BREAST LIFT (Mastopexy)*

A woman's breasts can change with time and often lose their firmness, fullness and elasticity. Sometimes they can become droopy or even sag. A breast lift can reverse this by removing the excess skin and reshaping the surrounding tissue to tighten and lift the breast. Sometimes the nipple-areola becomes enlarged with time, and this procedure can reduce its size.

A breast lift won't increase or decrease the size of the breast. Either an augmentation or a breast reduction would be needed to do that. Often, an augmentation can be done at the same time as a breast lift.

A breast lift may help patients who are healthy and have reasonable expectations, who feel that their breasts sag. It can also help patients who have lost shape and volume, whose breasts have a flatter, elongated shape or are pendulous, patients whose nipple and areola point downward, patients whose nipples fall below the crease of the breast, and patients with stretched skin or enlarged areolas, and those with one breast which is lower than the other.

Incisions for breast lift can be made using three differenct techniques: 1) The scar can be around the areola only; 2) The scar can extend around the areola and then go vertically down toward the chest wall; or 3) The scar can go around the areola, down to the chest wall and underneath the breast crease in an "anchor shape".

A consultation with the doctor is central to finding out which approach is best for you. It is important to discuss your goals for surgery, why you want the surgery and what you expect from it. you should also be prepared to discuss whether you have had previous surgeries, any personal or family history or breast cancer, and to review any other medical problems. After the interview, a physical examination will be performed. After that you and your doctor can discuss the pros, cons, and risks of doing the procedure. Together, you can come up with a plan for surgery.

*a portion of this information was paraphrased from a publication of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons.