Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity take their toll on a woman’s breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. Breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts, to reduce the size of the areola, or If your breasts are small or have lost volume, breast implants can be inserted in to increase their firmness and size.
The best candidates are healthy, emotionally-stable women who are realistic about what the surgery can accomplish. The best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Bigger breast can also be lifted, but the results may not last as long.
Many women seek this procedure because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you’re planning to have more children, you should postpone it, as pregnancy would be likely to stretch them and offset the results of the procedure.
Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic.
Hospitalisation: This is an ambulatory procedure, so you should be back home the same day.
Anesthesia: Local anesthesia and complementary sedation, or general anesthesia
It usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast.
The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast.
Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the “doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy” or breast lift, which circular incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.
If you’re having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall.
After the surgery
After surgery your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by your surgeon.
Within a few days, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra. You’ll need to wear this bra around the clock for three to four weeks, over a layer of gauze. The stitches will be removed after a week or two.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturiser several times a day. Be careful not to tug at your skin in the process, and keep the moisturiser away from the suture areas.
You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.
Bleeding and infection following a breast lift are uncommon, but they can cause scars to widen. You can reduce your risks by closely following your physician’s advice both before and after the procedure. Mastopexy does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they’ll be covered by your bra or bathing suit. Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.
The final result
Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. If you have any unusual symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your surgeon. Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities.
Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that a breast lift scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, and then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.
You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won’t keep you firm forever-the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.