Breast Lift Frequently Asked Questions
Women often seek to rejuvenate their breasts with a breast lift or “mastopexy." This removes excess skin while tightening and raising the breasts. If you are interested in learning more about the breast lift procedure, read our frequently asked questions below that have been answered by our experienced cosmetic surgeon. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Charlotte plastic surgeon, Dr. Ferrari at Premier Plastic Surgery Center.
You will be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire that will be reviewed by a nurse and the doctor. Additional questions may be asked about your medical history such as medications, tobacco use, prior surgeries, family history, etc. There will also be a discussion of your motivations and desires in terms of breast appearance. A breast exam will be performedand careful measurements taken. After the exam, Dr. Ferrari will discuss your options, risks and show you photographs of other patients. The costs will be reviewed with the Patient Care Coordinator. She will also be able to schedule your procedure and arrange for you to have affordable monthly payments if desired.
Making a decision to undergo any surgical procedure should done after careful consideration. The first thing to decide is if you are properly motivated to undergo a cosmetic surgery procedure. In other words, are you doing this to feel better about your appearance or are you trying to satisfy someone else’s desires or obtain some ideal image in your mind that might not ever be attainable? If you feel you are properly motivated psychologically and have realistic expectations, then there are physical issues to consider. The best candidates are healthy, have stable weight and are non-smokers. Women who have asymmetries in nipple height, nipples that point downward, nipples that are below the breast fold, large areolas, elongated breasts or uneven breasts are typically good candidates for breast lift.
There are three basic types of mastopexy with varying degrees of liftingand scarring. The basic thought is that the more you lift and tightenthe breast, the more skin that needs to be removed and therefore morescaring is created. The first is called a “PERI-AREOLAR” or “DONUT” mastopexy. This is really a nipple shifting operationand does not significantly raise the breast. This is performed by first removing a “donut”-shaped piece of skin around the areola. Then a deep “purse string” suture is placed and tightened in order to decrease the diameter of the opening and lift the nipple toa higher position. Initially, there will be a small amount of wrinkling around the areola due to the bunching up of the skin, but this tends to resolve completely within three to six months after cosmetic surgery.
The second type of mastopexy is called a “LOLLIPOP LIFT” due to the shape of the scar. There will be a round scar around the areola plus a vertical scar extending down to the level of the breast fold (where the lower part of the breast meets the chest). By removing some vertical lower breast skin, the breasts and nipples will both be lifted.
The third type of lift is the “ANCHOR” mastopexy. In addition to the “lollipop” shaped scar, a horizontal scar is added along the breast fold in order to remove large quantities of skin and give the maximum lift.
Depending on which mastopexy you undergo, there is some risk to losing nipple sensation. The “donut” lift has minimal risk, while the “anchor” lift has the highest risk. All of the lifts are designed to try to preserve the tissue that normally contains the nerves that lead to the nipple. However, there are many anatomic variants as to where the nerves travel. Nerves that do not follow the “normal” course within your breasts may be damaged to the point of permanent numbness. Most people experience at least a temporary change in nipple sensation due to stretching and repositioning of the nerves. Most women recover full nipple sensation within three to 12 months after cosmetic surgery. A small percentage of women never regain normal sensation.
It is possible to insert breast implants the day of the mastopexy as long as the size is not excessive. Dr. Ferrari prefers to do the breast lift first and then add the implants through a separate site, such as the underarm. That way, he can see exactly how large an implant can be safely placed without putting undue tension on the repair. Also, if a woman has asymmetric breasts, putting the implants in after the lift allows better volume control to achieve better symmetry. If women want a breast lift and very large implants, then our Charlotte plastic surgeon usually recommends they do the breast lift first and add the implants approximately two months later.
Most procedures are done in our operating room at Premier Plastic Surgery Center, in Charlotte, NC. The operating room is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (AAAASF) to ensure the highest standard in safety. In rare cases, the procedures are performed in a hospital setting such as Novant’s Matthews Medical Center (formerly called Presbyterian Hospital - Matthews).
If you have certain medical conditions, Dr. Ferrari may ask you to have some blood tests done or obtain a preoperative clearance from your primary-carep hysician. You may also need a baseline mammogram. All products containing nicotine, aspirin and certain medications or herbal supplements that are known to inhibit clotting should be discontinued at least two weeks prior to your cosmetic surgery. Dr. Ferrari also can give you information about vitamins that can help aid healing and scarring.
Two weeks before your cosmetic surgery, you will meet with one of our nurses to review your desires, the proposed plan, consent forms, medications, pre- and post-op care and follow-ups. If you are also going to have breasts implants placed, then your desired size will be discussed in detail. Any questions you have will be answered at that time. Photographs will be taken of your upper body. Finally, you will pay the balance of your procedure or set up affordable monthly payments.
Though most plastic surgeons employ nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), at Premier Plastic Surgery Center we only use board-certified anesthesiologists (MDs) who specialize in out-patient procedures. These physicians are able to give precise combinations of anesthetics that provide excellent comfortbefore and during the procedure as well as quick recovery after the procedure. Our anesthetic regimens wear off very quickly so you won’t have that “hangover” effect that typically occurs with other anesthetics.
Mastopexy involves removing excess skin from the breast and does not divide the milk ducts, so breast function is preserved. Some women experience a tight feeling with breast engorgement after breast lifting, which will make breastfeeding more uncomfortable. Also, pregnancy can ruin the results of the breast lift. Therefore, except in cases of unacceptable drooping or asymmetry, Dr. Ferrari typically recommends that mastopexy be performedonce a woman is reasonably sure she is finished with child-bearing.