A breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed to return youthful shape and lift to breasts that have sagged as a result of weight loss, pregnancy, loss of the skin’s natural elasticity or simply the effects of gravity. The procedure can also reduce areolar size (the dark skin surrounding the nipple) and it can be combined with augmentation (breast implants) for added breast volume and firmness. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but results last longest when they are originally small and sagging.

The misnomer with this procedure is many women think an implant alone can give the results of a lift. But in reality this will usually result in larger, saggy breasts. Breast shape and sagging occurs as a result of weight loss, pregnancy, and loss of the skin’s natural elasticity or simply the effects of gravity. This procedure can also reduce areolar size (the dark skin around the nipple) , move nipple up on breast mound and it can be combined with augmentation (breast implants) for added volume and firmness.

Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery since pregnancy and nursing can counteract its effects by stretching the skin. Also, mastopexy may affect your ability to breast feed.

What you see-If you find yourself saying, “I used to have breasts until I had children…or until I lost weight”. Or if the feel & look of your breasts drooping down and resting on your ribs is a problem for you then a mastoplexy is the solution. An augmentation mastopexy (lift with implants) can help restore volume as well as lift the breast placement.

The Best Candidate- The best candidates for Breast Lift are women who have realistic expectations, are physically & psychologically healthy, are not planning pregnancy, a non-smokers and those who can afford a little “down time” for recovery. This procedure is best for women who are happy with breast size just not the relaxation or sagging, and may have unwanted large areola.
Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery since pregnancy and nursing can counteract the effects by stretching the skin. Also mastopexy may effect your ability to breast feed. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but results last longer when they are originally small and sagging.

Risks and Complications- All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk but when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. The common effects of any surgical procedure can be expected and will include: swelling, pain, scarring, bruising, the need for surgical support garment and fatigue from anesthesia.
Complications can include: infection, seroma, hematoma, over/under correction, asymmetry, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) and pulmonary embolism, partial or complete loss of the nipple areola complex, altered nipple sensitivity, problems with wound healing requiring local wound care and the inability to breast-feed.

Before Surgery- Prior to your first appointment you will be asked by the staff to register on My Touch MD, watch relevant videos and read information about the procedure you desire. The surgical consultation with Dr. Harrison will take about an hour. A surgical plan and a discussion of your goals will be agreed upon at this time. Photos will be taken, a detailed medical history and physical will be discussed and we always leave time for you to ask questions. Relevant consent forms will be emailed for review. After your surgery is scheduled you will have a pre-operative appointment to sign consent forms, review the surgical plan, receive prescriptions, discuss pre/post operative written instructions, have blood work done and make any final payments. On patients over the age of 35, Dr. Harrison requires a recent mammogram. You & Dr. Harrison will discuss your goals regarding breast size and upper pole fullness to determine if Implants will be considered.

The Surgery- This procedure is performed at the hospital as an outpatient and usually takes 2-3 hours. Dr. Harrison uses a variety of operative techniques depending upon your goals and the shape of your breasts. Incisions can be placed around the areola with addition incisions placed vertically on the breast and sometimes underneath as well. Adding liposuction of sub-axillary fullness can be an essential part of breast definition. The sutures are placed under the skin so no suture removal is required. You will wake up in recovery with ice packs on your breasts to help minimize swelling and discomfort. Depending upon the placement of the incisions you may or may not be using a surgical bra post-operatively.

After Surgery- You will need to have made arrangements for transportation home from the hospital and someone to assist with your care. During the first 24 hours post-op monitoring every 6 hours of the nipple/areola complex must be done to check for discoloration (turning blue). Continue intermittent use of ice packs to reduce swelling and pain for 3-4 days. Incisions are to be kept clean and dry for the first 48 hours. Remove any gauze dressings before showering. DO NOT remove the tape that is directly on your incisions. Your post-operative appointment will be in 5 days to check the incision sites and then again at 2 weeks post-op. Avoid quick, jerky arm movements as well as heavy lifting for 2 weeks.

Getting Back to Normal- Swelling, soreness, tenderness and numbness should be anticipated for several weeks. Most patients feel like returning to work after only a few weeks recovery. You may resume light activity and non-jarring exercise (no running) after 3 weeks. No heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks. Full activity can resume 6 weeks post op. If liposuction is performed then most of the soreness will be felt in the sub-axillary area (under your armpits). Our general rule with activity is if it hurts…stop doing it. Post-operatively resume monthly self-breast exam and annual mammograms.

Your Results- The great thing about a breast lift is the immediate results…your breasts are back where they belong. Final results of your breast shape are not realized for several weeks, so resist the urge to go shopping for a new bra before 6 weeks post-op. Scars usually fade within months. Nipple sensitivity may take 8-9 months to recover. After this operation you will begin to see yourself differently, your self-image will improve. A mastopexy will produce transient upper pole fullness. Just remember, an implant will need to be utilized to maintain long-term upper pole fullness. Unless you are living on the space station, no surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity (F=ma).

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