Introduction to Breast Lift
Breast Lift, also known as mastopexy, restores the breast to a more attractive, youthful shape and elevates the nipple to a higher position. If you or your friend are considering Breast Lift or if you are only interested in more information about the procedure, please call us at (714) 500-0050 for a consultation with Dr. Luu Doan. You can also email us by clicking here to schedule a consultation or to get answers to any of your questions regarding the procedure.
As a woman ages, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, the force of gravity, weight loss, and environmental effects such as smoking and sun-induced skin damage all combine to cause breasts to sag. Breast lift, or mastopexy, is designed to remove excess sagging skin, thereby rejuvenating the breast shape and elevating the nipple to a more youthful position. The procedure can also narrow the areola diameter.
The vast majority of women also choose to have a breast implant placed in conjunction with the breast lift in order to restore breast volume and to gain more upper breast fullness.
Breast Lift Surgery
The Breast Lift surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia in our medicare-accredited, state-of-the-art Newport Coast Surgical Center. The operation takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to perform and you will be monitored by an anesthesiologist throughout the procedure.
Breast Lift surgery usually takes about 2:00 hours depending on the technique, size of the breasts, severity of sagginess, and if breast implants are being used to augment the breasts as well. Equally important factors include the technical expertise of the surgeon and the amount of correction needed. Your surgery may take longer if other procedures are being performed in conjunction with your breast lift such as breast reduction or non breast-related procedures.
The basic elements of any Breast Lift involve making an incision around the new areola to make the new circumference smaller. This also serves to free up the areola from surrounding skin so that it can be moved upwards. If a breast implant is being used for augmentation or to correct asymmetry, it is inserted through the areola incision at this point. The actual breast lift incisions are then made according to the markings shown in the diagrams above. After the premarked incisions are made, the loose flaccid skin is removed from underneath the breast (for an anchor or lollipop lift) or from the central portion of the breast (for a donut lift) depending on the technique being used. The cut skin edges are drawn together and closed with absorbable sutures, lifting the breast to a new higher position. The areola is also elevated to a higher, more youthful position.
Only a thorough and candid discussion between you and Dr. Doan can determine the best options for you. Doctor Doan will discuss with you in detail every step of the procedure and he will review with you the possible complications of the operation.
Recovery From Breast Lift Surgery
You will likely feel achy pain, stretching of the skin, and a pressure feeling over your chest for several days after the surgery. You should be up and about the next day to prevent blood clots from developing in the veins of the legs. You will be prescribed medication to control the pain, nausea, and possible chest muscle spasms. You will also be prescribed antibiotic pills to prevent infection. You need to wear a soft surgical bra for six weeks. Doctor Doan will instruct you on breast massage and will outline the activity limitations. The sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed. Most women will be able to return to work in 5 to 7 days and will be able to return to their normal exercise routine by 4 to 6 weeks. Complete healing with resolution of the swelling and descent of the implant to a more natural position takes 2 to 3 months. The scar requires 12 to 18 months to fade, flatten, and soften. Doctor Doan and his staff will guide you through the entire recovery period to make sure that it is as smooth as possible.
Complications of Breast Lift Surgery
If you are a healthy candidate with no pre-existing disorders or diseases which may inhibit healing, the general risks of Breast Lift surgery are very low. However, since it is indeed surgery, there are inherent risks you must consider before choosing to undergo a procedure such as this. Potential complications associated with Breast Lift surgery may include the following:
Infection: Infection can occur if bacteria are introduced during surgery by contaminated implants or instruments. It can be caused by normal skin surface bacteria that survive the anti-microbial scrubbing of the skin. Infection can also occur if bacteria are introduced through an open incision or from pre-existing infections in the body (including disruption of mouth plaque).
Bleeding: Bleeding may occur 48 hours after breast augmentation if a blood vessel opens up spontaneously and begins to bleed. The other possibility is that the muscle or capsule is torn by sudden heavy lifting too soon after surgery and begins to fill the breast pocket with blood.
Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars: This is usually hereditary and is based on your genetic potential for healing. This occurs when the scar tissue forms outside the area of the wound. It can result in thick, elevated, and wide scars.
Asymmetry: This occurs when one breast or nipple may appear higher or larger than the other breast.
Loss of Sensation (Numbness): Loss of sensation is common right after surgery. Nerve endings are cut during this surgery, so you must be patient until they regenerate and sensations begin to return. This can take up to a year but usually only takes several months for the sensation to return. However permanent sensation loss in the areola (nipple) area or breasts, in general, can and may happen.
Wound Separation: The separation of the wound edges may be an issue in some cases. If this occurs, keep the area very clean and contact your surgeon as soon as possible. Revision surgeries are rarely necessary but may be required in some cases. The healing process will take longer for a patient with wound separation than it would be in a patient with normal wound healing.