What It Will Do
A cosmetic breast lift removes stretched skin of the breast (not breast tissue) and raises the nipple up to a standard position. The size of the breast is unlikely to change – it is the shape of the breast that is altered.
A breast lift will not increase the breast size. A breast enlargement is required for this to be achieved, which can actually be completed during the same operation. Mastopexy will have no effect on the muscles in the chest, as it is a skin procedure.
What is breast augmentation?
Breast augmentation, or breast enlargement is a surgical operation carried out to increase or restore the size of the breasts. This is created with the use of implants. There are two types of implants generally used for breast augmentation: a silicone gel implant and a saline filled implant. On occasion, fat may be used for enlarging breasts.
When to Have It
A breast lift is suggested for whenever your breasts have lost their shape. However, if future pregnancies are planned we recommend postponing this surgery. The same applies for patients planning weight loss. A surgical uplift of the breasts operation may be carried out on young women if they possess particularly low breasts at a young age, due to genes.
Where to Have It
Breast lifts are usually performed on an outpatient basis with a local anaesthetic/sedation in a doctor’s operating room, a surgical centre or in hospital.
How long it will last?
This operation is permanent. However, if patients gain and then lose a lot of weight, or experience pregnancy post the surgery, then the breast skin will stretch. Upon the breasts reverting to their original size, the skin will once again appear loose. Some patients have particularly weak skin and thus might discover their uplifted breasts lower again over time. This tends to be more common in patients with full breasts, and those who underwent breast enlargement surgery alongside mastopexy. In time, it is natural for all breasts to drop, although only marginally.
Breast scars from previous surgery could diminish the breast blood flow, thus increasing a risk of poor healing. Should any previous breast infections have been experienced, there will be a higher risk of an infection post surgery. An infection may cause poor scarring, which may require attention. Mothers, if they have breastfed 6-12 months prior to surgery, may begin to lactate again for a short period. Medication may be required to stop the lactation.
We generally recommend a local anaesthetic with sedation for a breast lift. A general anaesthetic may be decided upon if the breasts are so stretched that an excessive amount (thus exceeding a safe dose) of local anaesthetic would be required. Breast lifting and breast enlargement operations are often carried out together. If patients request for this combined surgery, a general anaesthetic would be advised.
How long does it take?
This operation takes between l.5 – 2 hours.
Correct alignment of the nipple
The placement of the nipples is the most important aspect of a breast lift or breast reduction. We advise liaising closely with the surgeon when the markings are made as to where the nipples are to be located. The surgeon will use a combination of three methods to determine and crosscheck the absolute correct nipple position. All three result in the same placement:
The surgeon may draw the necessary surgical markings in his office the day before your surgery. This causes the patient less ordeal on the day of the operation, enables them to go home to check they are happy with the markings in their own time, and furthermore allows the surgeon to check the markings with fresh eyes on the morning of the surgery. Overseas Medical considers “measure twice, cut once” to be particularly prevalent when considering breast markings.
The markings are drawn whilst the patient either sits or stands. It is almost impossible to select the correct nipple position when a patient is horizontal.
Post surgery, the breasts tend to ache. Patients report being a little uncomfortable for the first night, yet experience very little pain afterwards. It must be noted that if patients remove their bra or bandage, they would immediately notice an ache in their breasts – a sure sign that they need still required support.
The healing process
If the operation was conducted under a local anaesthetic with sedation, patients should expect to feel tired and sore for approximately 1 week. Under a general anaesthetic, the tiredness will last for approximately 2 weeks.
Any soreness will usually have disappeared in a day or two, but it is not advised to remove the bra for 2 weeks due to an aching sensation being experienced without wear. The breasts will be slightly swollen, may feel numb in small areas, or both breasts might be entirely numb for a week or more. The nipple may be numb, alternatively may be oversensitive and sting occasionally. The majority of these sensations disappear within 2 weeks.
The use of bandages varies between surgeons. One may recommend a snug elastic surgical vest (hot and itchy), another may wrap patients with elastic bandages (hot, itchy, and tends to fall apart), or they may bind using a bra – the best solution in our opinion. We recommend purchasing 2 basic, front-fastening, non-underwired bras – 1 cup or chest size larger than usual (to allow for the postsurgical swelling). The bras tend to work as a bandage. Whichever option the surgeon chooses, patients will have gauze and tape strips directly over the sutures to protect them. We advise keeping the gauze over the incisions for at least 1 week after the stitches are removed, so that the bra does not rub. Tape strips are kept across the incisions for as long as possible to keep the scars from stretching. Ideally this would be 6 months (being the period during which scars tend to stretch).
Taking care of your wound
There is very little maintenance that patients must adhere to for their surgical wounds post mastopexy. For the first week, the surgeon recommends that patients bathe whilst wearing their bras, thus the need to purchase two. During week 2 post surgery, patients may bathe and shower without a bra, as long as the incisions do not ache.
It is likely that the surgeon will suture in 3 methods:
The scar will vary according to the surgical technique. The scar around the nipple and from the nipple down to and along the breast crease will remain. These might appear thick and red in colour for approximately 6 weeks after surgery. They will gradually fade within 6-18 months, becoming pale, flat and much more discreet.
Back to work
If patients undergo surgery under a local anaesthetic with sedation, we recommend returning to work at the end of the week, but to be aware of possible tiredness. For patients having had a general anaesthetic, we advise waiting 10-14 days before returning to work.
Back to socialising
We advise waiting 10-14 days before patients venture out to socialise. The incisions will possibly ache by the end of a day. Any dancing is not advised for 3 weeks after the surgery as not only will the breasts be uncomfortable and swell with exertion, they may also bruise or bleed in places due to not yet being strong.
Back to sports
Any upper body exercise is to be avoided for the first 2 weeks to avoid pulling on the incisions. After this period, patients may swim, jog and undergo other exercise, as long as it is slow – we advise at a third or less of the normal rate. Between 3-4 weeks, patients can resume activity, although highly competitive sports are best avoided for up to a month.
Back to intimacy
We would suggest avoiding intimacy for 1 week after surgery. The stimulation to the breasts, even if they are not physically touched, will force them to swell. Up to 2-3 weeks post surgery, even extremely minor trauma to the breasts could cause discomfort and a widening of the scar.
During week 2, if intimacy is resumed:
By week 4 after mastopexy, there is no need to keep the bra on during sexual intercourse, assuming that healing is without complications.
How much does a breast lift cost?
The surgeon’s fee for a breast lift is between £3029 and £5048. If the patient wishes to combine a breast lift with a breast enlargement, the surgeon’s fee will be only circa £900 more, plus the implants. A general anaesthetic is a more workable option when these two operations are done simultaneously.
Please see detailed pricing here.
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