What is a breast lift?
With age, the skin becomes thinner and less elastic. Shifts in breast volume, which can occur during pregnancy, with breastfeeding, and weight changes, stretch the skin that covers the breast mounds. Combined with the effects of gravity, these factors can result in breast sagging. Breast lift surgery called mastopexy corrects breast shape to restore fullness and symmetry.
Mastopexy surgery is an outpatient procedure. It may be performed using general anesthesia or local anesthesia and IV sedation. The surgery may take 2 to 4 hours depending on incision type, the extent of reshaping, and ancillary procedures like breast augmentation with implants.
Sagging Breasts: Why it happens + How to fix it
Breast sagging or breast ptosis occurs due to a number of reasons, including:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Weight loss and fluctuations
- The natural aging process
When the sagging is mild and characterized primarily by deflated tissue, it can sometimes be corrected with an implant. However, more severe sagging, drooping tissue and poorly positioned nipples typically require a breast lift.
Who is a candidate for a breast lift?
The ideal candidate for our breast lift in Houston, TX with Dr. Wiener is a woman who has:
- Sagging breasts that need to be lifted and reshaped
- Asymmetrical or unusually shaped breasts
- Breasts that feature excess skin
- Nipples that point downward
Benefits of a Breast Lift Surgery
Having mastopexy surgery can make the breasts look perkier and more youthful. Bras may fit better and feel more comfortable once the breasts are not heavy and saggy. Clothing options may increase, as well. The correction of breast ptosis can also alleviate skin irritation beneath the breast that results from skin-on-skin contact. While the physical and cosmetic benefits of breast lift surgery are rewarding, it may be the emotional satisfaction that is most advantageous.
How will pregnancy and nursing affect my breasts?
After pregnancy and breastfeeding, the size and shape of your breasts will change in fascinating ways. Many women find that their breasts:
- Increase in density due to the generation of milk
- Stretch due to the repeated production and removal of milk
- Become asymmetrical due to one breast changing more than the other
When the sagging is mild and characterized primarily by deflated tissue, it can sometimes be corrected with an implant. However, more severe sagging, drooping tissue and poorly positioned nipples typically require our mastopexy in Houston.
The Main Events
What to expect after breast lift surgery
Your breast lift will be performed in Dr. Wiener’s AAAASF accredited in-office operating room in Houston. To begin, a board-certified physician anesthesiologist will administer intravenous sedation and Dr. Wiener will place local anesthetic nerve blocks around your ribs to minimize your post-operative pain.
During surgery, Dr. Wiener won’t actually lift your breast higher on the chest. Rather, he will reposition the nipple and remove any excess skin. If your upper chest is particularly flat after this process, he may recommend placing an implant to restore fullness.
What to expect after breast lift surgery
Following a breast lift, you will need to avoid exercise and strenuous activity for six full weeks so that your body has the opportunity to heal. You will also need to be completely nicotine free for at least one month to minimize the risk of skin or nipple loss and severe scarring. To preserve your new look for as long as possible, it’s ideal to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid substantial weight gain moving forward.
What your breasts will look like after a breast lift
Even the best breast lift will inevitably result in some scarring. However, when your procedure is performed by Dr. Wiener, the scars will become increasingly less visible over time.
If you have a standard breast lift, the incisions will be located around the nipple, down the front of the breast and along the crease of the breast. If you have a periareolar mastopexy, the incisions will appear around the areola and down the front of the breast. You can largely avoid scars with a donut breast lift, which involves a single incision around the areola, but this option is not always appropriate.
During your in-person consultation at our Houston office, Dr. Wiener will counsel you on your options and help you determine the right approach.
How long does a breast lift last?
Breast lift surgery achieves aesthetic results that can last 10 to 15 years before the signs of sagging begin again. Women who undergo the mastopexy procedure can foster long-lasting results by always wearing appropriate support. When working out, especially when high-intensity exercise is involved, a woman should wear a well-fitting sports bra. Patients should also practice good sun care, wearing SPF 30 sunscreen, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure on the chest. Sun damage degrades collagen, the protein that firms and strengthens the skin.
