A mastopexy, or breast lift, with breast augmentation is a combination procedure that lifts sagging breasts while also increasing their cup size. Aside from improving the size and overall appearance of the breasts, a mastopexy with implants benefits patients by keeping breasts firm and perky for many years. Gravity does not have the same effect on implants that it does on natural breast tissue, so implants retain their height and shape more easily.
Candidates for Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift
If you have sagging breasts and a loss of fullness in the top portion of your breasts, you are likely a good candidate for a combined breast augmentation and mastopexy procedure. Also, women with anatomy consistent with tuberous breast deformity are good candidates for augmentation with breast lift. Common findings with tuberous breast deformity are the following: ptosis or breast droop, herniation of breast tissue through the areola making it appear large, and breast base constriction).
Like the rest of the skin and tissue of the body, the breasts sag with age. As we age, the structures that support the breast become stretched and weaker. This sagging can be intensified by pregnancy, genetics, stretch marks, and weight gain or loss. Many women seeking a breast lift with implants want to regain the full, perky breasts that they had as teenagers, while also increasing the size of the breast.
Breast implants will add to the overall results of the breast lift procedure by lifting the breast and increasing cup size in a single step.
Many women also benefit from the combined mastopexy and implant procedure because it extends the results of a breast lift.
Gravity, pregnancy and changes in weight can all cause breasts to sag, even after breast lift surgery. Implants, however, are less affected by gravity than human breast tissue is. When you undergo the breast augmentation and mastopexy procedure, your breasts will typically remain full and perky for a longer period of time, and may not require future procedures.
The combination breast augmentation and mastopexy procedure is performed using methods similar to those of a standard mastopexy, only with the insertion of an implant into the breast beneath the pectoral muscle or mammary gland. Dr. Walden will first make an incision to remove the excess skin that causes your breasts to sag.
Before your surgery, Dr. Walden will discuss with you the type of incision she will make. Three common types of incisions used in breast lifts include: a circular incision around the areola (usually in tuberous breast deformity); a lollipop-shaped incision that circles the areola and then travels down to the breast crease; and a lollipop-shaped incision with an additional semi-circular incision along the breast crease (the incisions form the shape of an anchor), which is the standard method of breast lift. The type of incision used depends on your breast shape and size. The implants will then be inserted and the incisions closed.
How Long Does Breast Lift With Augmentation Surgery Take?
Dr. Walden performs her breast lifts with augmentation as outpatient procedures at her fully accredited office operating suite at Westlake Medical Center in Austin. Patients are under general anesthesia. The breast lift procedure time varies depending upon how much excess skin needs to be removed, usually lasting from 2 to 3 hours. The augmentation portion uses the incisions Dr. Walden has made for the lift, and it only adds 30 minutes or so to the overall procedure.
What Can I Expect for Recovery After a Breast Lift With Augmentation?
Breast lifts are more difficult recoveries than breast augmentation when the two procedures are done separately. This is because the excision of excess skin and the repositioning of breast tissue to bring the breasts back to a higher position on the chest. Dr. Walden will prescribe pain medication, and you’ll need it for probably your first two days after surgery.
We will send you home with your breasts bandaged and in a surgical support bra. You’ll need to wear this bra for the first few days to one week of your recovery. From there you will transition into a softer support bra that you’ll need to wear 24 hours a day for one month following your surgery.
This is the most important aspect of your recovery, as this support keeps your breasts from moving and it eliminates any stress on your incisions, which helps them heal as cleanly as possible. You will have swelling that will last a couple weeks, especially if Dr. Walden has used the anchor incision method.
Most patients can return to work in about one week, but that varies with the individual. If your job entails any lifting, you’ll need to delay your return or have those duties passed off for some time.
Any strenuous exercise, such as aerobic or impact exercise, and any weightlifting that engages the pectoral muscles, is off limits for six weeks after your surgery. This is especially important for any activity that causes your breasts to move. By being prudent with this advice, your scar tissue can reach its maximum strength. This will also allow the scarring to fade more dramatically with time.
If possible, Dr. Walden recommends not having a breast lift if you plan on having additional children. The reason for this is that the increase in breast size that comes with pregnancy can create the same sagging and loose skin that the breast lift addressed. It’s best to wait until you are sure you are not having any more children.
But obviously things don’t always go as planned, and you may find yourself pregnant. Whether you’ll be able to breastfeed is not a sure bet. With most breast lifts the nipple/areola complex needs to be moved to a higher position on the breast once the excess skin has been removed. As you would assume, this will impact the milk glands. Dr. Walden strives to keep breastfeeding as an option for patients, but there’s no way to know how much the procedure has affected this. You should expect there to be at least some lessening of your breastfeeding ability.
Dr. Walden recommends that her breast lift patients be finished with breastfeeding for at least three months. This allows the breasts to return to their normal cup size. You should also be within 10 percent of your ideal weight, as losing additional weight down the road can create new sagging.
Breast implants have a lifespan. The four manufacturers in the U.S. all guarantee their implants for 10 years. Should they rupture within that time, the manufacturers will pay for the revision procedure.
Breast implant lifespans are increasing. This is due to new technologies and with the new more cohesive gel used in silicone implants. But it’s a good idea to expect to have at least two implant exchange procedures over your lifetime, depending on your age when you have this procedure. Some implants can last far longer, but you don’t want to be surprised with the need for future revisions.
Dr. Walden is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of surgical experience. Her training and expertise minimize any risks involved with this combined procedure.
Still, breast lifts with augmentation are major surgery, so they include risks involved with surgery: bleeding or the formation of a hematoma, reaction to anesthesia, infection, and slow incision healing.
Risks related to the breast lift portion of this procedure include:
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation (these usually revolve within a few months)
- Irregularities in breast contour or shape
- Breast asymmetry
- Necrosis of fat tissue
- Fluid accumulation
- Possibility of the need for revision surgery
- Impaired ability to breastfeed
For the augmentation portion of this procedure, these are the risks:
- Capsular contracture
- Implant leakage or rupture
- Implant shifting
- Changes in nipple sensation
- Breast asymmetry
- Visible rippling of the implant
Breast lifts with augmentation have been common cosmetic surgeries for decades. The risks are low and the satisfaction with your results from Dr. Walden’s expertise will be high.
The same complications may occur in joint breast augmentation and mastopexy that may occur when the procedures are performed separately. As in separate breast augmentation and mastopexy surgeries, however, complications are rare and usually minimal. Dr. Walden performs all of her operations with great care and precision, ensuring that her patients can enjoy a quick and healthy recovery, with a very low risk of complication.