All about the breast lift

A natural part of the female ageing process is the inevitable sagging or drooping of the breasts.

Women who have breastfed or have experienced extreme weight loss often seek breast enhancement surgery to restore volume and shape to their breasts, which often involves mastopexy (breast lift).

A mastopexy is designed to lift the breast by removing excess skin, and sometimes re-positioning the nipple to create more youthful looking breasts. An implant can be incorporated into breast lifts to increase cup size and improve desired results.

In terms of surgery, a breast lift is quite similar to breast reduction. It takes around the same amount of time to perform and the resulting scar, depending on the technique, is in the same location under the breast.

A breast lift involves removing excess skin and moving the nipple higher up on the breast mound. There are generally three types of incisions: a doughnut-shape, which cuts around the areola; a lollipop shape, which cuts around the areola and vertically down the breast crease; and the anchor shape, which is cut vertically down and then horizontally across the breast crease.

The appropriate technique and incision pattern is determined according to the size, shape and degree of sagging of the breast, as well as the position and size of the areola (outer nipple).

Once the incision has been made, the excess skin is removed and the nipple and areola are then repositioned to create a more pert and youthful looking breast shape. During a breast lift the nipple always needs to be lifted and reshaped to appear smaller, rounder and more in proportion with the new breast. The skin that surrounds the areola is brought together to contour and reshape the breast.

The procedure generally takes one and a half to three and a half hours to perform and is done so whilst the patient is under a general anaesthetic. After surgery a surgical bra or elastic bandage is worn and it is common for some patients to lose sensation and some feeling in the nipple or breast.

Post surgery, patients have found wearing swimwear more comfortable and enjoy the option of not wearing a bra under clothing. The result is a more youthful-looking shape that gives the illusion of added volume, and a pert, more supported breast frame.

Risks/Complications

It is important to be aware of any risks and complications that may occur as a result of a mastopexy. These may include:

  • Loss of sensitivity
  • Scarring irregularities
  • Wound separation
  • Asymmetry
  • Permanent bruising
  • Blood loss
  • Seroma (hardening of the breast)
  • Infection
  • General dissatisfaction