Breast Lift Surgery (Mastopexy)
What is breast lift surgery?
Medically known as Mastopexy, a breast lift surgery is performed for treating the problem of uneven and sagging breasts, stretched areolas, dropping nipples and decreased breast volume while lifting breasts and recreating youthful shape. If there is too much or too little breast volume, a breast reduction or breast augmentation might be recommended along with a lift.
When can you consider a breast lift?
- • If the tissues surrounding the areola or the nipple has become stretched
- • If your plastic surgeon thinks that breast implants alone will not help in achieving the contour you want
- • Normal aging, weight loss or gain, pregnancy, heredity or gravity have taken a toll on the shape of your bosoms causing sagging
Who is the right candidate for breast lift surgery?
If you are not happy with the appearance of your breasts because of sagging then you might consider this procedure. do not be surprised if your doctors recommend combining breast reduction or breast augmentation with a breast lift, the adjunct procedure might be necessary for achieving desired goals.
Here are some of the most common reasons why you might wish to undergo a breast lift:
- • Breasts that are small or are not equal in size.
- • Breasts that are pendulous however right in size.
- • Breasts that look different from each other, one breast might appear well-positioned while the other does not.
- • You no longer plan to have children thus breastfeeding. If you are planning to have children in the future then you should postpone cosmetic breast surgery. Pregnancy might stretch the breasts and decrease their volume, thus compromising benefits of surgery.
- • Breasts that do not firmness or substance.
- • Breasts that are heavy and large can be lifted however, the results might not be as long-lasting a lift performed in relatively smaller breasts; the weight of larger breasts often works against surgical alterations.
- • Areolas and nipples point downward, particularly if they are positioned below the crease of the breast.
If you are in overall good health, have realistic expectations and a positive attitude then you are most likely the good candidate for a breast lift surgery.
The detailed information regarding the procedure:
How is a Mastopexy performed?
A breast lift surgery is performed under general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation in the surgical facility at a hospital or in a cosmetic surgeon’s clinic. The different methods for removing breast skin and reshaping the breast determine the incisions location and scars. Your plastic surgeon will suggest a method on the basis of your breast shape and size, the degree of breast sagging, how much extra skin you have, areola size and skin elasticity and quality.
- • The plastic surgeon would remove the excess skin on your breast and shift the areola and nipple to a higher position.
- • The stretched areola can now be decreased in size.
- • Skin that was previously located above the areola is brought down below the breast to give it a better shape.
- • Excess skin will be removed and the incision will be closed, the skin will be tightened, breast sewed back together and sutures placed deep in the breast tissue for supporting the new position of the breast for a longer period.
- • Scars are hidden under the breasts, though some light scarring might be visible on top of the breast.
- • The areolas and nipple remain attached to the underlying mounds of tissue, and this allows for the ability to breastfeed and the preservation of sensation.
- • In some patients, it might be possible to avoid placement of horizontal incision below the breast as well as the vertical that incisions that is made from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease of the breast. If you are an ideal candidate for a modified technique, your doctor will discuss with you during the initial consultation.
What are the available options for breast lift surgery?
Here is a quick glance of the several techniques and incision patterns that your surgeon would choose from:
- • The ‘keyhole incision’, also known as ‘lollipop lift’ – It is made around the perimeter of the areola and vertically down from the areola to the crease of the breast. It is an ideal method for women with the moderate degree of sagging and do not want breast implants.
- • The anchor incision – It is made around the areola’s perimeter, vertically down from the areola to the crease and horizontally along the breast crease, and causes the most scarring. It is a preferred method for women who have a severe degree of sagging and thus will not benefit much from less invasive methods. This incision is the oldest method and is used for a breast lift in combination with a breast reduction.
- • The ‘crescent lift’ – It is the most commonly used method. The incision is made along the areola’s upper half. A crescent-shaped part of the skin is removed above that line, and the surrounding skin is attached again to the areola. This particular type of lift is performed in conjunction with breast augmentation in women who have minor sagging. However, it will not accomplish the same degree of lifting as other methods will do.
- • The ‘donut lift’, often called peri-areolar incision – it is made around the areola’s perimeter only, and is apt for women with a mild to moderate degree of sagging. When used by an expert surgeon along with the placement of the implant, it can produce satisfactory results for patients who have pronounced sagging.
- • The ‘scarless lift’. For women who are worried about volume loss than sagging, there are procedures for lifting the appearance of the breast that is touted as scarless.
