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Breast Lift Surgery in McAllen and Brownsville
Over the years, breasts can lose their shape and firmness due to pregnancy, nursing, loss of skin elasticity, and the natural process of atrophy of the breast tissue after the childbearing years or as a result of weight loss. This may cause the breasts to sag and lose their shape, appearing “deflated,” especially in the upper breast. In these cases, there is a discrepancy between the skin envelope of the breast, which is excessive, relative to the remaining volume of breast tissue, which may be either adequate or deficient. Breast Lift surgery, or Mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that restores a more youthful appearance to breasts by raising and reshaping breasts. This procedure slows or reverses the effects of aging and gravity. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple, which often becomes wider after breast-feeding. If needed, a breast implant can also be inserted to add or restore the necessary volume to the upper breast for a more complete breast makeover.
Am I A Candidate?
If your breasts have lost their shape and fullness due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, or any other reason, you are most likely a good candidate for a Beast Lift surgery. When performing Breast Lifts, I incorporate your expectations with the physical characteristics of your breasts in order to determine the best treatment for your particular circumstance. Breasts which are larger and heavier (more breast tissue volume relative to the amount of excess skin) may be adequately lifted and have the upper fullness of the breast restored using the breasts’ own tissue instead of an implant. However, “empty breasts” (those with extreme excess skin and poor elasticity relative to the volume of breast tissue) will likely require an implant for optimal breast lift results.
It is important to have realistic expectations because the effects of gravity, loss of breast tissue volume, and loss of skin elasticity continue to change over the course of time. Even after surgery, patients should not expect the results to be permanent.
I will take a complete medical history and conduct a thorough examination to evaluate your overall health. I will also perform a detailed analysis of your breasts’ symmetry and appearance. Ideally, the Breast Lift and augmentation patient has no health problems, no pre-existing breast disease, and wishes only to improve the shape and appearance of the breast.
Photographs will be taken before and after surgery. Most patients will be required to have a normal mammogram performed within 6 months prior to the procedure. Otherwise, we will arrange for a screening mammogram to be done prior to surgery. I will discuss all your options with you, taking into consideration your preferences, the physical characteristics of your breasts, and whether the addition of an implant is advisable. The location of the incisions will also be discussed, as well as the potential risks and complications. To minimize the possibility of excess bleeding, you will need to avoid taking drugs containing aspirin and you will receive a complete list of medications and supplements to avoid before surgery. You will also be advised to shower with an antiseptic soap for a day or two prior to surgery.
The Breast Lift Procedure
Mastopexy is performed in an outpatient surgery setting under light, general anesthesia to ensure that there is no pain or discomfort during the procedure. I also administer additional local anesthesia during the procedure to minimize any post-operative pain. A Mastopexy takes between 2 to 3 hours. I will determine how to approach your breast lift procedure based on the degree of sagging, or ptosis, which exists. It is natural to desire the shortest scar possible, and some patients find it difficult to understand why longer scar operations are sometimes needed. Generally, the more the breast has descended, and the more excess skin that exists, the more extensive the surgery needs to be and the longer the scar will be. I always strive for the shortest scar possible, and typically utilize one of four techniques:
- The peri-areolar, or "donut" mastopexy removes a small circle of skin from around the areola (the more darkly pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.) The nipple is moved to a higher position on the chest, while remaining attached to nerves and blood vessels. The remaining skin is reattached around the now smaller areola, resulting in a lifted, tightened breast. This method is appropriate for women with a small degree of sagging who require only a subtle lift, and results in a circle scar around the areola. When performed without an implant, this skin-only procedure can be performed in our clinic under local anesthesia with or without sedation.
- The “crescent” lift is a variation of the peri-areolar mastopexy where a small ellipse of skin is removed from around the areola to slightly reposition the areola either up or to the side to enhance the symmetry between breasts. This method is appropriate for women with minimal sagging but with asymmetry in the position of the nipples on their breasts and is usually performed as part of a peri-areolar breast augmentation if the patient wishes to have the nipple asymmetries corrected. The resulting scar is a semi-circle at the junction the areola and skin.
- The vertical, LeJour, or "lollipop" mastopexy is the most common incision I use for breast lift surgery. This procedure utilizes an incision that encircles the areola and then descends vertically to form the namesake lollipop shape. The addition of the vertical incision allows for more skin and tissue to be removed from the lower part of the breast. The nipple and areola are re-positioned higher on the breast mound, and the skin surrounding the areola is then brought together to reshape the breast with stitches around the areola and the lower breast. This method allows for the correction of moderate sagging and results in much less scarring than the traditional anchor-shaped Wise pattern mastopexy. If patients have severely sagging breasts with a lot of excess skin, then this incision is extended only as needed along the lower fold of the breast to achieve the desired result with minimal additional scarring.
