Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Breast Lift Photo Gallery

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure that removes excess skin to lift and reshape the breasts. Over time, your breasts' appearance may have changed due to the effects of gravity along with weight changes or pregnancy and nursing. The loosening of the skin is what causes sagging of the breasts as well as loss of shape and firmness. A breast lift will give your breasts a more youthful appearance and shape, reduce asymmetry, establish better proportion and, if you choose, reduce the size of the areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple). We also offer various pain management options to make your post-operative time a little easier and more comfortable.

Is it right for me?

Breast lift surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

A breast lift is a good option for you if:

  • You are physically healthy and maintain a stable weight
  • You do not smoke
  • You have realistic expectations
  • You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts sag, have lost shape and volume
  • Your breasts have a flatter, elongated shape or are pendulous
  • When unsupported, your nipples fall below the breast crease
  • Your nipples and areolas point downward
  • You have stretched skin and enlarged areolas
  • One breast is lower than the other

What it won't do

Breast lift surgery does not significantly change the size of your breasts or round out the upper part of your breast. If you want your breasts to look fuller or smaller, you might want to consider either breast augmentation or breast reduction surgery.

What happens during a breast lift surgery?

Your breast lift surgery can be achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for you will be determined based on:

  • Breast size and shape
  • The size and position of your areolas
  • The degree of breast sagging
  • Skin quality and elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin

Step 1 - Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 - The incision

There are three common incision patterns:

  • Around the areola
  • Around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease
  • Around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease

Step 3 - Reshaping your breasts

After the incisions are made:

  • The underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness.
  • The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height.
  • If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter.
  • Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity.

Step 4 - Closing the incisions

After your breasts are reshaped and excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is tightened as the incisions are closed.

Some incision lines resulting from breast lift are concealed in the natural breast contours; however, others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.

Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin.

Step 5 - See the results

The results of your breast lift surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade.

Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for breasts which have been restored to a more youthful and uplifted position.

The risks include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
  • Damage to deeper structures - such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs - can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis)
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Excessive firmness of the breast
  • Potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Blood clots
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

You should know that:

  • Breast lift surgery can interfere with diagnostic procedures
  • Breast and nipple piercing can cause an infection
  • Breast lift surgery does not normally interfere with pregnancy, but if you are planning to have a baby, your breast skin may stretch and offset the results of mastopexy and you may have more difficulty breastfeeding after this operation

Be careful

Following your physician's instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.

Be sure to ask questions: It's very important to ask Dr. Nichols questions about your breast lift procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr. Nichols or his staff.

Other Breast Procedures

With both the breast lift and breast reduction procedures, additional benefits may include areola reduction, nipple reduction and/or inverted nipple correction. However, if you are concerned about your areola size, nipple size, or your inverted nipples and are not a candidate for, or not interested in, a breast lift or breast reduction, we are also able to do those procedures separately.

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Dr. Chris Nichols is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Tacoma Washington specializing in all aspects of cosmetic and plastic surgery
including breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty and more.
6002 North Westgate Blvd. Suite 160, Tacoma, WA 98406