long wanted to get a breast lift - mastopexy - but worried I'll spend thousands and end up with the same saggy breasts i started with. Am i right to be concerned?
How Long Does a Breast Lift Last?
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How long will a breast lift last?
Thank you for your question.
There is no exact answer. Every breast will eventually go south to some extent over time. Patients with smaller breasts will generally stay higher longer than patients with heavier breasts. Genetics, sun exposure and weight gain and weight loss can all effect the elasticity of your skin.
In my own practice most of my patients seek breast lift surgery after childbearing. Childbearing increases and then diminishes the volume of the breast thus stretching the skin. In the absence of weight gain are wait loss or another child most patients do not come back for a second breast lift but it can happen.
The Long Lasting Breast Lift
It is possible to obtain very long-lasting results from a breast lift.
The newer techniques lift and reshape the breast with better internal support than the older techniques that simply tightened the skin.
Using the skin alone as a bra will not last as long because loss of skin tone is common among women seeking breast lift.
Reshaping the architecture of the breast produces better shape and position and longevity for the breast lift!
How long does a breast lift (mastopexy) last.
This is an excellent question. If performed correctly, it should last the rest of your life. This does depend on you. Keep your weight constant and depending on your size do not go braless that often if you are left with a D cup or greater. You may sleep without one, however.
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Breast Lift Results Last a Long Time
A breast lift is like turning back the hands of time - but the clock keeps ticking. That means many patients will always benefit from this procedure. There are certain factors that accelerate the breast aging process after this procedure (or even if you don't have surgery) They include:Very large and heavy breasts (with or without implants), fare skin with significant sun damage, smokers, stretch marks, large weight gains and losses, not wearing a bra, severe medical illnesses and certain underlying medical problems.
In general most of my patients have not repeated their mastopexy, breast lift, procedure as they are satisfied with their appearance and I have been in practice more than 25 years.
Duration of a breast lift
The length of time that a breast lift (mastopexy) will last depends on several factors.
1. The amount of elasticity of your skin. The loss of skin elasticity is what leads to droopy breasts. After a breast lift, the skin quality is not changed so their is still a risk of developing some drooping. The sag rarely returns to the level that it was before surgery but how long the breasts stays perky can vary.
2. The technique used for the breast lift. There are several techniques used to lift the breast. Any technique that only removes skin will not last very long unless used in the appropriate patient. Usually the breast tissue needs to be reshaped to give longer results. Also the addition of an implant can affect result longevity negatively as it can stretch out the breast.
3. General health factors such as smoking, diabetes, etc can affect skin quality and long-term results.'
4. Future pregnancy or significant weight changes will also negatively affect results.
Long lasting breast lift
If a breast lift is performed properly, then the breast should not return to it's preoperative droop for decades, if ever. There is always some settling that occur, but the nipple position should not droop down. Discuss with your surgeon the technique that is to be used. Typically surgeons should not rely on simple skin lift. The entire breast parenchyma is sculpted, allowing for a longer lasting lift.
The Longevity of Breast Lifts Depend Upon Many Variables
This is commonly asked question in our practice and it’s hard to answer because of the large number of variables that are present. It’s safe to say that because of the constant force of gravity, we can set the clock back, but never stop it from ticking. Women who do not have breast lifts experience progressive sag and women who have had breast lift can expect some recurrent sag as well.
Factors that are associated with the development of recurrent sag include thin skin, large breasts, fluctuations in weight, pregnancy, failure to use a bra for support, certain types of disease that involve the connective tissue, and cigarette smoking.
Surgical technique is important as well, but less important than the patient’s wound-healing and soft tissue characteristics. Most breast lift procedures utilize the skin to create an envelope which supports the beast tissue. Recently, techniques have developed that utilize internal sutures to provide additional support. If breast implants are used to add volume or create additional upper breast volume they should always be placed under the muscle and should not be of excessive size.
In my experience, breast lifts are associated with high satisfaction rates and in many cases last between 10-15 years. It’s important to realize that gravity goes to work immediately and as time marches on, recurrent sag is inevitable to some degree.
Breast weight transfer to underlying muscles to increase lift longevity
Up until recently, most lifting techniques were extremely limited in their ability to maintain upper pole fullness because they lack a secure way to suspend the breast internally. The skin envelope is also designed poorly because its weakest point (the vertical incision) is right at the center of greatest stress. This ofcourse, leads to the 'bottoming out' phenomenon which is most undesirable. There is a new lifting technique called the Ultimate Breast Lift that addresses the problems previously mentioned. The UBL reshapes the existing breast into a cone, then fashions straps (made from excess skin) that are permanently attached to your chest muscles. This takes the weight off the skin envelope and TRANSFERS it to the muscles below. Muscles, as you know, are stronger than skin and can easily take on the added weight. With time, muscles grow stronger not weaker. The skin envelope is designed NOT to have the vertical scar, thus making it inherently stronger than the other techniques. Breasts appear natural longer and with less scarring . Patients love the fact they no longer need to wear a bra to hold their breasts up! Do your research! This is a great place to start!
How long does the breast lift last?
There is no question that the recurrence of breast ptosis happens but it is usually a bottoming out phenomenon and the position of the nipple is maintained. In general if a breast is larger the recurrence happens earlier. If your breasts are small the lift is stable. An implant will help the longevity of the breast lift procedure.
Breast lift longevity depends on patient factors and surgical factors
A Mastopexy lifts the breasts. There are patient factors and surgical factors that may affect how long the result will last. Patient factors:
- weight of the breasts; a patient with large breasts undergoing Mastopexy will have less longevity compared to a same patient with small breasts. Gravity will pull the larger breast down faster. If you have larger breasts, consider reducing the overall breast size as well.
- elasticity of the skin: a patient with poor skin elasticity (due to aging, hereditary, sun damage, significant weight loss, etc...) will tend to have their breast droop faster than compared with a same patient with good skin elasticity
- 'lifestyle': as mentioned above there are things that affect skin elasticity. Some are unavoidable (aging, genetics), some are avoidable (weight fluctuations, smoking, sun exposure, poor diet). Try to minimize activities that will reduce the procedure's longevity
- the Mastopexy technique should utilize internal tissue alteration to help maintain the result instead of just relying on tightening the skin
- removal of breast tissue may be needed in larger breasts; your plastic surgeon should discuss this if it is felt to be necessary
- placing a breast implant with the Mastopexy: this will increase weight and may decrease the longevity of the lift when compared to a same patient that does not undergo breast augmentation. Stick with a reasonable sized implant, and place the implant under the muscle to minimize the effects
A Mastopexy should last many years, even decades. The vast majority of patients who undergo Mastopexy will never go on to have a second one.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.
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