Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
- Elective cosmetic procedure
- Possible medicare and health insurance rebates
- Day procedure only
A breast lift is performed to improve the shape of the breasts and raise them on the chest wall when they are sagging, without reducing their size. This can provide a more youthful appearance. Sagging and loss of shape of the breasts occurs as the skin loses its elasticity with the effects of gravity, the normal ageing process, pregnancy and breast-feeding, and significant weight loss. In some women, placing an implant at the same time as the breast lift can improve the shape, firmness and size of the breasts.
What happens at the first Breast Lift consultation?
In your first consultation Dr Norris will focus on what you hope to achieve by having a mastopexy (breast lift). He will also ask what concerns you about the appearance of your breasts and what you would like your breasts to look like. It may become apparent during this initial consultation that you have concerns not only about your breasts looking saggy, but also about the size or loss of volume due to the effects of pregnancy and age. If this is the case, you have the option to have breast implants at the same time as your breast lift. Dr Norris will evaluate your breasts by taking measurements, assessing your skin tone and the condition of breast and fatty tissue, and noting the position and size of your nipple and areola on each side. Photographs will be taken for your medical records.
A graph to show the grade of droopy breasts
You should expect to have a detailed discussion with Dr Norris about how the operation is performed and where the incisions will be placed. At the end of this initial consultation you will have a very good idea of what will be possible for you. You will then be provided with a detailed quotation for surgery.
If you decide to proceed with surgery, Dr Norris will see you again at a second consultation.
How is the operation performed?
Your breast lift procedure is performed in a fully accredited hospital. Your anaesthetist will give you a general anaesthetic and you can expect the operation to take between 2-3 hours.
There are a number of techniques for breast lifting determined by where incisions are made and the subsequent scars. Dr Norris has trained extensively in the use of short-scar techniques which are aimed at minimising the amount and length of scars.
This will most commonly involve restricting your scar to one that encircles the areola (periareolar scar) and one that passes downwards from the areola to the fold beneath the breast (vertical scar). This is commonly called a lollipop lift as it resembles a lollypop. In some cases it is possible to leave a periareolar scar only. However, not all women have breasts that are suitable for a short scar technique. In some cases, Dr Norris might need to perform a lift using an incision called an anchor lift. The associated scar for this procedure also travels underneath the breast in the mammary fold as well as around the areolar and down the breast.
At the end of the operation a drain may be placed beneath each breast. If this is the case it will be removed the day after surgery. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures to save you the inconvenience of having them removed. A dressing is applied over the incisions and you will leave the hospital wearing your supportive surgical bra.
What happens after the surgery?
- Procedure usually takes between 2.5 – 3hrs to perform.
- Most patients can go home after surgery.
- You will require a friend, family member or partner to drive you home from hospital.
- You will leave with written postoperative instructions and a prescription for pain-relief.
- You will not be able to drive for up to 1 week.
- Daily short showers are permitted, ensuring your waterproof dressings are dried adequately.
- Sleep on your back, elevated by a few pillows for the first 6 weeks. This will help reduce your swelling.
- You will experience the most discomfort in the first 3 or 4 days after the surgery.
- Your breasts and nipples will be bruised, swollen, tender, and sensitive to touch.
- You can return to normal duties after 2 weeks.
- Swelling can take up to 6 weeks to settle.
- You can start light exercise at two weeks after the procedure.
- Return to regular exercising after 6 weeks or as instructed by Dr Norris.
- You can return to work 1 week after the operation unless your work involves use of the upper body or heavy lifting, in which case 4 weeks off work should be allowed.
- You will have an appointment on day 3 after the procedure to check and change the dressings.
Breast Lift: Possible complications
- Haematoma A collection of blood in the breast pocket, which is either naturally absorbed into the body or sometimes requires further surgical drainage. Symptoms include swelling, pain, bruising, hot to touch, or itchy breast.
- Infection Infections are unpredictable and normally occur in the first 3 weeks after surgery and treated immediately with antibiotics.
- Keloid Scarring Where your scars begin to look raised and lumpy and even darker in colour. If you notice this happening please inform Dr Norris and he can look at treating it with steroid injections. Wearing the supplied silicon gel strips after surgery 24/7 will aid in preventing this from happening.
- Numb Nipples This is common and normally resolves itself after a short period of time. Sometimes it may take up to 6-12 months to regain full feeling in your nipples.
- Asymmetry Though Dr Norris makes every attempt to create perfect symmetry, sometimes this is not always possible and you must expect that some minor asymmetry may be visible 12 months after surgery. Perfectly similar breasts is not possible naturally therefore a real expectation is needed.