Breast Lift (Mastopexy) FAQs

 

Am I candidate for mastopexy?

What is mastopexy?

When is a breast lift usually performed?

What does a typical mastopexy consultation entail?

What are the different techniques for mastopexy?

How is mastopexy performed?

What should I expect postoperatively?

Is there much pain associated with mastopexy?

Where are the scars located involving mastopexy?

Is there a lot of swelling involved with mastopexy?

When can I return to work?

When will I be able to see the results?

What are the risks of mastopexy?

How long does a mastopexy last?

 

Am I a candidate for mastopexy?
If you have no serious health conditions, are not prone to keloid scarring, have good elastic skin, and have noticed that your breasts have started to sag, you may be a candidate for mastopexy. The ideal surgical candidate should also be mentally and emotionally stable and have realistic expectations for the results the surgery can accomplish.

Back to Top

What is mastopexy?
The mastopexy or breast lift operation is really several different procedures, each with its own intended purpose to lift the breast up and reposition the nipple to where it was before sagging occurred. Sagging happens for several reasons including pregnancy and breastfeeding, weight gain or loss, the aging process, and the effects of gravity. The goal is a breast lift is to move the nipple back to a higher position and reshape the breast to create a more pleasing appearance. Most often excess skin must be removed.

Back to Top

When is a breast lift usually performed?
A breast lift is usually performed after a woman experiences loss of breast tissue and sagging. It is often sought out by women after theyve lost a lot of weight or following pregnancy. If a woman is planning to have children in the future, she should postpone her breast lift or other breast surgery until after she has completed her family or face the prospect of another breast lift. Otherwise, a mastopexy can be performed at any age if you are in good health, mentally stable, and realistic in your expectations.

Back to Top

What does a typical mastopexy consultation entail?
The surgeon should measure your breasts and general torso area to determine a natural and aesthetically pleasing postoperative position for your breasts and areola/nipple complex. You can provide the surgeon with photos of your breasts taken earlier in life, if possible. The surgeon should take into account your age and skin condition, including elasticity and thinness. Sometimes a surgeon will offer the option of having an implant inserted to fill out a flaccid breast or create fullness and lift. The surgeon should discuss with you the details of how a mastopexy is performed, explain the possible risks and complications involved, outline the types and placement of scars you can expect, go over any postoperative special care instructions, and answer any questions you may have. He or she should also discuss with you all fees involved so that you are not surprised by hidden costs.

Back to Top

What are the different techniques for mastopexy?
The specific type of procedure chosen is determined by several factors. Most important is the amount of sag or ptosis (pronounced: toe-sis) thats present. When a slight amount of ptosis exists, a crescent mastopexy can be performed. This is often performed in conjunction with breast augmentation. The nipple can be lifted 2 to 3 centimeters (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches). The incision is around the top of the areola (pigmented skin). Should a greater amount of lift be required, the incision will completely surround the areola. Sometimes this circumareolar incision is combined with a vertical incision that runs down the center of the breast to the bottom of the breast. This is known as a lollipop lift. To correct a great amount of ptosis, a larger crescent incision in the crease at the bottom of the breast is made. This is referred to as an anchor lift.

Back to Top

How is mastopexy performed?
The Crescent Lift: This minimally invasive technique involves removing a crescent-shaped piece of tissue above the areolae and resuturing the tissue higher. This creates a minor lift for patients who have slight ptosis.

The Benelli Lift: This technique was designed so that the scars run around the areolae. A donut-shaped piece of tissue around the areola border is removed and the surrounding tissue is reattached to the areola with purse string sutures. Sometimes additional tissue is removed above the areola to compensate for a lifting effect when it is sutured.

The Benelli-Lollipop: This lift is the same as the above but with straight incisions from under the areolae to the mammary fold or crease (where the breast meets the chest). This technique is used on women who have medium ptosis, too much for the Benelli only and too little for a full anchor incision.

Full Mastopexy: The most invasive breast lift technique involves an anchor-shaped incision that starts at the base of the areola and continues vertically to the mammary crease. The surgeon then cuts out a crescent shape piece of skin right above where the breast meets the rib cage. Nipple repositioning is necessary with this technique as the nipple must be removed. This is considered a major scarring technique but it sometimes necessary for severely sagging breasts.

