Purpose: To lift the breast and give them a pert appearance
Length of operation: 1 1/2 hour
Anaesthesia: General anaesthetic
Inpatient stay: 1 day or day case
Follow up: 1 week, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year
Time off work: 2-3 weeks
Recovery: 3-4 weeks
Risks: Infection, Wound Breakdown, Asymmetry, Scar Revision
This is a common plastic surgery operation for droopy breasts. The procedure involves removing excess skin only and minimal breast tissue. The aim is to lift up the breast to give you a pert, youthful looking breast. Sometimes breast lift can be combined with a breast implant to add more volume to an empty breast.
This is also a procedure which is occasionally required to ‘ match up’ a breast on the other side which has had some form of reconstruction. In this description I shall take you through the operation, hospital stay, recovery and the complications. Once you have met me for the initial consultation, I would be quite happy to see you again for a second consultation, so that you can clarify any of your doubts.
Procedure / Hospital Stay
It is advisable to stop smoking for 4 weeks and stop contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy for 4 weeks prior to the procedure. On the day of the operation Mr Sanjay Azad with do skin markings over the breasts. Photographs for documentation and teaching purposes are standard and will be discussed. The procedure is done under general anaesthetic and takes about 2 hours to perform if done for both sides. The procedure is done using a vertical scar (shaped like a lollipop). The vertical scar tends to have a curtain top appearance, but settles in the longer term.
While you are in hospital you will have blood tests, fluids through a drip and pain killers. The stitches are all dissolving in nature. At the end there is a bulky dressing on the breasts and a drain in each side. You will feel quite bruised and swollen after the operation and this settles in due course. We take precautions to prevent clots in your calves by putting on stockings and giving you a blood thinning injection. The hospital stay is conventionally 2 days and depends on your recovery and drain removal.
Recover After Surgery
At discharge, the dressings stays on and you need to attend the dressing clinic in a weeks time. The dressing is taken down and you should start wearing a sports bra, day and night for 2 months. You will be given some pain killers to take home. Further dressings may or may not be required depending on the wound. You will be seen again in 3 months time. Photographs will be taken at this stage.
You should avoid smoking for 4 weeks after the procedure. Recovery is individual, but most patients get back to work and driving in 3-4 weeks time. Swimming is usually possible at about 8-10 weeks time. You can wear a normal bra at around 2- 3 months after surgery. The breast size and shape is best assessed at 6 months after surgery.
Overall results are excellent but there are some well know limitations, risks and complications which you should be aware about. Scars, infection and blood clots are risks of any procedure. One can loose some nipple sensation and there is an insignificant risk of losing the nipple. The breast tissue can occasionally react to surgery by forming lumpy areas, called fat necrosis. This generally settles with time.
Breast are never static and will change with age, weight changes and pregnancy. The aim of the procedure is to give you similar breast on both sides, but pre-existing asymmetry is likely to persist, albeit to a minor degree. Mastopexy does not interfere with future detection of breast lumps but may occasionally prevent you from breast feeding. Do discuss these issues with me. There is a small incidence of requiring further surgery for prominent scars, but this can be done using local anaesthetic as an outpatient procedure.
- Ensure that you wash your hair and shave your armpit the night before or morning of surgery.
- Ensure that you have bought a couple of sports bras of the anticipated size. You will need this after the first week at the first dressing change.
- Simple pain like a combination of codeine and paracetamol are best. Avoid using ibuprofen or diclofenac, because they thin the blood and can cause more bleeding and bruising after surgery.
- Any bleeding, discharge, undue pain or unusual breast hardness after surgery; please contact the team or contact numbers given straightaway.
- The dressing which acts like a brassiere is completely removed only a week after surgery and you can go into your elasticated sports bra. This must be worn day and night for 3 months. The bra provides external support and reduces discomfort. It helps as well in letting the swelling settle down earlier.
- During the first week after surgery keep your wound dry as water can seep below the dressing and cause maceration. It is a good idea to make a bra from cling film and then take a shower.
- It is common to have swelling and bruising after any form of breast surgery. This will settle in due course.
- It is quite important to use and move your shoulder after breast surgery. The anticipation of discomfort can make one stiffen at the shoulder and for this reason gentle shoulder movements should be started straight away.
- Do not drive during the first couple of weeks after surgery.
- It is advisable to avoid unnecessary activity, stretching or any strenuous exercise for at least the first few weeks. Aerobics and swimming can be done at 3 months post surgery.
- For sedentary occupations, you can return to work in 2-3 weeks. You will know when you are ready and do listen to your body which will tell you what to do.
- Massage with a good bland moisturizing cream (E45/Doublebase/Diprobase) helps the scars to settle down. This should be started about 2 weeks after surgery.
- Protect the scars from the sun by using sunblock for at least 2 years. This prevents them from getting pigmented.
- Ultimate breast size and shape is best assessed only 6 months after surgery. You can however go in for definitive lingerie at about 3 months when the breasts are reasonably settled.
- If the scars are getting lumpy they may need additional treatment. Please contact Dr Sanjay Azad.