A mastopexy, also known as a breast lift, is a plastic surgery procedure that aims to correct breast ptosis (sagging of the breasts), returning the breasts to their normal position. If breast volume is also to be increased, breast implants can be combined with this method.
Why undergo this procedure?
A mastopexy procedure permits lifting the breasts, improving their shape and correcting any imperfections that may have developed after pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight loss or due to aging. In fact, increased breast volume and weight can greatly stretch the skin, subjecting it to significant mechanical stress. The subsequent decrease in breast size leaves the skin drained and lacking the elasticity needed to readjust to the new breast volume; deep connective tissue structures can become damaged, contributing to skin laxity, and stretch marks can appear. Aging can, however, promote breast ptosis by contributing to loss of skin elasticity and firmness.
What should be done before surgery?
Before surgery, it is necessary to wait at least 6 months after the end of the last breastfeeding. If the patient is on a diet, it is necessary to wait until the predetermined weight is reached and make sure it is stable. It may be necessary to undergo a mammogram.
How is the surgery performed?
Breast lift surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure or may require overnight hospitalization. It is conducted under general anesthesia and lasts between 90 minutes and 3 hours. There are two major types of surgery: A mastopexy without implants involves the upward lifting of the areola, nipple and gland and remodeling the shape of the breasts. Additive mastopexy, on the other hand, involves the insertion of breast implants to increase breast size and improve breast shape.
What happens after the operation?
After mastopexy, it is necessary to undergo follow-up appointments to apply dressings and remove stitches. Sometimes a moderately compressive dressing is applied at the time of discharge. In addition, the use of a compression bra may be recommended for two months. Swelling and bruising may appear which are completely normal and will subside as time goes by. After the third day, the patient will be able to return to her daily activities while avoiding any kind of exertion. Seven to ten days after the operation, it will be possible to resume one's job, as long as it is not excessively strenuous, while for sporting activity it will be necessary to wait at least 3-4 weeks.
Pain-relieving medications can be given prior to surgery and then gradually reduced during the postoperative phase. In addition, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A breast lift without implants, performed using the round-block technique, involves making a single incision on the edge of the areola. Over time, the scar becomes less and less visible. However, sometimes more prominent scars (called inverted-T or J-shaped scars) may remain. These are associated with surgeries requiring larger corrections which involve making both an incision around the areola and a vertical incision, at the bottom of the breast. The vertical incision reaches down to the breast groove, where it joins a third incision that runs right along the entire groove, where in some cases reaches under the arms.
Immediately after surgery, the breasts may look excessively lifted and swollen, but over the next few weeks they will take on the desired shape. Except in rare cases, even the sensitivity of the areola-nipple complex (which may be significantly reduced initially) will return to nearly normal after a few months.
What are the possible risks?
Mastopexy surgery is associated with the risk of hematoma, infection, wound problems, altered sensitivity, unsatisfactory scar outcomes, localized hardening, asymmetry, and total or partial loss of the areola-nipple complex. It does not alter the ability to breastfeed.