Mastopexy takes 1½ to 3 hours, depending on the amount of work that is required. It is an outpatient procedure performed in our on-site operating suite or at the hospital’s outpatient surgery center. While some patients with a small lift may be a candidate for local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, general anesthesia is most often necessary for medium and large breast lifts.
The surgical technique and location of the incisions depends on your anatomy and the amount of lift needed to achieve your desired look. Any excess, stretched skin will need to be removed, and your nipples and breasts will be lifted higher on your chest. If the areolas (the darker skin surrounding the nipple) have stretched and become misshapen, they will also be reduced. The incisions are usually closed with dissolvable sutures. When necessary, this is also a good time to address problems with enlarged nipples or inverted nipples.
The traditional breast lift involves an anchor-shaped pattern with three incisions – one around the areola, a horizontal incision along the breast crease, and a vertical incision from the bottom edge of the areola to the breast crease. This is also sometimes called an inverted T incision pattern since it looks like an upside-down “T.” It is usually necessary if the degree of sagging is significant, such as with pendulous or tuberous breasts.
The lollipop incision or vertical breast lift technique involves two incisions – one around the areola and a vertical incision down to the crease, but no horizontal incision under the crease. This technique is usually possible for women who require a moderate degree of lift.
The short-scar (periareolar) technique (sometimes called a donut lift) involves one incision around the edge of the areola and is usually only possible for women who have mild breast sagging. This incision type is also often used in cases of mild sagging in women who are also receiving breast implants.
If you have had a prior surgery such as plastic surgery, a lumpectomy, or biopsy, the incisions from that surgery could eliminate some of the options available to you. It may not be safe to do a particular type of breast lift if there are existing incision sites that interfere. Due to our vast experience with breast reconstruction, we are well-versed in the complications that can result from particular types of incisions and will advise you accordingly.
Some scarring is inevitable with a breast lift, but most women find that the scars fade considerably over time. Women with darker or thicker skin may always see the scars to some degree, however.
Most patients go home a few hours after surgery.