What is a mastopexy?
Mastopexy is an aesthetic (cosmetic) surgical procedure aimed at lifting and reshaping sagging breasts to a rejuvenated shape and contour.
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When is mastopexy desirable?
This procedure is indicated if you are happy with the overall size of your breasts but unhappy with their shape in terms of sagging or drooping. You may have noticed this "ptosis" with time or following breast feeding, loss of weight or with ageing. Mastopexy lifts and resuspends the breasts and helps improve your overall appearance and self-esteem.
How would this procedure help me?
A consultation is the first step in considering mastopexy. You should frankly discuss your goals and expectations, and Dr Drielsma will explain to you whether this procedure is right for you. Special examination techniques like mammography (x-rays) may be required before the final decision. You should always keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection.
How important are psychological factors in relation to this procedure?
Emotional stability is the primary factor to be considered before any aesthetic surgery is performed. A "new body" does not guarantee a new life or an end to all personal problems. It is mostly the mental attitude of the individual that determines a successful outcome. Mastopexy can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence; the rest is entirely up to you.
How is mastopexy performed?
There are currently several techniques for mastopexy. They all aim to lift, reshape and recontour the breasts, and reposition the nipples. At consultation your physical condition and requirements will be considered, and the technique that would be best for you will be determined.
If the breast sagging is minimal and the breasts are small, ptosis can be corrected with augmentation mammaplasty. This method causes fewer scars on the breast than mastopexy.
During mastopexy the nipple and areola are repositioned to a higher position and excess skin is removed from beneath the breast. Closing the remaining skin lifts the breast mound to a higher position and recontours the breast to give it a more projected and youthful appearance.
If there is inadequate breast tissue to fill the skin and achieve the desired size, a saline-filled breast implant may be placed beneath the breast at the same time, achieving both the desired size, shape and projection. Patients may resume limited activities the day after surgery and normal activities in three to four weeks. Pain usually can be controlled with oral pain medication. The stitches are removed 1-2 weeks after surgery.
When there is marked sagging, the incisions required and resulting scars are similar to those resulting from a breast reduction. In cases of less breast sagging, mastopexy can often be accomplished with smaller scars.
Are there any side effects of this procedure?
The scars are situated around the areola of the nipple and under the breasts and usually fade over 6-12 months. Thus, although scars will be present, most patients believe they are worth it. There may be an alteration in sensation of the nipple, but this often improves with time. Current techniques of breast mastopexy may preserve the ability to breast feed but you should discuss this with Dr Drielsma. There is normally a slight difference in size between the breasts and this may persist following your procedure.
Thousands of mastopexies are performed each year. The vast majority of women are very happy with their improvement and often say that the "wish they had had the operation sooner!"
Will I be hospitalised for the procedure?
The mastopexy procedure may be performed under either local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic. The operation takes about two hours.
Although the average length of stay in hospital is one day, the operation can be done as a day only procedure.
Will the procedure leave any scars?
Dr Drielsma will make every effort to keep them as inconspicuous as possible. Scars should be hidden on the undersurface of the breasts and thus become less visible after a period of time. Some patients have tendency to develop thick scars and you should advise Dr Drielsma if you are aware of this tendency in yourself.
When can I resume normal activities?
Most patients are back to their regular routine in about two weeks. To permit proper healing, you should avoid excessive exercise for the first three to four weeks. Returning to work or your normal activities is an individual matter and Dr Drielsma will advise you.
Should there be any questions regarding mastopexy, be sure they are answered in advance by Dr Drielsma. Well meaning friends are not a good source of information. Find out everything before proceeding with the operation - a well informed patient is a happy one.
Finally, there can be no absolute guarantee with any surgery. Remember the realistic aim of this operation is improvement, not perfection.
Please note: The above information mentions only some of the benefits and complications of mastopexy. This information should not be regarded as a substitute for information and advice provided by Dr Drielsma during consultation.