Breast lift is also known as a mastopexy. This can occasionally be combined with a breast augmentation. A mastopexy is tailoring the loose and empty breast and the skin around it to create a more pert, prominent and upright breast. A lot of the excess skin is removed to make the breast look more youthful.
Breasts naturally droop with age after pregnancy, breast-feeding and weight loss or repeated episodes of weight loss and weight gain. This is because the skin and the fibrous ligaments in the breast become stretched. The Fibrous ligaments are not possible to create but the skin and the breast tissue can be reshaped moving the nipples up to the best position for the breast and creating a bra from the skin to hold the new breast up.
A mastopexy will make a breast firmer and higher. This often stops women stuffing their bras with breast and allows a comfortable fit with the bra which is socially and personally satisfying.
Complications or Risks of the Procedure
The scars can be red and lumpy initially and then fade and become pale. Occasionally scars may become thick and wide. Bleeding is possible and occasionally patients need a blood transfusion. Infection, swelling, bruising, pain, seroma (a collection of fluid in the breast), healing problems and fluid discharge from the bottom of the breast are some of the other complications. Very rarely the loss of blood supply to the skin, fat or nipple can cause part of the skin, breast tissue or nipple to die (called necrosis). Nipple sensation can change and this can be increased or reduced sensation. Some asymmetry will persist. The breast will change overtime as a result of ageing, pregnancy, weight loss and weight gain. You may need further surgery. The scarring can result in difficulty with the detection of breast cancer.
It is important to wear a firm bra or a garment for at least six to twelve weeks. If any weight loss in planned, it is best that this is done prior to the operation as losing weight after the operation will cause further drooping of the breast.
Your plastic surgeon needs to understand your expectations i.e.; scar, size etc.
The breast lift is performed by creating a mound for your breast and moving the nipple up. There are different scars that may be used on a breast lift. The most common type is the scar around the areola, vertically under the breast and with a transverse scar under the breast to make an anchor shape. If the skin removal is minimal and the quality is good, a vertical scar breast lift may be performed resulting in a scar around the areola vertically under the breast and in a crisscross crumbled fashion at the very bottom. Occasionally this can be combined with silicone implants to add volume to the breast. Implants may be put under or over the muscle.
After the operation
Overnight you will be checked regularly to ensure you have no problems. This will include checking your drains. As soon as it is comfortable to do so you should put on your sports bra to help support your new breasts. The following day you will be reviewed by Mr Khandwala and usually plans will be made to remove your drains after which you will be allowed to go home. Plans for follow-up will be made before you leave. You will be given painkillers to take home with you.
Follow up & Aftercare
Mr Khandwala will make arrangements for a dressing change a week after your operation and for a formal review at 2 weeks. You should keep the dressings intact until your dressing change. Although it is OK to shower you should avoid baths or soaking your wounds. It is important that you wear your sports bra/binder all the time (even when asleep) for the first two weeks. You should not drive or perform any strenuous activity until you are seen by Mr Khandwala. However should you have any concerns before or in between appointments please contact Mr Khandwala.
All women notice a change in their breasts as they get older and this may be exacerbated by pregnancies and changes in weight. It is no different for those women who have had mastopexy with or without breast implants.
Mastopexy is not to be considered a one off operation. It is a long term commitment and you may require further operations over time. This may be to change implants, to uplift the breasts or for revision surgery (e.g. if there is a complication which has affected the breast appearance).