Georgeanna Huang, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

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Breast Lift
The skin envelope of the breast undeniably succumbs to the forces of gravity with time.  You may feel that your breasts now “sag” as they fall down on the chest or your nipples may point downward instead of forward.

How do you correct the “sagging,” or ptosis?

If you are tired of having to hide behind pushup bras and feeling self-conscious at the gym or beach, there are surgical options available.  It would be worth a few moments to clarify what your goals are.  If your goal is to have a roundness or fullness to the top of your breast, an implant will most likely be necessary.  Sometimes an implant is enough to stretch out the skin and temporarily hold off on a formal lift procedure.  However, if your nipples do point in a downward direction, you most likely will need a lift procedure, with or without an implant.

A mastopexy, or breast lift, involves relocation of the nipple areolar complex and the breast tissue to a normal position.  If only a mild degree of “sagging” exists, the scar can be limited to just the circular border of the areola.  The tradeoff is that the breast can become somewhat flattened, or lose its cone like projection.  More often, a “lollipop” scar pattern is necessary to move the nipple as well as retighten the skin envelope.  In the most severe cases, the “lollipop” scar extends under the breast.  You may have heard the terms, “anchor,” “keyhole pattern,” or “inverted T” to describe the scar pattern as some surgeons will extend this scar across the entire bottom side of the breast.  It is our practice to limit this scar only out to the side if necessary, like a “J.”

What should I expect at surgery?

You should be at a stable weight, not have breast fed for at least 6 months, and should not be smoking.

The Day Before:  Extensive markings delineating the surgical plan
The Big Day:  Surgery, go home the same day, with or without drains
Day One:  You may shower, even with drains, over your waterproof dressings
Week One:  Dressings and drains removed, begin scar care
Month One:  No heavy lifting over 10 pounds or aerobic activity
Year One:  Regular followup for any post surgical changes, resume mammograms

Are there any postsurgical effects I should be concerned about?

Complications that may require additional surgery include a blood collection in the breast (hematoma), nipple death, fat necrosis, and tethering from excessive internal scar formation.  Other minor complications that may occur include delayed wound healing, infection, a fluid collection in the breast (seroma), numbness, and areolar wrinkling.  Most of these will resolve without any surgical intervention.

If you have an implant placed at the same time, there is a risk of capsular contracture, which is your own tissue’s reaction to having a “foreign body” (the implant) in it.  Please refer to the breast augmentation section to learn more about implants.  Depending on the quality of your skin, it may continue to stretch with time and “sagging” may occur again later on down the road.

Any other questions?

 We encourage you to ask questions so that you feel comfortable and informed in making this important decision for yourself.  If there is a question we have not answered, please do not hesitate to call us.

 
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is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with subspecialty training in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast.
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