A mastopexy or breast uplift procedure is a commonly performed operation designed to help those women whose breasts have sagged either as part of the natural ageing process, or as a result of childbearing or weight loss.
This is the procedure for those women who do not want to increase their breast volume. A mastopexy or breast uplift aims to elevate the breast tissue and at the same time removing the excess skin to re-create a more youthful breast shape.
This usually only involves a one to two nights stay in hospital.
Mr Oliver explains the procedure, surgery options and realistic expectations that can be achieved.
“Many women find that after weight loss, having children or with age their breasts can become droopy (ptotic in medical terms). This may be caused to some extent by breast feeding but is also caused by the normal changes in the breast tissue due to hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy. After having the baby or on stopping breast feeding, often combined with body weight returning to normal, you may notice the breast skin envelope has enlarged and so the breast can seem a little more empty or droopy. This can sometimes be more noticeable with each pregnancy.
Additionally, with time the breast glandular tissue becomes less dense and so the breast can look a little empty where the volume has been lost, or the nipple may be positioned a little lower down on the chest where the skin has stretched. Usually it can be an element of both too much skin and too little volume leading to the nipple and areola (pigmented skin around the nipple) being lower down the breast. The breast is then positioned lower on the chest at or below the level of the fold under the breast, in medical terms the infra-mammary fold.
There are essentially three main surgical options. If there isn’t too much skin excess then a breast implant alone may be used fill the skin envelope and lift the nipple position. A tear-dropped shaped implant, also called an anatomical implant, may be useful in these circumstances.
However if you are happy with the breast volume and don’t want to be any larger, then a breast lift or mastopexy is needed. This involves repositioning the nipple and areola by moving them higher up the breast to the desired position, along with the breast glandular tissue. The excess skin will then need to be removed to help re-shape the breast. This leaves a scar around the nipple, down to the breast fold and usually along the fold as well depending on the amount of droop that needs to be corrected. Some women are suitable to a vertical scar technique which avoids the lower scar along the breast fold if there isn’t a lot of excess skin.
If there is some breast asymmetry then a small reduction can be carried out at on the larger side to help match the volume at the same time. Alternatively if the larger breast is the desired volume then an implant could be used on the smaller side instead.
If you have too little breast volume and a lot of excess skin then you may like to consider a breast augmentation combined with a mastopexy. This can be done in one or two stages but if performed in one stage as a combined procedure then this does increase the risks and complications, compared to a two stage procedure.
The main risks with a breast lift or mastopexy is altering the nipple sensation, unavoidable scars (although these should fade well with time), problems with wound healing and very rarely problems with the blood supply to the nipple which is why, if you do smoke, you must not smoke for 4-6 weeks before and after surgery. As with all procedures you should discuss these in detail with your surgeon at your consultation”.
It is important that a surgeon listens to your aesthetic goals and assesses your breasts to make sure that the procedure you are offered is the best option for you. Every patient is different and each procedure is very specific for each patient. Some photographs of likely results can also very useful to help you make the right choice about surgery for you.
Take a look at Mr Oliver’s breast uplift surgery patient before & after results from our patients in Devon & Guernsey.