Drooping breasts is not a condition that affects just the elderly. Women who have nursed their children or lost a significant amount of weight can also experience sagging breasts with nipples that sit too low on the chest wall. At Aesthetic Surgical Arts/Mia Bella Donna Medspa in Overland Park, KS, we specialize in body contouring procedures to help our clients achieve their ideal aesthetic.
Today, we are highlighting one of our most popular procedures, known to the medical community as mastopexy. Keep reading to discover how long a breast lift takes, why it’s done, if you’re a good candidate and much more.
What Is a Breast Lift?
A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a cosmetic procedure designed to lift sagging breasts. It may also be used to lift the nipple up the chest wall or reduce the size of the areolae.
Before your procedure, your anesthesiologist will weigh you to ensure you receive enough anesthetic to keep you sedated and comfortable throughout the entire procedure. Your physician will mark the proper nipple position and sterilize the breasts for incisions.
During the Procedure
During the procedure, you will be sedated. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will remove any excess skin tissue you have and lift the remaining breast tissue up into the desired resting place. If you are also receiving implants, these will be inserted before the incisions are closed and your breasts are bandaged.
Do I Need Mastopexy?
When you come in for your initial consultation, we will help you determine if you need mastopexy or not. A common at-home test to determine if mastopexy is ideal for you is known as the “pencil test”.
Place a pencil beneath your unsupported breasts. If the pencil remains in place, this procedure may help you achieve your aesthetic goals.
How Long Do the Results Last?
The longevity of results following mastopexy varies on a case-by-case basis. Younger women who receive a lift and do not smoke often find that they can go a decade without thinking about a follow-up procedure.
Older women who are exposed to excessive sun damage, drink alcohol excessively, smoke regularly and do not get enough vitamin A in their diets may find that they need a follow-up procedure in fewer than 10 years.
Keep in mind, the extent of a maintenance procedure will likely not be the same as your original lift. For example, you may need an anchor incision (traditional mastopexy) during your first lift for dramatic results. A decade from now, you may need a French vertical lift (lollipop mastopexy) for a subtle lift.
Or, you may find that a PDO thread lift or other non-invasive anti-aging treatment will be the perfect touch-up to your physique. For the longest-lasting results, stay hydrated, put on sunscreen before you leave the house, consume a healthy diet and exercise at least two-and-a-half hours per week.
How Long Does a Breast Lift Take?
There are several factors that affect how long a breast lift takes. These include the technique used, how much lift needs to be achieved, if any other aesthetic enhancements are being performed during this procedure and how many other cosmetic procedures are being performed while you are under general anesthesia.
Most of our clients who receive only mastopexy during their body contouring session are done in a few hours. What is universal about this procedure, however, is that it is an outpatient procedure. This means you are free to go home after a brief observation period to ensure the anesthesia has worn off sufficiently.
How Age and Breastfeeding Affect Candidacy for This Procedure
Women of any age can receive mastopexy as long as their breasts have finished developing. This typically occurs around the age of 18. Moreover, there is no upper limit set in stone regarding your age and ability to undergo mastopexy.
The only real requirements are that you are dissatisfied with the position of your breasts and you are in good general health. Just as importantly, you should know that you may receive mastopexy before or after pregnancy.
Because this procedure leaves the underlying breast tissue attached to the nipple, it does not affect your ability to produce or deliver milk. If you are not nursing, we recommend waiting six months to a year after giving birth to receive mastopexy. This time allows your breasts to settle into their post-natal size, shape and position. This way, you can get the best results.
How Should I Prepare for Recovery?
If you decide a breast lift is right for you, we will provide you with a complete list of everything you need to do in advance of your procedure.
This includes things you need to stop doing for several weeks before your procedure and how you can make your recovery process as smooth as possible. First, let’s take a look at steps you need to take for your post-op recovery:
Arrange a Ride
Arrange a ride to and from our office. While mastopexy is an outpatient procedure, you won’t be able to drive within 24 hours of being under general anesthesia options. If you have any concerns about being put under general anesthesia, let us know and we will discuss other sedation and anesthetic options available to you.
Freeze Several Meals
You also need to make sure you have someone to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours post-op. He or she may cook for you from scratch. Or, you can prepare and freeze several portions of your favorite meal. That way, your recovery buddy does not have to worry about cleaning up your kitchen after cooking.
Just make sure the meals you freeze are high in protein and fiber. The protein will help to speed along the recovery process. The fiber will keep you regular, preventing any constipation that may occur due to the analgesics you are prescribed. Try to consume a ratio of three grams of soluble fiber per gram of insoluble fiber in your diet.
Arrange for Help Around the House
For the first four to six weeks post-op, you may not lift anything over 10 pounds. If you have rambunctious indoor pets or small children, make sure there is someone at home with them to pick them up when necessary.
Prepare Your Recovery Room
You should prepare a room in your home dedicated to your recovery. This room should include easy-to-use bottles of water within a few inches of where you will be resting. It should also include your prescription antibiotics and analgesics to ensure your recovery is as safe and comfortable as possible.
We also recommend a tablet with a portable charger. This means you won’t need to worry about reaching your favorite book off the top of your bookshelf or managing a 10-foot cable that gets caught up in your bedspread.
