Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery in San Francisco
Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts—at least for a time. (No surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity.) 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 in conjunction with mastopexy can increase both their firmness and their size.
The Best Candidates For A Breast Lift
The best candidates for breast lifts are healthy, emotionally-stable women who are realistic about what the surgery can accomplish. The best breast lift results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts.
Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you’re planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn’t interfere with breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
The Breast Lift Procedure
Mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. Techniques vary, but the most common brest lift 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.
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 “vertical mastopexy”, in which incisions are made around the areola and a vertical incision extends down the breast.
If you’re having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall.
After Your Breast Lift
After surgery, you’ll wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with prescribed medications.
Within a few days, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced. You’ll need to wear your sports bra around the clock for six weeks, over a layer of gauze. The stitches will be removed after a week or two.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day. Be careful not to tug at your skin in the process, and keep the moisturizer away from the suture areas. You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.
*Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person.
Getting Back to Normal After Breast Lift Surgery
Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. If you have any unusual symptoms, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Rajagopal.
You may be instructed to avoid sex and strenuous sports for six weeks. After that, you can resume these activities slowly. If you become pregnant, the operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples will be left intact.
How Much does a Breast Lift Cost?
Learn about financing options, discounts and cost of breast lift on our costs & financing page.
If you have any questions regarding Breast Lift Surgery at our San Francisco office, or wish to schedule a consultation with Usha Rajagopal, MD in San Francisco, California, please call the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center at 415-392-3333.