Factors like pregnancy, breastfeeding and of course the power of gravity leave over time their imprint on a woman’s breasts. Considering that skin loses its elasticity, breasts lose their form and firmness and begin to “drop”. Breast lift or mastopexy is a surgical procedure aiming at lifting and reshaping lax and “drooping” breasts. It has to be noted that there is no surgical procedure to suspend the effects of gravity. Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipples). Silicone implants in combination with a breast lift can increase the size and turgidity of small breasts or breasts with reduced volume (e.g. after pregnancy). Do not hesitate to ask your surgeon any questions concerning the procedure.
Best candidates for a breast lift
While a breastlift can enhance your look and boost your self-confidence, it will not create the perfect image. Before you decide to undergo such an operation think carefully what your expectations are and make sure to discuss them thoroughly with your surgeon.
Best candidates for a breastlift are healthy, mentally stable women realistic in their expectations. Best results are achieved with small, lax breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but you have to bear in mind that the results are not long lasting on big and heavy breasts.
Many women seek to undergo mastopexy after pregnancy and breastfeeding have left their breasts lax and reduced in volume. However, if you plan on having more children, it is best to postpone mastopexy. Although there is no specific risk affecting future pregnancies (mastopexy, for example, does not affect breastfeeding), a pregnancy can “stretch” your breasts again, and reverse the outcome of the treatment.
Every surgical operation carries risks
Mastopexy is not a simple operation, but it is extremely safe provided it is performed by a certified plastic surgeon.
Nevertheless, as with every surgical procedure, there is always a possibility of complications or reaction to anesthesia. Hemorraging or infections are rare after mastopexy, but they can result in the widening of your scars. You can mimimize risks by following your surgeon’s instructions exactly, before and after surgery.
Mastopexy leaves permanent scars that can be easily concealed under your bra or your swimsuit. As a rule, smokers have scars of worse quality.
Arranging your operation
It is crucial to have an honest discussion with your surgeon about your expectations, and to listen carefully to his opinion. Every patient-and every surgeon- has a different opinion on what the desirable size and shape of breasts is.
Your surgeon will examine your breasts and measure them while standing and sitting. You will discuss the different parameters affecting the procedure such as your age, the size and shape of your breasts, your skin condition. You will also discuss if silicone implants are suitable for you. During the procedure, your nipples will be lifted roughly at the same level as the crease under your breasts.
Your surgeon will describe thoroughly the procedure, explaining risks and limitations. You should try to understand precicely what scars will remain after the operation.
Preparation for surgery
Your surgeon might ask for a mammography before the operation depending on your age and family history. He shall also provide you with specific instructions for your operation regarding what to eat & drink, smoking, taking or not certain vitamins and medication. Make sure there is a friend or member of the family to drive you back home after the operation is over and help with you for a few days if necessary.
Where does the procedure take place.
Mastopexies are perfomed in a hospital. There is no need for hospitalization usually, but if other medical conditions call for it, you might have to stay overnight.
Mastopexies are performed under general anesthesia.
It takes one or two hours to perform a mastopexy. Techniques vary, but the most common procedure results in an anchor shaped scar.
During the operation, excess skin tissue is removed and the nipple is relocated to a higher position. The scars are usually located around the areola, on a vertical line extending under the nipple, and along the length of the crease under the breasts (anchor shape).
Patients with relatively small breasts and minimum laxity, could be candidates for modified techniques that result in smaller scars.
In case mastopexy is performed in combination with a silicone implant, it is placed behind the breast tissue.
After the operation
After the operation you will wear an elastic bandage or a special surgical bra over the dressings. Your breasts will be swollen and possibly bruised. Your surgeon will prescribe suitable medication to relieve any discomfort.
You will have to wear the special bra twenty four hours a day for the next three to four weeks. The, usually internal, stiches are not removed.
You can expect a slight loss of feeling in your nipples and the skin of your breasts caused by post-surgical swelling. This numbness usually subsides with the swelling during the next six weeks. In some patients though, it could last up to a year or more, and on rare occasions, it becomes permanent.
Back to your everyday activities
Healing is a gradual process. Even if you start feeling very well in one or two days after surgery, do not plan on returning to work before the first week. Avoid lifting heavy objects for three to four weeks. If any unusual symptoms occur, do not hesitate to call your surgeon.
Your surgeon shall provide you with specific instructions regarding the return to your everyday activities. You should avoid sex for one or two weeks and heavy exercise for a month. After that, you can gradually resume these activities. The procedure does not affect the lactiferous pores in your breast, so if there is a pregnancy, you will be able to breastfeed your baby.
Your new look
Your surgeon will try very hard to make your scars as much indistinct as possible. You should bear in mind that, in mastopexy, the scars are permanent. They stay red for a few months and then gradually fade to fine white lines. But they are located in such a way that allows you to wear ever the most daring décolletage.
You should bear in mind that the results of a mastopexy will not last for life. Gravity, pregnancies, aging and weight fluctuations will affect your breasts again. Women who underwent a mastopexy in combination with breast implants usually find that the results last longer.
You will be more satisfied with the outcome of a mastopexy if you understand the procedure in detail and if you are realistic in your expectations. The scars (around and under the nipple and under the breasts), although permanent, can easily be concealed under your clothes.