A breast lift procedure (mastopexy) will lift up sagging breasts, providing them with more support and making them look more young and full. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the number of breast lift procedures grew by 70 percent between 2000 and 2012. Although breast lifts can be done by themselves, they are often done in conjunction with a breast reduction or a breast augmentation procedure in order to provide the breasts with a more natural placement on the chest. Depending upon the size of the breasts and the amount of lift to be performed, the nipple and surrounding areola (the darkened skin just around the nipple) may also have to be either repositioned or resized to look more natural with the new position of the breasts. In cases in which the nipple must be repositioned or resized in conjunction with a breast lift procedure, there is a risk of loss of nipple sensation.
What Can Cause Sagging Breasts?
There are a number of factors that can cause sagging breasts. Pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as age, are perhaps the two most common reasons. Other factors include dramatic fluctuations in weight and simple heredity. Breast sagging occurs when the skin loses elasticity over time. This often leads to stretch marks because the skin has become overstretched due to the weight of the breasts.
Breast Lift Procedure
There are three basic incision patterns used for a breast lift. The most simple, which is used in cases where it is mainly just the areola and nipple that need to be repositioned higher. An incision is made around the areola, and the areola and nipple are repositioned slightly higher on the breast.
In a lollipop incision pattern, one incision is made around the areola, and a second incision is made from the bottom of the areola vertically down to the inframammary crease (the point at which the lower part of the breast meets the chest wall). The underside of the breast is then pulled closer together as the nipple and areola are repositioned.
The third incision pattern is recommended when the nipple has fallen below the inframammary crease. In addition to the lollipop incision pattern, a third incision is made that follows the curve of the inframammary crease.
What Causes Nipple Sensation Loss?
In order to reposition the areola and nipple, Dr. Mark Deuber will make a series of incisions to move the nipple and areola as a single unit. However, as with any surgical procedure, there will be a certain amount of damage to the nerves leading to the areola and nipple. When these nerves are cut, this can lead to changes in nipple sensation. Over time, as the body heals, the nerves will re-establish new pathways and sensation should return.
Dr. Deuber has performed many successful breast lift procedures in his practice, and in almost all cases, any change in nipple sensation is temporary and will usually resolve within six to eight weeks following the breast lift procedure.