About the Procedure
- Length of Procedure: 2 to 2-1/2 hours
- Anesthesia: General
- Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, discomfort, numbness, dry breast skin, some permanent scarring
- Risks: Obvious scars, skin loss, infection, asymmetry, unevenly positioned nipples, permanent loss of feeling in nipples or breasts.
- Recovery: Tasks of daily living may be resumed immediately. Non-strenuous activities, which involve light lifting (no more than 10-lbs.) may be resumed in 5-7 days. Pushing, pulling, or repetitive upper body movement is not recommended for 3 weeks.
- Exercise: Exercise at 1/3 intensity, which involve low impact activities at 1/3 duration of exercise, repetitions, weight, and pulse rate may be resumed at 3 weeks. This may be increased to 2/3 intensity at 6 weeks. Full intensity of exercise activities may be resumed 8 weeks postoperative.
- Fading and Scar Improvement: Changes in scar tissue will become evident at 6 months with greatest improvement seen at 24 months and beyond.
- Swelling: Moderate/significant swelling will be evident for approximately 4 weeks, with subtle/mild swelling visible for 2-3 months postoperative. Depending upon the procedure.
- Duration of Results: Variable. Breast size may fluctuate with hormonal shifts, pregnancy, and weight gain.
- Follow-up Visits: 4-5 office visits to gauge the success of the procedure will be scheduled within the first 3 months, then annually after that.
- Suggested Garments: Support garments are recommended as needed.
- Pain Management: Ibuprofen, a prescription for narcotics can be provided as needed.
- Estimated Cost of Procedure: On average, $6,500 to $7,500 for a standard procedure, and $8,000 to $9,500 when accompanied by an augmentation.
Candidates for Mastopexy
Breast lift procedures are designed for women whose breasts have begun to sag or lose form due to the effects of gravity or aging. It is also beneficial for women after pregnancy and/or breast feeding.
The degree of breast sagging (ptosis) ranges from mild (slight loss of breast shape and nipple height) to severe (stretch marks with nipple pointing at the floor). Depending upon the severity of sag, different procedures will be required. In general, mild cases can be corrected with minimal scarring, while more severe cases will require more extensive surgery with additional incisions.
How Breast Lift Surgery is Performed
In breast lift procedures that do not require a significant reduction in breast tissue, the amount of glandular tissue is not significantly altered, but the breast mound is repositioned back up onto the chest wall. The nipple areola complex is then repositioned back upon the most projecting part of the breast mound.
The specific method best suited to repositioning the breast is dependent upon a number of factors:
- Size of the breast
- Size of patient torso
- Degree of repositioning needed
- Reduction necessary
Regardless of the type of procedure chosen, it will be necessary to make an incision in the lower portion of the breast to reduce the size of the skin envelope and reposition the areola nipple complex.
In general, breast lift surgery is performed under a light general anesthetic.
Before the Surgery
In order to assist with the recovery process, patients are encouraged to adopt a holistic approach to health and fitness before surgery. Proper diet, regular exercise, and regular medical screenings are essential to ensuring a good outcome from any procedure. While certain supplements can be a beneficial addition to this approach, others can hinder healing. It is asked that all supplements and over-the-counter medications be disclosed prior to any procedure.
A three-phase approach is recommended to assist healing from any procedure performed at this office:
- One week prior: We will provide a regiment of supplements designed to boost the body’s immune system and rid it of any toxins that may interfere with healing and recovery.
- Immediately Following Surgery: Nutrients are given to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as detoxify the body after the use of anesthesia and other medications.
- Ongoing: Additional healing nutrients are recommended to support a speedy recovery and return to normal life.
Routine laboratory tests, including blood counts, blood chemistries, pregnancy testing (when applicable) and ECG for patients older than 50, may be performed prior to the procedure. These routine tests are designed to screen for any abnormality, which may complicate anesthesia or surgery.
It is recommended that patients avoid the following substances prior to any surgical procedure:
- Aspirin: Aspirin and aspirin containing substances may inhibit blood clotting.
