Breast Uplift / Mastopexy
Length of operation: from 1 hr 30 min to 3 hours
Type of Anaesthesia: General
Length of stay in hospital: day case/1 night hospital stay
Recovery time: 10-14 days for the bruising and swelling to subside. Full recovery is between 3-5 months
Time off work: 1.5 – 2 weeks after operation
About mastopexy: Pregnancy, breast feeding, weight loss and the simple passage of time can all cause breasts to droop. There may be a loss of elasticity and the nipples will be at a lower level. A mastopexy seeks to restore the breasts’ more youthful and attractive shape, without changing the size of the breasts, by removal of excess slack skin and repositioning of the breast tissue and nipple. In case of patients who are also unhappy with the size of their breasts, a breast augmentation in conjunction with a breast lift can increase breast size at the same time as improving the position of the breasts.
Suitable candidate: If any one or a combination of the following conditions trouble you – uneven or asymmetrical breasts along with ‘droopy’ or sagging breasts – then you would be an ideal candidate for breast uplift surgery.
Reasons not to go ahead: patients on blood thinning medicine, active smoking, overweight patients, patients with breast cancer, skin problems on the breast. A desire to become pregnant needs to be discussed with your surgeon as pregnancy and childbirth can alter breast size in an unpredictable way which could alter the results of the procedure.
Pre op: The consultation with your surgeon will be your opportunity to discuss your expectations, learn about the surgery and ask queries or clarify any doubts you might have. The surgeon will perform an examination in order to be able to assess your individual needs and discuss the results in length with you.
On the day: If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you will receive advice about what to do and what to avoid, prior to surgery. Following the operation, there may be a tube drain that has been inserted into each breast to remove any blood or fluid that may have collected around the breast area. A dressing is applied to the suture line on and in the crease underneath the breast. The tube drain is normally removed within 24 hours and the patient is allowed home in a supportive soft brassiere. Most patients are discharged either the same day or the following morning from the hospital.
Post op: Most patients are able to shower and change the dressing themselves at home. Dressings need to be kept dry and clean for one of two weeks after surgery. An appointment will be made for removal of sutures seven days following the operation, when the wounds will be inspected and cleaned. The patient will receive a complete list of postoperative care instructions before leaving the hospital including how to care for the surgical site and advice to help the swelling and the bruising to settle, medications to take orally for pain relief and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health.
A review appointment is usually offered one to three months after the operation.
Convalescence: For the first few days, you will feel tired and sore. The breasts can be bruised and swollen. In approximately six weeks the swelling and bruising settles to a large extent and the final shape of the breast becomes evident. There will be scars after the operation and they will be firm and pink for about a month and a half. They may even remain the same size for several months. These scars may take up to two years to fade – the time differs from patient to patient. It is also fairly common for the skin above the incision to feel a bit numb for some months, but this rarely extends to the nipple. In the vast majority of cases the nipples remain natural with normal contraction and relatively good sensitivity.
It is possible to do light activities for the first few days but it is not advisable to do any strenuous activity for the first two weeks. On average, recovery will take around one to two weeks. It is advisable to avoid sexual activity for approximately the first four weeks following surgery, after which care must be taken to be extremely gentle with your breasts for the next month or so.
Immediately after surgery your new breast size will be apparent, but please be aware that that the final shape of your breasts will take around six months to emerge.
Risks and complications: A small percentage of patients can have complications just like for any surgical procedure.
Infection – can be usually readily treated with an antibiotic.
Haematoma (blood clot under the skin) or bleeding – a re-visit to the operating theatre may be necessary.
Delayed healing of the wound – particularly true in case of diabetic patients or those who smoke. This needs to be discussed with the surgeon during the consultation stage.
Mild asymmetry – may occur especially when the breasts are uneven to begin with.
Effects of the procedure: Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your breast shape should remain fairly constant, although gravity and time will eventually alter the size and shape of your breasts.