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IDEAL breast lift™ (mastopexy)

Overview

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that raises and reshapes breasts that have sagged from pregnancy, from significant weight changes, or from the natural process of aging. The breast lift restores the breast to a more youthful look by repositioning the nipple at a higher position and removing excess skin which creates a natural sling or new bra to support the breasts. The best candidate for a breast lift is for any woman with sagging breasts that don't like the feeling of their breasts pulling forward and laying heavily on their stomachs and even the best bras do not give them the support they need. Another way to determine if someone is a candidate for a breast lift would be to look in the mirror and see if the position of the nipple (not the areola, the darkened circular area around the nipple) is above, at, or below the crease beneath your breast. If the nipple is below the crease, a lift will definitely restore the breast to a more youthful shape. If the nipple sits at the crease, it is a borderline situation and Dr. Shu's expertise will determine whether a breast lift, a breast augmentation, or both are needed.

IDEAL breast lift™ technique

Dr. Shu trained with board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Ted Eisenberg, to perform the newest technique for mastopexy (breast lift) called IDEAL breast lift™. The breast lift restores the breast to a more youthful look by repositioning the nipple at a higher position and removing excess skin which creates a natural sling or new bra to support the breasts. Dr. Shu does not remove the nipple during the procedure; but instead, sews the nipple and central portion of areola higher. The breast tissue is not touched, only the skin is removed to create the lift and to support the breasts. The procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure and is done under the IV sedation with local anesthetic. After IDEAL breast lift™ patients have had minimal discomfort. Stitches are dissolvable and don't need to be removed. More than 90% of breast surgery patients are back to work on the fifth day, if they work in an office setting. Patients can generally return to aerobics in two to three weeks and upper body weightlifting in six weeks.

Considerations

Some things to consider before deciding to have a breast lift are there may be a scar from the incision that goes around the nipple, extends from the nipple down to the breast fold then across the breast fold itself. For some women the incision will heal to a thin line; for others it may be thicker. Sometimes the breast assumes a boxy shape below the nipple where the skin was tightened. Lastly, mastopexy or a breast lift may not be permanent if your skin tone is poor before the surgery. The breasts might sag again to some extent, but not nearly to the point at which they were before surgery. A second operation might be required to retighten the skin of the breast in the future.

What is a breast lift?

This cosmetic surgery helps to restore a more youthful and less saggy or droopy appearance to the breasts. The restoration sometimes involves breast augmentation or breast reduction as well.

What are the differences between IDEAL breast lift™ technique and traditional breast lift?

First of all, IDEAL breast lift™ can remove much more sagging skin and more effectively restores the breast to a more youthful look than the traditional breast lift. Second, the breast tissue is not touched, only the skin is removed to create the lift and to support the breasts, it is less traumatic procedure with lower complication rate and quicker recovery time. Lastly, the procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure and is done under the IV sedation with local anesthetic.

Who will perform my surgery and where?

The surgery is performed by Dr. Steven Shu, MD, MBA in our operating rooms at the Edina office location. You will be in the safety of the operating room, cared for by experienced and competent professionals.

What kind of anesthesia will be used during the procedure?

Local anesthesia with oral and/or IV sedation is used for all procedures because there are fewer negative side effects than with general anesthesia. This also helps maintain a lower procedure cost.

What do women say after surgery?

They report that they are happy right from the beginning because they feel better and look better as they had hoped. They are surprised that there was very little discomfort. They feel better because they don't have the weight of their breasts hanging on their stomach anymore. They say it's easier to wear a bra because their breasts aren't bulging out of the sides or bottom.

Will I have stitches? Is there swelling and bruising?

Yes, you will have stitches, but they are dissolvable and do not have to be removed. There is minimal swelling and bruising.

Will I lose nipple sensation?

It is uncommon for nipple sensation to be altered. There is a small chance that nipple sensation may be decreased or lost permanently, however this is very rare.

How soon can I get back to my exercise schedule?

Patients can generally return to aerobics in two to three weeks and upper body weightlifting in six weeks.

Will I be able to breast feed after a mastopexy?

In most cases, a breast lift will not interfere with breastfeeding, because Dr. Shu does not disrupt milk ducts during surgery. However, not all women are naturally able to breast feed, whether or not they have surgery.

What will happen if I have another child or gain or lose weight?

No one can guarantee what will happen. It's possible that you could get stretched and saggy again and need another tightening. This could happen whether or not you had the lift.

Will I need a mammogram?

Each patient's mammogram needs are evaluated on an individual basis. The American Cancer Society recommends that women have a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40; we recommend that a woman with a family history of breast cancer (a mother or a sister) have a mammogram before breast surgery no matter what her age.

Can a breast lift cause breast cancer?

No, this operation does not influence the later development of breast cancer.

Is a breast lift covered by insurance?

Cosmetic surgery, such as a breast lift, is considered elective surgery and is not covered by health insurance. We require payment in advance. We accept credit cards and use care credit as a financing option.