Over the years, factors like pregnancy, nursing, weight loss, aging and the force of gravity can change the appearance of a woman’s breasts. As the skin loses elasticity, breasts often lose their shape and firmness, causing sagging. A breast lift, or mastopexy procedure, can be performed to reverse this inevitable sagging. The procedure is also common with younger patients experiencing premature sagging (called ‘ptosis’). Breast lift surgery repositions the breasts and elevates the nipples to a more youthful position on the chest, improving both shape and firmness. Breast lift surgery can also help reshape abnormally long or pointy breasts, and adjust the size of extremely large nipples and areolas.

Depending on your specific concerns, a breast lift may be combined with other enhancement procedures. In many cases, mastopexy is combined with a breast augmentation, which can restore lost volume, achieve a larger size or obtain better, longer-lasting results. However, patients who are generally satisfied with the size and volume of their breasts can have the lift alone to raise and firm them, resulting in a more youthful contour.

 

About the procedure:

While some breast lift procedures can be performed using a local anesthetic, most require IV sedation or general anesthesia. The surgery is an outpatient procedure. The incision area for minor breast lifts (typically performed in conjunction with breast augmentation) is limited to the nipple area, while more significant lifts require additional incisions under the breast.

 

Post- operative instructions:

  • Following the operation, you will wake up with bandages and a brassiere covering your breasts. Dr. Sati, MD, may decide to insert drainage tubes (small tubes the size of IV tubing) during the operation, which will be removed before you leave the hospital, or within 48 hours of the procedure.
  • Occasionally, patients complain of nausea following the operation. This generally passes after 24 to 48 hours, and is minimized by consuming liquids frequently and avoiding taking pain medication on an empty stomach.
  • Once home, you may get up to use the bathroom or to take a light walk around the house. When taking pain medication, exercise caution in the home, particularly when performing tasks like climbing stairs.
  • The bandages and brassiere must stay in place for two days, after which you may remove them to shower. It is important to have someone assist you in the shower, in case you feel faint. Do not remove the tape over the incisions, although it can get wet. Avoid directing the water pressure toward your breasts, and gently pat dry when finished.
  • With the exception of showering, a brassiere or sports bra should be worn at all times, day and night, for six weeks after the procedure. Use a supportive sports bra without underwire; some have a zipper enclosure in the front, which can be helpful during the recovery period.
  • Rest and sleep on your back, not on your front or sides.
  • You will be able to resume driving after one to two weeks, though it should be avoided when taking pain medication, which causes drowsiness. Light exercise, such as walking or using a stationary bike, may be resumed after at least two weeks. Heavy exercise, heavy lifting and carrying a backpack are not permitted for at least six weeks after the procedure.

 

The healing process:

  • Following the procedure, your breasts will be swollen, bruised and sensitive, though discomfort is generally mild. Pain medication may be used as prescribed whenever experiencing discomfort. Swelling and bruising will take approximately two weeks to subside.
  • Most patients take a week off work, though they feel well after a few days.
  • Numbness in the breast and nipple area is commonly experienced, and tends to improve over several weeks or months.
  • Occasionally, patients experience drainage from the incisions, which may last a few weeks. To protect your clothes, place a piece of gauze or a cotton sanitary napkin in your sports bra or brassiere.
  • The incisions may be raised, red or hard to the touch for several months.
  • Your breasts will appear very round and high on your chest, but will resume a more natural shape gradually over the following months.
  • The final results of the procedure can be judged three to six months after the operation, although the final healed results may not be apparent until six months to one year after the procedure.

 

Follow-up appointments:

  • First follow-up: Within one week of the operation
  • Second follow-up: Three weeks after the operation
  • Subsequent appointments are typically scheduled for three months after the procedure.