A mastopexy, also known as a breast lift, is a cosmetic surgery procedure to restore the natural youthfulness and position to the breasts that is lost to pregnancy, weight loss and the effects of gravity. This procedure restores the breasts by removing excess tissue and skin while also decreasing the size of the areolas, which can grow undesirably large over time, to raise the breasts to their more youthful position. Some women also choose to have this procedure performed alongside breast augmentation to restore volume and firmness.
The Mastopexy Procedure
There are different stages of breast deformation, and Dr. Shapiro performs different styles of mastopexies for the optimal results. The incision technique will depend on the patient’s breast size and shape as well as the amount of sagging and the desired results.
You can determine what type of breast lift is necessary by viewing your profile in a mirror. The natural crease of the breast determines the amount of skin elasticity and sagging. A youthful breast will have a nipple that is above this crease.
Breast will mild sagging will require a small crescent-shaped incision above the areola. This procedure is often combined with breast implants to restore firmness and volume to the breasts.
Breasts with moderate sagging will require a technique that involves a circular incision around the areolas. Excess skin between the areola and incision is removed. This procedure allows the areolas to be reduced in size.
Full Breast Lift
Breasts with severe sagging will require a full breast lift. With this technique, Dr. Shapiro will make an anchor-shaped incision that goes around the areola, vertically down to the crease, and then across the creast of the breast. This allows Dr. Shapiro to reshape the breasts, lift the nipple to its more youthful position and reduce the size of the areola.
Breast Lift Recovery
After surgery, patients typically wear a soft support bra for up to two months to control swelling and ensure proper healing. Drainage tubes may be placed at the surgery site to prevent a build-up of fluids, which will be removed a few days after surgery.
Patients experience the most discomfort during the first two or three days. Dr. Shapiro will prescribe pain medication to control this discomfort. Your breasts will be tender, swollen and likely bruised after surgery, with bruising and tenderness fading over the next week or two. Some swelling may linger for up to a couple of months.
After surgery, your ability to lift your arms will be limited while you heal, so it is important to have someone to help you wash your hair and pick up anything heavy. Most patients return to work and light activity within a week, although pushing, pulling and lifting should wait until the incisions fully heal. Patients typically resume moderate exercise about four to six weeks after surgery.
Scars and Maintenance
Scars using the periareolar technique are typically only obvious around the immediate areola where the incision is closed. With a full lift, scars will be located around the areola, in a line to the crease and inside of the crease. These scars can be made less noticeable by the crease itself.
Scars around the areola typically fade much faster than other scars. Over time, the vertical scar from a full lift will be very difficult to see. Dr. Shapiro recommends using silicone gel sheeting to reduce the visibility of these scars for the first few months after the procedure. He may also use Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser therapy to reduce scar redness and visibility.
Risks and Complications
Complications with this procedure are uncommon, but can include bleeding, infection, delayed healing and loss of nipple sensation, which may be permanent but is typically temporary and lasts up to one year.
A mommy makeover is a popular procedure for women who want to restore the appearance of their breasts after pregnancy. It is a combination of a mastopexy of any type with liposuction and a tummy tuck to restore more youthful contours.