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Breast Lift: Restoring Natural Contour and Elevation

It is an unfortunate consequence of aging, gravity and heredity that leads to a condition in women called ptosis of the breast, i.e. sagging or drooping breasts. In plastic surgery the procedure that is gone to correct sagging breasts is called mastopexy or more colloquially, breast lift surgery.

Large breasts are seen as desirable in modern American culture, making breast augmentation a thriving subset of cosmetic surgery. What women with hereditary large breasts know that the rest of the population seemingly does not is that the larger a breast is, the more prone it is, even in youth to the effects of ptosis. It is anatomically impossible for large breasts to remain “perky” (another desirable characteristic in female anatomy) past puberty.

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Many factors,(aside from the planet’s gravitational force) can lead to development of the complaint. Those with skin that is congenitally less elastic, those who experience multiple pregnancies (and the attendant hormonal shifts); those who gain a significant amount of weight and those who smoke see a higher rate of occurrence of the condition. Large breasted women who exercise, especially those who jog may unknowingly contribute to the likelihood of sagging; breasts move up and down, side to side and in and out to varying degrees when a woman runs, which can strain the elasticity of the skin and the ligaments of Cooper.

A woman’s breasts do not contain muscles, only glandular (mammary) tissue, fat, milk ducts and a suspensory structure known as Cooper’s ligaments. Cooper’s ligaments of the breast are a type of connective tissue that is tasked to compartmentalize the breasts and maintain their “structural integrity”; they do not in fact support the breast to any degree. A sagging bust is therefore not attributable to the failure of these ligaments, but a natural consequence of life experiences, pregnancies and aging

Breast Lift surgery involves the surgical removal of breast tissue (fat, glandular tissue and skin) and the shortening of overstretched ligaments of Cooper. The procedure also involves moving the nipple and areola higher on the breast profiie, while at the same time preserving normal sensitivity and the ability of the remodeled breast to support lactation.

Breast lifts can be done as a stand-alone procedure, or as part of a breast augmentation or reduction. There is no physical health danger in sagging breasts; there is however a significant psychological impact on a woman’s mental health , body image and her sense of her Self.

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Indications which determine whether or not a woman is a candidate for mastopexy include:

• Presence of sagging breasts and the severity of the sagging due to the effects of weight loss; post-partum hormonal changes; menopause, etc.
• Prior breast augmentation patients who have had the implants removed, causing ptosis.
• Ptosis that is hereditary as determined from family history.

The procedure itself involves three incisions to each breast, the configuration of which is likened to a ship’s anchor. A circular incision around the nipple and areola complex is referred to as the Anchor Ring; a vertical incision that travels downward from the nipple to the inframammary fold (where the breast meets the chest wall) is called the Anchor Shank; the Anchor Stock is the incision that is made in the inframammary fold.

The three part surgical strategy offers the maximum remodeling of the breast, with the end result being a more natural breast size and elevated bust line. The placement of the incisions is sensitive to post-surgical scarring. The Anchor ring scar is hidden in the pigment change at the edge of the areola, the Shank or medial incision is camouflaged by the shadow of the lower portion of the breast hemisphere; the stock is hidden in the inframammary skin fold.

Average breast lift cost, according to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, is $4332 in the United States. Geographical location also impacts prices with nearly all plastic surgeries being more expensive on the West and East coasts, with lower costs in the interior of the nation.

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Surgeon experience and reputation also significantly impact price, but this is money well spent, only a board certified plastic surgeon should perform the procedure for the safety of the patient.