A breast lift, or mastopexy, is essentially a “lift” of the nipple-areolar complex relative to the crease underneath the breast. This provides an “uplifted” appearance to patients with sagginess or droopiness in the breast that often occurs after pregnancy or with changes in weight.
James F. Boynton, MD, our board-certified plastic surgeon, is highly experienced in breast lift surgery and has helped numerous women rejuvenate the appearance of their breasts with this popular cosmetic procedure. After assessing your unique needs and listening to your aesthetic goals, Dr. Boynton can formulate a customized treatment plan that elevates the breasts and helps you regain a more youthful figure with exceptionally natural-looking results.
To learn more about mastopexy, we encourage you to view the educational videos and read through the information provided on this page. If you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule a breast lift consultation with Dr. Boynton, please do not hesitate to contact our practice by phone or email today.
Degrees of Breast Ptosis
There are varying levels of sagginess, medically referred to as ptosis, that can affect the breasts. These degrees of breast ptosis are primarily measured by the significance of the reduction in skin elasticity and weakened supportive breast tissue, as well as how low the breasts may be sagging. The distinctions are set by where the breasts are in relation to the inframammary fold (the crease where the lower area of the breast meets the chest) and the position of the nipples. Degrees of breast ptosis are characterized by:
Also referred to as glandular ptosis, pseudoptosis is the mildest form of breast sagging. At this stage, the breasts fall just below the inframammary fold while the nipples are above or slightly above the level of the fold.
Grade I Ptosis
Still a milder form, Grade I Ptosis is when the nipples are right at the level of the fold and breasts sag slightly more than the previous phase.
Grade II Ptosis
During the second phase, the nipples will droop below the level of the fold and breasts are now sagging at a more moderate degree.
Grade III Ptosis
The last grade of ptosis produces the most prominent effects, in which both the breasts and nipples sag below the fold and the nipples point at a downward angle.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Boynton will evaluate the level of ptosis and condition of the skin and tissues to provide a customized treatment plan. He can also discuss other factors, such as any volume loss that has occurred, you might wish to address.
What About Scarring from Breast Lift Surgery?
All patients form “scars.” Scars are simply the lines where skin is “sewed” together. The thickness, width, character, and pigmentation of those lines can vary with respect to the patient’s demographics, heritage, and genetics. Representative examples of many results at approximately six weeks after surgery are available for viewing in Dr. Boynton’s breast lift photo gallery of cases. Even patients that have a genetic risk of keloid scarring have been happy with their results because they are able to find more clothing that fits properly and they routinely feel good about themselves.
Is a Non-Surgical Breast Lift Possible?
Despite various claims of natural ways to achieve a breast lift, such as chest exercises or firming creams, surgery remains the only reliable solution to diminish the excess, inelastic skin that is associated with breast ptosis. Although exercises may strengthen pectoral muscles and tighten the general area, there is no scientific proof that alternative methods can lift the breasts to a higher, more youthful position compared to the effects of restructuring the internal makeup of the glandular and fat tissues. However, exercises can be a helpful way to maintain a healthy weight and contribute to the longevity of your mastopexy results.
Additional Breast Lift FAQs
How much discomfort and how long will I be in pain?
Most patients have mild discomfort, and many don’t even require pain medication. Patients are up and about the next day and have a rapid recovery with the exception of strenuous activity, vigorous exercise, or lifting over 10 lbs. These activities need to be avoided for two weeks following surgery to minimize any risk of bleeding.
When can I shower and resume activities, how long off of work, and when can I resume exercise?
You can shower the next day, and exercise can be resumed two weeks after surgery. Most patients are off work for a day or so—maybe several days at the most—depending on their job requirements.
Do any sutures have to be removed?
No. The sutures all dissolve.
Does Dr. Boynton completely remove the nipple in larger cases?
The “old fashion” nipple grafting (total removal of the nipple as a skin graft) technique has never been necessary in 15 years of Dr. Boynton’s practice. Dr. Boynton has vast experience with the medial pedicle technique, which allows him to cone and contour the breast and achieve a very nice shape without removing the nipple—instead, it is “moved” up into place on the medial pedicle. Dr. Boynton even has experience with this pedicle in very large-breasted patients and this technique has worked quite well.
Nipple sensitivity changes?
10-20% of all patients with breast lifts may get some degree of nipple sensitivity changes. Most of this resolves by six to nine months after surgery. Certain patients may have some permanent changes, but it is not usually an issue that they notice.
Will my breasts droop again? What if I get pregnant?
It is impossible to prevent breast tissues from drooping (to some degree) over time due to factors such as gravity and genetics, but wearing a supportive bra as often as possible can usually slow and lessen this process. The breast swelling and subsequent volume loss that often accompanies pregnancy or breastfeeding may lead to the recurrence of breast drooping in some women, though the extent to which this will occur is unique to each individual. While fairly rare, Dr. Boynton has had patients who required a “second” breast lift—or sometimes a reduction—after having children. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict what the breasts will do after pregnancy.
Will I have drains?
No. Dr. Boynton does not use drains on breast lifts (as was common many years ago and is still common with some plastic surgeons).