The issue of the sagging breasts:
In part one of this series we discussed the changes that can occur after pregnancy to the abdomen, and how this can be successfully addressed with abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck). In this article, we will discuss the changes that occur to the woman’s breasts, and what can be done to restore her original shape and appearance.
With pregnancy, the breasts become a great deal larger in preparation for breast feeding. After pregnancy, when the breasts return to its normal size, the skin is often stretched out. This leaves a ptotic or “droopy” look to the breast. To further add to the situation, it is not uncommon for the breast volume to actually be less than her pre-pregnancy size. After having children, it is a common goal for women to eliminate this ptotic look, and restore their pre-pregnancy volume.
The issue with ptotic or droopy breasts is that there is too much skin; therefore the surgical correction largely concentrates on removing this excess skin, and repositioning the nipple in its more elevated position. To accomplish this, Dr. Concannon marks the desired position of the nipple on the breast with the patient standing in the preoperative holding room. This procedure (breast lift) is commonly done in our office facility with light sedation. Going to the hospital or undergoing a general anesthetic is not necessary, but sometimes this procedure is done under general anesthetic if it is being done simultaneously with a tummy tuck. One thing that most patients notice is that after their breast lift (mastopexy) has been performed, they feel like they have more volume in their breasts, even if no implant was placed. This is because their normal anatomy has been restored, and their breast tissue is not “spread out” over a large area.
The patient is placed in a comfortable dressing after the surgery that is taken off by Dr. Concannon on the next day. Following that, all she needs is a good sports bra for support during the first few weeks of healing. The recovery time from this procedure is quite rapid, and since only the skin is being adjusted (and no deep tissue dissection is required) most patients do not require more than a day or two of pain medicine. Most patients can return to their regular activities relatively quickly, although we recommend no highly strenuous activity for about two weeks.
Because skin has to be resected (remember, the problem here is too much skin) the correction necessitates an incision, and of course scar. The potential scar on the breast is one of the largest concerns most women have when contemplating the surgery. Typically, all incisions heal early on with a visible pink color; this fades to pale as the scar matures. In our experience, allowing potential patients to see the incisions on our prior patients alleviates most fears that they have about the scar issue.
While a breast lift can restore the more youthful appearance of the breast, it cannot increase the volume. To increase breast size, a breast augmentation can be performed, placing permanent breast implants. That will be the topic of our next post in the Mommy Makeover series.