Breast Lift After Childbirth
Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with involutional changes, or 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. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn’t interfere with breast-feeding, except when significant ptosis is present and tissue is removed), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
Depending on your age and family history, a mammogram (breast x-ray) may be required before surgery. While you’re making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.
Your breast lift is usually done on an outpatient basis, for cost containment and convenience. Breast lifts are usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you’ll sleep through the operation. In selected patients—particularly when a smaller incision is being made—the surgeon may use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You’ll be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort. Mastopexy usually takes two to three and a half hours.
Three Common Breast Lift Techniques
There are three common techniques used for mastopexy.
Doughnut Breast Lift
A doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy is a procedure in which circular incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed. This technique is used only when minimal lift is needed and not suitable for breasts that need significant lifting.
Lollipop (Vertical) Breast Lift
A vertical, or lollipop type mastopexy not only removes skin from around the areola like a doughnut mastopexy, but also removes stretched out skin from the underside of the breast resulting in a scar that is hidden around the areola, and extends straight down to the inframammary fold; thus the lollipop description. This type of lift is best used for women with Involuted (or deflated), stretched and ptotic (or saggy) breasts. This lift is a powerful tool for the surgeon which addresses the problems we see in ptosis (or sag) of the breast by providing maximal lift of both the areola, and surrounding breast skin resulting in a higher, tighter, naturally shaped breast with improved cleavage. Most of the time, an implant is placed to help the overall breast shape, and also helps restore the lost volume that occurs after breast feeding (please refer to the augmentation mammoplasty section for a detailed description of breast implants.)
The final type of mastopexy involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. The scar is hidden around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast to varying degrees This is very similar to a reduction mammoplasty (or breast reduction), only the amount of breast tissue removed is much less than in a breast reduction. An implant is also avoided in this instance; however, an implant can be easily inserted in a delayed fashion after healing has taken place.
Breast Lift Post-Surgery Recovery
After surgery, you’ll wear a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by your surgeon.
Please note that the information provided in this discussion is an expression of Dr. Maier’s philosophy and practice.