Throughput life, the female breast undergoes change resulting form normal development, starting with puberty, and moving on to enlargement during pregnancy and lactation. Additionally, the subject’s weight fluctuates – and all these factors affect the shape and appearance of the female breast. It subsequently undergoes “involution” once breast-feeding stops or weight loss occurs. As a result of this the breast decreases in size, the skin becomes lax, stretch marks appear and the breast loses its youthful shape and appearance; the upper part of the breast may appear hollow due to loss of volume – and the overall result deviates from the aesthetic ideal.
What can you do to improve breast ptosis or “droop”?
Breast ptosis can be corrected by a procedure called mastopexy which involves removal of excess slack skin, and repositioning of the breast tissue and nipple, resulting in a more youthful appearance of the breast.
What does the operation involve?
The mastopexy procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic and usually involves one night in hospital. A tube drain may be placed within the breast to remove any fluid or blood that collects after surgery, which is removed one or two days after surgery, and the patient is allowed to go home. Most patients will be able to shower daily and replace their own dressings at home.
It is usual for an appointment to be made for removal of sutures a week after surgery.
What is the usual recovery process?
Minor discomfort is managed with painkillers; for a few days, patients may have slight difficulty in lifting heavy weights or stretching the arms above the head. It is normal for the breasts to be bruised and swollen for two to six weeks after the operation, so during this period patients are advised to wear a sports bra or a soft bra with no under wires. Most patients can resume “normal life” in two weeks and are able to participate in activities such as gym, aerobics and swimming four weeks after the operation.
How much time do I need off work?
Most patients will return to work within two weeks of the operation.
What are the potential complications of this procedure?
Mastopexy, along with all other types of surgery, has potential complications such as bleeding, haematoma (blood clott), infection, delayed wound healing, awkward scars, minor asymmetry in size, shape or position of the scars and loss of sensation in parts of the breast or the nipple. These complications arise only in rare cases, and patients may sometimes require a small subsequent operation approximately 1 year following surgery.