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 which can cause the breasts to lose their natural shape and firmness. This procedure is designed to elevate the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance. A breast lift may also be completed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery (augmentation).
- 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 your nipples/areolas if they point down or to the side.
- Bring back natural suppleness after weight loss.
Breast augmentation involves making a small incision to insert a breast implant into the breast area in order to enlarge the breast. The surgery is commonly performed on an outpatient basis at a hospital or state-of-the-art surgical unit while the patient is under a general anesthesia and asleep. There are several possible locations for the small incision that will be used for inserting the breast implant. The most frequent technique utilizes an incision made in the lower portion of the breast. Another technique, though less frequently used, involves making an incision in the armpit. A third technique makes an incision around the areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple). A newer technique uses an incision in the belly button, thus reducing the chance of scarring in the breast area. The best technique will be decided together between the patient and the surgeon during the consultation.
During surgery, the breast tissue is raised to create an open pocket under the breast tissue or beneath the chest wall muscle. Inserting an implant behind each breast can increase a woman’s breast size by one or more bra cup sizes. Implants typically contain a saline solution (similar to saltwater) although in special cases the implants can contain a silicone gel. In some circumstances, particularly those in which there is breast asymmetry (uneven breast size), an inflatable implant may be used to allow the surgeon to adjust the level of inflation to attain breast symmetry and balance. Surgery typically lasts from 1 to 3 hours.
Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty of rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Bandages are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts. Once the bandages are removed, a specialized surgical bra will need to be worn for several weeks. Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with the surgery. This pain can be treated effectively with oral medication. While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the directions given by the physician after surgery.