighter puckered, but will smooth out over a three to six month period.
Less extensive incision:
Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the “doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy,” in which circular incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.
If you’re having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will probably be placed in a pocket directly under the muscle of the chest wall.
After Your Surgery
After surgery, you’ll wear a sports bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by Dr. Kreithen.
Within a few days, the bandages will be removed. You’ll need to wear your sports bra around the clock for four to six weeks. The stitches will be removed after a week or two.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day. Be careful not to tug at your skin in the process, and keep the moisturizer away from the suture areas.
You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.
Getting Back to Normal
Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. Avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. If you have any unusual symptoms, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Kreithen. It is not safe to drive a car within 24 hours of taking pain medication, as your reflexes and alertness may be altered.
You should wait six weeks before strenuous activity or exercises, and not lift more than 10 pounds in each arm. Walking and other normal activities can resume when you feel comfortable. Your breasts will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact. After that, breast contact is fine once your breasts are no longer sore, usually four to six weeks after surgery. If you become pregnant, the operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples will be left intact.
Your New Look
Dr. Kreithen will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that mastopexy scars can be extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.
You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won’t keep you firm forever–the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.
Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic.
As a highly educated and exceptionally skilled plastic surgeon, Dr. Kreithen offers a range of breast procedures. In fact, he is renowned throughout the greater Sarasota area as a top Sarasota breast implants, breast reduction and breast reconstruction expert. In addition, he specializes in male breast reduction and has helped many Sarasota gynecomastia treatment patients enhance both their appearance and self-confidence.