Over time, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity can produce significant changes on a woman's breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts.

Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. If your breasts are small or have lost volume--for example, after pregnancy--breast implants inserted in conjunction with mastopexy can increase both their firmness and their size.

Gradual sagging of the breasts and widening of the areola are noted over time.

The best candidates for mastopexy are healthy women with small, sagging breasts. Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you're planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. Pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.

There are complications associated with any surgery, of which you should be aware. There is always a possibility of bleeding or infection (though rare). Reactions to anesthesia are another possible complication. Mastopexy does leave noticeable, permanent scars which is not a complication, but rather a consequence of this operation. The procedure can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples, or a permanent loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts. During the initial consultation, Dr. Bromley will discuss the procedure in detail including all risks, complications and expected outcome from the surgery.

Mastopexy is routinely performed on an outpatient basis. The surgical procedure is usually done under general anesthesia, although, in some patients, local anesthesia with sedation may be used. The surgery takes approximately two hours. This time will vary with each patient.

The surgery is routinely done using an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. After the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast. If you're having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall.

After surgery, a surgical bra will be placed. There will be some swelling and discomfort following this procedure. This discomfort should be easily controlled with routine pain medications. The sutures will be removed approximately one to two weeks after the surgery.

In some cases, there may be some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.

Most patient resume light daily activities several days after the surgery. It will probably require one to two weeks to resume all normal activities including return to a full work schedule. Dr. Bromley will discuss resumption of other activities such as sports and aerobics during your post-operative visits.

Every effort is made to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it's important to remember that mastopexy scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain raised and red for months, and then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. There are a variety of treatment methods that can be employed to lessen the appearance of these scars. These
can be discussed with Dr. Bromley at the appropriate time.

If you have any questions regarding mastopexy, or any other plastic surgical procedure, please contact our office.   Photo  galleries, in addition to 3D animation of this procedure can be found at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.

5 East 84th St., New York, NY 10028  (212) 570-5443