Breast lift surgery, medically known as mastopexy, is used to correct what most people call sagging breasts. A woman’s breasts may sag and lose their shape from age, pregnancy, and weight loss. The technical name for breast sagging is ptosis. A breast lift is a wonderful cosmetic surgery option to restore youthful shape and firmness to the breasts. This short guide offers some basic information about a breast lift.
Do you have breast ptosis?
Ptosis is classified into three grades of increasing severity. To have an idea of the amount of sagging in your breasts, get a standard ruler, about 1-2 inches wide. Stand in front of a mirror and take off your shirt and bra. Place the ruler under your breasts so that the top part of the ruler pushes up against the inframammary fold, the place where your breasts meet your chest. The ruler may not be even, but it’s important it touches the fold of both breasts.
If your nipple, not the colored skin around the nipple (known as the areola) is above the top of the ruler–congratulations you are not considered to have ptosis, although you may have what is known as pseudoptosis if the lower part of your breast hangs down too far.
- If your nipple is just at the top of the ruler, you have what is described as grade 1 (mild) ptosis.
- If your nipple is between the top and the bottom of the ruler, you have what is described as grade 2 (moderate) ptosis.
- If your nipple is below the bottom of the ruler, you have what is described as grade 3 (serious) ptosis.
- This is just an approximation. Dr. Chen Lee may describe the sagging of your breasts differently.
There are many different breast lift techniques. The structure of your breasts and your degree of ptosis influences the type of breast lift recommended by Dr. Chen Lee.
Crescent Breast Lift
Also known simply as a crescent lift or nipple lift, this is a simple breast lift that corrects mild (grade I) ptosis. With this breast lift, a crescent of skin above your areola is removed from above the nipple, allowing the breast to be reshaped and the nipple moved up and the breast reshaped.
Benelli Breast Lift
The Benelli breast lift is also known as a doughnut mastopexy, circumareola breast lift, and apex lift. The Benelli is typically considered less invasive than other types of breast lifts. Dr. Chen Lee will recommend this technique if you have mild to moderate ptosis (grade I or II). A doughnut-shaped piece of tissue from around the areola is excised with the areola then reattached to the breast in an elevated position.
Vertical Mastopexy Breast Lift
Also known by the names lollipop breast lift, LeJour lift, and modified Benelli. The vertical mastopexy provides more lift than the Benelli for those with moderate (grade II) ptosis. With this technique, a doughnut-shaped piece of tissue is excised just like in the traditional Benelli breast lift. An additional vertical incision from under the areola to the breast crease is added to provide a greater lift to the breast. The vertical mastopexy provides more lift than the Benelli, but less than the full mastopexy discussed below.
Full Mastopexy Breast Lift
Severe grades of ptosis can be treated with full mastopexy. The full mastopexy breast lift is also known as an anchor lift or inverted-T. This breast lift will correct severe grade III ptosis. An anchor lift allows for the maximum amount of lifting. In this breast lift technique, an anchor-shaped incision that starts at the base of the areola and travels to the bottom of the breast, where it meets the ribcage. The sagging breast skin is tightened by excising the tissue from above and around the nipple, down to the inframammary fold, and along the fold where the breast meets the rib cage. Your nipple is then repositioned so that it sits in a more youthful position.
Often breast augmentation is performed in conjunction with breast lift surgery to create fuller, firmer, and perkier breasts without the need for multiple operations.
Scars from a Breast Lift…
Because of where the incisions are placed, scars from a breast lift are either at or below the nipple, making them easily concealed by bathing suits, bras, and even low-cut tops. However, many women consider the scarring from a breast lift to be a serious drawback to the procedure. The keyhole incision of a vertical mastopexy leaves what is known as a “lollipop” scar, while a full mastopexy incision results in an “anchor” shaped scar.
Are you a candidate from breast lift?…
Occasionally, a breast may sag without the descent of the nipple. This condition is called pseudoptosis. Dr. Chen Lee has found breast augmentation to be far more favorable for the treatment of pseudoptosis. However, true ptosis will require a breast lift procedure. A breast lift may be performed by itself or in conjunction with breast augmentation and the insertion of breast implants. Whether or not you need a breast lift and/or a breast augmentation can only be determined by a medical examination. Dr. Chen Lee will take specific measurements to determine where the nipple and areola are positioned relative to the breast crease (inframammary fold). Your measurements will then be used to determine if fullness can be restored with breast implants alone or if a breast lift is required to help restore a youthful appearance.
Dr. Chen Lee is a board-certified plastic surgeon. He will perform a complete evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for a breast lift procedure (mastopexy).