Whatever the technique, the goal of the mastopexy it to rid the patient of excess sagging skin and to recontour the breast so that its pleasing to both eye and touch. For the most part, the scars fade within a year. Scars around and in the areola area seem to fade and flatten faster than those in nonpigmented areas.

Back to Top

What should I expect postoperatively?
Sutures may have been placed underneath the skin and will dissolve over several months. Sutures placed through the skin usually dissolve within 2 weeks. A special tape called Steri-Strips or tissue glue are usually placed over the sutures to protect the wound. A support bra should be worn continuously for 3 weeks. There is generally very little pain after this operation and only a moderate amount of swelling. The patient may return to work in 3 to 4 days unless the work involves bending or lifting. Casual walking may be resumed the day after surgery. It is quite normal to lose sensitivity in the nipple and breast skin due to swelling, which blocks the nerves ability to send and receive pain and pressure messages. Most sensation returns within 1 to 3 months, but may take longer. Unfortunately, sometimes the loss of sensation is permanent.

Back to Top

Is there much pain associated with mastopexy?
Normally, the pain is not severe, with most patients experiencing discomfort and soreness. Prescribed pain medications should alleviate the pain associated with mastopexy. If you feel that your pain is severe, do not hesitate to call your surgeon or the staff on call.

Back to Top

Where are the scars located involving mastopexy?
The Benelli lift leaves just a scar around the areolae, and the Lollipop (or keyhole) lift leaves a scar around the areolae and straight down to the mammary crease. The scar from the crescent mastopexy is directly at the junction of the areola and the surrounding nonpigmented skin. It heals leaving a scar that is barely visible in most people. The full mastopexy involves more incisions and more scarring. Your surgeon should attempt to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. However, you must realize that mastopexy scars are extensive and permanent. The scars will be red and raised for several months, gradually fading in color and flattening out. Over the course of 12 to 24 months the scars fade dramatically and in many individuals are not very noticeable. In some women the scars will always be somewhat visible, generally seen as a lighter area on the breast.

Back to Top

Is there a lot of swelling involved with mastopexy?
Swelling is an issue but can be lessened if the patient sleeps and stays upright for the first few weeks. This keeps the edema from pooling around the traumatized area. Drinking lots of water can help as well, as can decreasing your sodium intake. You may want to speak with your surgeon beforehand regarding using Arnica montana, Vitamins A, C and K and Bromelain to help with the healing process.

Back to Top

When can I return to work?
You may not feel like doing much for a few days postoperatively. If you are at work, the option to lie down and pop a few pain medications is more than likely ruled out, so its best to stay home until you are ready physically and mentally to resume your work life. You should lift nothing above your head (including your arms) until your surgeon clears it. Do not engage in strenuous activities, including hard labor or exercise, for at least three weeks.

Back to Top

When will I be able to see the results?
Although the results of a breast lift are immediate, you should not risk taking the bandages off to check. Your surgeon will remove the bandages in a few days at a postoperative visit and you will switch to a soft support bra which will be worn for 21 days. You should wear a bra either in the day or at night while you are sleeping.

Back to Top

What are the risks of mastopexy?
It is possible to have a negative reaction to the anesthesia, excessive bleeding, infection, hematoma, and seroma. Scars are a given. Permanent loss of sensitivity in the nipple area and breast skin is possible. If you smoke, your risks are increased and your scars will heal slower and possibly wider than a non-smoker's would. Tissue necrosis, or death, can happen to smokers or in patients with poor oxygen-tissue saturation. Infections, although rare, can happen, so its important to wash your breasts, neck and torso with an anti-bacterial soap for several days leading up to surgery to reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin.

Back to Top

How long does a mastopexy last?
Regardless of having had mastopexy, breasts will sag again. It may be years from now, but you may need an additional mastopexy, depending on your bra-wearing habits. Be safe and wear a bra.

Back to Top

Ratings

Average rating:
My rating:

 

Log in to rate