Ronald J. Edelson, M.D.
Phone: +1 858-452-9900
9339 Genesee Ave, San Diego,
CA 92121, United States

Breast Lift

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The Breast Lift- Mastopexy

The medical term for the condition is called “mammary ptosis”, and although it sounds nicer saying droopy or saggy breasts. This is a little consolation for the women who have this condition. Ptotic, or droopy, breasts are a source for women to feel self-conscious whether clothed or naked. The causes are many. Breasts may sag after child bearing and breast feeding or following weight loss. In many cases, the breasts just develop that way on their own. To make matters worse, it is usually also accompanied by asymmetry, which also must be dealt with.

Correction of Mammary Ptosis may be done with or without breast implants. There are numerous procedures designed to lift the breasts. Dr. Edelson has broad experience with the techniques used in mastopexy and will advise you on the best way to achieve full perky beautiful breasts.

Understanding the Procedure

There are many types of breast lifts used today. A breast implant, saline or silicone, may be necessary depending on how much breast tissue is present and the desired size to be achieved. The key to all breast lifts is to reposition the nipple at its proper location on the breast, since with drooping the nipple starts out too low down. Specific measurements of the breast are made to determine where to move the nipple. The skin of the lower portion of the breast is then tightened, cutting our the excess skin. Moving the nipple and tightening the skin means that mastopexy inevitably involves scars around the circumference of the areola and on the lower portion of the breasts. There are different types of mastopexy scars depending on the surgeon as well as how far the breast needs to be lifted, but all attempts are made to make the scars as fine as possible.

Like breast augmentation, mastopexy is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure can take 2-3 hours depending on the type of mastopexy performed. Recovery is similar to that for breast augmentation but may require a few extra days. Most patients can return to work in one week and exercise at 3 weeks after surgery.

Breast Lift FAQs

Can a large areola be reduced at the same time?

Yes, in both mastopexy and breast reduction, the procedure is planned to reduce the diameter of the areola by the design of the skin pattern. The areola is reduced to about 4 centimeters (about 1 and ½ inch in diameter) Asymmetry in areola size can also be corrected.

How do I know if I need a lift or just implants?

An experienced Plastic Surgeon determines if a lift is needed by taking measurements of your breast and determining if your nipple is too low. Also, if the nipple is below the level of the inframammary crease, a mastopexy likely will be required. Normally, the nipple should be at least 2 centimeters about the inframammary crease.

Is there any circumstance in which medical insurance will cover mastopexy?

Not for purely cosmetic reasons. However, if a woman requires a mastectomy for breast cancer and undergoes breast reconstruction of one breast, insurance will often cover the cost of a mastopexy of the other breast if required to achieve symmetry.

What is a crescent mastopexy?

A crescent mastopexy is a procedure in which the nipple is lifted slightly by cutting out a crescent of skin from the top of the areola. The advantage is that the only scar will be around the areola. Unfortunately, this can only lift the nipple a small amount (maybe ½ inch) One of the problems often seen with this technique, however, is stretching out of the areola over time which can be very undesirable and unsightly.

What is a tuberous breast?

The tuberous breast is a developmental deformity where the base of the breast is constricted, and the breast areola protrudes and droops in an undesirable way. It is often referred to as a “Snoopy breast” after the Peanuts dog (nice, isn’t it?) The good news is that the tuberous breast can successfully be corrected using the same techniques used in standard breast lifts.

Can a mastopexy correct asymmetry?

Yes. Often mammary ptosis is uneven, and one nipple may need to be moved farther than the other. The mastopexy can be designed to correct the asymmetry, although perfect symmetry is not always achievable.

How long does a breast lift last?

This varies a lot from patient to patient, and depends on many factors. Thin stretched out skin before surgery will have more of a tendency to re-stretch, and therefore re-sag after surgery. The addition of an implant, especially a large one, will put additional weight on the skin, causing it to drop more quickly. Re-lifting or re-tightening the skin may be necessary after a number of years, but again, with considerable variability.

If the nipple is moved, will I lose sensation?

Loss of nipple sensation is a risk of a breast lift with or without an implant but it is a small one. When the nipple is moved, it retains most of its deep attachments, including its nerves. In other words, the nipple is not removed completely and put back on. As a general rule, the farther the nipple is moved, the greater the risk of decreased nipple sensation.

Can a breast lift be done without scars?

Being able to lift the breast without scars at all is not yet a reality. You should remain skeptical of any claims of being able to accomplish this.

Does a breast lift always require an implant?

This is a common myth. If a woman has enough of her own breast tissue to create the desired size, an implant is not needed. An implant is usually used in women that don’t have sufficient breast tissue. Your plastic surgeon will be able to tell by examination if an implant is needed.

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