Pregnancy, breast-feeding, gravity, and decreased skin elasticity can affect the shape and firmness of the breasts. Women who are generally satisfied with the size of their breasts, but not the shape are best helped with a breast lift, also known as a mastopexy. The breast lift raises and firms the breasts, resulting in a more youthful breast contour. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Dr. Charles Hsu, helps patients who are unhappy about the sagging of their breasts with breast lift surgery. If there is too little or too much breast volume, a breast augmentation or breast reduction might be recommended in addition to a lift.
Best Candidates for Breast Lift
Breasts that are pendulous, but adequate in size
Breasts that lack substance or firmness.
Nipples and areolas that point downward
Breasts that appear different from each other
Patients are able to talk to Dr. Hsu about their concerns and what they are hoping to get from surgery during the consultation. Dr. Hsu will listen carefully to the patient and perform a physical examination, including breast measurements, before he makes his recommendations. Patients will need to share their complete medical history and patients over 40 will need to bring a recent mammogram. After hearing the recommendations, the patient will be able to make informed decisions and then create a treatment plan with Dr. Hsu.
The procedure usually takes about 2-3 hours to complete a standard breast lift and about 3 hours for a breast lift with augmentation. Like most cosmetic procedures, this is an outpatient procedure and the patient will be able to go home after surgery. During surgery, Dr. Hsu makes an incision, raises the breast and nipple, and then sutures everything into place. Dr. Hsu uses a special skin closure technique that leaves the thinnest, most inconspicuous scar possible with multiple layers of dissolvable stitches.
Recovery and Post-Op
Dr. Hsu will apply surgical bandages to the breasts and put the patient in a special supportive bra, which must remain on for the first week after the surgery to encourage healing. Patients may be given pain medication for 5-7 days, or until the bruising and swelling have subsided. Patients can often resume light activities and work after 2 weeks, but need to wait at least 6 weeks for exercise and other strenuous actions.
From Dr. Hsu
“More than almost any other breast procedure, I think that breast lift (mastopexy) surgery requires careful consideration and measurement of the dimensions of the breast in order to decide which method is best used for each individual patient. As stated above, there are three common methods available for performing a breast lift, and the end-result depends as much on the surgeon’s judgment on which method to use, as it does on the surgeon’s skill in implementing that method.
One of the most common surprises for patients looking for breast rejuvenation when they come to see me is that my recommendation on whether they need a lift, an implant, or both, may be different from what they expected or even originally asked for me. It’s actually very common for patients to come see me asking for a breast implant and a lift, and after examination, I can tell them that they really only need one or the other. Alternatively, there are patients who are looking are reluctant to get a lift but are seeking breast rejuvenation, and it turns out that their breasts can benefit from an implant alone.
These determinations are best made in consultation between the patient and the surgeon. It’s surprising how much the breast can change with pregnancy, breast-feeding, or weight loss, and each patient’s body is different. Getting the most aesthetically rejuvenated appearance is always the goal, but the approach varies from patient to patient.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Final Results of Breast Lift?
Breast lifts are very effective, thus the breasts should not return to their preoperative droop for decades, assuming the patient doesn't have significant weight fluctuations or go through pregnancy. Some settling may occur, but the new nipple position should remain intact.
Incisions and Techniques to Breast Lift?
Dr. Hsu may incorporate one of many breast lift incision techniques. The various types of incisions are explained below:
The anchor incision is often used for a breast lift in conjunction with a breast reduction.
The lollipop lift or keyhole incision is suitable for women with a moderate degree of sagging and who do not want breast implants.
The donut lift or periareolar incision is suitable for women with a mild-to-moderate degree of sagging or if there is more severe sagging and implants are being added.
The crescent lift is usually done in conjunction with breast augmentation in women with minor sagging. It cannot accomplish the same degree of lifting as the other incision techniques.
The scarless lift is best for women who are concerned more about volume loss than actual sagging.
Breast Lift before or after pregnancy?
Patients who are interested in breast lift surgery after pregnancy will need to delay surgery for several months after they are finished lactating to reduce the risk of infections and cysts. For patients who are not pregnant, but are planning to have more children, it may be best to hold off on breast lift surgery. Subsequent pregnancies are likely to change the shape of the breasts, even after breast lift surgery. By waiting, a more permanent result can be achieved, and touch-up surgeries can be avoided.