A woman's breasts may droop as a result of the natural effects of aging, heredity, gravity, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight loss. A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, is performed to return youthful shape and lift to breasts that have sagged or lost volume and firmness. It is a popular cosmetic breast surgery offered by Manhattan plastic surgeon, Dr. Sherrell Aston, which removes and tightens excess skin on and around the breast to restore a perky, more youthful appearance. The purpose of this procedure is to lift and tighten. Women who wish to enhance the size may also consider incorporating breast implants during the surgery to add volume. The ultimate goal during a breast lift is to lift the droopy breast so that the breast projects naturally forward and sits higher on the chest wall. Dr. Aston will discuss all of the latest techniques used today to accomplish this during the initial consultation.
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WHAT CAN A BREAST LIFT DO ?
Breast lifts rejuvenate the breasts by trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissues to achieve an uplifted, youthful contour. After a mastopexy, the breasts are higher on the chest and firmer to the touch. Breast lifts can also reposition and reduce the size of the areola-the dark skin surrounding the nipple-which may have stretched or drooped.
Breast size does not change after a breast lift. However it improves the fullness and roundness of the upper part of the breasts. Women who desire larger, smaller or more rounded breasts may want to consider a breast augmentation or breast reduction together with a breast lift.
CANDIDATES FOR A BREAST LIFT?
The best candidates for breast lift are women whose breasts meet some or all of the following conditions:
- Breasts sag
- Breasts have lost shape or volume
- Breasts are flat, elongated, or pendulous (hanging)
- Breast skin and/or areola is stretched
- Nipples or areolas point downward
- Nipples or areolas are located in the breast crease when breasts are unsupported
- One breast is lower than the other
It is also very important that breast lift candidates:
- Maintain a stable weight
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Discuss realistic goals with their plastic surgeon
WHO SHOULD NOT GET A LIFT?
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract a breast lift's effects by stretching the skin.
HOW IS A MASTOPEXY PERFORMED?
Mastopexy may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or Dr. Aston's office-based facility. It is usually done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, and lasts from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours.
There are several types of incision methods that can be used when performing a breast lift. The technique Dr. Aston uses depends on the patient's:
- Breast size and shape
- Degree of sagging
- Size and position of the areolas/nipples
- Amount of excess skin
- Skin quality
- And other factors
The three most common incision types are two rings around the areola in a doughnut shape (small-incision mastopexy, generally only recommended for patients with small breasts and minimal sagging), around the areola and down to the breast crease in a lollipop shape, and the lollipop with an additional half-moon incision along the breast crease in an anchor shape.
Prior to the surgery, Dr. Aston makes measurements and markings on the breast to give the desired shape and contour. During surgery, Dr. Aston makes the necessary incisions, and then he lifts and reshapes the breast tissue into its new, rejuvenated contour. He moves the nipple and areola higher on the breast and removes extra skin around the perimeter if the areola is enlarged. Excess breast skin is removed and the incisions is closed with stitches. Some of the incisions are hidden in the breast crease. Others will be visible. All scars will mature with time.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY LIKE?
After surgery, a saran wrap-like bandage is placed on the breasts so you can get in the shower the same day or the next morning. No bra is recommended during the first few days following surgery. You can be up and walking around immediately after surgery.
The breasts will be uncomfortable but are not usually very painful. This will pass in a few days. One can be outside and in public the very next morning. Any numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides. Sutures are usually removed on the 5th or 6th day following the surgery.
WILL I LIKE THE RESULTS ?
If you agreed on realistic goals with Dr. Aston, you should be very satisfied with the look of your lifted breasts. You will be able to see the results of your mastopexy immediately after surgery, and you may become even more satisfied as swelling goes down and incision lines fade.
Plan Your Procedure
- Procedure Recovery Location
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Complications of a breast lift are rare. Listed here are some of the possibilities — however they are uncommon:
- Temporary or permanent numbness in the nipple or areola
- Uneven positioning or shape of breasts or nipples
- Widening of scars
- Poor incision healing
- Damage or necrosis of breast tissues
- Need for revision surgery
Dr. Aston will discuss all the risks and benefits of a breast lift with you.
The policy of our office is to preserve patient confidentiality. During your consultation, you will be able to view pre-operative and post-operative photographs of patients who have given us permission to show their photographs.
Breast Lift FAQS
LIFT OR AUGMENTATION?
It depends on the patient’s aesthetic goals and the current breast form. A breast lift will help correct a sagging, drooping breast. Many times after this surgery, patients are happy with their breast size because the lift alone creates a fuller breast. If the patient wishes to have more volume and increase the breast size, implants will resolve this issue. Before surgery, a thorough consultation and assessment will be provided, and the surgeon will recommend if a lift alone is all that is needed, or if an augmentation and a lift may be done as a combination surgery.
It is common in a breast lift procedure that the nipple is repositioned so that it looks proportional to the newly shaped breast. When excess skin is trimmed away, a portion of an overly stretched areola (the colored skin around the nipple) is simultaneously trimmed away. The goal is for the nipple and areola to be within a normal size and position.
HOW BAD IS SCARRING?
When incisions are made to trim away the skin, scars are an inevitable part of the process. Plastic surgeons are experts when it comes to minimizing scarring with precise techniques when it comes to incisions and suturing. A post-surgery scar care program will be provided, and patients are strongly encouraged to follow the plan so that healing is healthy and quick.
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