A breast lift (mastopexy) is a surgical option for patients who are happy with the volume and size of their breasts, but are seeking to lift and raise the position of their breasts and nipples to a more aesthetically pleasing location.
Breast lift procedures treat and correct the problematic aesthetic condition known as breast ptosis, which refers to breasts that are sagging or drooping, as a result of the loss of elasticity in the breast tissue.
A number of factors are responsible for causing and/or exacerbating breast ptosis (sagging):
- Weight loss: as a woman loses weight, her breast volume decreases, which can lead to sagging of the breasts, if the breast tissues are unable to conform to the new, smaller breast shape.
- Gravity and the natural aging process: breasts lose their youthfully lifted, “perky” appearance and begin to stretch and sag, as the elasticity in the breast tissue responsible for upholding the support structures of the breasts gradually decreases over time
- Post-pregnancy/breast-feeding: during pregnancy and/or breast feeding, a woman’s breasts must stretch to accommodate milk production. When pregnancy and breast feeding have ended, the dramatic loss in breast volume can result in significant drooping and sagging of the breasts.
- Genetics: some women are genetically predisposed to developing the condition of breast ptosis and/or downward pointing nipples.
By tightening the breast tissue, excising surplus skin and creating a more supportive structure to maintain the newly lifted and raised position of the breasts, breast lift surgery provides an effective and long-lasting countermeasure to the symptoms of ptosis.
In addition to treating the problem of sagging or drooping breasts, mastopexy surgery can also address and ameliorate breast-related issues such as: downward pointing nipples, enlarged areolas, asymmetrical breasts and stretched skin in the breast region. In order to achieve optimal surgical results, your mastopexy procedure should be performed by a plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Hani Sinno, M.D., who has helped patients raise and firm their breasts and correct the condition of breast ptosis (sagging) with breast lift surgery at his private practice in Montreal, Quebec.
There are four primary procedural options for a breast lift, which are differentiated by the incision patterns they require, and the degree of ptosis that they correct.
- Crescent Lift is appropriate for patients with the mildest cases of breast ptosis (sagging). It involves removing a crescent shaped skin on the upper part of the areola to lift the nipple areolar complex, creating a more youthful looking breast.
- Periareolar Lift is best indicated for minor breast ptosis (Grade 1 breast ptosis). This procedure involved an incision around the areola lifting it to the desired aesthetic position. It usually also involves reducing the size of the areola.
- Vertical Lift (lollypop or benelli technique) is best suited for moderate breast ptosis (grade 2 breast ptosis) or pseudoptosis (where the breast weight is below the inframammary fold but the nipple remains higher or at this point). It entails an incision around the areola and below the areola in a vertical plane resembling a lollypop shape.
- Full Lift (inverted “T” lift or the anchor technique) is best suited for patients with the most severe breast sagging (grade 3 ptosis).
After thoroughly evaluating the degree of your breast ptosis, your anatomy and your aesthetic goals, Dr. Sinno will select the breast lift technique that will enable you to achieve optimal surgical results.
Breast lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under IV sedation or general anesthesia.
There are four primary procedural options for a breast lift, which are differentiated by the incision patterns they require, and the degree of ptosis they correct.
- Crescent Lift is appropriate for patients with the mildest cases of breast ptosis, followed by the
- Benelli Lift
- Vertical Lift
- Full Lift, best suited for patients with the most severe breast sagging.
It is important for patients to understand that breast lift surgery performed on its own does NOT impact or augment the volume, fullness or overall size of the breasts. If your surgical goals include an increase in breast size, in addition to lifting and raising your breasts, Dr. Sinno can perform a breast augmentation in conjunction with a breast lift procedure in order to effectively fulfill both of these aesthetic goals in the course of a single surgery. Dr. Sinno is experienced performing these two procedures together, and will ensure that all of your breast surgery objectives are safely and successfully brought to fruition.
Following your mastopexy, your incisions will be covered with bandages or surgical dressings and you will be advised to wear a support bra in order to facilitate the healing process and decrease any post-operative swelling. The length of the post-surgical recovery period varies from patient to patient, depending upon each individual’s capacity to heal. However, you will need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for the first few months after your procedure.
– Day Surgery
Most patients after breast lift surgery will be released (depending on their medical condition and health state) home to continue their recovery.
Dr. Sinno and his team will apply a special dressing and initial bandages that should be kept dry and clean for the first week. At that point, the bandages will be removed and your post-operative state will be evaluated.
Wearing bras should be avoided until the first bandages are removed. Metal underwire in a bra should be avoided for six weeks after surgery.
– Showers and Washing
The bandages usually are removed within a week after surgery. Dr. Sinno recommends that all bandages should remain dry and clean after your surgery until your first follow-up appointment. Showers should be avoided until authorized by Dr. Sinno. This is usually after all bandages are removed at the first post-operative visit. Until then, sponge baths are recommended.
White non-scented shampoo and soap are recommended to be used along with running water on the incisions, after the bandages are removed and when given medical authorization to do so.
– Activity and Exercise
You will be advised to refrain from moving your arms above your shoulders immediately following your breast procedure. This is usually advised for a two-week duration.
Dr. Sinno recommends that patients refrain from all activities that may increase your heart rate or blood pressure including: exercise, sexual activity, stressful situations, etc. in the first week after surgery.
However, it is recommended that patients walk and perform their usual activities within the limitation of the medical advice given and their tolerance to their comfort. No lifting more than 10 lbs. (4 kg) is recommended for at least two weeks after the surgery.
Sleeping on your stomach should be delayed for at least two weeks after surgery.
It is recommended that patients not drive when taking narcotic pain medications and when they have bulky dressings that may hinder their normal reflexes and reactivity.
– General Healing
You may experience some swelling and bruising that will peak two to three days after your surgery, and usually subsides within two to six weeks. Post-operative swelling, pain, bruising and duration may differ, depending on the patient and the extent of the augmentation.
You will be expected to be able to see visible aesthetic improvements in your breasts immediately following your breast surgery. These results should continue to progress over the following weeks, as the incision site heals and the swelling decreases. Swelling can take six weeks to subside. Dr. Sinno advises his patients that final results should be expected after the one year point post-operative period, when all scars and incisions should be mature.
What are the risks and potential complications after breast lift surgery?
All medical and surgical procedures have inherent risks and potential complications associated with them. It is imperative that you understand the potential risks, complications and consequences that can arise after the medical or surgical procedure you undertake. This understanding will allow you to be able to provide informed consent based on the comparison to the potential benefit of the desired procedure.
Although the materialization of inherent risks is rare and developing complications is unlikely, these are real events that can occur. Dr. Sinno will help you to understand the risk/benefit profile of your desired procedure.