Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
A breast lift is performed to reshape the breasts and lift descended breast tissue, thereby achieving a more rejuvenated and youthful look. As the years pass, the breasts tend to lose shape and firmness due to the effects of gravity, weight fluctuation, pregnancy, nursing, and an increase in skin laxity. This popular cosmetic procedure, which is also known as “mastopexy,” can lift the breasts to a more youthful positioning and generally improve contours. If desired, mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areolas. Dr. John Ayala, our board-certified plastic surgeon, would be happy to discuss your unique concerns in person and develop a personalized treatment plan to renew the breasts within the context of your aesthetic goals.
- Breast Lift Benefits
- Degrees of Ptosis
- Breast Lift Procedure
- Breast Lift Recovery
- Breast Lift Results
- Breast Lift Cost
- Breast Lift Scars
- Breast Lift with Implants
- Non-Surgical Breast Lift
What Can a Breast Lift Accomplish?
Mastopexy can improve the shape and positioning of the breasts by restoring them to a more rejuvenated position on the chest wall. Depending on your goals, a breast lift can:
- Reduce breast sag
- Firm and tighten the breasts
- Enhance the breast contours
- Resize/reposition the areolas
Good candidates for a breast lift are patients who have realistic expectations for what the procedure can achieve, and who are in good physical and emotional health to undergo surgery. Dr. Ayala will review your medical history and listen to your concerns in a consultation to determine the best treatment plan to achieve your goals.
Degrees of Ptosis
Breast ptosis refers to the development of drooping breast tissue, or “breast sag,” as individuals age. The rate at which the breasts descend usually varies from patient to patient based on each person’s anatomical indicators as well as certain lifestyle factors. Breast ptosis is categorized into three different grades of severity:
- Grade I: Characterized by mild breast drooping, grade I ptosis is observed when the nipples are at the level of the inframammary fold (breast crease), but still above most of the lower breast.
- Grade II: Moderate ptosis is indicated when the nipples are positioned below the inframammary fold, but still rest higher than most of the lower breast tissue.
- Grade III: The most advanced grade of ptosis is distinguished by the nipples’ location below the inframammary fold, at the lowest point of the breast contour.
Women are often prone to higher levels of ptosis if they smoke, have a large breast size or a high body mass index (BMI), or have undergone multiple pregnancies or major weight fluctuation. While a consultation is the best way to discover what a breast lift can accomplish, learning the extent of breast sag you experience may help you get an idea of whether you would benefit from the procedure. In general, mastopexy can achieve particularly dramatic rejuvenation for patients whose nipples point downward or droop below the breast fold.
How is the Breast Lift Procedure Performed?
A breast lift is typically an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. In some cases, local anesthesia with intravenous sedation may be used if the incision is small; however, general anesthesia is utilized most frequently and Dr. Ayala will let you know what you can expect when he examines your concerns in person. The procedure can take between 1.5 to 3.5 hours depending on your goals and unique needs.
The most common incision used during mastopexy is the inframammary technique, which places the incision along the natural contour of the breast crease. From there, excess breast skin is removed to lift the breasts, and the nipples and areolas are repositioned if necessary. The skin is then tightened to reshape the breasts and incisions are closed with sutures. Other possible incision locations include along the borders of the areola, or in an anchor shape over the areola and along the breast crease. Dr. Ayala will discuss the best approach for your needs during a consultation.
What is Recovery From a Breast Lift Like?
After your breast surgery, bandages and/or gauze may be applied to protect your incisions. We will also provide a surgical bra to help keep your breasts in position and reduce swelling. It is not uncommon for the breasts to be bruised, swollen, and tender after surgery and mild discomfort is normal. Oral pain medication can help manage any discomfort until swelling naturally resolves. Dr. Ayala will provide a soft support bra, which should be worn at all times to facilitate your new breast contours. Before your procedure, Dr. Ayala will discuss all of the potential risks of surgery with you. Many possible complications, such as infection, poor healing of incisions, and bleeding, exist with any surgical procedure; however, with regard to breast lift surgery, risks may include asymmetry or a lasting loss of sensation in the nipples and/or breasts.
