Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and gravity take their toll 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 also reduces 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.
If you’re considering a breast lift, this page will give you a basic understanding of the procedure Dr. Zemmel uses. It will show you when it can help, how he performs the procedure, and what results you can expect. Dr. Zemmel can answer more specific questions during your initial consultation, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask him if there is anything about the procedure you don’t understand. While no surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity, mastopexy can “set back the clock” giving a long lasting result.
Ideal Candidates For Mastopexy
The best candidates for breastlift are healthy, emotionally-stable women who are realistic about what the surgery can accomplish. The best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts.
Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched, inelastic skin and less volume. 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, as mastopexy usually doesn’t interfere with breast-feeding, pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
A breast lift can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Zemmel.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty And Risk
A breast lift is not a simple operation, but it’s normally safe when performed by a qualified Plastic Surgeon. Dr. Zemmel has obtained training in an accredited Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Residency and has excelled to the highest levels. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications or a reaction to the anesthesia. Bleeding and infection following a breast lift are uncommon, but they can cause scars to widen. You can reduce your risks by closely following your physician’s advice both before and after breast surgery.
Mastopexy does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they’ll be covered by your bra or bathing suit. Smoking increases the time for complete healing as well as the overall complication rate. Smokers are also subject to wider scars. Dr. Zemmel strongly recommends quitting smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery. The procedure can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples, or a permanent loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts.
Planning Your Surgery
In your initial consultation, it’s important to discuss your expectations frankly with Dr. Zemmel. Dr. Zemmel will examine your breasts and measure them while you’re sitting and standing. He will evaluate the breast contour and shape, position on the chest wall, and the elasticity of your skin. You will also discuss the new location of the nipple and areola and how high you would like it positioned. He will discuss these factors with you that may affect the outcome of the procedure. Dr. Zemmel will also discuss whether a breast augmentation is also necessary. Dr. Zemmel will then give you the best options to achieve your goals.
Dr. Zemmel will describe the procedure in full detail, explaining its risks and limitations and making sure you understand the scarring that will result. He will also explain the anesthesia to be used, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
Preparing For Your Surgery
Depending on your age and family history, Dr. Zemmel may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. Dr. Zemmel asks for mammograms on all women over the age of 35. You will also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
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.
Where Your Surgery Will Be Performed
Your breast lift will be performed in at Dr. Zemmel’s office on an outpatient basis. This operating room is a “quad-A” certified operating room that meets the highest level of safety. The operation is performed on an outpatient basis.
Types Of Anesthesia
Dr. Zemmel performs breast lifts under general anesthesia or under deep sedation with local anesthesia. You will be asleep, completely comfortable and unaware of the surgery.
When a smaller procedure is planned Dr. Zemmel may use local anesthesia with sedation. You’ll be awake but relaxed, and will feel no discomfort.
Dr. Zemmel performs mastopexy in one and a half to three hours, depending on the technique.
Dr. Zemmel uses four different techniques depending how much excess skin needs to be removed and how much lifting of the breast tissue is needed. The incision pattern dictates how much excess skin will be removed and allows Dr. Zemmel access to the deeper tissue for reshaping.
In patients who require a small lift of the nipple and areola, a small crescent shaped section of skin is removed from directly above the nipple and areola. This moves the breast and nipple to a higher position. This procedure uses a small well-hidden incision directly around the top half of the areola that is hardly noticeable without clothing.
Patients who need a larger amount of lift may be candidates for a Benelli (doughnut or concentric) mastopexy where skin is removed in a circular pattern around the nipple to tighten to breast skin in all directions and providing an upward lift. The incision pattern goes completely around the nipple and areola and is also well hidden. This technique also reduces the size of the areola.
If the amount of excess skin and sagging exceeds the limits of these techniques a vertical lift or full-anchor pattern incision may be needed. The vertical lift incision pattern goes around the areola and nipple completely and includes a vertical incision straight down making a “lollipop” shape. The anchor pattern includes incisions used in a vertical lift plus a horizontal incision located in the crease beneath the breast along the chest wall.
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.
Dr. Zemmel closes all the incisions with fine absorbable suture that give an excellent cosmetic result and do not need to be removed.
Dr. Zemmel go into great detail to advise you on what technique will given you the best results as well as the pros and cons of each.Dr. Zemmel go into great detail to advise you on what technique will given you the best results as well as the pros and cons of each.
After Your Surgery
Dr. Zemmel will personally call you the night of surgery to check in and then see you in the office several days later. You will wear a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain should not be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by Dr. Zemmel.
At the first office visit the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra. You’ll need to wear this bra for three to four weeks. This will provide good support for your breast while the tissues heal and gain strength. You will not be able to do any heavy exercise for 3 weeks following surgery.
You can expect 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.
Dr. Zemmel will address all of these concerns in regular follow-up visits.
Getting Back To Normal
Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. Dr. Zemmel is available 24 hours a day with you concerns.
Dr. Zemmel will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities. You may be instructed to avoid sex for a week or more, and to avoid strenuous sports for 3 weeks. After that, you can resume these activities slowly. If you become pregnant, the operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples will be left intact.
Your New Look
Dr. Zemmel will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. The healing process takes 12 to 18 months to complete. During this time scars will soften and fade, but they often remain bumpy and red for months. They then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops without showing.
While the effects of gravity, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations will eventually restart the aging process, a mastopexy procedure will give you more youthful, firmer appearing breasts. The results usually last for years after surgery.