What You Need to Know About Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Dr. Harry Springer
article courtesy Harry A. Springer, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Stefan Mark Szczerba, M.D.
CLICK HERE to visit the website of Harry A. Springer, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Stefan Mark Szczerba, M.D.
A woman's breasts have to deal with many forces over the course of time. Pregnancy, along with breast-feeding, can lead to a substantial loss of breast tissue. Women who have lost a great deal of weight can notice a change in the contours of their breasts. An increase in exercise can do the same. Just the natural pulling of gravity over the years can cause drooping.
Mastopexy (breast lift) removes excess skin and re-contours the breast to be more youthful looking. Mastopexy is performed using local or general anesthesia. Typically, a mastopexy takes between 1 1/2 and 4 hours to perform. It can also be performed along with a breast augmentation.
Are you a good candidate for mastopexy?
You must be in good health, with no significant pre-existing medical conditions and importantly, you must have realistic expectations as to what a mastopexy can do for you. Your relationship with your surgeon is crucial for a good result. Your surgeon can tell you from experience what you can hope to achieve.
If you are planning on having children, you should postpone your mastopexy. Pregnancy after a mastopexy will only stretch your skin further and cause the skin to become thinner. This could result in another mastopexy.
Breast-feeding should not be an issue after a mastopexy, as the milk ducts are typically untouched. A mastopexy can be performed at any age if you are in good mental and physical health.
Risks of mastopexy
As with any operation, there are risks to be aware of, such as a possible reaction to the anesthesia. The scars of a mastopexy will be visible. It is also possible that your nipples and breast skin will lose sensitivity.
Smokers experience slower healing as well as increased risks in general. A rare occurrence in smokers is tissue necrosis, where there is poor oxygen and blood flow through the nipple and other tissue that needs to be reattached. The best way to prevent this condition is to stop smoking at least several weeks before surgery. Of course, kicking the smoking habit is the best present you can give yourself for any aspect of life.
Infections are rare, but can occur. Staph lives on your skin, as well as other bacteria. It is important to wash your skin for several days before your surgery with an anti-bacterial soap. This will lessen the possibility of introducing bacteria to the incision.
The different types of mastopexy
There are several standard types of mastopexy. Your surgeon will discuss with you which option best suits your needs.
Full Mastopexy is typically performed with an anchor-shaped incision that starts at the base of the areola and travels to the bottom of the breast, where it meets the ribcage. The surgeon then cuts out a crescent-shaped piece of skin right above where the breast meets the rib cage. The nipple is removed and re-positioned. This operation is for severely sagging breasts and can cause large scars. The scars do fade in time, but not completely.
The Crescent Lift removes a crescent-shaped piece of tissue above the areola and pulls the nipple to a higher position.. This is a minor lift for patients who have slight ptosis.
The Benelli Lift is less invasive and places the scars around the areola. A donut-shaped piece of tissue around the areola border is removed and the remaining tissue is attached to the areola. Sometimes a little more tissue is removed above the areola to create more of a lifting effect.
The Benelli-Lollipop is a Benelli lift along with straight incisions from under the areola to the crease under the breast (mammary fold). This is a good solution for those who need more than a standard Benelli, but do not need a full anchor mastopexy.
The scars will fade somewhat within a year, and more after 2 years. Those scars around and in the areola area fade and flatten faster than the scars on the breast skin. Steri-Strips and/or Silicone sheeting is used to speed up the fading and flattening of the scars.
What should I expect post-operatively?
Sutures placed under the skin will dissolve in several months. Sutures placed through the skin will dissolve in one to two weeks. A special tape is usually placed over the sutures (or tissue glue) to help protect the wound. There is mild swelling and relatively little pain. The patient may return to work in 3 to 7 days, providing nothing physical is required.
More than likely, a surgical bra will be worn over your gauze bandages. This will be worn for about 21 days non-stop, after which your stitches will be removed if they are the non-dissolving kind.
It is possible to have temporary loss of sensitivity in the nipple and breast skin because of swelling. The swelling blocks the nerves ability to send messages to and from the brain. The numb feeling this creates is normal. Most sensation returns within 1 to 3 months although it could take up to a year or more.
A breast lift is a procedure that can dramatically change your appearance and the way you look at yourself. To find out what type of procedure is right for you, contact Dr. Springer by clicking here and set an appointment to come in. We'll help you recapture what time has taken away.