- Nicotine: Nicotine may act as a vasoconstrictor, impairing circulation following any surgical procedure. Smoking should be discontinued 2 weeks prior to and 4 weeks following any procedure – particularly those of the skin.
- Food or drink: Patients should not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to surgery. Safe use of anesthesia requires an empty stomach.
Day of Surgery
Patients are marked for surgery in a seated position. They will have the opportunity to ask any final questions prior to the procedure.
Once the surgery is performed, patients are moved to the recovery room for approximately two hours immediately following the procedure.
Depending upon the extent of the procedure, and the anticipated drainage, small silicone rubber tubes are inserted to aid in fluid management. These tubes are inserted at the corner of the incision and will be removed in the days following the procedure.
Patients are given a compressive dressing to wear immediately after the procedure, which will be replaced with a light gauze dressing and postoperative bra for comfort and support.
Breast Lift Recovery
We work closely with patients to make sure they know what to expect from breast lift recovery. Here are a few notes of expectations and recommendations for the recovery process:
- Patients are encouraged to make themselves comfortable and rest for the first 48 hours following the procedure. Drowsiness with occasional waking is likely during the first evening postoperative.
- Patients experiencing discomfort are advised to take pain medication with light meals as needed, as large meals and taking medication on an empty stomach can result in nausea and/or vomiting.
- Normal foods can be resumed the day following surgery as the patient desires.
- A small amount of drainage is normal and should not be cause for alarm. If rubber drains were inserted at the time of the procedure, they will have rubber reservoirs connected, which will catch this drainage. The nurse will remove these tubes and the accompanying dressing at the first office appointment following surgery. Normal showering can be resumed following this appointment.
- Patients are encouraged to return to normal activities as soon as they are able in order to aid in healing. While strenuous activity is discouraged, normal activity will help to speed the healing process and keep skin and underlying tissue flexible.
- A soft, unstructured bra is recommended during the initial healing phase to maximize comfort and reduce the irritation that can be caused by underwire bras.
- Most patients are able to return to normal work 5-7 days following the procedure. Limitations, as described below, should be observed in the weeks following surgery to minimize damage to the sutured area.
- Patients can expect to see the breasts change as swelling is reduced and they settle into a final form. Scar tissue will also grow and change over this time, beginning as thick, red lines in the breast area and gradually changing and thinning over time as the skin heals.
Breast Lift Risks, Limitations, and Complications
While complications with this procedure are exceedingly rare, patients should be aware of the following:
- Scarring: As with any surgical procedure, there is the potential for scarring, although every effort is made to ensure the appearance of scars is minor.
- Pain: Some pain is not uncommon after any surgical procedure. Patients will be provided with a prescription for pain medications should it prove necessary after the procedure.
- Bleeding: A small percentage of patients report unusual bleeding following surgery. Each case is closely monitored to ensure that any bleeding which takes place is within normal parameters.
- Infection: As with any operation, there is a risk for infection. Patents are closely monitored and any evidence of infection is treated with antibiotics.
- Asymmetrical appearance: Although every effort to maintain symmetry is taken, occasional differences between breasts do occur.
- Loss of Sensation: Although this has been greatly reduced in recent years, due to advances in procedure, some loss of sensation can occur.
- Tissue Loss: In patients who have significant reconstruction of the breast, there is a potential for tissue loss where blood supply is compromised. This typically occurs in either the fold beneath the breast, or in the nipple area.
- Loss of Milk Production: In cases where milk ducts are severed in order to facilitate repositioning of the nipple areolar complex, milk production may no longer be possible.
While any of these complications are possible, they are rare. The vast majority of breast reconstruction surgeries are completed with no complications whatsoever.
Breast Lift Cost
The estimated cost of Mastopexy can vary greatly by patient and are dependent upon a number of factors, such as the complexity of the procedure and whether or not a breast augmentation will be performed at the time of surgery. Patients seeking this procedure can expect to pay between $6,500 and $9,500 on average.
To learn more about this procedure, contact Boulder Plastic Surgery at (303) 578-4193 to schedule a consultation with one of our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.