Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Introduction

As a woman, Dr. Rasmussen understands the personal nature of a woman’s decision to have breast surgery.

Whether a woman chooses breast surgery to reduce discomfort from large breasts… implants to better balance her body… breast lifting to restore a more youthful shape… or reconstruction to aid in rehabilitation after breast cancer surgery, Dr. Rasmussen uses her more than 20 years experience to incorporate both the art and science of breast surgery.

By paying close attention to the individual needs and promoting realistic expectations, Dr. Rasmussen can ensure natural, personalized results.

A woman’s breasts naturally changes over time, inevitably losing their youthful, firm and uplifted contours. These changes in breast volume and loss of skin elasticity, can result from pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight fluctuations, aging, and gravity. Heredity may also be a factor, and even a woman in her late teens or early 20′s may experience loose, sagging breast tissue. Breasts that have lost their youthful shape and firmness can affect a woman’s self-image and self-confidence.

Breast Lift Overview

Breast Lift, the lay term for Mastopexy, is a procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts. As women age, skin loses elasticity which typically causes the breasts to lose their natural shape and firmness. This procedure is designed to elevate the level of the nipples and the breast tissue, thereby giving the breasts a more youthful appearance. It will not restore upper pole fullness. To achieve this goal, a breast lift may be performed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery (augmentation).

Reasons for Considering a Breast Lift:

  • Elevate the breasts due to drooping caused by the effects of aging, gravity, and the loss of elasticity.
  • Reshape the breasts if they have lost substance due to pregnancy and subsequent breast-feeding.
  • Re-align the nipples/areolas if they point down.
  • Restore natural shape and firmness after significant weight loss.

Technique: Breast lift begins with preoperative markings. There is a saying in carpentry and plastic surgery, “draw twice, cut once.” These markings guide the plastic surgeon to know how much excess skin to remove, as well as where to reposition the nipple areola complex. Incision patterns may vary, depending on the degree of skin excess and the amount of lifting required, as well as patient anatomy, and patient and surgeon preference. Common patterns include the inverted T (incision around the areola and vertically down to a horizontal incision along the breast crease), vertical (incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease), and periareolar (incision around the areola).

Any surgery including mastopexy, has potential risks, but typically these risks are limited. However, the greatest trade-off for this procedure is scarring. Widening or thickening of the scars a possibility, and care is taken by Dr. Rasmussen intraoperatively to prevent these. Furthermore, the patient is given postoperative care instructions to help limit poor scarring. A limitation of this procedure is that it will do nothing to enhance upper pole fullness, and if this is one of the patient’s anticipated results from breast lift, the patient will be disappointed unless it is performed in conjunction with breast augmentation. Furthermore, the effects of aging, gravity, loss of elasticity, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy will continue to affect the newly lifted breast; and the more volume the natural breast has at the completion of a lift, the more likely drooping will recur. Therefore, sometimes a small breast reduction in conjunction with the lift is recommended to help remove some of the weight of the breast tissue to reduce the likely recurrence of sagging of the breast. As with all cosmetic surgery, realistic expectation are the key to satisfaction.

This procedure is generally performed as an outpatient under general anesthesia. Local anesthesia with sedation may be an option. Postoperative instructions include limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time. Patients report minor post-operative pain which can be treated with oral medication. Swelling subsides in 2 to 4 weeks but breast shape may take at least 3 to 6 months to fully refine. Continued flattening and fading of scars may take over 1 year. All of the above aspects of breast lifting surgery are discussed during the comprehensive consultation with Dr. Rasmussen.