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.
- Choosing a Breast Lift Surgeon
- Breast Lift Benefits
- Breast Lift Candidates
- Breast Lift Incisions
- Breast Lift Procedure
- Breast Lift Recovery
- Breast Lift Results
- Breast Lift Scars
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.
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. 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.
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.