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Breast Lift - Mastopexy

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Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity take their toll on a woman's breasts. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. Breastlift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts--at least, for a time. (No surgery can permanently delay the effects of gravity.) Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple. If your breasts are small or have lost volume--for example, after pregnancy--breast implants inserted in conjunction with mastopexy can increase both their firmness and their size.

Candidates

A breast lift can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations.

The best candidates for mastopexy are healthy, emotionally-stable women who are realistic about what the surgery can accomplish. The best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts.

Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. However, if you're planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn't interfere with breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.

Preparing for your surgery

Depending on your age and family history, you may need to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. You'll also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.

The surgery

Mastopexy usually takes about three to four hours, although more extensive procedure will take longer.  There are several different techniques Dr. Fisher utilizes in performing a mastopexy, each dependent on the size and the extend of droop of your breasts. If you're having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will be placed in a pocket under the muscle of the chest wall.

After your surgery

After surgery, you'll wear an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over your bandages. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn't be severe. Within a few days, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra. You'll need to wear this bra around the clock for three to four weeks, over a layer of gauze. The stitches will be removed in 10-14 days.

You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.

Getting back to normal

Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don't plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. Dr. Fisher will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities.

The operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples will be left intact.

Your new look

Dr. Fisher will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it's important to remember that mastopexy scars are permanent.  Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops.

You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won't keep you firm forever--the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.