Is Restorative Surgery Right for You?

Dr. Constance M Chen

No cream, bra, or exercise can correct droopy breasts, but there are surgical options that can restore lift and fullness and create a more youthful contour.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding take a toll on women’s breasts. So does extreme weight gain and loss, smoking, aging, and excessive sun exposure or eating a nutrient-poor, high-fat diet. Extreme fluctuations in breast size due to pregnancy and weight changes combined with the natural effects of gravity over time, however, are the primary culprits in causing breasts to lose their youthful appearance. “Breast tissue is made up of collagen and elastin, which break down as we age,” says plastic surgeon Dr. Constance M Chen. “The skin loses elasticity, sometimes stretches irreversibly, and the remaining breast tissue falls to the bottom of the breast, leaving the top looking flat and deflated. No cream, bra, or exercise can correct droopy breasts, but there are surgical options that can restore lift and fullness and create a more youthful contour.”

A breast lift (mastopexy) will remove excess skin, reshape the breast tissue, and raise the nipple and areola complex. A breast lift will help the existing breast tissue look fuller and rounder and can improve the symmetry of the breasts but will not significantly change their size. Women who are good candidates for a breast lift are at or near their ideal weight, in good health, and are not planning on further childbearing or breastfeeding. “A mastopexy will resect excess skin and move the nipple-areola complex higher on the breast or move the breast tissue itself higher on the chest wall, ” says Dr. Chen. “There are several types of lift, depending on the degree of droopiness and the position of the nipple and areola,” says Dr. Chen.

· A Benelli-style mastopexy makes an incision around the areola and may be used to correct nipple asymmetry and mild droop. This lift may cause some flattening of the breast. When there is minimal to no droop, a crescent of skin may be resected above the areola to improve the position of the nipple. A crescent lift is a sub-type of the Benelli mastopexy, and is the least invasive and most minimal type of lift.

· Short-scar mastopexy or lollipop…

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