A breast lift (mastopexy) alters the overall shape and appearance of the breast by repositioning the breast and nipple on the chest wall. Women may benefit from a breast lift if they believe their breasts have excess skin and decreased volume after breastfeeding, weight loss, or with the normal ageing process.
Changes to breast shape can be due to genetics or can develop over a woman’s life. Fluctuations in the size of the breasts due to weight gain and loss, pregnancy and breastfeeding, can lead to laxity of the skin and the ligaments that support the breast, causing breast ptosis. Restorative surgery involves excision of skin, reshaping of the breast tissue and repositioning of the nipple. Where there is volume loss, this can be replaced with lipofilling (fat grafting) or an implant.
During your preoperative consultation, your specific situation needs, and the outcome will be discussed. Your medical history will be discussed, including lactation, breast oncology, medical conditions and medications. A physical evaluation will be performed to assess your breast, chest and body shape/weight, and measurements and clinical photographs will be taken.
Breast lift surgery is performed in an accredited hospital under general anaesthetic. It can vary in terms of complexity and techniques employed and is tailored to meet the specific needs of the patient. Generally, the procedure will take 2-3 hrs and requires an overnight stay in the hospital. During the surgery, excess skin is removed, the nipple is repositioned, and the breast tissue is redistributed to create a pleasing shape and projection. Incision patterns vary but generally involve a circular incision around the nipple and a straight line from the nipple down to the breast crease. An implant may be required to achieve volume and projection. Lipofilling can also alter volume and improve contour.
Side Effects, Risks and Complications
All surgery causes bruising, swelling, some oozing or bleeding from wounds, new scars, infection and wound healing problems. There are risks associated with general anaesthesia risks including cardiac/respiratory issues and DVT.
Some risks and complications specific to breast lift surgery include:
- Postoperative bleeding requiring a return to theatre
- Nipple-areola complex changes – changes in sensation that may be temporary or permanent. Rarely, poor healing or loss of part or all of the nipple
- Seroma – accumulation of fluid within the breast which may become infected
- Wound infection, which may require antibiotics, ongoing dressings and occasionally surgical management
- Poor scarring, including hypertrophic and keloid scars
- The ability to breastfeed may be affected
- Need for revision surgery
- Complications related to implants when used