A breast lift (mastopexy) improves the appearance of the breast by:
- Tailoring the lower skin envelope to reposition the breast mound upward
- Repositioning the nipple and areola complex upward on the newly shaped breast
In order to remove excess skin from the breasts and reposition the nipple and areola, incisions must be made in the lower part of the breast. These incisions produce scars that are visible, but improve significantly over 6-12 months. The scars are usually located around the nipple, from the lower center of the areola to the fold beneath the breast, and sometimes in the fold beneath the breast. The extent and location of the scars depends to some degree on the size and shape of your breasts, and the procedure necessary to correct them.
For some patients, performing breast augmentation at the same time as the lift may help to improve the result, by adding more fullness and improving the aesthetic appearance of the breasts.
Prior to your mastopexy, Dr. Morris will make several measurements and mark specific areas of your breasts with you sitting. These markings are guidelines that are used when your breasts shift when you lie down. Dr. Morris will also refer to your pre-operative pictures during surgery to assure the best possible result.
During the procedure, the excess loose skin (in the lower portion of the breast) is then removed. On occasion, excess breast tissue and fat are removed if this is necessary to provide better symmetry or improve the result. To reposition the breast mound upward, the skin of the lower portion of the breast is tightened, tailored, and then sutured. The nipple-areola complex is then repositioned upward into the proper position on the new breast mound and sutured in place. Dr. Morris sits you up on the operating table, and carefully compares your breasts to assure as much symmetry as possible.
After surgery you will wear a special bra for a few days. You may then wear or not wear a bra as you desire. All of your incisions will be carefully closed with sutures placed beneath the skin, so there is no chance of you having “railroad track” type marks, but fine line scars. You’ll be able to shower or bathe the next day.
Following a mastopexy, patients have minimal discomfort but may experience nuisances such as tightness or fullness. This will resolve rapidly in a few days. Many patients do not even need to take the pain medication we prescribe for them.
Your breasts may feel tight to you for 48-72 hours, and this sensation will gradually resolve over the next several days as the swelling decreases. You may develop slight bruising on the breasts that will resolve in approximately one or two weeks.
The Stages of Recovery
- Hospitalization time: Outpatient
- Bruising and swelling resolve: 10-14 days
- Return to work, social activity: 1-3 days
- Aerobic or strenuous activity: 21 days
We encourage return to nearly normal activity as soon as possible. Do not do any type of strenuous exercise that would push your pulse over 100 for three weeks. Any aerobic activity that increases your pulse over 100 also increases your blood pressure, and could make you bleed. Also, avoid excessive, exaggerated movements with your arms.
Limitations and Risks
Differences always exist between your two breasts — they are different sizes, shapes and the nipple locations are also different. After mastopexy, these differences will be less, but will always exist to some degree.
In order to reposition the nipple upward onto the new breast mound, some of the surrounding breast tissue must be detached. The nipple is left attached to a stalk of tissue within the breast. This is designed to include blood supply and nerve supply, and it is almost unheard of for a patient to lose sensation after a mastopexy.
Risks common to all surgical procedures such as bleeding, infection and scar tissue formation occur in a very small number of patients. As previously mentioned, there will be differences in the size and shape of your breasts following the procedure, even given the fact that Dr. Morris strives to minimize these as much as possible.