How painful is a breast lift?
Breast lift surgery is performed using anesthesia. Patients are comfortable and sedated throughout their procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, patients may feel sore and tender. Prescription pain medication should be taken as directed for the first few days after surgery to prevent unnecessary discomfort and stress.
What are the different types of breast lifts?
A surgeon chooses from a few different breast lift techniques based on breast anatomy, skin condition, and patient preferences (as much as possible.) It isn’t that there are completely different breast lifts so much as that there are different incision patterns that can be used. These include:
- Crescent breast lift. For the correction of minor breast sag, a surgeon makes a small incision around the upper half of the areola, the colored skin around the nipple.
- Peri-areolar breast lift. Also called a “donut” lift, this incision pattern around the entire edge of the areola may be used to correct mild breast sagging. This incision can also reduce areola size.
- Vertical breast lift. Called a “lollipop” lift, this incision shape follows the edge of the areola and also has a vertical incision line from the bottom of the areola to the crease beneath the breast. This type of breast lift can correct moderate breast sagging.
- Anchor breast lift. This incision pattern looks like an anchor or an inverted “T”. It may be used to correct extensive sagging and achieve more significant reshaping. The anchor incision pattern is the lollipop with a horizontal incision along the crease beneath the breast.
Will weight loss affect my results?
When a woman loses weight, she should expect some degree of breast deflation. This is normal because the breasts are comprised primarily of fatty tissue. To achieve optimal, long-lasting results from a breast lift, it is wise to schedule this procedure once you are at your ideal, stable weight.
What to avoid after mastopexy
It is important to avoid tugging or placing pressure on the breasts after surgery. Your post-surgical care instructions may advise you to avoid sleeping on your sides or stomach for at least a week. Sleeping in a recliner may be comfortable.
You should not lift anything that weighs more than a few pounds after your breast lift. A good rule of thumb is that if it weighs more than a gallon of milk, don’t lift it. This recommendation includes pushing, as well.
Alcohol, smoking, and tobacco use should be avoided after surgery. These habits can cause fluid retention, dehydration, and oxygen deprivation to the tissues that are healing. Patients should also limit salt intake to keep swelling to a minimum.
Healing from breast surgery can bring a range of emotions. You may go from feeling happy to blue in just a few moments. These ups and downs may relate to sleep disruptions, medication, anesthesia, discomfort, activity restrictions, and other factors. Know that your emotions are normal and temporary. Don’t judge them. Instead, talk with a trusted loved one or take a walk in nature.
Read what our patients are saying!
" Dr. Wiener has a very straightforward and kind bedside manner. I have been a patient of his for 12 years and have been extremely satisfied with the outcome of my surgeries. Most recent surgery (3/2022) was upgraded breast augmentation from saline to silicone. "
Are implants required with breast lift surgery?
No. Getting breast implants at the time of a breast lift is a personal decision that every patient has to make. When there is a greater slope at the upper portion of the breast, a surgeon may discuss how implants can correct breast shape by adding volume to the upper region. However, this discussion is not a formal recommendation. You are free to choose. Your surgeon merely makes sure that you have all the information you need to make your decision.
Risks Associated with Mastopexy
The breast lift procedure carries surgical and cosmetic risks that include infection, bleeding, blood or fluid accumulation, and poor incision healing. These complications are relatively rare and may occur with any surgical procedure. Breast surgeries also carry risks of asymmetry, poor cosmetic outcome, and poor scarring. Women should choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with a great deal of experience performing this procedure. Dr. Wiener is honored to serve patients from the Houston area as well as patients who travel to our office for his high standard of care.
Dr. Wiener: Leading the way in breast lift innovations
A Texas native, Dr. Wiener is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is known for his ability to provide one of the best experiences and arguably the best breast lift Houston has available. Patients travel to his Houston office from around the country thanks to his vast knowledge, mastery of the latest surgical techniques, and exquisite results.