Dr. Ting Wang, A Leader of Asian Plastic Surgery

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Breast Lift

The breast is made up of an outer skin envelope and inner stuffing—breast tissue and fat. When the breast sags, it's usually because the envelope is too big for the stuffing. Age, pregnancy, weight loss or gain, and genetics all contribute to changes in the breasts. Sagging, flattened breasts, with an elongated shape and a nipple/areola complex that is pointed downward results from a condition called ptosis. In profile views of more pronounced cases of ptosis, the nipple/areola complex of an unsupported breast hangs visibly lower than the breast crease. For these women, wearing a support bra is a necessity to maintain a more normal appearance.

Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, returns the breast to a more youthful shape and position. The nipple and areola are moved to a higher natural point of projection. Underlying breast tissue is tightened and sagging breast skin is reduced. It's also possible to reduce the size of an enlarged areola. The result is perky breasts even without the constant support of a bra.

A breast lift does not change the amount of breast tissue a woman has, but does change the shape, which can affect your overall breast size. If size is important to you, an implant can be inserted during your breast lift to enhance size or firmness.

HOW IT'S DONE

When you want to lift the breast, there are three options. You can decrease the size of the skin envelope, you can increase the size of the stuffing or you can do a combination of both. A breast lift, with or without an implant, is generally performed under local anesthetic with sedation or general anesthesia. Incisions are made to sculpt the new breast position and raise the nipple/areola complex. Incision patterns may include one or more of the following:

  • Around the areola
  • Vertically down from the areola to the breast crease
  • Horizontally at the breast crease

The recommended technique for your breast lift will be based on your breast size and shape, and the size and position of your nipple/areola complex. Equally important is the degree of breast ptosis, or sagging; the elasticity of your skin; and the amount of excess skin that your plastic surgeon plans to remove.

The new shape and position of your breasts will be visible immediately after surgery, however the new look will settle a bit over the following few weeks. Breast lift surgery is the only permanent way to restore a youthful body contour to the breasts. No amount of exercise or breast firming cream has ever been proven to produce measurable visible results.

Anesthesia

Either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation.

In or Out

Breast augmentations, lifts and, in many cases, reductions are commonly outpatient procedures. Surgery takes place in an office-based surgical suite, a freestanding ambulatory facility or a hospital surgical facility. For some women, an overnight hospital stay is occasionally recommended.

After Breast Lift Surgery

You'll wake up after surgery wearing a support bra that was either purchased before surgery or supplied by your plastic surgeon. In the case of breast reconstruction, you may be simply wrapped with a surgical dressing like gauze. You may have small, thin tubes placed in your incisions to drain any excess fluid, or a tube that is attached to a pain pump. You'll be stiff and sore; however, alert your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or develop a tense, swollen breast. You should be up and walking around the day of surgery. If you are not staying in the hospital overnight, you will need a responsible adult to care for you and monitor your condition for at least 24 hours after you arrive home.

Side Effects

  • Breast tenderness
  • Swelling and minor bruising
  • Regional tightness or discomfort
  • Redness, discomfort or itching at the incision sites
  • Heightened or decreased breast sensation

Special Considerations

Sleep on your back in a reclining position for the first few days following breast lift surgery. During recovery, follow all instructions for proper breast support, including sleeping in your support bra if instructed. Start walking around and doing light activity as soon as possible.

Back to Work

Return to work within a week or two, give or take a few days, depending on the extent and type of procedure and physical activity required at your job. Scars begin to fade within three months; topical steroid cream or silicone gel can promote healing and reduce the chance of developing raised, red or irregular scars.