Also known as mastopexy, a breast lift raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. It is a cosmetic procedure performed to fulfill your personal desire for more shapely breasts or to restore breast contour after weight reduction or pregnancy. Breast implants may be inserted at the same time as breast lift or at a later procedure to provide a fuller, natural appearing breasts and a more balanced figure.
Consultation with Dr Philip Fleming is the best way to determine how breast lift can help you achieve your personal goals. Dr Fleming is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc and he has more than 25 years of experience in performing breast lift. The following is an overview of the breast lift procedure.
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Breast lift is most commonly performed under general anesthesia. You will be asleep and under the care of a board-certified MD anesthesiologist and a board-certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA). These health professionals will monitor you during your procedure, ensuring that you have a safe and pleasant experience.
Step 2 – The incision
Your incision will be made in an inconspicuous location to minimize visible scarring. Incision options include:
Around the Areola
Around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease
Around the areola, vertically down to the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease
Incision locations vary based on the degree of excess skin present, nipple areola size and position, and patient-surgeon preference.
Step 3 – Reshaping Your Breasts
After your doctor makes the incisions:
- The underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness.
- The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height.
- If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter.
- Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity.
Options for Breast Implants
Saline implants are filled with sterile salt water. They can be filled with varying amounts of saline which can affect the shape, firmness and feel of the breast. Should the implant shell leak, a saline implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body.
Silicone implants are filled with an elastic gel. The gel feels and moves much like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket.
A leaking implant filled with silicone gel may not collapse. If you choose these implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can assess the condition of breast implants.
Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of implants, so there may be additional options available.
Currently Saline implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women 18 years of age and older.
Currently Silicone implants are FDA-approved for augmentation in women 22 years of age and older.
Saline or silicone implants may be recommended at a younger age if used for reconstruction purposes.
Step 4 – Insertion and Placement of the implants (If required)
After the incision is made, a space (pocket) is formed by separating tissue layers. The pocket may be created in either of the following locations:
- Under the pectoral muscle (a submuscular placement), or
- Directly behind the breast tissue, over the pectoral muscle (a submammary/ subglandular placement)
The method for inserting and positioning implants depends on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your body type, and your surgeon’s recommendations.
Step 5 – Closing the incisions
After your breasts are reshaped and excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is tightened as the incisions are closed.
Some incision lines resulting from breast lift are concealed in the natural breast contours; however, others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.
Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin.
Step 6 – The Results
The results of your breast lift surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade.
Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for breasts which have been restored to a more youthful and uplifted position.