As women age, some women may find that their breasts are in the wrong place. They may be happy with their breast size, but their breast skin has stretched irreversibly. The remaining breast tissue has fallen to the bottom of the breast while the top of the breast appears flat and empty. In these cases, the breasts need to be lifted so that the breast tissue is higher on the chest wall. When a woman does not want larger breasts but just wants her breasts to be lifted, she needs a “mastopexy.”
Depending on the degree of breast lift needed, a mastopexy will involve resecting excess skin and moving the nipple-areola complex (NAC) higher on the breast mound. For breasts that only need a very minimal lift, the scar will be around the NAC alone. This type of lift is called a Benilli-style mastopexy, and it tends to flatten the breast. Most mastopexies require more skin resection. When the nipple is pointed straight down or the breast tissue itself needs to be repositioned higher on the chest wall, for example, there will need to be a scar around the NAC and a vertical scar from the NAC to the inframammary fold. This lollipop-shaped scar will create a more conical breast that appears more youthful and perky.
After a mastopexy, drains are occasionally needed if a large amount of tissue has been moved around. There are dressings on the incisions, which remain in place for at least 48-72 hours. After the dressings are removed, the patient can shower. Many patients can return to work in 1-2 weeks. Patients should avoid heavy lifting for 6-8 weeks. The breasts will be swollen initially, but the swelling subsides and the breasts settle over several months.