What is a mastopexy?
A breast lift or mastopexy is a procedure that is performed to correct sagging or drooping of the breasts that may be a result of pregnancies, breast-feeding, weight loss, or heredity. As most women age, their breast tissue is gradually replaced by fatty tissue and breasts may lose their youthful appearance. Skin stretch associated with a downward pointing of the nipple is called ptosis. A mastopexy is designed to remove the excess skin and reshape the breast to correct sagging. Incisions for this procedure vary according to the degree of ptosis. It is generally a good idea to be sure that you are finished having children and close to your desired weight before considering a mastopexy.
The surgical procedure can take from one to three hours, depending on the extent of the problems and procedure selected. For some, the quality of the skin may be extremely thin, and an internal type of support or scaffold may be recommended. (Watch Internal Bra Video Here) Other women may want a breast lift and more volume as well. For these women a small breast implant may be considered. More complex problems such as existing asymmetries or previous implant surgeries will be carefully evaluated and may require more involved education and planning. Patients will be sore after surgery, and pain is usually controlled with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Daily activities can usually be resumed in 24 to 48 hours, and exercise two weeks after the procedure. Like any elective surgery involving skin flaps, patients must be non-smokers.
When do I need a mastopexy, a breast augmentation, or both?
Too often, plastic surgeons recommend a breast augmentation as a means to correct breast ptosis, or droop. One of the leading causes of revision surgeries associated with breast augmentation is the use of large, round breast implants to correct this problem, without considering the long-term consequences. An over sized breast implant, used to “tighten” and “lift” the breast, will inevitably produce a worsening of the overstretched and thinned tissues. In addition, many women considering a breast lift may be happy with their cup size. Only women who are sure that they want to become a larger cup size should consider getting implant surgery.
The decision to lift a breast, perform a breast augmentation or do both should only be made after careful pre-operative measurements and an evaluation of the skin quality. The Vectra 3D has dramatically improved patient education and is part of every consultation for breast lifts and breast augmentation. This imaging allows patients to “see” their possible outcome after a breast lift, and they can visualize their possible shape, size, and even the location of their scars. After 25 years of experience, I have learned that many women are very happy with a lift alone, or an augmentation alone. Some patients may want to stage their procedures and decide if and when they have reached their own personal aesthetic goals.