A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a method of removing excess skin to address sagging breasts. Dr. Rachel Walker performs the breast lift for Dallas patients to lift and reshape the breasts and correct asymmetries.
Excessive looseness of the skin is particularly common following pregnancy with breast-feeding and following weight loss. Breast implants alone can improve loose skin if the nipple is at or above the underlying breast fold.
However, if the nipple sags or hangs below the breast fold, placing an implant usually will not adequately raise the nipple, instead creating an unfavorable outcome with the breast still hanging off the implant.
In these cases, the skin must be tightened and the breast reshaped to provide enhancement and rejuvenation. The breast-lift procedure accomplishes this, providing results that look natural and impressive.
There are three common forms of breast lift. In borderline cases, the nipple can be shifted upwards just enough to allow augmentation using a “crescent lift,” which just removes a little wedge of skin and allows repositioning of the nipple and areola only. Often, this is performed on one side only, when there is an asymmetry between the two breasts.
An intermediate form of lift is called a periareolar, or “donut,” lift. In this case, the skin is more widely tightened up around the entire nipple areola, limiting the mastopexy scar to the border of the areola. Newer techniques allow internal tightening of the breast tissue too, which has expanded the application of this lift and allowed us to limit scarring with more mastopexy procedures.
In the case of an extremely droopy breast with most of the gland hanging below the breast fold, a full breast lift is required. The nipple is repositioned to its new ideal location and the skin is tightened up around the entire breast mound, eliminating all or most of the skin which was hanging below the breast fold. In this case, it is necessary to place an incision on the lower pole of the breast which resembles an upside-down T.
These incisions are identical to those used for a breast reduction. However, with a reduction, a significant amount of breast tissue is removed in addition to the skin. These procedures almost never require removal of the nipple, just repositioning, and in most cases sensation and function remain intact.
The Breast Lift with Implants
With each of the mastopexy techniques, breast implants can be placed simultaneously. This combination procedure is often called a breast lift with implants, a breast augmentation with lift, or augmentation mastopexy. It restores volume while decreasing sag and increasing perkiness.
Crescent and periareolar lifts are almost always performed with breast implants. A full breast lift, however, is often performed without an implant, especially when there is already a substantial amount of breast tissue.
With a full mastopexy, placing a very large implant is impractical and may be unsafe, since the breast lift is trying to tighten the skin and the implant is trying to expand it. The implant more commonly ends up slightly out of position.
More importantly, there is significant disruption of the normal blood flow within the breast, and healing problems are far more common when implants are placed at the time of a full mastopexy.
At the time of your examination, we’ll explain this more thoroughly. We’ll determine whether a breast lift without implants or a breast lift with implants is the better option, and we’ll help you make decisions regarding breast augmentation simultaneously or as a future separate procedure.
Future augmentation following a full breast lift can allow both excellent tightening and reshaping, as well as a very large augmentation if that is your goal. Recovery for any of these procedures is similar to that for breast augmentation.
The Recovery and Healing Process After a Breast Lift
The success of a cosmetic procedure is as reliant on the aftercare as it is on the skills and expertise of the surgeon. This is especially true in the case of breast-lift surgery, as the recovery period will determine how the breasts look over time.
It will be important to understand how to care for the incisions, manage any pain and swelling, and know which activities to avoid during healing. Doing this will help to achieve the best breast-lift results possible. Presented here is a guide to recovery and healing after breast-lift surgery.
What to Expect During Breast-Lift Recovery
Because a breast lift is an invasive surgery, some degree of discomfort is expected afterwards. In the 72 hours following the surgery, light to moderate pain is common. In most cases, pain is minimized through prescription pain medication such as non-narcotic analgesics. In a few cases, nausea is triggered by the waning of anesthesia.
In addition, depending on the healing, women can shower after 72 hours. During this time, the breasts may appear full on top and flattened at the bottom. The shape will correct over time, and it is common to experience tightness in the breast skin.
A Week After Surgery
At this time, there is a noticeable alleviation of pain, but swelling and bruising remains. Depending on the patient’s recovery, they may be recommended to return to work and partake in light physical activity such as walking. Intense physical activities such as running or lifting heavy objects are off limits.
Two Weeks After Surgery
Performing daily activities becomes easier by the second week. The patient will notice that the incision marks are healed completely, and they are cleared to take regular baths. Exertion and intense physical activities are still off limits.
Four Weeks After Surgery
Patients are cleared to resume their normal exercise routine. Care should be taken to avoid chest-targeting activities such as tennis or golf.
Six Weeks After Surgery
Six weeks marks the completion of the recovery process. By this time, bruising, pain, and swelling are significantly reduced. The patient can get back to their full exercise regimen, sleep on their sides or stomach, and resume wearing an underwire bra.
Tips for the Recovery Process
Recovery after a breast lift can be shorter and more comfortable when the patient follows Dr. Walker’s instructions as closely as possible. The patient must take pain medication as prescribed by Dr. Walker. Other directions to expedite healing include:
- Coming to the post-operation follow-up appointments
- Refraining from showering until cleared by Dr. Walker
- Wearing a compression garment throughout the recommended period
- Keeping hydrated and eating healthily
- Refraining from removing bandages on one’s own
- Changing one’s sleeping position. It is highly recommended that the patient sleeps with two to three pillows to ensure that the head is elevated.
- Avoiding all forms of physical exercise and any other movements that can make the breasts bounce
The recovery process is unique to each person. While some may experience heightened sensitivity after the operation, others may experience numbness. Healing from incisions also varies. During this period, it becomes very important to maintain a positive outlook.
In a few cases, women may experience intense pain in the breasts during the first menstrual cycle after surgery. Some patients may also experience sporadic pain and tenderness for several months.
Breast Lift Cost
Mastopexy price is impacted by total surgery time, techniques used, anesthesia used, and more. We provide financing through CareCredit and PatientFi for patients worrying about breast lift cost.
Breast Implant Removal with Full Mastopexy
Patient 36 years old, 2 kids
Breast Implant Removal with Full Mastopexy
Contact Us for Your Breast Lift Consultation
If you have breast sagging and asymmetries that make you feel insecure, we suggest that you arrange a breast-lift consultation by contacting our office. During your consultation, experienced plastic surgeon Dr. Rachel Walker will tell you more about getting a breast lift in Dallas, perform a thorough evaluation of your breasts, and show you before and after photos.
Click here to learn more about our innovative simulator tool, Vectra 3D, to further assist you and the doctor during your consultation.