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Breasts tend to lose their youthful shape and firmness over time. This is due to aging, aggravated by the effects of gravity, pregnancy, breast-feeding and weight fluctuations. The size of the areolas (the pigmented skin around the nipples) also tends to increase with time.
A breast lift, otherwise known as a mastopexy, reshapes and lifts the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding breast tissue. The size of the areolas can be easily reduced with this procedure.
This procedure is typically done under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will determine the appropriate surgical technique for you depending on the size and shape of your breasts, degree of sagging, and quality of your breast skin. The location and length of the surgical incisions that are required will also be discussed. Some parts of the incisions can be concealed beneath the breast, however some parts will be more visible on the breast and around the areola. Although these scars are permanent, their appearance generally improves over time.
The breast is lifted by removal of excess skin and rearrangement of the breast tissue to support the areola in a higher position. The areola is kept connected to the underlying breast tissue to maximise preservation of sensation and breast-feeding ability. If a lot of your breast volume has been lost over time, simultaneous breast implants or fat grafting may be possible to improve the projection and restore the size of your breasts (Breast Augmentation).
Dressings and/or bandages will be applied over the incisions. Small tubes (drains) may be placed to drain out excess blood and fluid for several days. A support bra will be used to minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal.
It will take several months for the post-operative swelling and breast shape to settle down. The final results can generally be seen about 6 months after surgery. Your breasts should maintain their position for years provided adequate bra support is worn, and you do not have significant weight fluctuations or go through pregnancy again.
Every year, many thousands of women undergo successful breast lift surgery, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results. Anyone considering surgery, however, should be aware of the possible risks, which include: • Anaesthesia risks• Excess blood accumulation (haematoma)• Excess fluid accumulation (seroma)• Infection• Altered nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent • Impaired ability to breast-feed subsequently• Poor scarring • Irregular breast shape • Asymmetry • Painful or palpable lumps due to fat necrosis• Partial or total loss of the nipple and/or areola• Recurrence of sagging over time
Repeat surgery may be necessary to correct some of the above problems.
The subject of risks and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis between you and your plastic surgeon.