- The extended LeJour mastopexy results when I have to extend the vertical mastopexy widely along the lower fold of the breast to achieve the necessary lift. This adds a curved scar along the underside of the breast, resulting in an anchor-shape and corrects the greatest degree of sagging. The extended LeJour mastopexy, with or without an implant, allows more skin and breast tissue to be removed, resulting in a greater degree of lifting and shaping that many breast lift patients require.
In a Mastopexy, several layers of hidden sutures are used, and the final incisions are covered with surgical tape. Although very rare, a small suction drain may be placed behind the breast to avoid fluid accumulation if necessary. This drain is usually removed within 2 to 5 days.
Anyone considering any type of surgery should be aware of both the benefits and risks. Every year, many thousands of women undergo successful breast lifts. Fortunately significant complications from a Mastopexy are infrequent, and patients are generally quite pleased with the results. Also, a Mastopexy generally does not interfere with the ability to breast feed if future pregnancies are anticipated.
Potential risks of Mastopexy include bleeding, infection, and reactions to anesthesia. On rare occasion, there may be tissue loss and delayed wound healing along portions of the incision, especially in cases where the procedure has been extensive, or in smokers and diabetic patients. This may cause the scars to widen. A Mastopexy does leave permanent scars, although most of the necessary incisions are placed within natural skin folds, and all incisions are generally covered by a bra or bathing suit. The appearance of the scars can be expected to improve with time. (Please visit my Scar Care page for more information.) Occasionally, the scars will require revision at a subsequent procedure if they have healed poorly. Problems with the shape or position of the nipples or permanent loss of sensation or loss of tissue in the nipples, or breasts, may occur on rare occasion. If breast implants are chosen, complications such as deflation (saline,) rupture (silicone,) capsular contracture, palpable surface irregularities, asymmetry, and interference with mammography, among others, are also applicable (refer to Breast Augmentation on this site.)
Most of the risks associated with a Mastopexy can be lessened and managed by carefully following the recommendations and instructions you will receive during your consultation. All of your personal questions or concerns will be addressed at that time as well.
For the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, your stitches will be covered with gauze and a soft wrap with a soft surgical bra will hold the bandages in place. Your breasts may be slightly bruised or swollen, and you may experience some mild discomfort for a couple of days. I will prescribe pain medication strong enough to counteract any pain or discomfort you may feel. If implants are chosen you will be started on the Bandera and nipple redraping exercises, which you will continue for 2 weeks at your first post-operative visit. If drains are placed, they will be removed after 2 to 5 days. You may experience a temporary loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts, which is generally caused by swelling during the initial post-operative period of six to twelve weeks. Normal sensation usually returns after three to six months.
To ensure proper healing, follow the detailed instructions you will be given at the time of your pre-operative consultation. Most patients may return to normal daily activities within 24 to 48 hours. You may resume non-strenuous work within one week or less following the surgery. You should avoid lifting heavy objects for 3-4 weeks. If implants were used, do not lift anything over 5 pounds for the first five days, anything over 10 pounds for the first 10 days, and anything over 15 pounds for the first 15 days. You may gradually resume strenuous physical exercise after approximately three to four weeks. Women with implants placed under the muscle should avoid any exercises that engage the chest muscles (such as bench press, push-ups, and pectoral fly exercises) for the rest of their lives in order to minimize lateral displacement of the implants over time.
Your New Look
Our patients generally find a Mastopexy to be an extremely “uplifting” procedure. They are enthusiastic about the restoration of a more youthful appearance to their breasts, which often appear to have aged disproportionately to the rest of their bodies. In many cases, patients are able to wear more revealing clothing, and are able to select from a wider and more appealing variety of bra styles. Many patients also report feeling more self-confident about the appearance of their breasts when not wearing clothing. In summary, the great majority of patients are very pleased with the results of their Breast Lift, especially when they are well informed regarding their options, and are realistic in their expectations.
Breast Lift surgery is more complex than straightforward breast augmentation to restore the breasts’ youthful contour. As with any cosmetic surgery procedure, it is critical that you choose only the most qualified breast augmentation surgeons, one with high levels of training, experience, and patient satisfaction, such as Dr. Rodriguez. If you would like to find out if breast lift surgery is right for you, we encourage you to take the first step toward feeling more attractive, confident and desirable. When you're looking for the leading center for cosmetic surgery in McAllen and Brownsville, click here and request a consultation with Dr. Filiberto Rodriguez , a cosmetic fellowship-trained, board-certified surgeon specializing in minimal scar breast enhancement surgery in McAllen and Brownsville. You can also call his office to schedule your appointment: 956-350-6561