A breast lift is a common cosmetic surgery procedure that many women seek to improve the position and appearance of their breasts. Also known as mastopexy, breast lift procedures tighten the breasts' skin by removing excess skin and elevating the breasts to achieve a more youthful appearance. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 100,000 of these procedures are performed in the U.S. on an annual basis. There are multiple causes of breast ptosis (drooping). The etiologies can include:
As we age, our bodies begin to change shape. The skin starts to lose its elasticity, making us look older and less vibrant. The breasts are especially susceptible to the effects of gravity. This natural sagging is known as ptosis, and it can be exacerbated by many of the factors listed above. The ligaments connecting the breast tissue to the chest wall can begin to stretch over time as well, causing the breasts to droop more and more.
There are several stages of ptosis that are marked by the downward movement of the nipples and the breast tissue. The main stages of ptosis are determined relative to the fold beneath the breasts (infra-mammary fold) and are categorized as such:
In some cases, the areola also gets larger over time. Breast lifts can correct these conditions by changing the position of the nipples, raising the breast tissue, and tightening the overall appearance of the breasts. This helps create a more youthful profile, restoring you to the figure you once enjoyed.
There are a variety of mastopexy procedures designed to help improve breast sagging. Using one of several incision types, Dr. Davidson can reposition the underlying breast tissue and change the position of the nipples. Enlarged areolas can be corrected by removing the excess skin. Other excess breast skin will usually also need to be removed to compensate for the reduced elasticity. The new position of the breasts will be higher and more naturally youthful.
When preparing for surgery, Dr. Davidson may ask you to take some precautionary steps. He may prescribe medications or antibiotics and request a mammogram to track any possible changes in your breast tissue. If you are a smoker, it is best to quit nicotine products at least several months before surgery to reduce the risk of complications and help speed up your recovery process. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs should also be avoided, as they can increase bleeding.
A breast lift is not useful for changing the size of your breasts. If you are concerned about the loss of volume following pregnancy or weight loss, or you just want larger breasts in general, you may want to consider combining your breast lift with a breast augmentation. Women who want to reduce the size of their breasts can combine their breast lift with a breast reduction. Recovery times are generally not increased by combining procedures.