Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

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The appearance of the breasts can change over time due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, or the natural aging process — often it’s a combination of all these factors that transform the breast contours. Consequently, the breasts begin to lose their internal support and lead to the formation of sagging and displaced nipples. A breast lift, also called mastopexy, is a surgical procedure designed to reverse these unfavorable changes, lifting the breasts to restore a more youthful body contour.

Why Choose Dr. Leber to Be Your Breast Lift Surgeon?

Rather than using traditional breast surgery techniques that do not prevent recurrent drooping, board-certified plastic surgeon Geoffrey Leber, MD performs the “Dermal Wing Mastopexy” technique during his breast lift procedures. Instead of discarding excess skin during the surgery, Dr. Leber uses the dermis to repair and reposition fallen breast tissue to a higher location on the chest wall. Breast skin can then be re-draped around newly positioned breast tissue, rather than relying solely on the breast skin envelope to provide support.

Unlike traditional breast lift procedures that can eventually lead to recurrent sagging of the breasts, Dr. Leber believes this technique can lead to more enduring rejuvenation as a result of the “dermal wings.” Plus, this technique offers immediate improvement in the fullness of the breasts, producing an enhanced cleavage line.

What Can Be Accomplished with a Breast Lift?

Mastopexy can correct many of the age-related tissue changes that cause a loss of firmness and shape in the breasts over time. As a procedure often incorporated into a comprehensive Mommy Makeover, a breast lift can:

  • Lift the breasts to a more youthful positioning
  • Reduce a drooping or sagging aesthetic
  • Produce more rejuvenated breast contours
  • Resolve stretched or excess skin
  • Reshape breasts that look flat or “deflated”
  • Correct stretched areolas

During a consultation, Dr. Leber will meet with you to discuss the types of improvements you would like to see after your surgery. He will thoroughly explain the potential benefits, risks, limitations, and stages of the breast lift process so you obtain an extensive understanding of the procedure. If mastopexy is an ideal solution to achieve your goals, Dr. Leber will create a custom-tailored treatment plan based on your needs, concerns, and wishes for the outcome.

Is a Breast Lift Right for Me?

The best candidates for a breast lift are women who are in reasonably good physical health and would like to restore the youthful contours of their breasts. Patients should have a positive self-image overall and realistic expectations about what the procedure can achieve for them.

If you are bothered by any of the following concerns, a breast lift may be an optimal solution to rejuvenate and reshape the breasts:

  • Breasts that have begun to sag as a result of pregnancy, breastfeeding, age, gravity, or heredity
  • Concerns about the shape and/or size of the breasts that cannot be addressed by breast augmentation alone
  • Stretching of the breasts, particularly around the nipple or areola

A breast lift alone cannot significantly add size or volume to the breasts. For this type of result, a patient may need to consider a breast lift with implants or breast augmentation to create the desired outcome. Dr. Leber spends time meeting with each patient to discuss concerns and expected results before recommending the best procedure for their needs.

Breast Lift vs. Breast Reduction

A breast lift and a breast reduction employ similar techniques to enhance the breasts. Both procedures remove excess skin, glandular tissue, and fat to improve the breast shape; however, there are some distinctions between a breast lift and reduction that may help you determine the right surgery to achieve our goals. A breast lift is performed to rejuvenate the breasts, restoring them to a more youthful and aesthetically pleasing position on the chest wall. In contrast, a reduction is performed with the goal of actually decreasing the breast size, often to enhance the breast proportions and/or to alleviate any symptoms caused by large, heavy breasts. Therefore, if you’re happy with your breast size and simply want better contours, mastopexy may be the most ideal treatment for you. If your goals include attaining lighter or more comfortable breasts, a breast reduction can be of greater benefit when compared to a breast lift.

By its very nature, a breast reduction often includes a lift. Dr. Leber will be able to provide you with further guidance during an appointment at our practice.

