Breast lift or mastopexy is a surgical procedure involving the repositioning of your breast higher to change its shape. The surgeon will tighten the surrounding tissue while removing any excess skin.
If the appearance of your breasts bother you or they are flat & droopy, you must consider going for a breast lift procedure. It is also an option if the areola is getting larger. This may happen because of conditions like:
- Weight change
Women usually go for this procedure without the need for an overnight stay. The surgeon will perform the procedure under general anesthesia and will require around 3 to 4 hours to complete the procedure. Many women choose to get breast implants at the same time as that of the Breast Lift procedure. So, your surgeon must explain the procedure and discuss with you all the options available. The motive behind the Breast Lift procedure is to reduce the sagginess of the breasts. They will be more contoured and shapely. Many people now prefer this procedure over other treatments for breasts like implants. With the increasing popularity of the procedure, now there are non-surgical options also available for Breast Lift procedures.
Why it's done?
Your breasts change and lose their firmness & elasticity as you get old. A Breast Lift can raise the position of your nipples & areola (the dark area surrounding the nipples) and reduce sagging. However, there might be a need to reduce the size of the areola during this procedure for keeping them in proportion with the shape of the breasts. You must consider the procedure if:
- Your areola and nipples point downward
- Your breasts sag because they lost volume & shape or are getting longer & flatter.
- One side of your breasts is lower than that of the other.
- Your nipples fall below the breast crease when there is no support to your breasts.
- Your areola stretch out of proportion from your breasts.
You must not plan for the procedure if you are considering pregnancy in some time. This is because your breasts could stretch and affect the results of the Breast Lift Procedure during pregnancy. If you are breast-feeding, then avoid going for the procedure. Although the nipples don’t separate from the underlying breast tissue, you might face difficulty in producing enough milk. Anybody can go for the procedure. However, women having smaller sagging breasts will experience the best and long-lasting results. This is because larger breasts are heavy and they are more likely to sag again.
How to prepare?
You need to contact your plastic surgeon and discuss your goals with him or her. If you plan the placement of breast implants too, show them the pictures of the desired size and shape of the breasts. He or she will consider your health first before describing various options available for you. Discuss the details of the procedure with the surgeon and know the possible risks associated with the procedure or what results of recovery you can expect. This will help in the proper evaluation of the procedure and you will have an idea about future outcomes.
Although the complications are rare after a Breast Lift procedure, you might observe infection, bleeding or scarring. You may follow the instructions of your surgeon to avoid the possible risks. You might need to quit smoking, stop using certain medications and also take antibiotics if necessary. You may plan for your recovery period. For example, you cannot lift heavy items for more than a month after the procedure. You may also need someone to help if you have young children or small kids at home. A better idea would be to have someone by your side for a month for taking care of your kid.
What to expect?
Your doctor will perform a breast lift procedure in a hospital. He or she will do it with local anesthesia & sedation that will only numb a part of your body. In other cases, your doctor might recommend general anesthesia to make you unconscious.
During the procedure
There are varying techniques to remove breast skin and to reshape the tissue. The technique that your surgeon uses will govern the location of the incisions and the scars due to the same. Your surgeon will make an incision either around the areola, or downward from the areola to the breast crease, or along the breast crease in a horizontal direction. To reshape your breast tissue and to reduce the size of the areola, he or she will place stitches deep into your breasts. Your surgeon will remove excess skin from your breast and shift the nipples higher. He or she will bring together the skin of your breasts and make stitches while applying skin adhesives or surgical tape to close the incision. This will take around 4 hours for the completion of the procedure and you will be able to go home the same day.
After the procedure
Your surgeon will cover your breasts with gauze after the procedure. He or she will place small tubes at the incision sites to drain excess fluids or blood in your breasts. Your breasts will bruise and swell for around two weeks. There will be soreness & pain in the area of incisions and they will appear pink or red for a few months. Also, there will be numbness in your areola, nipples and breast skin that will last for around 6 weeks. Your doctor will recommend a medication for pain in the first few days after the procedure. You must avoid bending, straining and lifting. Your doctor will advise you to sleep on your side or on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts.
You must ask your doctor when you can resume your routine activities like showering, washing your hair, or bathing. He or she will either remove or change the bandages upon removing the drainage tubes. You may ask your doctor when he or she will remove the stitches and whether they can dissolve on their own. If they don’t dissolve, your doctor will remove the stitches after 2 weeks from the day of performing the procedure. You will have to wear a surgical support bra for 4 days followed by a soft support bra for a month. You may need to use silicone tape or gel for proper healing of your incision sites. Also, protect your incisions from exposure to the sun.
You will experience changes in the breasts’ appearance. They will change their shape for a few months after the procedure. The scars will appear lumpy and red. The permanent scars will soften and turn white & thin within a year or two. Bathing suits and bras will hide the scars after a Breast Lift procedure. The results of the procedure might not be permanent. Your skin will become less elastic with age and sagging may occur. There are high chances of sagging of your breasts if they are heavy and large. However, you can retain the results by maintaining a healthy and stable weight of your body.
Some complications and risks associated with Breast Lift are:
- Breasts with different sizes and shapes because they heal at a different pace.
- Scars, those fade over time.
- Loss of areola or nipple (rarely) happening due to blood loss in the area.
- Changes in breast or nipple sensation that is usually temporary but may sometimes be permanent.