Breast Lift Q&A
An “Uplifting” Experience
Time can take its toll on the breasts through pregnancy, nursing, and natural aging/ Heredity can also be a factor in the shape of a woman’s breast. If you feel that you have lost the youthful shape and firmness of your breasts a procedure called mastopexy, or breast lift, can raise and reshape sagging breasts. In some cases, a breast life can also modify your breasts by reducing and/or reshaping the areola (the circular pigmented area around the nipple). A breast enlargement procedure can also be done at the same time to provide additional fullness.
How is the breast lift procedure performed?
A breast lift or mastopexy procedure consists of incisions being made in order for the surgeon to remove excess skin, reposition the nipple to a higher position, and reshape the breast. Several variations of the procedure exist and your surgeon will decide which technique is best for you depending on your breast shape, fullness, and the desired result.
- The full lift, or anchor-shaped lift, is probably the most commonly performed method. Incisions are made around the areola, vertically beneath the areola to the fold, and horizontally along the natural contour of the breast.
- A periareolar or doughnut mastopexy can be done on patients who have minimal sagging and relatively smaller breasts. This procedure involves a circular incision around the areola, allowing the surgeon to remove some excess skin, resize the areola, and reshape the breast.
If you are adding fullness with an enlargement procedure, an implant will be inserted either under the breast tissue or behind the pectoralis muscle. Your surgeon will determine your best option.
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What will I look and feel like afterward?
*Immediately after surgery you will notice some soreness, swelling, and bruising. You will be up and about the next day, but not exerting yourself. Your surgeon will be able to prescribe medication to control any discomfort.
*After a couple of weeks, the stitches will be gone and bruising will be greatly reduced. Incisions will still be red to pink but will continue to fade with time. Puffiness or swelling may still be present and you might experience numbness around the nipple area and itching as the nerves and tissue heal.
*During the first 5 to 10 days, the bruising and swelling will reach the highest point and begin to fade. Bandages will be changed regularly and stitches will begin to dissolve. You can probably resume light activity but should refrain from lifting.
*After four weeks you may be able to discontinue use of the special bra and begin lifting. You must avoid sun exposure on your breasts for many months and take special care of the incision sites. Be sure to clear all activity with your surgeon.
Will I have to be in the hospital?
The breast lift surgery is considered an outpatient procedure, and you will most likely return to the comfort of your own home the same day. You will need someone to take you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours. The procedure may be done in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center, or in your surgeons’s office-based surgical suite. Most commonly, general anesthesia is used so you will “sleep” through the procedure. Although this procedure can be done under local anesthesia with intravenous medications; Dr. Tom Trevisani uses only general anesthesia to allow for the utmost safety and proficiency. You will have bandages covering the incisions and will be dressed in a surgical or approved sports bra.
When can I go back to work?
Provided you don’t do any lifting, you can most likely return to work in a week or two.
What kind of follow-up care will I need?
To monitor your progress and to insure you are taking care of yourself properly, you will return to your surgeon’s office for a post-operative follow-up visit almost immediately, and then periodically thereafter. If an enlargement was done, you will be instructed on post-operative care that involves breast massaging. Following postoperative programs, such as implant massage, is crucial for the long-term effectiveness of your procedure.
What kind of risk is involved?
Mastopexy is a safe procedure performed on thousands of women each year with no major complications. As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks. Your surgeon can detail these for you in a personal consultation. Remember that you can do your part in minimizing complications by asking questions during the consultation and following the before an after surgery instructions of the physician and staff.
Thomas Trevisani, MD
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
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