A Breast Lift (also known as Mastopexy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure to correct drooping or saggy breasts (called ptosis). As we age the breasts can start to lose volume and sag. This can also occur after pregnancy when the breast tissue shrinks.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are three stages of ptosis or droopiness called minor, moderate and major ptosis. The categories are determined according to where the nipple sits in comparison to the natural breast fold or crease and the contour of the breast.
Breast Lift Operation
The operation is performed under general anesthetic and takes about 1.5 to 2.5 hours. During the operation the surgeon makes an incision and removes excess skin and tissue from your lower breast. The remaining skin is pulled together and sutured. The result is a higher and tighter breast.
There are various methods which can be used for mastopexy. The “T” or anchor technique creates an incision from the nipple and across the natural fold (in the shape of an inverted T). This type of incision is commonly made with breast reduction. However, this method leaves scarring on the breast, on the fold under the breast and around the areola. Newer methods have been developed which reduce the amount of scarring on the actual breast. These include the Benelli and LeJour techniques (named after the French and Belgian surgeons who invented them).
With the Benelli technique, the scarring will only be around the areola. The surgeon makes an elliptic incision around the areola and removes excess skin. The remaining skin is drawn together with internal stitches. This area will look pleated for several months but it does even out. The scarring around the areola is scarcely noticeable after six months.
The LeJour method creates a more rounded shape however it requires incision around the areola and vertically down, eliminating the scar below the mammary fold. The surgeon removes excess tissue and skin and sutures the remaining skin together.
Breast Lift Recovery
You wake up with a dressing around your breasts. You will be sore, uncomfortable and your breasts will be swollen and bruised. Mastopexy is not an outpatient procedure. You need to remain in hospital for at least 24 hours. You should be given pain medication for at least the first two days. Your surgeon may prescribe more.
The dressing and stitches are removed after about one week. At this stage you will be able to shower. Lifting your arms overhead will cause pain. Shampooing may need to be done over the skin or by someone else. You’ll need to wear a soft bra for 3-4 weeks. This helps to support your breasts. Avoid lifting heavy objects for at least 4 weeks.
Your breasts may be very dry after surgery. A light moisturizer can alleviate some of the dryness however do not apply any on or close to the wound site. Most patients return to work after approximately one week. However sporting activities need to wait at least a month. Your surgeon may advise you to avoid intercourse for about a month.
Breast Lift Risks
Some of the risks associated with mastopexy include:
Sagging – this is the most common complication which occurs after surgery. Unfortunately, a breast lift does not prevent sagging. The breasts will continue to droop with the natural ageing process. Some surgeons try to delay this process by using internal sutures or surgical mesh to give the breasts better support.
Loss of sensation – after the operation, you may lose sensation to your nipples and breasts. This is usually temporary but can be permanent.
Scarring – your scarring can be red and raised. This risk is reduced with the newer techniques. Advise your surgeon if you’re susceptible to problem scarring. The scars usually take 6 months to a year to fade. The anchor technique may leave permanent scars.
Infection – this is treated with antibiotics. However, it can cause the scars to widen.
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