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Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

A Breast Lift, also known as a Mastopexy, is designed to improve the appearance of a woman’s breasts. Women who have either lost volume in their breasts, or whose nipples have slipped in position, or women who have both conditions, may be candidates for a breast lift.

A Breast Lift is a surgical technique that elevates the nipple and reshapes the breast tissue. The technique is most commonly used for women who have had children, lost weight, or have a genetic predisposition for breast ptosis (drooping). During pregnancy, the breasts increase in size and the breasts expand further with the engorgement that accompanies breastfeeding. These processes can stretch the skin envelope, resulting in loss of breast volume and often, dramatic changes in breast contours.

A Breast Lift will reposition the nipple-areolar complex and reconstruct the remaining breast tissue. Often, if there is not enough breast tissue, breast implants can be inserted.

There are three popular Breast Lift techniques. The optimal technique for each patient is dependent on the degree of skin and nipple laxity. The types of Breast Lifts, from least to most aggressive, are (1) peri-areolar mastopexy, (2) vertical short scar or lollipop incision and (3) the inverted-T technique. Since patients have varying preferences for breast shape, the various techniques will be described as to how each method will enhance the appearance of the breast.

  1. The Peri-areolar Mastopexy is a good technique for patients who require a small lift. The incision is made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped section of skin is excised. The skin is sutured with a purse string technique and the incision is hidden in the borderline of the areola. This technique is most often accompanied with a breast implant since the purse string suture will tend to flatten the breast. The technique will tighten the skin envelope, but does not reshape the underlying breast tissue.
  2. The Vertical Mastopexy, short scar, or lollipop technique is widely used. This procedure produces beautifully-shaped breasts. The shape has a nicely-proportioned diameter and a conical shape. This conical shape in a breast lift is very youthful, whereas the peri-areolar mastopexy is somewhat flattened and rounded.
  3. The Inverted T Technique is used to excise more skin and is commonly used in reductions of larger breasts. This is a gold standard procedure that has a high rate of success.
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Today’s trend is toward the smallest incisions possible, even if some sacrifices are involved.

The advantages and disadvantages of each technique are:

Type of Lift Pros Cons

1) A more hidden scar

2) A simpler procedure

1) Requires an implant to reduce flattening

2) The shape is round and less conical

3) Limited to small lifts

Vertical or Lollipop

1) No implant required if there is adequate breast tissue

2) Conical, projecting shape

3) Long-lasting lift

1) Lollipop scar

2) Takes more time for the breast to settle

Inverted T

1) Able to resect larger amounts of skin

2) Quick healing

1) Longer scars

2) Risk of “bottoming out”

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Before Breast Lift Surgery

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