What is a mastopexy (breast lift)? This procedure raises and reshapes sagging breasts by removing redundant breast skin and repositioning the existing breast tissue in an upward and more youthful position. Typically, a breast lift will require an incision around the areola (the pigmented circle that surrounds the nipple) as well as a vertical incision from the low part of the areola to the base of the breast. This design is sometimes referred to as the keyhole incision. In some cases, incisions can be limited to just a circle around the areola, but in other cases the keyhole incision is extended to include a linear component across the base of the breast.
SEMINAR 2: MASTOPEXY
Sometimes patients need to decide between a breast augmentation, breast lift or both. A breast augmentation will add volume and size to the breast. Larger breast implants can also raise nipple position by 1 to 2 cm, thus effectively providing a modest breast lift. Women who just want their breasts to appear more “perky” and raise their nipples, but not necessarily have larger breasts, are better candidates for a breast lift or mastopexy. A combination breast lift and breast augmentation, or augmentation mastopexy, is best suited for women who want their breasts to be perkier, but with more fullness in the upper pole of the breast and more volume. In these cases, a breast lift alone cannot achieve as much upper pole fullness as augmentation mastopexy, and so an implant is used not just to gain size, but to achieve a certain shape.
Click here to view a video on breast lift surgery (mastopexy).
A breast lift is often combined with other procedures that may include:
- Simultaneous breast augmentation and breast lift (augmentation mastopexy). Some patients may benefit from additional breast volume, tightening of the breast skin, and repositioning of the nipples to a more youthful position. This may be best achieved with both a breast lift and a breast augmentation at the same time, or an augmentation mastopexy. This combination is also particularly common in individuals who may be candidates for an extended abdominoplasty because weight fluctuations in these individuals often lead to volume loss and redundant skin of the breasts, abdomen and flanks.
- Liposuction. Removal of fat from the sides, thighs, back and buttocks with standard tumescent liposuction, VASER LipoSelection, or SMART laser-assisted liposuction provides a nice complement to refinement of the abdomen with an abdominoplasty.
- Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Frequently, patients wishing to improve the contour of their abdomen debate between an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck and liposuction. Some individuals can be candidates for either procedure depending on their goals. An abdominoplasty is best for people with loose skin and lack of abdominal muscle tone who have undergone significant weight loss or for women who are dissatisfied with their shape after having had children and are looking for a so-called “mommy makeover.”
Combining breast augmentation with other procedures can be performed efficiently and safely. Click here to read Dr. Tenenbaum’s article on combining breast surgery and abdominoplasty, or here to view a television clip from KMOV of an actual patient who underwent the mommy makeover procedure including breast augmentation with Dr. Myckatyn.
Anesthesia: A mastopexy or breast lift is usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
Length of procedure: 90 to 120 minutes.
Estimated recovery time: You can return to work after 5 to 7 days and should avoid vigorous activities for 3 weeks. Visible bruising should clear up within 2 weeks and swelling begins to resolve within 3 weeks. To learn how to prepare for a mastopexy or breast lift and what to expect afterwards, click here to download our patient instructions.
Side effects: Common side effects include bruising and swelling. The shape of the breast may change over time, and the final result may not be realized for a few months. Click here to download a detailed consent form from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that lists the risks and benefits of a mastopexy.
Before-and-after photos: Click here to view photos of breast lifts with and without implants.