Breast Lift / Mastopexy

Mastopexy is an operation to remove the excess skin of the breast and so to lift the position of the breast and nipple. It is performed under a general anaesthetic and probably has one night hospital stay.

At your initial consultation, I will question you about your general health as well as any specific breast health issues pertaining to surgery. I will examine your breasts (with a chaperone present) and describe the process of mastopexy including the scar pattern involved. If you decide to proceed another appointment will be made for you to come back and ask any specific questions of concern, at this time a consent form for surgery will be signed and pre-operative photographs taken. There is no charge for this second appointment.

You will come in on the day of your surgery and I will visit you on the Ward prior to going to theatre. It is a good idea to have a sports bra with you; this can be put on at the end of the operation and provides comfort and support. You should wear this as much as possible for the first two weeks after surgery to help with healing and discomfort. Every effort will be made to achieve the shape you desire, but no guarantee can be made relating to shape or size, patients often feel the breast have enlarged following this surgery, this is an illusion as the breast tissue has been returned to a position higher on the chest wall and so gives greater projection.

The operation takes approximately two and a half hours to complete. It is major surgery and I recommend that you take things fairly for at least a fortnight after the operation, and avoid any heavy exercise for six to eight weeks after surgery.

There are potential complications with the operation, in particular those relating to the scars, which can be of unpredictable quality and include the risk of infection of the wounds, which would leave you with a scar wider than that which is ideal. The scars settle over a period of two to three months, to leave a fine line, though some scars become red, raised and itchy, and remain so for approximately six to nine months after surgery. These settle to leave wide, flat scars, which lighten in colour over time.

After surgery there may be a collection of blood underneath the skin and breast tissue, despite the use of small tubes (drains) inserted into the wound temporarily after the operation to collect any blood. If this is the case, you may require a return visit to the operating theatre for removal of the blood clot.

The operation requires extensive undermining of the skin and the movement of the nipple to its new position. The extent of the operation may endanger the blood supply to the skin and to the nipple. If this is the case, the nipple may either all or in part necrose, this is extremely rare but given the dramatic nature is important to be aware of.

In addition, the extent of the surgical procedure may reduce the sensation in the nipple or surrounding skin. This usually returns close to normal over a period of time. Whilst I try to ensure that the breasts and nipples are symmetrical and as equal in size as possible, it is possible that there will not be an exact match after surgery. Whilst the operation improves the shape of the breast, with ageing it is likely that the shape of the breasts will change over time.

A mastopexy sometimes involves cutting into fat, which can then die. The dead fat either appears as a sterile abscess coming through the wound or as a tender lump underneath the skin. Dressings may be required if this happens. If the lump remains, this can have calcium deposited within it, which can show up on an x-ray. It is, therefore, very important in the future that if you have a mammogram performed, you must tell the medical staff that you have had surgery to the breast in the past.

Breast Feeding

Breast feeding should be possible after breast lift surgery but cannot be guaranteed. Breast growth can still occur after surgery and therefore your breasts may enlarge again after surgery particularly during pregnancy or weight gain.

It is also not advisable to be on regular Aspirin containing tablets, rheumatic-type drugs like Nurofen or Brufen, or Ginkgo Biloba, as these can cause bleeding. You should discontinue them at least a week before the operation. Smoking affects your skin blood vessels and makes both bleeding after operation and the risk of skin dying, more likely.