Loss of skin elasticity, weight loss, pregnancy and breast feeding ultimately affect the shape and firmness of a woman’s breast. Breast lift surgery, also called mastopexy, removes excess breast skin and remodels the breast tissue into a more appealing form.
The nipple and areola are repositioned and if desired implants may be inserted at the same time as a breast lift to add youthful, upper pole fullness to the breast.
A breast lift is a two hour procedure performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. During the surgery excess skin is removed from the breast and the nipple lifted into a higher position. A breast lift can involve three incisions. There is always an incision around the areola, and sometimes depending how much skin is being removed, there is an incision running vertically down from the areola and running horizontally in the crease under the breast.
The nipple and areola remain attached to underlying tissue preserving sensation and the ability to breast feed.
The operation takes approximately two hours and is performed under general anaesthesia. An additional two hours are required for post-surgical recovery.
Recovery from breast lift surgery
Following the surgery your breast maybe bruised, swollen, and may ache for a day or two. You may feel slight discomfort which can be controlled with medication. To control swelling and help the breasts retain their new shape, your surgeons and nurse will help you into a surgical bra which is worn over gauze dressings. These will be removed within a few days and replaced with scar managing tape.
Most of the stitches used are dissolving and do not need to be removed. Very few patients will require a drain after the operation as there is not much swelling after a breast lift procedure. You may expect loss of sensation around your nipple and areola areas. This is usually temporary and may take six weeks or more to return to normal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Women of all ages can be helped by a breast lift if they would like to improve significant breast droop. Most women acquire sagging breast skin after weight loss or breast feeding. It is best to have the surgery after you have completed your weight loss journey or after you have finished child rearing. Some young women’s breasts have a saggy and deflated appearance from the moment they develop. A mastopexy can help restore confidence in women who feel they have unusually saggy breasts.
Breast lift is performed under a general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital such as St George Private, East Sydney private or Kareena private hospitals. Most patients are able to go home the day after their surgery.
The long term results of mastopexy are dependent upon the strength of a woman’s natural skin. All women’s breasts droop over time with the effects of gravity. The droop will therefore occur more quickly in women who have poorer quality skin.
The scar will encircle the areola and extend as a vertical line from the 6 o’clock position of your areola to the lower pole of the breast (lollipop shaped). The scars are initially pink and become white fine lines over the next year. In patients who have a tendency to make thick, pink scars (keloid or hypertrophic scars), then your surgeon will prescribe steroid injections or silicone patching to help make the scars softer and flatter.
The cost of mastopexy surgery is determined by the expected complexity and duration of your operation and will be estimated following your first consultation. Prices start from
including the surgeon’s fee, assistant’s fee, anaesthetist’s fee, hospital stay and 12 months post-op care.
This procedure may attract an item number from Medicare which allows you to claim a rebate if you have had a child in the past 7 years and that child is over one year of age. Medicare requires preapproval to use item number 45558. If you have the appropriate level of health insurance cover, they may pay for your theatre and accomodation fees.
The sensation in your nipple may change straight after the surgery. This usually returns to normal within 6 weeks, but in some patients this can take one year.
Breast feeding should be unchanged after breast lifting surgery as the nipple and its draining ducts and glands remain connected.
You should be able to return to exercise gradually after surgery, with a return to brisk walking approximately one week following your breast reduction operation. However, it will take four to six weeks to be able to return to more vigorous activities such as swimming, tennis, and upper-body gym work.
Breast reduction surgery slightly reduces the risk of breast cancer as a significant amount of breast tissue is removed during the procedure. A baseline mammogram should be performed one year after the operation in women are over 50 years of age. An augmentation mastopexy does not increase your risk of breast cancer. Women with breast implants actually are more likely to live longer if they develop breast cancer as they are more likely to detect their cancer when it is smaller.
You will be seen daily in hospital by your surgeon. On rare occasions when your surgeon is working at another location, you will be seen by another member of the surgical team (the anaesthetist, surgical registrar or another surgeon in the practice).
When you go home, you will be seen within a week of your discharge. Thereafter, the follow up protocol will be determined by you and your surgeon.
Regular appointments are made to check that you have reached your aesthetic goals and that your scars and contour are continuing to improve.
You will be given a Plastic Surgery Recovery guide upon booking your surgery. This is a highly valuable document that explains in great detail all of your after care for surgery.