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Breast Uplift

A breast uplift operation, known as a mastopexy, is an operation which lifts and reshapes breasts to a more youthful position. Age, pregnancy, weight loss or gain and your genetic make-up all contribute to changes in the breasts.  

Think of the breast as being made up of an outer skin envelope with stuffing inside – breast tissue and fat. When the breasts sag, it is because the envelope has become too big for the stuffing.


How is the procedure performed?

The operation can be performed in more than one way and the technique used will depend upon your breast size and shape and the position of the nipple. To correct sagging, cuts (incisions) are made to decrease the size of the skin envelope, sculpt the breasts into a new position and raise the nipple/areola area (the dark skin surrounding the nipple). The incisions are carefully placed under the folds and in the creases of the breasts to make sure that scarring is as inconspicuous as possible.

A breast-lift operation does not change the amount of breast tissue a women has; it just changes the overall shape and position. However, breast implants can be inserted at the same time as breast-lift surgery if you wish to increase breast size or to improve firmness.


How long does the procedure take to do?

The operation takes two to three hours in total and is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. Most surgeons would recommend an overnight stay in hospital.


Risks and side effects of surgery

Having cosmetic surgery is usually a positive experience with complications being infrequent and usually minor. However, you have to remember that no surgery is without risk.

There will always be permanent scars where the incisions were made. These usually fade and soften during the year following surgery, but occasionally the scars can thicken and become ugly, requiring further treatment. Avoiding exposure of your incisions to the sun for six months to a year will also help your scars to fade.

Since breast-lift surgery often repositions the nipples, changes in nipple sensation is a risk you face.

Your ability to heal is as individual as your hair or the colour of your eyes - your healing qualities are part of your genetic make-up. Poor or delayed healing can occur with this surgery; people who have diabetes, smoke, are obese or elderly, are at an increased risk of this complication.

Ideally, women should complete childbearing before embarking on this type of surgery.  If you do decide to have surgery, it is important to know that any benefits may be lost with further pregnancies.

Other risks are the same as in any operation and include bleeding, wound infection, chest infection, blood clots in the leg (known as a deep vein thrombosis) and risks associated with the anaesthetic. However, these risks are uncommon.

All the risks will be discussed in detail at your consultation.


How will I feel after surgery?

The operated area may be swollen for a few days and you will experience some pain and discomfort. However, this is not usually severe and mild painkillers are all that is normally needed. You may also experience random, shooting pains for a few months, but these are quite normal too.

At first, you may think that your breasts have been lifted too high. However, they will soon settle and you will see the new shape and position of your breasts develop over the next few weeks. 


When will I be able to resume my usual schedule?

Depending on your job, you should be able to return to work two to four weeks after the operation, but you will need to avoid lifting or pushing anything heavy for at least four weeks. For the first six weeks, it is also important to avoid stretching the scars and only moderate activity is advisable. You can return to any sporting activities after about four weeks but will be asked not to drive for two weeks. There will be no need for any restrictions at all by six weeks.

You will be advised to wear a sports bra day and night for the first three to six weeks to give support and help mould the breast tissue to its new shape. You will see that the contour of your breasts is much improved after surgery but the final result of your breast-lift will be not be seen for six to nine months as the shape and position continue to settle.


How long will the results of surgery last?

The results of your surgery should be long lasting as long as you maintain your weight and do not have further pregnancies.  The other thing to remember, the more you go bra-less, the more chance that gravity has to cause your breasts to droop again.


Mastopexy before and after surgery

Patient A

This 42 year old lady had large breasts which shrank following pregnancy and whilst happy with her new breast volume was not happy with their appearance. These photographs show a front, side and horizontal view of the patient before surgery.

Before surgery

You can see that after surgery, the breasts have been reshaped into a much higher and rounder position. The vertical scar which runs from the areola to the breast crease can also be seen.

3 months after surgery

Patient B

This lady age at time of surgery was 51. Breast lift surgery does not change the amount of breast tissue a person has. To increase breast size, this lady opted to have implants inserted at the same time as her mastopexy operation.

Before surgery

2 years after surgery

 Mr Henley would like to thank these patients for allowing their photographs to be displayed for the benefit of others who may be considering cosmetic surgery.

The information provided is intended to give a brief outline of the procedure. It is not a substitute for a personal consultation with a surgeon.

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