Dr. Brooke R. Seckel
Many of my Boston patients are reluctant to have a mastopexy or breast lift because they do not want to have the long scar underneath the breast. The vertical breast lift is a newer breast lifting technique which has several advantages and does not create the long scar underneath the breasts associated with the traditional mastopexy:
The traditional breast lift is called a Wise pattern breast lift, which causes a scar around the areola down the front of the breast with a long-curved scar underneath the breast. This is called an Anchor lift because the scar has the shape of a traditional marine anchor:
When compared to the traditional Wise pattern mastopexy, the vertical breast lift’s scar does not extend into the fold underneath the breast. In addition, the vertical breast lift lifts the entire breast gland to a higher position on the chest wall. This provides increased fullness above the nipple areola, and a much more youthful breast appearance. The traditional breast lift does not actually lift the gland but tightens the skin underneath the gland to raise the breast. In time this older method results in the breast sagging again within a few months.
The vertical breast lift is a safer breast lifting technique because it provides a stronger blood supply to the nipple areola. The traditional Wise Pattern technique provides blood supply from below the nipple areola, which when interrupted can result in tissue loss or nipple areola death. Vertical breast lifting allows for a stronger supply for blood to the nipple areola tissue, which significantly reduces the risk of complication versus the traditional method.
The benefits of increased blood supply with the vertical breast lift will provide a much safer procedure for patients who elect to combine their procedure with breast augmentation (implants). When a Wise pattern Mastopexy is done with implants patients may experience a reduced rate of blood supply which can result in tissue loss of the nipple and areola.
Mammary Ptosis or sagging of the breast is the indication for Mastopexy or breast lift. There are 3 grades of mammary ptosis:
The breast gland enlarges during pregnancy and stretches the breast skin. After breast feeding the breast gland shrinks and becomes smaller but the skin does not tighten. The result is a smaller breast lying within a larger skin envelope and the result is a sagging breast. This happens more frequently with excessive weight gain during and after pregnancy.
A breast contains a significant amount of fat. With significant weight gain the breast becomes fuller due to increase of adipose tissue. With significant weight loss the breast gland shrinks but the skin envelope remains large and the breast sags or drops into the larger breast skin envelope.
The new vertical breast lift or vertical mastopexy is a significant improvement in breast lifting techniques. Not only is this technique safer with better blood supply to the nipple areola but also avoids the long scar under the breast seen with the traditional Wise pattern breast lift.
In addition, this newer technique actually lifts the breast gland to a position higher on the chest which gives the breast more fullness above the nipple areola.
As with any surgical procedure, it is important that you are examined and consulted with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures that your surgeon meets the high standards of safety and surgical skills required by the society.
Contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Seckel to learn more about the vertical breast lift and find out if you are a candidate for this procedure.