Over time, most women experience a loss of breast elasticity and firmness that alters the position and shape of their breasts and areolas. For some women, this can negatively impact their body image, self-confidence, self-esteem and sexuality. Mastopexy, or a breast lift, is a surgical procedure that addresses sagging breasts by removing excess breast skin, tightening the remaining skin and raising the areola into a new position. A breast lift can be mentally and physically transformative, giving patients a boost of confidence and a youthful figure. A mastopexy can be performed alone or in conjunction with breast augmentation/reduction to reverse the effects of:
- Weight fluctuations
Is a Breast Lift Right for Me?
Dr. Andrews can help you determine if a breast lift is the best procedure to reach your aesthetic goals. Your health is of utmost importance; therefore, you will first be evaluated to ensure that you are healthy for surgery. Good candidates for a breast lift should not smoke or have dramatic weight fluctuations. We do not recommend breast lifts for patients who are still in their childbearing years or who are breastfeeding because pregnancy, hormonal changes and nursing can undermine the breast lift procedure. A breast lift may be right for you if you have any of the following issues:
- Nipples rest below the fold where the breast meets the rib cage
- Nipples point downward
- Elongated breasts
- Enlarged areolas
- Stretched breast skin
- Asymmetrical size and shape of breasts
The Breast Lift Procedure
Dr. Andrews uses four different breast lift techniques: periareolar, lollipop or anchor. Determining which procedure is best suited for you is based on:
- The degree of breast sagging
- Breast size
- Breast shape
- Areola size
- Areola position
- The amount of extra breast skin
- The elasticity of the breast skin
- If additional breast procedures are being performed at the same time
After careful consideration of your breast anatomy, Dr. Andrews will recommend the breast lift technique that is best suited for your breasts. Each surgical procedure has a different incision to address specific breast concerns. Minor breast sagging can often be corrected with a minimally invasive surgical technique, whereas severe sagging and areola distortion may require a more invasive surgical procedure.
Also called the donut technique, the periareolar technique involves two circular incisions: one around the entire border of the areola and a second incision spaced away from the areola. The donut-shaped tissue is removed, the areola is repositioned, breast skin is pulled toward the areola and sutures are placed to hold the lift in place. The periareolar technique is a minimally invasive surgery that provides a small degree of lift. It is best suited for patients with small breasts or a minor degree of sagging. It is also a great option for women who want to reduce the size of their areola.
The lollipop technique, also called the vertical technique, is a more invasive breast lift procedure that is tailored toward larger breasts or breasts with moderate to severe sagging. It provides a high degree of lift. The lollipop technique places a circular incision around the areola. The second incision resembles an old-fashioned keyhole, with a half-circle incision above and around the areola that continues down each side of the areola into a point at the base of the breast. The breast skin is removed, the areola is lifted into the upper portion of the incision, the breast skin below the areola is pulled together into a vertical line and sutures are placed in the midline of the breast and around the areola to hold the new breast position in place.
The anchor technique is the most common breast lift procedure. It is the most invasive of the four methods and removes a considerable amount of skin from the lower portion of the breast, enabling it to provide the most significant amount of lift. It is particularly useful for treating severe breast sagging or large breasts. One incision is placed around the entire border of the areola while the second incision resembles an anchor that starts above the areola to create a half-circle around the areola and then fans out to the sides of the breast and down to the crease where the breast meets the ribcage. The anchor-shaped skin is removed, the areola is repositioned in the upper incision and the remaining skin on the underside of the breast is pulled upward to lift the breast into place. Sutures hold the entire breast in its new position.
The Day of Your Breast Lift Procedure
Someone will need to come with you on the day of your procedure so that you have a driver to take you home. Dr. Andrews will review the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have. He will draw incision guidelines on your breasts. Local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia will be given to you, based on the surgical technique being used and your comfort level. Once you are sedated, incisions will be made and the breast skin that will be removed is carefully separated from the breast tissue while leaving the areola intact. The areola is repositioned into its new, raised location on your breast and the breast skin is brought together and secured with sutures or staples. Surgical bandages are applied to protect and secure the area. The entire procedure may take two to three hours. Afterward, we will observe you for a few hours in the recovery room to ensure you are safe to return home. Typically, a breast lift is an outpatient procedure and most patients go home the day of surgery.
Recovering After a Breast Lift
In the first few days after your breast lift, you can expect minor soreness and pain along the incisions. Pain medication may be used to ease your discomfort. You may also have bruising and swelling on your breasts for approximately two weeks. Wearing a compression garment or surgical support bra will minimize these symptoms and aid the healing process. Some patients experience numbness in the breast skin, areola or nipples that can last up to 12 weeks. This is common and should resolve over time. As your incisions heal over the next few months, they may appear pink or shiny. Avoid sun exposure to minimize discoloration.
Do not exert yourself, lift heavy objects or perform strenuous exercise until Dr. Andrews clears you to do so. Sleep on your back to avoid compressing your breasts. Carefully following your home-care instructions and resting in the early days of your recovery will help the healing process and lessen the chances of complications.
What Results Can I Expect After a Breast Lift?
You will immediately notice that your breasts sit higher and your areolas point forward or outward, in a natural and youthful fashion. Your breasts may also feel firmer because the sagging has been eliminated. Your incisions may feel lumpy and look red following your procedure. While there will be scarring, the incisions will diminish in size and color in the next one to two years and are usually hidden by undergarments or bathing suits.
You will continue to notice an improvement in your breasts’ appearance and feel as the incisions heal and the swelling diminishes. The removal of excess skin makes the entire breast tighter and rounder; thus, some patients may notice that their breasts are slightly smaller. While a breast lift cannot stop the natural aging process, you can expect your breast lift to give you beautiful, more youthful breasts that will last for years to come.
How is Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery Different?
The team at Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery wants to help you feel like your best self. They will not pressure you into unnecessary procedures or provide procedures that won’t accomplish your goals. Instead, they will listen to your concerns and offer their expert medical guidance. The decision is yours, but with their expertise and training, rest assured that all of your questions will be answered and a customized plan will be made that meets your specific needs.
All breast lifts are performed at Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, located in Coralville, Iowa. We are pleased to serve the neighboring communities of Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Dubuque and the Quad Cities.
Contact Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery
A breast lift can restore your breasts to a more youthful appearance and enhance your overall figure. The best way to learn if a breast lift is right for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Andrews. He will listen carefully to your concerns and goals, evaluate your current breast tissue, consider your overall health and advise which procedure or combination of procedures will help you achieve the look you desire. To schedule your consultation, call Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery at 319-800-6877.