Leading plastic surgeon Mr Gary Ross explains the options available once gravity takes its toll.
Gravity is the enemy of us all and as well as causing the face to sag it can also have an effect on our breasts. The breasts age due to a combination of tissue changes in the skin, breast tissue, the ligaments within the breast and the position on the chest wall.
Changes to these tissues occur most acutely with fluctuation in weight and the impact that pregnancy has on the body.
Mastopexy is a technique used to lift the breast. Each component of the breast can be lifted and each component needs to be addressed individually by a surgeon experienced in this operation.
The consultation regarding vertical scar mastopexy must take into account the patient’s ideal size and a discussion needs to be had regarding previous shape and the desired outcome. Often breasts are slightly different both in terms of size and shape and the position of the nipples. Sometimes the nipples need to be lifted a considerable distance in combination with the breast tissue (patient one – see PDF).
The ideal position of the breast on the chest wall is the key and will dictate whether a small amount of tissue needs to be raised and repositioned into a new inframammary fold or in some cases removed (patient two). The overall size needs to be tailored to the individual using methods to minimise risk to the blood supply to the tissues. The breast mound is then designed in order that the breast can be lifted into a new position. Finally the skin is redraped over the breast.
A single vertical scar can be used in the majority of patients (patient three). Occasionally if there is too much skin a small inframammary scar is required alongside a vertical scar. If only a small skin lift is requested a scar around the areola can be used to give a small lift without altering the inframmary fold or lifting the breast tissue.
Finally, the vertical mastopexy technique can also be used in combination with an implant to give superior fullness to the breast.
Recovering from a mastopexy
Patients undergoing vertical scar mastopexy should be aware that the breast will sit high on the chest wall and will drop over time, which will usually take three months (patient four). It is important following surgery that a well-fitted non-wired bra is worn at all times.
Often patients can go home on the night of surgery and recovery is usually quick with the wounds healing in a week (bruising and swelling is relatively common and can take a couple of weeks to settle). In conclusion Women no longer have to accept the hand that time has dealt them and it is possible to regain the shape they have lost. A consultation regarding the pros and cons of mastopexy will help to clarify the expectations of patients and provide results that are achievable to meet these expectations.
Women no longer have to accept the hand that time has dealt them and it is possible to regain the shape they have lost. A consultation regarding the pros and cons of mastopexy will help to clarify the expectations of patients and provide results that are achievable to meet these expectations.