Types of Mastopexy

Breast lift techniques vary in the type of incision used to raise and reshape the breasts. Dr. Leber can advise you on the most ideal approach based on the severity of your breast sag and the extent of rejuvenation necessary to achieve your goals. Your incision options generally include:

  • Periareolar: Follows the border of the areolas, allowing scarring to blend in naturally with the change in pigmentation between the breast skin and nipples. This technique works best for mild to moderate cases of breast drooping.
  • Vertical: Creates a “lollipop” or “keyhole” pattern that encircles the areolas and extends downward toward the breast fold. The vertical incision is typically well-suited for patients who have moderate breast sag.
  • Inverted-T or Full: Produces an “anchor-shaped” incision along the borders of the areolas and natural breast crease. For patients who have more pendulous (drooping) breasts or who have nipples that point downward, the full mastopexy incision can dramatically transform the breast contours and restore shape and firmness.

For the entire range of breast lift procedures available, scarring after surgery is well-hidden underneath a bra or swimsuit and generally lightens and becomes more inconspicuous over time. Dr. Leber can show you how incisions are likely to appear as they mature over time so you know what to expect for the potential results.

Traditional Full Mastopexy vs. Dermal Wing Mastopexy

Traditional inverted-T or full breast lift procedures typically elevate and reposition a low nipple-areola complex. The excess skin and bottom-heavy breast tissue are then excised, and the tighter skin envelope is closed. These techniques do little to improve the flat upper pole of the breast and often lead to a “bottomed out” or deflated breast appearance. This often occurs over time — even after a traditional breast lift — because the newly lifted breast is only supported by the skin. Tension on the lower pole of the breast leads to stretching of the skin, resulting in a greater distance from the nipple to the inframammary crease (bottomed out breast).

With Dr. Leber’s dermal wing mastopexy technique, a pocket is created in the deflated upper pole of the breast and nearly the entire breast parenchyma is then repositioned into this pocket higher on the chest wall. This creates significant upper pole fullness, often simulating the fullness typically achieved with a breast implant. For this reason, Dr. Leber also describes this innovative technique as an “auto-augmentation.” The improved fullness and shape are achieved with your own tissue rather than an implant. Advantages over a breast lift with implants include a lower revision rate and a zero risk of complications associated with implants.

With a dermal wing mastopexy, the elevated breast tissue is supported by the attached dermis and held in place by suturing the medial and lateral dermal wings to the pectoralis fascia. This support is much like a sling or “internal bra,” supporting the breasts from the inside. The skin is then reshaped and closed around the elevated breast tissue. Since the overlying skin is not completely relied upon to support the lifted breast tissue, the breasts have greater support and experience less skin stretching/“bottomed out” appearance over time.

How is the Breast Lift Procedure Performed?

A breast lift can be performed in Dr. Geoffrey Leber’s Scottsdale practice, located near Phoenix. The procedure is usually completed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. An incision is made in a predetermined location, allowing Dr. Leber to reposition underlying tissue and improve the breast contour.

Once the breasts are reshaped, skin is tightened and incisions are closed. In cases wherein the incisions are situated along the borders of the areola, scarring after the procedure is minimal. A breast lift may take anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the specific technique used.

What is Recovery From Mastopexy Like?

Patients are usually allowed to return home on the same day as their surgery. Dressings will be placed over the incisions and patients may also be given a surgical bra to wear during the healing process. Swelling and bruising are to be expected and will gradually decrease as your body continues to heal. In general, over-the-counter pain medications are usually enough to manage any discomfort. Dr. Leber and our team will provide you with detailed aftercare instructions to ensure your recovery proceeds as smoothly as possible. If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact our office. Dr. Leber will monitor your progress in post-operative follow-up appointments. Most patients return to work and regular activities within 1-2 weeks, although strenuous exercise may be discouraged for up to one month after the procedure.

How Long Will My Breast Lift Results Last?

Results from a breast lift are considered long-lasting, although age and gravity may eventually cause the breasts to sag once again. That said, Dr. Leber’s techniques have been shown to provide long-lasting results. The outcome can be seen right away, but will continue to improve as the breasts heal. Patients generally enjoy their rejuvenation for 10 to 15 years or longer depending on genetic and lifestyle factors unique to each patient. To prolong the results of mastopexy, Dr. Leber advises undergoing the procedure only after there are no longer plans for pregnancy or breastfeeding. These factors can stretch and loosen the breast skin, creating the possibility of further breast droop in the future.

Will I Have Visible Scars From a Breast Lift?

