Mastopexy for tuberous breasts is designed to correct the herniated appearance of the nipple area. Oftentimes, it also incorporate the use of breast implants to further improve the overall projection and shape, as suggested by leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
Mastopexy, or breast lift in layman’s term, is typically performed to reshape the sagging breasts. However, women with tuberous breast deformity can also benefit from this procedure.
While the exact origin of tuberous breasts remains unclear, its physical manifestations have been widely studied: They are caused by constriction of the connective tissue around and behind the areola, and the weak and thin tissue support that leads to the puffiness and herniation of the nipple area.
Aside from areola puffiness, mastopexy for tuberous breasts also deals with asymmetry in variable degrees (i.e., some are very mild while others are highly obvious) due to differences in shape, nipple size, breast volume, and projection.
Other physical manifestations of tuberous breasts include little soft tissue, enlarged or wide areola complex, and drooping appearance.
Mastopexy for tuberous breasts not just corrects the drooping appearance. Oftentimes, the surgeon must also remove some tissue behind the areola complex to reduce its puffiness. This is achieved by creating incisions around the areola’s edges, which typically fade into imperceptible scars.
The round incisions along the areola’s edges can also allow the surgeon to reduce its size.
While the tuberous breasts could be improved with mastopexy alone (without breast implants), it is important to note that it has its own limits.
With a simultaneous breast implant surgery, the surgeon is able to reduce the wide spacing between the breasts and improve their overall shape and volume.
During mastopexy for tuberous breasts that includes implants, it becomes more important than ever to release the constricting bands of connective tissue. The goal is to allow the prosthetics to settle centrally behind the areola complex, leading to a natural-looking shape.
Mastopexy for tuberous breasts is technically more demanding than a breast lift involving an “average” patient (no significant deformity; only soft tissue laxity due to aging or pregnancy). For this reason, one should be extra strict when choosing a surgeon.
Aside from having appropriate board certifications, the “right” surgeon should also be performing mastopexy, breast augmentation, reduction, and reconstructive breast surgeries on a regular basis. Ideally, he must be able to present hundreds if not thousands of before-and-after photos of his actual patients, which can serve as a proof that he has extensive experience.
Breast reduction for asymmetrical breasts is a highly customized procedure. While it is possible to perform a unilateral procedure—i.e., only operating on the bigger breast—it may not result in optimal shape and good overall appearance.
While almost all women have asymmetric breasts, the difference in size or shape is often insignificant.
Before and after photos of patient who had breast reduction for asymmetrical breasts.
But in severe cases of lopsidedness, breast reduction, breast lift, and/or implant surgery can be of great help. To achieve high patient satisfaction, a prudent surgeon will try to understand the cosmetic goals and personal tastes of his patient.
There are many ways to perform breast reduction for asymmetrical breasts, however, the usual approach is to take more tissue on one side than the other in an attempt to improve the symmetry between the two, according to California Surgical Institute website.
Another possible approach is to reduce the bigger breast and only “lift” the smaller one so that both nipples will be at the same height and/or both “mounds” will almost have similar projection and shape.
Contrary to popular belief, obvious asymmetry is not only caused by a notable size gap. Oftentimes, the lopsided appearance is aggravated by different-sized areolas, one breast drooping or projecting more than other, or one nipple positioned higher than the other side.
Breast lift is a fitting complementary procedure of breast reduction. In this procedure, doctors not just lift the sagging tissue, but also reshape the breast and reposition the areola complex.
Most doctors use some form of internal sutures to support the planned size or shape after breast reduction/lift. Failure to create a strong underlying structure not only leads to short-lived results, but also results in increased risk of scar migration or “thickening.”
While it may sound counterintuitive, sometimes breast reduction is combined with implant surgery. This approach is primarily reserved for patients who want to achieve more upper pole fullness, which breast lift alone cannot achieve.
Because the incisions used in breast lift are confined within the lower poles, as a stand-alone procedure it cannot improve the appearance of deflated-looking upper cleavage, a cosmetic problem that is best addressed by breast implants.
Regardless of the surgical technique, breast reduction (with or without adjunct procedures) is only reserved for normal weight individuals who understand the importance of healthy lifestyle as a long-term weight management solution.
It is important to note that significant weight gain/loss can affect, if not completely reverse, the effects of breast enhancement surgeries.
Breast reduction and lift scars are placed within the natural folds of skin and will usually heal into a fine white line about one year postop. Nevertheless, modalities known to improve scar appearance remain important especially prior to its full maturity, as suggested by experts from the California Surgical Institute.
Breast reduction and lift surgery performed as a combo procedure is ideal for women with overlarge, pendulous breasts. Both techniques use the same scar pattern, so there is additional scarring.
Almost all breast reductions utilize the techniques used in breast lift—i.e., reposition the nipple-areolar complex and/or tighten the deeper tissue with internal sutures—to achieve natural contour and good projection.
On the other hand, patients who need a breast lift to correct the drooping appearance may not require a reduction surgery, particularly if they are already satisfied with their current cup size.
Most patients will need an anchor-shaped scar in which the incisions go around the areola’s border, vertically down the lower pole, and within the breast crease.
The vertical scar between the areola and the crease is the most visible, although over time it will fade significantly and blend in with the skin for most patients.