Stitches are typically removed after one or two weeks. We recommend that breast lift patients plan at least one week of downtime before returning to work. Dr. Ayala also advises refraining from strenuous activity, sports, and lifting anything above the head for about three to four weeks.
How Long Do Breast Lift Results Last?
Results from a breast lift should last 10 to 15 years or longer, depending on each person’s unique rate of aging. While the procedure will not stop the effects of age, patients who have had a breast lift will generally always have more youthful breast contours than individuals of the same age who have not undergone surgery. There are several ways patients can minimize the loss of skin elasticity over time, further prolonging the outcome of their breast lift, including:
- Wearing sunscreen when outdoors for extended periods of time
- Undergoing breast lift surgery only after all plans for pregnancy and breastfeeding are complete
- Not smoking, as tobacco use has been associated with faster rates of aging
- Living an active lifestyle to avoid fluctuations in weight
By being mindful of the different factors that can stretch the breast skin and potentially cause recurrent sag, patients can help preserve their breast contours. In any case, the rejuvenation from a breast lift can be very enduring as long as patients maintain a stable weight.
How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?
A breast lift in San Antonio can generally cost anywhere between $5,000 to $8,000, although this range does not necessarily reflect the exact rates at our practice. Your personalized quote will be influenced by a number of unique factors, including:
- Whether or not implants were placed
- The surgical technique utilized
- The extent of your concerns
- The overall complexity of your procedure
Our patient care coordinator will be able to provide you with a more accurate cost estimate after your needs are assessed in a consultation. While medical insurance typically does not cover cosmetic procedures, we accept plastic surgery financing plans through CareCredit® to help make the cost of a breast lift more affordable. Many programs offered by CareCredit® can allow qualified patients to make interest-free payments in smaller installments within a given promotional period, rather than in a lump sum. For more information about your payment options, please contact our office to speak to a member of our team.
Will I Have Breast Lift Scars After Surgery?
Scars after any type of surgery are inevitable, but Dr. Ayala places incisions strategically so that any resulting scarring can be easily concealed with a bra or bikini top. In most cases, scars from a breast lift can blend into the natural contour of the breast crease or within the borders of the areola. The exact shape and size of potential scarring will depend on the details of your procedure, but Dr. Ayala will let you know what to expect in your consultation. Many patients find that their scars partially fade as time passes, especially if the instructions on proper wound care are followed after surgery.
What is a Breast Lift with Implants?
A breast lift can achieve great results on its own, but the procedure is frequently performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation in a joint surgery known as a breast lift with implants. This combination treatment plan is designed to increase the size and volume of the breasts while improving breast sag. Because the benefits of both procedures are often achieved in one operation, a breast lift with implants can be an excellent technique to enhance the shape, size, firmness, and projection of the breasts in a single procedure.
A breast lift with implants is a popular treatment choice for women who have lost shape in their breasts due to pregnancy and/or nursing. These factors can stretch and loosen the skin, often causing the breasts to sag and lose volume. Whether a breast lift with implants is performed alone or as part of a complete Mommy Makeover, the procedure can be personalized to restore your breasts to their pre-pregnancy state.
Can I Get a Non-Surgical Breast Lift?
Unfortunately, there is currently no effective treatment that can replicate a breast lift without surgery. Since the procedure is designed to reshape the breasts by reducing ptosis, non-invasive approaches such as breast lift “exercises” are often incapable of achieving the same level of rejuvenation. More often than not, these breast-targeted workouts can only strengthen the chest muscles and/or achieve weight loss. While this can result in a slimmer appearance, no amount of exercising can tighten loose breast skin or reduce a pendulous look.
A breast lift from our San Antonio plastic surgeon can help you achieve your ideal breast appearance. If you have any questions, or if you are ready to schedule a consultation, please contact Ayala Plastic Surgery today.