Mastopexy is a procedure used to lift sagging breasts. The intervention comprises three main steps: excision of excess skin, re-shaping of the breast tissue and re-positioning of the nipple-areola complex. If the breasts are small, the lift may be combined with the insertion of implants.
Frequently asked questions about breast lift
Who is a good candidate for breast lift?
All women for whom sagging breasts are a problem. The medical condition of tubular breast deformities may also require breast lift surgery.
What is a good age for a breast lift?
Middle-aged women after one or multiple childbirths are suitable candidates. If the breasts show early signs of sagging due to structural reasons, surgery may be advisable at an earlier age, in particular when the patient is afflicted by a condition known as tubular breast deformity. As a rule, our clinic only admits adult patients, unless an exemption is justified.
Does the surgery leave any scars?
Depending on the extent of sagging, the following scars will result:
- around the areola (periareolar mastopexy)
- around the areola and vertically down (vertical mastopexy)
- around the areola, vertically down and horizontally in the breast crease (“reversed T”).
If the breasts are only moderately sagging, or empty after childbirth and breast-feeding, implants may be inserted to restore lost volume. In this case, a small incision in the breast crease, just like in breast augmentation, is sufficient.
The most common breast lift method is vertical mastopexy. The result is aesthetically pleasing and the scar is not too conspicuous. With respect to permanence of the result, vertical mastopexy is superior to all other methods.
Is the breast lift alone sufficient to restore firmness?
That depends on the amount of breast tissue. Often, the intervention is combined with a breast reduction in order to achieve a longer lasting result.
High loss of breast tissue due to childbirth or weight reduction can be compensated with implants.
What to do and what not to do before treatment?
Three weeks before an invasive / surgical treatment patient must stop smoking and taking aspirin. In the last week, patients must stop taking any anticoagulant (“blood-thinning”) medicine.
The following substances are also prohibited:
- pain killers such as Apranax, Voltaren and Vermidon (alternative brand names are Minoset and Novalgin)
- multivitamin tablets containing ginseng, ginkgo biloba and coenzyme Q,
- green tea, herbal products containing linseed, sour cherry stalks, tomato seeds
- all diet products.
Before breast surgery, a mammogram / ultrasound scan must be taken. It is important for postoperative examinations. A year later, another mammogram / ultrasound scan is taken.
Does the procedure require anaesthesia ?
The surgery is carried out in a clinic under general anaesthesia.
How long does the operation take?
Surgery takes about 2 hours, depending on the extent of sagging.
Is the procedure painful?
A breast lift alone or in conjunction with a reduction is not particularly painful. You may feel some pain in the first few days which can easily be controlled with simple pain medication. If the breast lift is combined with the insertion of implants, this may cause some pain if the implant is placed under the muscle. In this case, the pain may linger for up to three days, and requires stronger pain killers. In our clinic, we very often place the implants on top of the muscle. We also prefer small implants. These two measures limit the extent of pain.
What happens after the operation?
After 3 hours, patients can eat and get up. After 6 hours, they can be discharged. A dressing is placed on the incision. After 2 days, patients can take a bath. On the 3rd day, they have to return to the clinic for a check-up; afterwards they can return to their normal life. In the first three week, all physical exercises, except walking, must be avoided. During this time, the patient must wear a sports bra at all times. After 3 weeks, physical exercises are permitted, except arm and chest movements. After 6 six weeks, you are free to exercise as you please.
In the first 3 weeks, the breasts lie higher than normal and the appearance is unnatural. After week three, the breasts begin to sink into their final position which they reach after 3 months. Further check-ups follow after 3 weeks, 3 and 6 months and one year after the operation. At that time, a control mammogram / ultrasound scan must be taken as well.
Does breast reduction surgery adversely affect breast-feeding?
Scientific studies have found no difference between comparable groups of women with and without breast lift. The risk of reduced milk production is even smaller than after breast reduction.
Does breast augmentation surgery cause sensation changes?
Temporary numbness is possible. Normal sensation usually returns after a few months. Permanent loss of sensation is not expected.
Is there any connection between breast lift and breast cancer?
No. Rather the opposite is true because breast mass is reduced. The excised breast tissue is examined for any signs of pathological developments. The results constitute an important data base for future preventive check-ups. The use of implants does not increase the cancer risk.
What are the main problems after mastopexy?
The most frequent complaint concerns scars and asymmetries of breasts and nipple-areola complex. All these problems are avoidable if the operation is carried out by an expert surgeon.
If the breast lift is combined with implants, implant-related complications may occur. The most important problem is capsular contracture around the implant. You can find more information about the issue under the heading breast augmentation (link).
Is the result of a breast lift permanent?
With advancing age, the breasts will again sag a bit, however, a return to the state before the operation is impossible.