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Mary Ella Carter, MD FACS, LLC

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

breast-liftA breast lift, or mastopexy, is performed to return youthful shape and list to the breasts that have sagged as a result of weight loss, pregnancy, loss of the skin’s natural elasticity or simply the effects of gravity. The procedure can also reduce areolar size (the dark skin surrounding the nipple), and it can be combined with mammoplasty (breast augmentation) for added breast volume and firmness. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but results last longest when they are originally small and sagging.

Women planning to have children are advised to postpone surgery, since pregnancy and nursing can counteract its effects nu stretching the skin. However, mastopexy should not affect your ability to breast-feed.

Dr. Carter performs mastopexys at Sibley Memorial Hospital. This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, and lasts from 1.5 to 3.5 hours.

A number of pre-operative steps are typically taken such as a mammogram, measurement of the bustline, and discussion with Dr. Carter about the desired size and shape of the breast and placement of the nipple. During the procedure an anchor shaped incision is made from the location of the new nipple down to and around the crease beneath the breast. Dr. Carter removes excess skin, relocates the nipple and areola, and reshapes the breast using skin from around the areola before closing the incisions with stitches.

After surgery the incisions are dressed with Steri Strips, breasts are wrapped with gauze and dressings, over which an elastic bandage or a surgical bra is placed. Dr. Carter will see you back in the office in 4-7 days, in which time you will leave the bra and dressings intact. Breasts will probably be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a few days but this will pass. Numbness in the breasts and nipples should lessen as swelling subsides, although occasionally it lasts for months or even permanently. Stitches are removed after one to two weeks, and many patients return to work then. Some patients require drains to be put in, this is an intra-op decision and these are removed within a week or two of the surgery. The accumulation of fluid needs to be adequately recorded by the patient for Dr. Carter to know when it is acceptable to remove the drains.

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