Over time, life takes its toll on a woman’s breasts. There are many reasons for this, such as nursing, pregnancy and the simple force of gravity. These factors cause breast skin to lose its elasticity, which eventually leads to a sagging, shapeless bust. Mastopexy, more commonly referred to as a “breast lift,” is a surgical procedure to reshape and lift sagging breasts. Although nothing can permanently delay gravity’s affect on breasts, this procedure can lift and reshape a woman’s bust for a specific length of time. Additionally, the procedure also reduces the size of the areola.
If you have small breasts or you were formerly satisfied with the size of your breasts but they have lost volume due to pregnancy or other factors, implants can be inserted simultaneously with your mastopexy surgery. The result is an increase in both the size and the firmness of your breasts. If you have been thinking about a breast lift, this brochure offers basic information about the procedure, how it is performed, who is a good candidate and the results you can anticipate. It cannot answer all of your questions, as your individual circumstances maybe quite different from another prospective client. Therefore, be sure to ask Dr. Leonard if you are unsure about any facet of the procedure.
Suitable Candidates for Breast Lift Procedure
Ideally, mastopexy candidates are emotionally stable, generally healthy females who have realistic goals concerning cosmetic surgery. In most cases, clients with small, sagging breasts will enjoy the best results of this procedure. Dr. Leonard can perform the surgery on any breast size, as long as the woman understands the results may not be as long-lasting in heavy breasts as opposed to a smaller bust.
The majority of women seeking mastopexy were left with less volume in their breasts due to stretched skin from pregnancy and nursing. It is important to understand, however, that if you are planning additional pregnancies in the future, it is wise to postpone your breast lift until you have given birth. This is not because mastopexy interferes with breast-feeding, as this is usually not the case, it is simply because pregnancy is likely to cause the same problem again in the future, thus lessening the positive results of your surgery.
It is also essential to realize that the decision to have breast lift surgery is a private one, and should only be pursued for personal reasons. Never have any type of cosmetic surgery merely to fulfill another person’s desires or to try to recreate yourself to fit a perceived ideal of how your body should look.
A Breast Lift May Be Appropriate if the Following Pertains to You:
•You maintain a stable weight and are physically and mentally healthy
•You are a non-smoker
•Your expectations are realistic
•You are concerned about sagging breasts that have lost volume and shape and find that this affects you negatively
•Your breasts are pendulous have an elongated, flat shape
•One breast falls lower than the other
•Without a bra, your nipples fall beneath the crease of the breast
•Your areolas and nipples point downward
•You have enlarged areolas and visibly stretched skin
Risk and Uncertainty Associated With Surgery
Mastopexy does leave permanent and noticeable scars, but fortunately they are not visible if you are wearing a bra or swimsuit. If you are a smoker, you may experience a wider scar and poor healing. The surgery can also cause a permanent loss of sensation in the breast or nipple, or your nipples may appear uneven.
Planning for Your Surgery
Dr. Leonard examines your breasts and measures them while you are in a standing or seated position. He then discusses all the factors that may affect the outcome of the surgery, such as whether or not an implant is advisable, the condition of your skin, the shape and size of your breasts and your age. In addition, you should speak to Dr. Leonard about how he will be re-positioning the nipple and areola to a higher area, one that is approximately even with the crease under your breasts.
Dr. Leonard will describe the surgery in detail and explain its limitations and risks, making sure you have full knowledge of any resulting scars. Dr. Leonard also explains the type of anesthesia given during your surgery, tells you about the facility where the procedure is performed and goes over the total cost of the surgery.
Do not hesitate to ask Dr. Leonard about anything of which you are unsure, particularly questions concerning the results of the surgery and your expectations.
Tips on How to Prepare for Your Surgery
When planning for your surgery, make sure you have a reliable person to drive you home, as well as to assist you around the house for several days, if necessary.
Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed
Type of Anesthesia
Breast lift procedures are almost always performed under general anesthesia.
The incision line clearly marks the area from where breast skin is to be removed and outlines the new area in which the nipple will be placed. After the removal of excess skin, the areola and nipple are repositioned to a higher point on the breast. The skin that surrounds the areola is then pulled down and closed in order to reshape the breast. Stitches are generally situated around the areola in a straight line that extends downward from the area of the nipple to the lower breast crease.
Certain individuals, especially those with minimal sagging and relatively small breasts, may also be appropriate candidates for modified surgeries that require much smaller incisions than the one mentioned above. One procedure of this type is called concentric mastopexy, also referred to as the “doughnut” procedure. During this type of surgery, round incisions are made that outline the areola, and the removal of a doughnut-shaped area of skin is performed.
If you have chosen to have implants at the time of your breast lift, a small pillow shaped device will be placed under the chest wall muscle or directly under the breast tissue. It is then inflated after it is in place to create the new breast size.
After Your Surgery
After several days, the surgical bra or bandages are replaced by a gentle support bra. This bra must be worn over a layer of gauze for approximately three to four weeks. It must be worn 24 hours a day during this time. However, the stitches are generally removed after 7-14 days.
Moisturizer can be applied throughout the day if your breast skin is extremely dry after your procedure. Be sure not to tug at your skin if you do choose to use lotion, and do not get any creams or moisturizers near the area of your sutures.
You should anticipate some loss of sensation in your breast skin and nipples after your surgery. This is usually caused by swelling. Over the next six weeks, the numbness typically fades as the swelling goes down. In certain patients, however, it may last up to 12 months and less often, becomes permanent.
Transitioning Back to Your Normal Life
Dr. Leonard will provide detailed instructions concerning when you can resume everyday activities. Strenuous sports will probably be limited for at least a month and you may be advised to avoid sexual intercourse for seven days or longer. After the proper length of time has passed, you can slowly resume such activities. Should you become pregnant, your surgery will not interfere with your breast-feeding ability, since your nipples and milk ducts are left intact.
Your New Look
You must also remember that a breast lift is not designed to keep your breasts and skin firm on a permanent basis, as the results of weight fluctuation, agings, pregnancy and gravity will once again have an effect as time goes on. Women who choose to have mastopexy and breast implants simultaneously sometimes enjoy longer-lasting results.
Your satisfaction with mastopexy will probably be much greater if you have a thorough understanding of the surgery, as well as realistic expectations about the outcome.