Simply defined, a breast lift (mastopexy) is a surgical procedure that temporarily raises and reshapes sagging breasts. The reason the operation is considered temporary is that there is no surgical operation on earth that can permanently keep breasts safe from the forces of gravity.
The Need for A Breast lift
There are many reasons why a woman might consider having a breast lift. Some do it to simply enhance their natural assets and others do it to counteract the toll of pregnancy, nursing, aging and the natural forces of gravity.
Keep in mind that a breast lifting is not the same as getting breast implants. A breast lift raises and tightens the breast area but it does not add bulk or volume. Only a breast implant can raise your breast cup a size or two. For this reason many women opt to have breast implants and a breast lift at the same time in order to increase both firmness and breast size.
The Best Candidates for Breast lift surgery
The best candidates for a breast lift are healthy, emotionally stable women with smaller sagging breasts. If your breasts are long, droopy and conical in shape, they can still be lifted, but the results are more satisfactory with smaller breasts. The fact is that all breasts may not be able to be fully lifted and the more mass that the plastic surgeon has to deal with; the less likely the operation is to be fully successful.
Plastic surgeons will also question your motivations for getting a breast lift because they know that this procedure may have varying results on different women. If you have a history of depression, obsessive compulsion or disorders to do with self-image or self-esteem you may not be a good candidate for this type of surgery. Keep your expectations realistic as the operation is not a magic bullet that will fix other problems (such as finances or relationship troubles).
You may also not be a good candidate for a mastopexy if you are expecting to have more children. Most women seek a breast lift because pregnancy and nursing have caused their breasts to lose volume and the skin to lose tension and elasticity. If you are planning to have more children, the results of the breast lift may be very temporary as your breasts will simply start sagging all over again during child rearing.
A breast lift is considered as an invasive surgery. If you are planning to have the operation, plan on being out of commission for at least a month. The surgery is also performed under general anesthesia. As with any surgery, a breast lift does have its risks. These include infection, bleeding and cardiac arrhythmia. You are not a good candidate for this type of surgery if you are a smoker or have an autoimmune disease.
It is also crucial to realize that all breast lifts leave wide seam-like scars from the nipple to beneath the breast. Mastopexy scars, more or less is a reality. The operation can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples.
Once you have decided that you are willing to accept all of the risks associated with this operation, the plastic surgeon will discuss the details of how you want your breasts to look as well as what is possible given your age and the size and shape of your breasts. As the nipple and areola are usually repositioned during this operation, you might want to discuss that as well. A good plastic surgeon will also require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before the surgery to rule out any possible complications from cysts or fibroids.
A mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours and is done under general anesthesia at an office or hospital. Usually an anchor-shaped incision that follows the natural contour of the breast is made from the nipple to beneath the breast and excess skin is removed. If you are also having a breast implant inserted, it is placed under the breast tissue or under the muscle of the chest wall. The nipple and areola are repositioned higher on the breast and then the skin is redraped and tucked to reshape the breast. Stitches usually extend in a vertical seam from the nipple area to beneath the breast.
After breast lift plastic surgery, expect to wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings for at least a week. Your breasts will be bruised and swollen. After this stage of healing you will need to wear a soft support bra 24 hours a day for four weeks.
Some people experience a loss of feeling in nipples and breast skin. This numbness usually disappears in six weeks. However it is also common for this numbness to last a year or more. It can also take scars from a breast lift more than two years to completely disappear.
Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you take the time to understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic about the results and healing time required of the procedure.