Your breasts are lifted and tightened by removing skin from below and around your nipple. The nipple is raised to a higher position and the breast tissue inside is repositioned to give you more fullness in the upper part of your breast. The skin is then stitched leaving you with a scar around the areola (the coloured skin around the nipple), vertically down from the areola to the crease under the breast and usually a horizontal scar underneath the breast along the breast crease (i.e. the scar is shaped like an inverted letter “T” or an anchor).
The above pictures show a patient who has undergone a vertical scar mastopexy by Mr Pacifico
What does it involve?
A mastopexy is performed under a general anaesthetic (with you asleep). You will wake up with surgical tapes along the wounds and you may have a surgical drain (tube) coming out of each breast. You will need to go into a supportive post-surgical or sports bra following surgery.
What are the benefits?
Mastopexy techniques provide a breast lift and increase the fullness to the upper part of your breast. A mastopexy will not change the volume of your breast
How long does the surgery take?
The surgery takes about 2-hours.
What is the recovery period?
The procedure may be performed as a day case (in and out the same day) or you may stay in hospital overnight after the surgery. This is to ensure that there is only minimal fluid coming into your drains, which may then be removed. You should wear a sports bra day-and-night for at least 6-weeks after surgery, and sometimes for 3-months.
How long before daily activities may be resumed?
Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 2-weeks. You may be able to drive after this period, but remember that you need to be comfortable in performing an emergency stop or similar manoeuvre. If you drive too early and you need to do an emergency stop, the wounds may come apart from pressure of the seatbelt.
What are the success rates?
Mastopexies provide a good breast lift, but with time and the effects of gravity your breasts will eventually have some recurrence of droop. This may not happen for around 5-years or more but will at some point.
What are the possible complications?
- Wound infection & wound breakdown (most likely at the “T” junction)
- Bleeding or haematoma (a collection of blood in the wound that would mean needing to return to the operating theatre to stop the bleeding)
- Lumpy scarring (hypertrophic or keloid scarring) which can be difficult to treat
- Change in nipple sensation (usually less sensitive, but occasionally more)
- Complete or partial loss of your nipple (a rare but important complication)
- Fat necrosis (dying of some areas of fat within the breast) – this either shows as an oily discharge from the wound or as the formation of lumps within the breast. Rarely it may mean that you need to go back to surgery, but can usually be treated as an outpatient with dressings (if the wound has opened) or with massage of any lumps
- Breast asymmetry – no breasts in any woman are identical, and although Mr Pacifico will strive to make both sides as equal as possible, there will be differences between them
- Bottoming out – this is the term given to when part of your breast descends below the level of the nipple – the effect is to make your nipples appear above your bra. With good planning and surgical technique, this is fortunately an unusual complication.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE) – these are blood clots that may occur in the leg (DVT) and travel to the lung (PE) which may be very serious – fortunately they are not common in breast lifting surgery.
- Further surgery may be needed to make adjustments to correct for imperfections or significant differences between the breasts (in up to 20% of cases)
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