Also known as a Mastopexy, a breast lift is a surgical procedure that raises and reshapes the breasts to create a more youthful appearance. During the surgery, excess skin is typically removed from the mid-portion and bottom of the breast and the entire breast, including the nipple and areola, are elevated to a higher position on the chest.
Prior to surgery, the patient is marked in a standing position. This is a critical portion of the procedure and it is important that the patient stand as straight as possible during this process. Any slouching or bending one knee can result is a less satisfactory or asymmetric result. It is also best not to have any lotion or cream on your skin, which can cause the marks to wash off during the skin prep.
A breast lift is performed under anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. Initially, the excess skin is excised along with the outer portion of the areola if it is too large. The remaining skin flaps are undermined, a careful check for bleeding is performed and these flaps are then transposed to the lower portion of the breasts, pushing the breast tissue upwards. A circle of skin is then cut out for the new position of the nipple and areola at the peak of the breast; then the incisions are closed with sutures. A drain may or may not be placed and would usually be removed in a few days.
In the situation where there is only a small amount of sagging (ptosis), a smaller lift may be done which leaves fewer scars and can be done under just local anesthesia. This type of lift is often done in combination with breast augmentation where some elevation of the breasts is needed for proper contouring. This type of lift leaves a scar only around the edge of the areola and may include a permanent purse-string suture under the scar to prevent enlargement of the areola. This type of lift is also known as a donut lift.
In some cases a standard lift is too much and the Benelli is not enough, a vertical lift can be done. Also known as a VOQ lift, this procedure adds a vertical excision of a ‘V’ of skin just below the areola to tighten the lower portion of the breast and remove a little more excess skin. The final scar runs around the edge of the areola with a straight line vertical scar extending down from the inferior aspect of the areola but does not have the curved, horizontal scar in the crease as is done with a standard breast lift.
Breast lifts are usually not very painful making the recovery easier than many other cosmetic surgeries. If no drains are placed, which is the norm, I allow patients to remove their dressings the next day and they are allowed to shower. In most cases, no dressings are necessary after the first day and patients rarely take much pain medication.