What is mastopexy? 
Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity take their toll on a woman's breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts. Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple.

If your breasts are small or have lost volume--for example, after pregnancy--breast implants inserted in conjunction with mastopexy can increase both their firmness and their size.

Things to consider prior to surgery.
You will most likely be unable to breastfeed after any kind of breast surgery. In addition, nipple sensation, although rare, may change after surgery from numbness to hypersensitivity. All women should get a baseline mammogram before surgery, if they are over 35 years of age.

 

What does the consultation involve?
Dr. Kim will evaluate your medical history as well as evaluate the shape of your breasts, the contour of your breasts, the skin elasticity and tone of your skin, your nipple position, the size of your areola, your weight and body habitus and the presence of subtle asymmetries that most women have between breasts.


What does the procedure involve?
Mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast. As a consequence, the shape of the breast, the size and shape of the nipple areola have a much more youthful appearance.

Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the "doughnut (or concentric or periareolar) mastopexy," in which circular incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.

What do I expect after surgery?
You will be sore and swollen during the recovery which will be treated with medication. You will be required to wear a surgibra or a sportsbra for a few weeks and also limit your arm movements during the healing phase. Most patients feel close to normal after 10-14 days. Although regular activities like walking and paperwork or cooking can be done in a 2 weeks time, you must avoid strenuous exercise, lifting, or straining for a few weeks. If you have implants, they will appear to be sitting very high initially on your chest but they will settle to a more natural position in several weeks. You should get a mammogram approximately one year after surgery for baseline. It is very important to inform the mammographer that you have implants so that they can apply a special technique to visualize your breast tissue. Breast implants are not associated with the development of breast cancer and also have not been linked to development of autoimmune diseases, collagen vascular diseases, or joint problems.

What are some of the potential risks?
As with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications or a reaction to the anesthesia. Mastopexy provides improved contour to your breasts, however, you are trading the scar to achieve that lift. Scars mature and fade over a period of time, at least 6 months. If you smoke, or have medical conditions that impede your healing ability, then there is a greater chance that you would develop healing problems or widened scars. Some of the other risks are nipple sensory changes, asymmetry, infection, hematoma, and seroma. If you are interested in getting pregnant or breastfeed, you can discuss your concerns during your consultation as well. Following your preoperative and postoperative instructions are very important to minimize your chances of developing complications.