While time remains the best scar treatment, a simple scar massage remains helpful especially in the first 3-6 months. The idea is to break up the scar tissue with the use of manual manipulation, leading to the appearance of finest scar possible.
Scar creams and lotions that contain silicone and other hydrating agents are also known to help improve the scar appearance.
Raised scars are believed to respond well with silicone sheets or tapes and embrace dressing; both modalities work by reducing the tension on the skin and applying constant pressure to the scar to prevent it from becoming thick and raised.
Breast reduction and lift scars that appear red, meanwhile, are often treated with lasers to help them blend in with the surrounding skin tissue.
To further achieve the finest scar possible, it is crucial to avoid sun exposure for at least six months because they are known to trigger the “injured” skin to produce more melanin, leading to darker, more conspicuous scars. And since some UV rays can pass through fabrics, it still makes sense to apply sunscreen under clothes.
Despite the resulting scars, surveys have suggested that breast reduction and/or lift surgeries provide a high patient satisfaction rate, especially in women seeking relief from symptoms caused by overlarge breasts.
Breast augmentation results should appear natural in terms of shape and size (relative to the patient’s body frame), thus it is of paramount importance to take into account the underlying anatomies.
The general rule of thumb is to use breast implants whose size/volume, profile or forward projection, and width will reflect the chest/breast measurement and the soft tissue coverage.
To further achieve natural-looking breast augmentation results, any pre-existing asymmetry must be identified prior to surgery, as suggested by experts at the reputable California Surgical Institute.
While all patients have some form of asymmetry, in most cases it is barely noticeable or at least can be easily ignored. However, women with visible lopsidedness will need additional procedures to achieve the best possible result from breast augmentation via implants.
If there is a visible difference in breast size, it is possible to use implants of different volume to achieve a more balanced look. However, asymmetry is often associated with disparity in shape, projection, and nipple position as well, further complicating the surgery.
If one breast sags more than the other, breast lift may be necessary to create a more balanced result. In this adjunct procedure, the skin is tightened, the deeper tissue is reshaped with internal sutures, and the nipple-areolar complex is repositioned higher.
Aside from breast size and shape disparity, Snoopy deformity must be also addressed to achieve natural-looking results from breast augmentation. Women with this condition have their nipple area and the tissue around it looking herniated and “puffy,” so the silhouette of the breasts resembles the famous cartoon character.
In patients whose Snoopy breast deformity is severe, a modified form of breast lift with implants is needed to create a more natural appearance. But in mild cases, implants are usually enough to deliver a good amount of improvement.
Over the Muscle Implant Placement Vs. Dual Plane Technique
Some doctors suggest that using dual plane technique—in which the upper half of implants is positioned behind the chest muscle, while their lower half is only covered by a strong tissue called fascia—is ideal for women with Snoopy deformity.
Meanwhile, patients with Snoopy breast deformity and ptotic (sagging) breasts may want to avoid the subglandular technique in which the implants lie above the chest muscle, with only the breast tissue covering and supporting them.
Occasionally, reducing the size of an overlarge areola—or the pigmented part of skin—is needed to achieve a more balanced and youthful result from breast implant surgery. However, this is only attempted when the patient specifically asks for the procedure.
The primary goal of breast reduction surgery is to eliminate or reduce symptoms associated with overlarge, heavy breasts such as chronic neck and back pain, rashes or non-healing irritation within the inframammary fold, rounded shoulder, postural problems, and shoulder bra strap grooves.
Oftentimes, breast reduction insurance is possible because the goal is to improve body functions.
Breast lift, meanwhile, aims to correct the saggy breast by tightening the deeper tissue and skin. For this reason, it is always labeled as a cosmetic surgery by health insurance issuers.
While both procedures seem to have different goals, it is important to note that they share the same incision techniques and patterns.
Also, overlarge breasts are highly prone to sagging due to the extra weight their ligaments need to “carry.” Fortunately, breast reduction surgery is a major lift as well because aside from “downsizing,” it also reshapes the nipple area and “mound” to achieve a more youthful appearance or at least near normal contour.
Both procedures require the use of incision around the nipple then downward on the breast, leading to a lollipop-shaped scar. But for patients who need more correction—i.e., larger breasts and/or significant droop—their surgeons may have to make a cut within the inframammary fold, resulting in an inverted T scar.
Also, both surgeries involve reshaping and tightening the deeper breast tissue because relying on skin tightening alone could lead to wide scars and less than optimal contour. In fact, it has become a common practice among Orange County plastic surgery experts to use some type of internal sutures to maintain the lifting effect.
To further achieve impressive results, it is also crucial to reduce the areola that appears too wide or too large. And since both procedures involve an incision around the border of nipple area, this is always attainable.
While breast reduction surgery is a major lift as well, take note that breast lift does not always entail downsizing particularly if the patient is content with her current “bra size.”
However, some patients with large, saggy breast may have to reduce its size as well if they want the lifting effect to last longer. The idea is to make the breast mound lighter and less susceptible to the effects of gravity.
Patients with small, saggy breasts, meanwhile, may not have to worry about early recurrence of drooping although they have the option to use small implants, which can also correct the deflated or “empty” upper poles of their breasts.