A Little Pick-Me-Up…for your Breasts

By: Beth Phillips, RPAC

We can all use a little “pick-me-up” once in a while. Well, in our plastic surgery practice, this is often in the form of a breast lift.

A mastopexy, also known as a breast lift, is one of the most common procedures that we perform. Essentially, a breast lift requires surgically and strategically removing skin from a breast so that the tissue can be repositioned and elevated. This can be performed by itself or in conjunction with a breast augmentation or reduction.

There are several factors that need to be considered when choosing the proper surgical option for a mastopexy. These include breast size, degree of ptosis (a.k.a. droop), areolar size, skin laxity and patient’s desired outcome.

If a patient is satisfied with her current breast size, then a mastopexy alone is performed. This does not affect the volume of the breast. If they would like fuller breasts, often a silicone or saline breast implant is placed. If they prefer to have smaller breasts, then a reduction by surgically removing some of the tissue can be performed.

There are three basic types of breast lifts. These include periareolar (doughnut), vertical (lollipop), and inverted T (anchor).

With a periareolar mastopexy, skin is removed from around the nipple only. This is helpful in reducing the nipple/areolar diameter and can give a small amount of elevation. This results in a scar at the area of color change around the nipple, so it tends to be well camouflaged when it heals. It is important to realize that this procedure generally provides only minimal lift. Periareolar mastopexy is usually best for patients with only minor ptosis, and those who want to decrease the areolar size. It is many times performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation.

A vertical mastopexy requires both an incision around the nipple and down vertically to the inframammary fold, hence the term “lollipop.” Sometimes the incision is extended laterally to create more lift. This is a much more powerful operation in achieving lift and change in breast shape, as it allows more skin to be removed, and more control over the breast shape.

The most aggressive mastopexy is an inverted T, which is sometimes called an anchor lift, or a Wise pattern lift. When compared to a vertical mastopexy, this adds a scar along the inframammary fold. This type of lift may be needed when the patient has significant droop and skin excess.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that having a breast implant placed will automatically lift the breast. While it will certainly add volume, and in some circumstances can add a minimal lift, it usually will not provide a dramatic lift.

I will usually discuss with patients during their consultation that the basic rule of thumb for requiring a lift is a little test that they can even perform at home. If you were to take a straight edge (ruler, paper, etc.) and tuck it horizontally under the breasts, if the nipple falls below the top of the line, then a lift would be beneficial. If a patient is having an implant placed, then the lift is often required. Additionally, women who have had prior augmentation and would like to have their implants removed, will often opt to have a mastopexy to restore their shape.

There are many options to perk up your breasts if you have droop due to pregnancy, weight changes or just gravity. The best option for you is best decided in conjunction with you and your plastic surgical team.

For more information contact call: 315-663-0112 or visit us at www.plasticsurgeryofsyracuse.com