These procedures can be performed in conjunction with breast implants, Quill Threads, Thermage or Smart Lipo for lifting the breasts with minimal scarring. However, they all need incisions of some type, no matter how well-hidden or small. These above-mentioned procedures are the right choice for patients with very little sagging. They will not do the same amount of lifting as methods that use large incisions.
How will the breast lift scars and incisions be like?
When it comes to the scars resulting from a breast lift, they vary as per the incision your plastic surgeon recommends for you. He might conceal some incision lines in natural breast contours however others can be seen on the breast surface.
A common technique of lifting the breasts usually involves three incisions:
- • Extending downward from the areolas to the breast creases
- • Around the areolas
- • Horizontally along the creases of the breast
Even though incisions lines are permanent, they fade away and improve over the period of time. Aesthetic plastic surgeons put in the best of efforts to place scars in inconspicuous parts andlessen them, with the objective of achieving the desired outcomes with the shortest possible scar. Special suture methods and tissue handling further minimize the scars.
Post-surgery care and Recovery
Your plastic surgeon will discuss in detail when can you resume work and other normal activities. Once the surgery is done, you and the caregiver will get a set of instructions describing post-surgical care. This might include information about:
- • Potential signs of complications
- • Drains, in case they have been placed
- • Normal signs of symptoms that will happen after surgery
What will happen after breast lift surgery?
You will be bandaged after the surgery, wearing compression garments, and you will have surgical drains inserted into your body. When the effect of anaesthesia wears off, you might experience pain and discomfort. If you experience long-lasting or extreme pain then contact your surgeon. Also, you will have some swelling and redness after the surgery. Consult your surgeon to know if swelling, pain and redness are normal or indicative of some problem.
Some other common side-effects related to the recovery are changes in nipple sensitivity, bruising, itching around incision areas, numbness and fullness or increased firmness in the breast tissue. These side effects should not last more than few weeks, with some residual effects lasting for three months after the procedure.
Recovery time after Mastopexy
It is very important you adhere to the patient care instructions provided by your plastic surgeon. This would have information related to care of drains, intake of antibiotics, wearing compression garments and the type and level of activity that is safe. In addition, you will also get detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you would experience and potential signs of complications. It is equally important for candidates to know that time it takes to recover from a breast lift varies greatly from one patient to the other.
The first week after surgery
- • The day after the procedure is done, you will be encouraged to get out for bed for short duration.
- • Several days after the procedure, you should be able to move comfortably.
- • Do not indulge in activities such as lifting, bending and straining as these can cause bleeding or increased swelling.
- • You will be asked by the doctor to sleep on back so that there is no pressure on your breasts.
- • Surgical drains will be removed within a few days of the surgery, and at the same time your dressings might also be removed or changed.
- • For three to five days, your chest area might feel sore and stiff.
Two weeks to six weeks after a breast lift
- • In some cases, patients are able to return to work within a week or so after the surgery, depending on the nature of the job.
- • Make sure you avoid excessive physical activity at least for the first two weeks after the procedure. after that, you have to be gentle with your breasts for a month or so.
- • Avoid sexual activity for at least fifteen to twenty days however, your doctor might advise you to wait for a longer period. After that also, take care to be gentle with your breasts for at least another couple of weeks.
- • You have to wear a support bra for a few weeks until the discolouration and swelling of breasts decrease.
- • Stitches are removed in stages over a period of nearly three weeks, starting about a week after a breast lift.
- • You might feel that there is less sensation in the areolas and nipple. This is temporary, in most cases. However, it might take months or even a year or so before sensation completely returns to normal.
- • It will take some time for your breasts to appear normal.
- • In many cases, you can return to normal activities, including some type of mild exercise, after many weeks.
How long the results last?
If a breast lift surgery is performed properly, the results are long-lasting. Your breasts should return to preoperative droop for decades, given that you do not plan to have children or there is significant weight fluctuation. Some settling might occur however, the position of the new nipple should remain intact. Do ask your aesthetic surgeon about the method that will be used. Usually, surgeons do not use only a simple skin lift, they sculpt the breast tissue, thus creating a long-lasting lift.
How to choose a surgeon?
It is important that you choose an experienced, skilled, trained, qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon who has been performing the breast lift for many years. Remember, the results of the procedure, to a great extent, depends on how it is performed.
What is the cost involving a breast lift?
There are several factors that influence the overall cost of the breast lift surgeon. Some of these factors are:
- • Experience of the plastic surgeon
- • The fee of the surgical facility
- • The fee of the anaesthesiologist
- • Tests done before the surgery
- • Aftercare expenses
Discuss all your queries regarding the procedure and cost with your surgeon to make the right decision.