Plan on Active Recovery
Resting for as long as you need to is important for a quick, comfortable recovery. However, mobility is also important. As soon as you feel ready, start walking short distances. Every day, walk a little farther than the day before.
Some people find they are able to go back to work within five days of mastopexy. Others need to take two or three weeks off of work.
Communicate with your supervisor, listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself. This includes extending your range of motion too far and trying to lift things that are too heavy within the first several weeks after your procedure.
Commit to Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Before deciding to receive mastopexy, you need to commit to a healthy lifestyle. While aging and nursing are the two most common causes of sagging breasts, they can also be caused by extreme, rapid weight loss. Weight gain causes the skin to stretch.
When your skin stretches too far, the elastin (fibers) in your skin becomes damaged and weakened. Subsequent weight loss results in sagging skin because localized volume is reduced. Moreover, due to the weakened elastin, your skin cannot “snap” back into place.
If you cycle between overweight and a healthy weight, the elastin in your skin may become too exhausted and damaged to maintain the results of your procedure for the next 10 years.
How Should I Prepare for the Procedure Itself?
To prepare for the procedure itself, talk to us about all of your aesthetic goals. Be sure to mention whether you would like a breast reduction or breast augmentation along with this procedure.
If you are considering breast augmentation, bring photos of the size and shape of your ideal breasts. We will measure other contours, such as your hips and waist, to determine if your ideal size will be proportionate to the rest of your body. You may find that you need a Brazilian Butt Lift or tummy tuck to achieve your perfect proportions.
To determine if you are healthy enough for this procedure, we will first review your medical history. Then, we will conduct a thorough physical examination to assess your current health.
Bring a list of all current prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking, along with all herbal supplements, dietary supplements and vitamins. Certain vitamins, supplements and medications can affect the outcome of your procedure.
Finally, be sure to let us know if you have an active infection requiring antibiotics within two weeks of your scheduled breast lift. We may have to reschedule your procedure.
One of the most important steps you need to take to prepare for this procedure is to quit smoking. You will need to abstain from all forms of nicotine for two to six weeks pre-op and post-op.
Nicotine increases your blood pressure, which can affect the results of your breast lift. Let us know if you need local resources to help you with smoking cessation. We strongly recommend not smoking, even beyond six weeks post-op, for the best results.
When you smoke, constricted blood vessels struggle to transport enough oxygen, vitamins and minerals to your skin. As a result, your skin can look prematurely aged, wrinkled and sagging. As a smoker, you may need a follow-up mastopexy sooner than if you were a non-smoker.
Understand What Results You Can Expect
An important part of being satisfied with the results of your procedure is understanding what results you can realistically expect. Expect to see immediate results following your mastopexy, but remember that your breasts will take time to settle into their final shape, size and position.
It can be between two months and a year before you see the final results of your procedure. If you’re considering breast reduction in addition to your mastopexy, keep in mind that mastopexy can make your breasts appear smaller.
You may even go down half a cup size as excess skin is removed during the reshaping process. Your breasts will also appear firmer and rounder due to the excess skin removal, skin tightening and breast tissue reshaping.
What Are the Best Complementary Procedures to Accompany Mastopexy?
The best complementary procedures to accompany mastopexy depend on your unique aesthetic goals. Mastopexy is often performed as part of a mommy makeover, a set of procedures designed to help you get back your pre-natal body.
Besides mastopexy, a mommy makeover may include abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), liposuction, breast reduction, breast augmentation, thigh lift, arm lift, vaginoplasty, labiaplasty or a Brazilian buttock lift.
Abdominoplasty is one of the most common complementary procedures to be performed along with mastopexy. A tummy tuck can be performed for any number of reasons.
Some women need one to alleviate back pain caused by weak abdominal muscles. Other women need a tummy tuck because they experience bladder incontinence after childbirth. Still others suffer from ventral hernias and need their abdominal walls sewn back together.
Types of Abdominoplasty
Women who opt for abdominoplasty for cosmetic reasons rather than medical ones can choose from three degrees of abdominoplasty. A mini-tuck is used to address excess skin, fat and other tissue below the navel only.
A full-tuck is used to address weakened abdominal muscles, excess and loose skin and excess fat deposits both below and above the navel. Finally, an extended tuck is used to correct all the issues addressed by a full tuck as well as excess fat and skin around the lower back, hips and sides.
Brazilian Buttock Lift
A Brazilian buttock lift is something you should strongly consider if you are concerned that your buttocks are too flat or small and sagging. While you may opt for buttocks implants, analogous fat transfer is far more popular. This involves harvesting fat from one part of your body, such as your breasts, abdomen or middle back, processing it and injecting it into strategic locations within your buttocks.
If you feel your overall proportions and contours could be improved with a Brazilian buttock lift, ask us during your initial consultation where on your body there is enough fat to be removed for transfer to your buttocks. It just may be that this region coincides with a region that you want to remove excess fat from anyway.
Take the First Step Towards Your Ideal Aesthetic Today
Are you excited to learn more about a breast lift? Do you think mastopexy would help you achieve your ideal aesthetic? If so, we welcome you to call the dedicated aesthetic experts at Aesthetic Surgical Arts/Mia Bella Donna Medspa in Overland Park, KS today to schedule your initial consultation. We can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve the contours of your dreams.