A Breast Lift Can Reshape Sagging Breasts

Breast lift (mastopexy) is a popular procedure that lifts and reshapes droopy breasts. Sagging breasts can be the result of pregnancy, nursing, weight loss or aging. As skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and start to sag.

The best candidates for breast lift are women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts. Larger breasted women may require a breast reduction to lift their breasts.

For patients with small breasts or breasts that have lost volume after pregnancy, breast implants may be required along with breast lift to increase both the breast’s firmness and size.

Breast lift is usually not recommended if the woman plans on having more children as pregnancy can stretch the breasts and deteriorate the results of breast lift.

Patient History and Examination

At University Hospitals, we thoroughly discuss a patient's desires and concerns at the consultation before the procedure. In addition, we do a physical examination and evaluation of the patient's breasts.

The available surgical options, including a description of how the breast lift is performed, are reviewed with the patient. An idea of the results of the procedure, including the limitations and risks of surgery, is also discussed.

During the consultation, we discuss any variable that may affect the procedure such as age, the size and shape of the breasts, the condition of the skin, and whether an implant is advisable.

Performing Breast Lift

Breast lift is performed as an outpatient procedure at University Hospitals. Commonly, general anesthesia is used. The surgical technique and the location of the incisions depend on the patient's anatomy and the extent of the procedure.

Preoperative markings are made with the patient in the sitting or standing position. The nipple and breast are raised and excess skin is removed. The new breast will be higher and firmer. Every effort will be made to ensure that the incision is placed so resulting scars will be as inconspicuous as possible.

A breast lift can create noticeable, permanent scars, although they will be covered by a bra or bathing suit. Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions.

When an implant is inserted along with a breast lift, it is placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall. In most cases, dissolvable sutures are used. The procedure takes between two to four hours depending on the severity and complexity of the case.

Side Effects and Recovery

After surgery, the patient wears an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Patients may be sore for a period of time after surgery. Bruising and/or swelling may last for a few weeks to several months.

Most patients are able to return to work in one to two weeks following surgery. Patients may be required to wear a surgical bra and limit their activities for several weeks.

Results of Breast Lift

After breast lift, patients can expect to see improvement in the appearance of their breasts. The longevity of the results, however, depends on many factors, including the size of the breasts, the quality of the skin and support tissue of the breast, and presence of an implant.

Patients should keep in mind that breast lift will not keep the breasts firm permanently. The effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually cause further sagging of the breasts. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.

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