Breast lift, or mastopexy is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape breasts which sag, not only due to ageing, but more importantly as a result of changes in the volume of the breast caused by pregnancy and subsequent breast feeding. This leads to stretching of the collagen fibres, whose role is to retain the structure and support.
There are four important parameters which define the beauty of a breast:
- Location on the chest wall
- Proportions of the breast in relation to the torso
- Aesthetically pleasing shape
- Symmetry of both breasts in volume and shape.
The challenge in breast ptosis surgery is that all these parameters are affected and therefore need addressing to achieve an excellent result.
To achieve these parameters each woman needs a customised approach with a few key considerations.
This is the footprint the breast makes on the chest wall, similar to the outline a house makes on a parcel of land. The platform forms the basis or foundation of the overlying three-dimensional structure of the breast. As a result of hormonal changes of pregnancy and breast feeding, (or in some cases with massive weight loss) the retaining ligaments of the breast become stretched and therefore the breast and the inframammary fold descend down the chest wall.
The goal of breast lifting procedures is to return the breast mound back to its original position higher on the chest wall. To use the building analogy again, it is like building a house on a flat sturdy foundation on top of a hill rather than on the sandy embankment.
This refers to the three-dimensional shape, projection and volume of the breast tissue on top of the breast platform. In building terms, this is analogous not only to the size of a building, but also the shape and form of the building.
In most cases, a “simple” lift and reshaping of the breast tissue is all that is required to return it to a youthful looking breast.
However, some women feel their breasts have become deflated, especially those who have had multiple children. In these cases, once the breast mound has been returned to its youthful position on the chest wall, it requires a small implant to help add volume and shape to the breast. My preference is to perform the breast lift with an implant as a one stage operation with no drains.
The breast mound not only needs to be reshaped and repositioned on the chest wall, but the skin envelope needs reduction to fit the newly shaped breast mound. A skin envelope of appropriate quantity functions like a well-fitted bra, holding the breast tissue or implant, in an appropriate position.
In patients who require a breast lift, the quantity and quality of this skin envelope has a major influence on breast aesthetics. My preferred skin envelope and therefore final scar is one which has a suture line around the areolar with an inverted T scar running vertically down and then across at the level of the inframammary fold.
What are the potential risks and complications of a breast lift?
Some possible complications and risks specific to breast lift surgery include:
- Surgical risks such as bleeding or infection
- Seroma accumulation under the breast. This fluid may need to be drained under ultrasound guidance.
- Visible and prominent scars including keloid and hypertrophic scars
- Swelling and bruising around the breasts which takes 2-3 months to settle
- Fat necrosis of the breast. This is a result of poor blood supply to the fat cells. These shows themselves as small firm lumps.
- Changes in breast and nipple sensation
- Temporary or permanent areas of numbness around the scars
- Asymmetry of the breasts
- Partial or total loss of nipple and areola
- Need for further surgery to treat complications
- Revisional surgery to correct any unevenness between the two sides
- A blood clot in the legs (DVT), which can move to the lungs and may be life threatening
How much does a breast lift cost?
Breast lift surgery, in some circumstances, can be a reconstructive procedure and may be covered by private health insurance. Review your policy carefully to determine what is covered.
Costs associated with a breast lift vary between $16,000-18,000 depending on a number of factors including:
- Anaesthetist’s fees
- Type of implant used, if any
- Private hospital or day surgical facility fees
- Need for post-operative garments
- Surgical assistant’s fee
After our consultation my staff will give you an itemised account of the total cost.