When it’s time for a pick-me-up

Posted on July 26th, 2010 by Michelle

We joke at LookinGood about having gone from a 36C to a 37 Long, but the simple sad fact is Mother Nature is a vindictive spirit and breasts sag as we age.  Even worse, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Or droop.

The technical term is ptotic breasts, according to WebMD.com,  and in this case, women aren’t looking for implants, they are looking for a breast lift, or mastopexy – a procedure that removes excess skin in order to lift up sagging or drooping breasts.  Whereas breast augmentation increases your cup size, the breast lift brings them back up toward your chest and away from your knees.

The problem is simple:  there is too much skin, the tissue is too low and the nipple is pointing southward. To get them back where they should be, a plastic surgeon removes the excess tissue and skin, sutures them into a new new position and moves the nipple up to its new location. There are two types of breast lifts: the concentric (doughnut) lift that is used with smaller, less droopy breasts; and the more common anchor-shaped lift. There are different techniques, too, and the surgery can even be done without moving the nipple in milder cases.

The two biggest drawbacks of the surgery are scarring, and losing sensation in the nipple for some period of time.  Scars usually run from the nipple down, in an inverted “T”,  so are not dramatic, but definitely noticeable.  When the nipple areolar complex is severed and moved, it will be sore and then numb for some period of time, depending on individual healing time.

The breast lift was the seventh most popular cosmetic surgery in 2009 and 19th most sought procedure overall, according to American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. It is sometimes done in conjunction with breast augmentation surgery. Lift surgery alone is done on an outpatient basis and takes from 1-3 hours. Gauze is removed after a couple of days and stitches are removed after about two weeks.  A surgical bra is worn for support, sometimes for several months after the surgery. Bruising, swelling and pain should be gone after 4-6 weeks, but it can take up to a year to completely recover.

Lastly, this surgery will not keep breasts perky as long as implants. Age, weight changes and additional will stretch them out again. Cost for the procedure averages $7,000-$9,000, depending on where you live and the extent of the surgery.

  • iEnhance.com offers a list of 13 questions to ask a prospective surgeon before undergoing this procedure. If you’re not good at talking with a doctor, print the list and take it with you.
  • Before and after pictures on LocateADoc.com give an idea of the results and also of the scarring you will see afterward.
  • This short, minimally graphic video of a surgery by Greek surgeon Dr. Nodas Kapositas is a great example the process.  It shows just enough of the actual surgery to give an understanding without being difficult to watch. Bonus: funky music!

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