Breast lift or mastopexy is requested by a woman who, for personal reasons want to raise and reshape sagging breasts. As no surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity and time, the effect is not permanent.
What is breast lift (mastopexy)?
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.
If your breast size is too small, if you want to correct the breast volume after pregnancy, to balance different breast size or you need a reconstructive technique following breast surgery or after substantial reduction of weight, the breast implants in conjunction with mastopexy may be solution for you.
By inserting an implant behind each breast, surgeons are able to increase a woman’s bustline by one or more bra cup sizes.
The process of breast lift surgery
Breast lifts will be in most cases performed with a general anesthesia, so you’ll sleep through the entire operation. Typically, people are requested not to drink, eat and smoke for about 6 hours before the general anesthetic and may need overnight stay in hospital.
Breast lift- the surgery
Mastopexy 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,” in which circular incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.
Are you the best candidate for breast lift mastopexy)?
A breast lift can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently.
The best candidates for mastopexy 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. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts.
Many women seek mastopexy 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, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies or breast-feeding, pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.
Before your surgery
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will explain the surgery in detail, explaining which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you, based on the condition of your breasts, its shape and skin tone. The surgeon will examine your breasts and measure them while you’re sitting or standing.
He or she will discuss whether an implant is advisable. You should also discuss where the nipple and areola will be positioned. Depending on your age and family history, your surgeon may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery.
Be sure to discuss your expectations frankly with your surgeon. He or she should be equally frank with you, describing your alternativesand the risks and limitations of each.
Your surgeon will give you instructions to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. You may be asked not to use any medications containing acetylsalicyclic acid (such as Acylpyrin, Aspirin, Alnogon, Mironal, etc.). It can increase bleeding during and after surgery.
It is assumed that no acute illnesses occurred in the period of at least three weeks before the planned operation (viral illness, cold, etc.). Report any illness to your doctor.
If you smoke, plan to quit at least one to two weeks before your surgery and not to resume for at least two weeks after your surgery.
While making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days, if needed.
After your surgery
You’re likely to feel tired and sore for a few daysfollowing your surgery. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two. Most of your discomforts can your doctor control by the painkillers or other medication.
You will be released from the clinic the following morning. Before you leave, the bandages are changed.
For several days you are recommended to avoid physical strain.
The stitches are removed approximately by week after the surgery.
Within a few days, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra. You should wear it as directed by your surgeon.
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.
You may resume routine activities after 7 to 10 days. After a six-month period, regular check-ups at a mammary clinic are recommended.
Swelling and bruising in your breasts may take three to five weeks to disappear. You should be able to return to work within a few days, depending on the level of activity required for your job.
Your breasts will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact. After that, breast contact is fine once your breasts are no longer sore, usually three to four weeks after surgery. If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several times a day. Be careful not to tug at your skin in the process, and keep the moisturizer away from the suture areas.
Your scars will be firm and pink for at least six weeks. Then they may remain the same size for several months, or even appear to widen. After several months, your scars will begin to fade, although they will never disappear completely.
You should see your surgeon any time when your breast shape change, when the consistencychanges (your breast become hard) or any inflammation manifestation appears.
If you become pregnant, the operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples will be left intact.
How long the effect of breast lift will last?
Your surgeon will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that mastopexy scars are extensive and permanent.
Duration of results is variable depending on size (effects of gravity), pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.