Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts–at least, for a time. (No surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity.) Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of 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. 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 can be inserted in conjunction with mastopexy to increase both their firmness and their size. The amount of scarring involved will depend on what type of lift is performed. This will be determined by the amount of sagging that needs to be corrected.
Good candidates for breast lift
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. Kim.
The best candidates for mastopexy 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 consider lifting the breasts 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. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn’t interfere with breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
In your initial consultation, it’s important to discuss your expectations frankly with Dr. Kim, and to listen to his advice. Every patient—and every physician, as well—has a different view of what is a desirable size and shape for breasts.
Dr. Kim will examine your breasts and discuss the variables that may affect the procedure—such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, and the condition of your skin–and whether an implant is advisable. You should also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned; they’ll be moved higher during the procedure, and should be approximately even with the crease beneath your breast.
Dr. Kim will describe the procedure in 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 Dr. Kim any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.