Questions About Breast Lift

What is a breast lift?

A breast lift (mastopexy) is a procedure designed to correct sagging of the breasts. This is done by tightening the skin around the breast thus tightening the breast shape and elevating the breast. Basically, the breast becomes more “perky.”

Will my insurance pay for breast lift?

Correction of breast sag is considered an aesthetic issue and is not covered by insurance.

How painful is this surgery?

The surgery is not particularly painful. But you can expect some postsurgical pain in the first day or two. However, that rapidly changes to just soreness and most patients are back to work in a few days.

Will I need a breast implant?

That depends on a couple of issues. Some patients not only want the breast to be perkier, but want to be larger as well. A mastopexy will actually make the breast a little bit smaller because the skin that is removed does contribute a small amount to the overall volume. So, if the patient desires a noticeably larger breast, an implant will be required.

Secondly, although the breast will be much more perky following mastopexy the upper pole may still not have enough fullness to satisfy some patients, requiring an implant.

Can a breast implant be placed (augmentation) at the same time as the breast lift?

In most cases, an implant can be placed at the same time. However in cases where the amount of sagging is significant, predicting the exact final location of the breast following the expected amount of postoperative settling is difficult. In those situations, a better result can be obtained by placing the implant at a later stage. In smokers, it is best to stage the two procedures, as complications will be much higher in that group if the lift and the breast augmentation are done simultaneously.

How long will the improvements last?

That depends on a number of factors. The most important ones are the overall condition of the skin envelope and the weight of the breast itself. If the skin is youthful and has excellent elasticity and the remaining weight of the breast is light, the result will last much longer than if the opposite is true.

Can anything be done to prolong the result?

In some cases it is helpful to make changes to the breast tissue itself. In women who are large to begin with and who do not mind being somewhat smaller, we can perform a small reduction of breast volume, in addition to the lift itself. If the breast volume is not significantly large, we can sometimes fix the breast tissue to the chest wall with sutures. In patients who insist on remaining large, we can offer a two-stage approach whereby volume is significantly reduced at the first stage and then an implant (which will not sag over time) is placed at the second stage.

Charleston Breast Lift surgeon Dr. William Terranova will work very hard to preview for you the result that you can expect both immediately after surgery as well as months later.

Where are the scars?

The extent of scarring depends on the severity of the sagging and the amount of skin that needs to be removed. At minimum, there is a circular incision around the areola. Then, if necessary, a vertical incision is added that extends either part way or all the way to the crease. Finally, in breasts with significant sagging and excess skin, an additional horizontal incision must be added underneath. This last is the “anchor” incision that is so often talked about.

What will the scars look like?

At first, the scars are likely to spread some because the skin must be closed tightly. Very often the scars become hypertrophic, meaning the scar is raised and often darker than the surrounding skin. Very noticeable initially, over time the scars will flatten and lose the extra pigment. I have seen many breast lift patients years later and the scars are almost always very acceptable.

Will breast lift interfere with cancer screening?

No. If anything, cancer screening may be improved. The more compact shape of the lifted breast may be more amenable to both mammography and self-examination.

Where will the operation be performed?

The surgery is performed in our office operating suite. It is fully accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

Our anesthesiologist will give you medication through an IV. Once you are asleep, we will inject local anesthesia into the surgical areas. You will be breathing during the entire procedures so there is no breathing tube or ventilator needed. You will not feel or hear anything during the procedure.

Contact Charleston Breast Lift surgeon Dr. William Terranova

If you have further questions about the breast lift procedure and are in the Charleson or Summerville, South Carolina area, please contact Charleston Plastic Surgeon, Dr. William Terranova, MD today