Mastopexy, or Breast Lift, aims to improve the shape of the breast, by elevating the nipple position and improving the projection and position of the breast on the chest wall by removing breast tissue and reshaping the breast.
With age, childbearing and weight changes, the ligaments which contribute to the youthful shape of the breast tend to stretch and elongate, allowing the breast to droop on the chest wall. This is called “breast ptosis” and the surgery is aimed at correcting this.
If there is enough breast tissue left, then it is possible to reshape it, remove excess skin and produce a higher, firmer breast. If there is little tissue, a breast lift with implants can usually be performed in the same procedure. A consultation will provide a range of effective options are possible to transform the look of your breasts, regardless of their current state.
How can this procedure help me?
Healthy women of any age post breast development, childbirth and breastfeeding who have developed sagging breasts or lost firmness can benefit from a Breast Lift. Other benefits include:
- Improved confidence and self esteem
- Improved breast appearance, firmer and more uplifted
- Enhanced positioning of areola and nipples
- Increase firmness of soft breasts by removing excess skin
- Increased volume of breasts when combined with insertion of breast implants
- Reduced skin irritation under breast folds
The Consultation Process: What to Expect
During the consultation, Sydney plastic surgeon Dr. Steve Merten will ask you a variety of questions covering everything from your current health situation to details about the physical outcomes you desire. Be prepared to talk about current medications, allergies and any past or current medical treatments. Dr. Merten will discuss your personal expectations with you. Your breasts will be examined as well as any variables that may affect your procedure. Dr. Merten will provide you with the best options that are available to you that meet your needs, ensuring that you have a clear understanding of the likely outcome of your surgery. You will also discuss the recovery process and any potential complications that could arise. At any time, you are encouraged to ask any questions that you may have. You may be required to perform an X-Ray depending on age and family history. Your second consultation will further deal with your operation choices and reiterate the possible problems and complications with reference to your specific case.
The Procedure: What Does it Involve?
In a Breast Lift procedure, the outer layer of skin around your nipple is removed (your nipples are not, however, removed – a common misconception) as well as loose tissue from the lower breast. The nipple is then lifted to a new, higher position, tightening the breast tissue inside. The lower breast is then reshaped with internal stitches, then skin is closed using dissolving stitches to assist in minimising scarring. The entire procedure takes up to 3 hours to perform.
The major component of the surgery is to remove the excess loose skin. At times, this is also combined without “internal re-arrangement” of the breast tissue which can help to hold the breast up from within. This may involve removing a small amount of breast tissue; however this is generally not enough to result in a noticeable cup size difference.
Will I need to be hospitalised for the procedure?
Breast Lift operations are done in hospital, under general anaesthetic, and take up to three hours. You will remain in hospital overnight. All surgeries are performed in fully accredited facilities ensuring your safety.
What is recovery like?
Advancements in anaesthesia over recent years has meant more comfort for patients – less pain with minimal postoperative sedation and nausea and a quick recovery to “feeling normal.” The anaesthetists in my team are highly skilled and experienced in modern techniques and devoted to keeping you comfortable.
The stitches used are dissolving and these will not have to be removed. Supportive dressings of the first few days of recovery are replaced by a soft support bra for a few weeks. You can then wear any bra, or go without one, but good supportive bras should usually still be worn most of the time. Gravity over the years takes its toll, and any breast of reasonable volume will eventually show some degree of droop without good support.
Results: What and When?
Results of Breast Lift surgery are immediately visible. Swelling is usually minimal after mastopexy, and this settles over about 6 weeks. Final shape and positioning will continue to settle for a few months. Scarring can remain red and raised for several months and will diminish up to one year. We will provide you with information on how to minimize scarring as well as topical agents that can be used to assist in healing.
When can I resume day-to-day activities?
Most patients need two to three weeks off work. You will be able to do basic duties, including looking after children, but should avoid heavy lifting. You should not do any strenuous exercise for about six weeks.
Strenuous activity should be avoided for 4 weeks. You can then gradually increase your activity and should be back to normal in 6 weeks.
What complications can arise from the procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These include:
- Bruising, bleeding, hematoma formation
- Anaesthetic problems
- Deep Vein thrombosis
Risks and complications specific to Breast Lift include:
- Nipple necrosis
- Altered nipple and areola sensation
Will this procedure leave scars?
It is not possible to have breast lift surgery (“mastopexy”) without incisions. However, there are different designs of the procedure that leave scars in differing location and length. We strive to achieve scars of superior quality and minimal length and wherever possible, Dr. Merten utilises the latest “short scar” techniques, which avoid scars on the underside of the breast. You can be sure that Dr. Merten will discuss the various types of surgery with you and help you to choose the one most appropriate to your problem.
What else should I consider before having this surgery?
To understand what is reasonable to expect from the surgery, it is a good idea to look at before and after photos. This will give you a good perspective of what results other patients have achieved through Dr. Merten’s work. Some other things you may need to consider are;
- Are you happy with your body weight or do you intend to lose weight in the future?
- Do you plan to have children in the future?
- Do you have a preconceived idea of how you would like your breasts to look?
- Have you considered the effects of surgery on sensation of the breasts and nipples?
- Have you considered the prospect of scarring on your breasts?
- Have you considered that breast lift surgery is not permanent, and gravity, aging and weight fluctuations can result in changes to your breasts over time?
You may also want to consider your planning for the healing period. Will you need help or assistance from others? Also if you do encounter complications, it is a good idea to understand how they are typically handled so that you are fully prepared.
Do you have any more questions?
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions that you might have about this procedure. Our team will be happy to address any concerns that you may have.