A mastopexy is breast lift surgery. It is used as a treatment for breast tissue that has begun to sag and droop. The procedure is used to restore firmness and return the breast to a more visually attractive shape. Some women chose to have breast augmentation surgery along with a breast lift, making the breast look firmer and larger at the same time.
Usually, breast lift surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia and unconscious. There are some cases, however, in which only a small section of skin has to be removed, and local anesthesia is used instead. A sedative may be used along with the local anesthesia in such cases.
There are different procedures a plastic surgeon may use to perform a mastopexy, but they all require the surgeon to make an incision and cut away excess skin. Then, the surgeon repositions the nipple and lifts and stitches the remaining skin back together, creating a firmed and lifted effect. Usually, the surgeon places his incisions below or around the nipple. He then moves the nipple downward.
The location of the stitches and the exact lifting technique depends on the procedure the surgeon uses. In a doughnut mastopexy, for example, the surgeon cuts around the pigmented area that surrounds the nipple, which is called the areola. He removes a circular piece of tissue from the area and then closes the wound. In a standard mastopexy, the incision is shaped much like an anchor, with a circle incision made around the nipple, a straight incision extending down from nipple area, and a curved incision in the lower breast crease area.
Bleeding and infection are among the risks a woman faces with breast lift surgery as well as unexpected reactions to the anesthesia used during the procedure. Some people experience temporarily increased skin sensitivity or keloids, which are thick, raised scars, following the procedure. Sometimes death of tissues in the nipple area or blood clots develop. Most people recover from the surgery without serious side effects, however.
Swelling, bruising, and discomfort are normal in the first few weeks following a mastopexy. Most women can return to work after about a week as long as their jobs do not require strenuous activity. Heavy lifting should be avoided for the first six weeks following surgery. Though normal activities can be resumed within several weeks of a mastopexy, complete recovery can take months.