A natural consequence of aging is the loss of elasticity in the skin. This loss of elasticity is a big part of the nature of sagging in the skin, which in turn gives off an older appearance. The sagging affects all parts of our bodies, and for women, the sagging can have a drastic effect on the breasts. A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a cosmetic procedure that is designed to address sagging of the breast.
Sagging, also known as breast ptosis, affects each woman differently. The issue is made worse by smoking and too much sun exposure. Breast ptosis has much more to do with genetics, skin quality, body weight changes, pregnancy, and smoking than it does with the common assumptions about a lack of bra support.
Ptosis is measured on a four-tier grading system. The key to measuring ptosis is evaluating the position of the nipple in relation to the inframammary fold (IMF), the area where the breast meets the chest cavity.
Grade I, mild ptosis, is where the nipple is level with the IMF but still above the lower half of the breast. Grade II, moderate ptosis, is where the nipple is below the IMF but still above the lower breast hemisphere. Grade III, advanced ptosis, is characterized by the nipple’s drooping below the IMF. Grade IV, severe ptosis, is described as nipples that droop far below the IMF and point towards the floor.
There are also other types of ptosis, such as pseudoptosis and parenchymal maldistribution. Pseudoptosis occurs when the nipple is level with the IMF or above it, but the lower hemisphere of the breast sags far below the IMF. Parenchymal maldistribution appears as a breast that is deflated even though the nipple and IMF are level.
There may be some confusion about the difference between a breast lift and a breast reduction. Though both procedures can address the same types of issues, a breast lift is more appropriate for those who are concerned specifically about the ptosis grade of breasts rather than the excessive size or weight of the breast.
A breast lift procedure is an invasive cosmetic surgery that requires incisions and will involve some form of general or local anesthetics. There are three basic types of incisions that are made in the breast skin in order to remove excess tissue. An incision can be made around the areola in a circular pattern, which is effective for also reducing areola size. There is a “keyhole” incision, which involves the same circular pattern of the areola incision but also includes a vertical incision from the areola to the IMF.
An anchor incision, or inverted T-incision, is similar to the keyhole incision but involves additional removal of skin from the sagging hemisphere of the breast. The surgical technique involved is always designed to meet the specific needs of the patient’s body and aesthetic goals.
Speak with Dr. Berhane during a consultation if you have further questions or concerns about breast lifts. You may also undergo an examination for a proper estimation of what type of surgical strategy will best fit your personal goals. Contact us today for a consultation.