What is a Breast Lift (Mastopexy)?
A mastopexy, or breast lift, is a procedure that lifts the breast. It is definitely not a “one size fit all” type of plastic surgery procedure. The amount of breast lift is dependent on the patient’s unique anatomy, degree of drooping, quality of skin, and the patient’s desired result.
A mastopexy, or Breast Lift, can dramatically change and improve the shape and appearance of the breast and also can be performed in conjunction with breast augmentation. Of all the breast procedures a breast lift requires the most in skill and artistic ability from the surgeon. Dr. Paul Chasan has performed hundreds of breast lift surgeries and is considered a master at breast plastic surgery.
Breast Lift Techniques
A breast lift technique can range from a circumareolar or “donut” in which the scar is limited to just around the areola, to a vertical or “lollipop” in which the scar goes around the areola and vertically down the breast to the inframammary crease, and finally an “anchor” scar (rarely used today) which continues horizontally along the majority of the inframammary crease.
A Breast Lift, can dramatically change and improve the shape and appearance of the breast and also can be performed in conjunction with breast augmentation. Of all the breast procedures, mastopexy breast lift, requires the most in skill and artistic ability from the surgeon.
Breast Lift Treatment & Technique
A Breast Lift can take as short as an hour with a circumareolar type and up to three hours for a more extensive type. A common misconception is that the nipple-areolar complex (NAC) is removed from the breast and put on the back table. The NAC is never detached from the breast at any time. The recovery from breast lift surgery is similar to a breast augmentation in which there is mild to moderate discomfort for 2-3 days. If a breast lift is performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation there is no additional discomfort or prolongation of the recovery process.
Breast Lift Scars
One the most common objections to breast lift surgery are the scars. Dr. Paul Chasan explains that most scars look their worst at 2-4 months, and then begin to improve dramatically after that. He further states that one of the biggest disparities he sees is the patient’s preconceived ideas of a “scar” and the ultimate outcome of a mature, well-healed incision that is minimally detectable. Dr. Paul Chasan comments “if patients only saw pictures of incisions that that were 8 months to one year post-operative they would not have any reluctance to undergo breast lift surgery”.
Minimally perceptible incisions do not occur by accident. Dr. Paul Chasan does everything possible to take tension off the incision line. By placing multiple sutures in the breast tissue and subcutaneous tissues, the suture line is free of any tension. Additionally, performing a “perfect closure” in which the skin edges are perfectly apposed without any gaps or irregularities also contributes to better scarring. These maneuvers take time, focus, and attention to detail, but are worth it in the long run when there is a beautifully healed scar and a happy patient.
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Dr. Chasan Discusses Breast Lifts on the Wellness Hour
Randy: You say that breast lifting has a lot of art to it. It’s an artistic talent.
Dr. Chasan: I think there is a lot of art to breast lifting. And the longer I’ve been in this game, the more I realized the disparity between artistic surgeon and non-artistic surgeon. There just is, and that’s one of the big displays of my art. And you know, so often I see the patient who comes to me and I say, “I’m sorry, you’re drooping and you’ll need a lift,” and they go down the street to Dr. X who says, “Oh no, you don’t need a lift, you don’t need the scars, let’s just put a bigger implant and it’ll fill up the volume.” And to somebody who’s unsuspecting that might sound right. But, if you think about it, if you are drooping without an implant and you disconnect that tissue and you put a heavy bag in there, guess what? You’re going to droop more. And invariable I see these people back, “I never wanted to be this big and now I’m drooping to my knees.”
So whether you need a lift or you don’t need a lift is really based on your anatomy. And if your nipple is at or below the crease, your inframammary crease, you probably need a lift. And some people need volume and a lift, so they need breast implant and a lift. And I really pride myself on how that lift goes, how the breast looks, how round the breast can be as far as the inferior pole, that the areolas are equal, that the areolas…I like smaller areolas. I like an incision that is so faint you barely can see it. And my technique that I’ve talked to you before about is I’m obsessed with taking tension off the incision.
Randy: This is for minimal scarring?
Dr. Chasan: Yes. So, for example, looking at a breast lift, the bottom of the breast where you wedge out, you know, where you take out tissue here, I actually wedge out a little bit of breast tissue there. And what I do is I actually close…the breast tissue has a lot of structure, so I actually close the breast tissue and then the skin’s just kissing. And if the skin’s just kissing, there’s no tension on the skin, you’re going to have a better scar. Then, if I can do a micro bite closure and just finely close that incision so it’s almost perfect, then they have the best opportunity to have the best scar. And so if I can do that on every patient, their scars are going to be a lot better.