Some amount of scarring is inevitable with any cosmetic surgery, but breast lift scars typically lighten over time. If your breast lift utilized the periareolar incision, post-surgical scarring should be camouflaged by the natural change in pigmentation. There are many ways to help your breast lift scars fade over time, including:

  • Intently following Dr. Leber’s aftercare instructions so your incisions heal as well as possible
  • Protecting your scars from sun exposure, which can further darken scarring
  • Applying high-quality skincare products to diminish the visibility of your scars
  • Scar massage and silicone gel or sheeting
  • Advanced scar care with embrace®

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our aesthetic team if you would like recommendations on the most effective lightening products to minimize scarring. Our before-and-after photos from previous mastopexy patients can give you a better idea of how scars from breast surgery are likely to appear.

How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?

The cost of a breast lift varies for each patient and it’s impossible to gauge a price estimate without Dr. Leber personally assessing your concerns in a consultation. The price of cosmetic surgery in general is influenced based on your geographic location and the experience of your plastic surgeon.

Mastopexy is an investment into your appearance and your confidence, so it’s essential to select a well-qualified plastic surgeon who is fully equipped to attain your goals rather than a provider who simply offers the lowest rates. Breast lift costs are dependent on the details of your treatment plan, such as:

  • The type of mastopexy performed
  • The extent of surgery necessary to achieve your goals

Don’t hesitate to call our office to learn about our plastic surgery financing options, which include plans with CareCredit® and Prosper® Healthcare Lending. These companies often give qualified patients a more affordable method of paying for their breast lift.

Is a Non-Surgical Breast Lift Possible?

Although some sources claim “breast lift exercises” can mimic the results of a surgical procedure, mastopexy remains the only effective way to reduce a sagging appearance and rejuvenate the breasts. Most women who want more lifted, youthful breasts have some degree of skin and tissue laxity, which is why the breasts tend to droop over time. There are no chest exercises that can repair stretched, inelastic tissue; therefore, any workouts that claim to “lift the breasts” typically just strengthen the pectoral (chest) muscles at best. This does not resolve breast sag, or give patients a “perkier” appearance. Those who are unhappy with a sagging or aged look in the breasts should inquire about mastopexy with a board-certified plastic surgeon — this will give you the opportunity to ask any questions and learn about the best treatment options for your needs.

Additional Breast Lift FAQs

Does a breast lift make my breasts smaller?

Mastopexy can reduce the breasts to some extent, simply due to the nature of removing excess fat, skin, and glandular tissue. However, a breast lift does not significantly reduce volume — rather, the procedure is designed to tighten and rejuvenate the shape of the breasts. If you’re interested in a smaller bust size, you may benefit more from breast reduction surgery. On the other hand, breast implants can also be placed at the time of a breast lift for patients who seek a larger, fuller, or more voluptuous silhouette. 

Will I lose nipple sensation after breast lift surgery?

You should not lose nipple sensation after a breast lift, but numbness, tenderness, or sensitivity immediately after surgery are relatively common. While changes in sensation during the healing process may occur, permanent loss of feeling in the nipples is rare. Dr. Leber will give you insight into what you can expect after breast lift surgery during your appointment. 

Can I breastfeed after a breast lift?

A breast lift shouldn’t interrupt the ability to breastfeed, but it’s important to keep in mind that not every woman has the ability to nurse — even before surgery. If your future goals include breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to communicate your expectations to Dr. Leber so he can tailor your procedure as much as possible. Although there are effective breast lift techniques to preserve breastfeeding, we recommend waiting until after you’ve completed your family to undergo the procedure. This generally helps maximize the quality and longevity of your final results. 

How should I sleep after mastopexy?

Dr. Leber will give you specific post-operative instructions in person, but patients should generally try to rest flat on their back with pillows propped up to prevent them from accidentally rolling to the sides. It’s essential to avoid putting pressure on the breasts while sleeping to protect your incisions and help facilitate the best possible results. 

What type of bra should I wear after breast lift surgery?

It’s often helpful to wear a supportive surgical bra with wide straps after breast surgery, which typically resembles a sports bra. It can also be beneficial to choose a bra with front-facing clasps to minimize the need to lift your arms during the recovery period.

A breast lift can help you regain a more youthful look to your breasts. For more information about this procedure, please contact our Scottsdale practice to schedule a consultation.