The Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery

Breast Lift

Mastopexy in San Francisco

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed to restore the shape and position of a woman's breasts that have shifted over time. It can also be used to correct asymmetry that may have always been present or that developed as the result of surgery. As we age, the effects of gravity cause breasts to lose their perkiness and begin to sag. This can be corrected with a breast lift at the San Francisco Bay Area's Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery, but the type of lift depends on the extent of the sagging.

A versatile plastic surgeon can perform any of a number of breast lift variations, including crescent lifts, circum-areolar lifts, vertical lifts, and inverted-T lifts. These breast lifts, listed from least to most aggressive, allow for increased tightening, but require incrementally longer incisions. The doctor will help you determine the ideal lift to maximize results and minimize scarring based on your body and your goals. You'll be glad to know that the scars are often well hidden at a natural line between the areola and the breast skin, where the coloration shifts from darker to lighter.

Talk to plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Culbertson about a breast lift by calling the San Francisco (415.433.0303) or Healdsburg (707.473.0220) offices of The Jacobs Center. You can also send a message online.

Is a Breast Lift Right for Me?

The number of techniques and variations possible with a breast lift means women who are considering the procedure should work with a trusted plastic surgeon who will help by guiding them toward the specific surgery most likely to give them the results they want.

Good candidates for breast lift surgery are those who want to correct sagging and do not want to have any children after the procedure is completed. This is because hormone shifts and physical changes to the body and breasts throughout pregnancy and childbirth cause the breasts to alter their size and shape, often growing much larger than they were before, which can stretch the skin on the breasts. These changes can undo the careful positioning of a breast lift, resulting in new sagging.

Breast lift candidates should also be able to maintain a relatively stable weight, since size fluctuations can also contribute to the problem of sagging tissue. Often, patients who lose a significant amount of weight—especially quickly, such as following gastric bypass or similar surgery—find that their skin remains stretched out. Without fat tissue keeping it taut, the skin hangs loose, typically causing the breasts to point downward toward the ground instead of up and out. For this reason, patients planning to lose weight for a slimmer look are encouraged to wait until they achieve their goal on the scale before choosing a breast lift.

Dr. Eric Culbertson
Dr. Eric Culbertson Associations

Fellowship-trained plastic surgeon for breast & body-focused procedures, Dr. Culbertson personally strives to achieve natural yet undeniable results that bolster one's self esteem and reinforce, rather than change, one's identity.

Breast Lift Options

The ideal breast lift technique for each patient is determined by her current breast size and shape, the appearance of the areolas and which direction they are pointing, how much sagging is present, and the elasticity and other qualities of the skin. Taking all of these factors into account, along with patient preference, Dr. Culbertson will suggest one of the following:

Crescent Lift

If not much of a lift is needed, this is an ideal technique, as it involves a small incision. The shape of the incision itself gives the technique its name, since the round curve of the line cut into the upper half of the areola can resemble a crescent moon. The placement of the incision also makes it ideal for combined augmentation/lift procedures, since an implant can be inserted directly into the breast tissue as desired.

Circum-areolar Lift

Also known as the peri-areolar lift, this technique involves the making of an incision that runs all the way around the areola, following the line where darker and lighter tissues meet. This incision allows for the correction of a mild amount of sagging and can also serve as the entry point for an implant if augmentation is happening simultaneously.

Vertical Lift

For vertical lifts, the scar is the result of two incisions—one around the areola and one extending downward from there to form a lollipop shape. This allows Dr. Culbertson to remove enough excess skin to perform a modest lift. The resulting incision lines will be camouflaged as best as possible.

Inverted-T Lift

An inverted T lift has a horizontal component that's usually well hidden in the breast fold. The meeting of the three incisions used for this breast lift technique—the horizontal incision, an incision around the areola, and an incision down to the breast crease—creates an anchor shape, which gives this lift the nickname "anchor lift." Because of the amount of skin that can be removed, a significant lift and improvement in overall breast shape is possible. This also makes the procedure ideal for a breast lift being paired with a breast reduction.

Note that a breast lift alone may not restore previous breast fullness, especially when there has been loss of volume in the upper poles of the breasts. In these cases, to provide greater fullness (cleavage) to the upper portion of the breasts, a breast lift may be combined with a small implant to restore perkiness (what we call projection) while maintaining a natural look. For women who have experienced changes to their abdomen and breasts due to childbirth or breastfeeding, breast surgery is often combined with abdominal liposuction or a tummy tuck as part of a "mommy makeover."

Combining multiple plastic surgery procedures allows for lower total costs and minimizes down time—an appealing draw for anyone considering making more than one surgical change to their figure.

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What to Expect After a Breast Lift

The breast lift operation usually takes two to three hours.* Following a lift, patients are placed in a surgical garment that they'll wear around the clock except for showers for the first two weeks. Patients can shower 48 hours after surgery, and pain is usually easily managed with medication. Although you are encouraged to return to your usual routine right away, the doctor will likely recommend that you take a week off of work to allow yourself to recover from surgery. Strenuous activity should be limited for two to four weeks after surgery.

As with any surgery, some post-procedural swelling and bruising should be expected. Dr. Culbertson will work to keep such side effects to a minimum, but any that do appear should resolve on their own during your recovery period after the surgery.

Patients are encouraged to avoid the sun, tobacco products, and anything that may impede healing, as these factors can cause scars to darken and be more noticeable.

Moving Forward

If you're considering a breast lift in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, call The Jacobs Center's Healdsburg office at 707.473.0220 or the San Francisco office at 415.433.0303 to arrange a consultation. You can also send a message online.

* Patient Results May Vary

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