As a natural result of the aging process, breast tissue may begin to lose elasticity and descend, and/or lose volume. These effects can also happen after pregnancy and breastfeeding or due to one’s genetics. If you struggle with breasts that sag or have lost their firmness, board-certified plastic surgeon Neal Goldberg, MD, FACS offers breast lift procedures to patients in his Scarsdale and Manhattan offices.
Also known as mastopexy, breast lift surgery is performed to rejuvenate the positioning of the breasts while enhancing the breast shape and contour. In general, a breast lift can help to:
The breast lift procedure is commonly pursued when patients exhibit one of the three grades of breast “ptosis”—a condition characterized by drooping tissue. The extent of your breast sag or ptosis generally influences which breast lift technique is ideal for your needs and goals.
As women age, their breasts may sag and often, a breast lift is one of the only ways to reshape the breasts. Aside from sagging breasts, women may also choose a breast lift to correct a downward-facing nipple, enlarge breasts that are relatively small, and add volume following pregnancy and childbirth or after weight loss.
Ideal candidates for this procedure should be non-smokers who are not planning a future pregnancy. Breast droop is typically categorized in three ways:
These assessments are used to determine the surgical technique for lifting of the breast.
Before a consultation with Dr. Goldberg, it is best to have a clear understanding of some of the most important terminology listed below. This can serve as an aid to generate any questions you may want to ask about the procedure itself, and what you may expect on the day of surgery.
Ptosis, more commonly known as sagging, can be a natural effect of the aging process, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and genetics. Part of your evaluation will be determining the degree of ptosis you are experiencing so that the ideal technique can be used to address the issue effectively. Generally speaking, there are three grades of ptosis, beginning with Grade 1, the mildest, and ending with Grade 3, the most significant. Some women may also experience pseudoptosis, where the lower pole of the breast sags while the nipple remains in a higher relative position. And there is also parenchymal maldistribution, in which an unusual breast shape is present. Regardless of your concern, Dr. Goldberg can assist you in creating a personalized treatment plan designed to achieve your goals.
During the mastopexy procedure, the breasts are reshaped and lifted through discreet incisions placed around the nipples and breasts. The exact pattern of your breast lift incisions will depend on the extent of your ptosis, whether implants are being placed, and your overall goals for surgery.
If you would like to add implants to further enhance the fullness in your upper breasts — either at the time of your mastopexy or at a later stage — the best incisions for your procedure will likely be the keyhole- or anchor-shaped techniques. Dr. Goldberg will discuss all of these details with you, including the possibility of a combined breast lift with implants surgery, during your consultation.
Taking time off from work after your breast lift will be essential in your recovery process. Allowing the body adequate time to rest can offer lasting benefits. It can also help reduce soreness as your breasts heal. When patients follow Dr. Goldberg’s recommended treatment plan, they can typically resume daily activities about one week after their breast lift. Initially, the incisions and dissolvable sutures will be covered with gauze or tape that is removed after one week. If discomfort arises, a prescribed medication from Dr. Goldberg can be taken to help manage any pain. You should expect up to two weeks for recovery and will wear a special bra for a time. Noticeable scars will fade and flatten over the following year and changes in nipple sensation are common.
As with other surgeries, some side effects are possible and may include infection, poor healing, uneven positioning of nipples and a possible permanent loss of feeling in the nipples or breast.
The outcome of a breast lift typically lasts for several years, or even decades, depending on your genetics, lifestyle, dietary habits, and unique rate of aging. The procedure cannot stop the aging process, but there are several ways you can help preserve your breast lift results for as long as possible:
The vast majority of patients are able to enjoy their rejuvenation for at least 10 to 15 years. Furthermore, patients who have undergone a breast lift will generally always experience a more youthful breast appearance than individuals who are the same age and who have not received surgery.
As with any surgery, there will be some residual scarring after a breast lift procedure. Dr. Goldberg has trained at esteemed medical institutions and has performed numerous breast lift procedures, so you can rest assured knowing you are in capable hands. While there will be residual scarring, it should fade to some degree over time. Dr. Goldberg aims to place incisions in areas that can be easily concealed under clothing and swimwear.
The price of breast lift surgery at our practice, with all surgical costs included, starts at $11,000. The final total will depend on several factors, and the cost can vary from person to person based on their needs and goals. Some of the considerations that play a role include whether you are including breast implants in your treatment plan, if you choose to add other procedures to your program, how complex your surgery is, and other potentialities. To ensure you have the best information to make your decision, we will provide a full estimate of anticipated costs, which will include the anesthesiology fee and the hospital facility fee. If you would like to consider plastic surgery financing, we work with a reputable agency and can assist you with finding a suitable payment plan.
Dr. Goldberg typically recommends that his patients have their breast lift procedure after they have finished having children and no longer plan to breastfeed. During pregnancy and while nursing, the breasts may expand or droop as the body changes, which can have a pronounced effect on the results of a previous breast lift. With that in mind, it’s important to note that many women who had the ability to breastfeed before surgery should still retain that ability after the procedure, depending on the surgical approach utilized. There are certain techniques Dr. Goldberg can use during surgery that can reduce the chance of affecting one’s ability to breastfeed at a later date. Dr. Goldberg will be happy to talk with you about your concerns during the initial consultation.
You may have heard that exercise can tighten your breasts for a “natural breast lift.” Throughout his years as a professional in this field, Dr. Goldberg has never seen exercises achieve the same outcome as a breast lift procedure. Even targeted exercises cannot change the position or shape of the breasts. Push-up bras, good posture, and working out may help the breasts look somewhat more perky; however, a breast lift is often the most ideal way to address excess skin, while also creating a more lifted appearance.
The results from surgery are incomparable to any exercise results and can create a much smoother and firmer appearance to the breasts. Since working out cannot resolve loose, excess skin or descended breast volume—two of the primary factors that lead to the development of breast sag—exercises that claim to achieve a non-surgical breast lift are generally ineffective.
Dr. Goldberg is able to use some of the excess descended breast tissue taken during a breast lift to augment the volume of the breast and transfer it to the upper half. This should help increase the volume of the upper breast; however, certain patients who are looking for more fullness may consider a breast augmentation with lift. Often known as a “breast lift with implants,” a joint breast augmentation and breast lift treatment plan is designed to achieve two goals at once: minimize breast sag by lifting the breasts to a more youthful positioning, and enhance the shape of the breasts by placing implants. In this way, a breast lift with implants can provide the benefits of both procedures in one surgical plan.
Keep in mind that Dr. Goldberg may perform a breast lift with implants in two separate surgeries depending on your needs. In some cases, divvying up your treatment plan may be able to help ensure the results persist for as long as possible. Dr. Goldberg will go over the most optimal surgical approach for your breast augmentation with lift during your consultation.
The nature of a breast lift and breast reduction surgery are very similar, as both procedures involve removing excess skin, fat, and glandular tissue to redefine the breast contours. Deciding which cosmetic surgery is right for you depends on your overall goals. Do you desire a smaller, lighter, or more manageable breast size? Or do the stressors of having large, heavy breasts interfere with your happiness and daily life?
If the answer to either of the above questions is “yes,” a breast reduction may be better-suited to achieve your goals. Alleviating the burdens of an excessive breast size can be very rewarding, and Dr. Goldberg will listen to your concerns to help you come to a decision about the most ideal treatment for your needs. That said, if you simply want your breasts to look more shapely and youthful, mastopexy may be the best procedure choice.
*Individual Results May Vary