Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

Breast Lift - Improve the shape of your breasts

Why Choose To Have A Breast Lift?
A breast lift (Mastopexy) is for patients who are unhappy with the shape of their breasts, usually because they feel the breasts are too droopy but are generally happy with the size of the breasts. This may have always been the case or more commonly following children and with advancing age. In selected cases breast re-shaping can be safely coupled with a breast enlargement. This obviously creates a larger breast but is also used when more fullness at the top of the breast is a priority. In some patients this needs to be separated into two operations to get the most predictable outcome.

Procedure In Brief
There are many different types of breast reshaping (Mastopexy) operation. During the consultation the most suitable type of procedure for the patient, based upon breast size, amount of loose skin and whether an implant is also used will all be discussed. The scars and final type of shape will vary according to the style of procedure used. However, in simple perms the nipple is kept attached to the breast but lifted to a new higher and perter position. Excess skin is removed from the breast and the remaining breast tissue is reshaped. This is all repaired giving an up-lifted and firmer breast.

A fantastic outcome. I am really happy. Thank you
JC, East Midlands

Scars
The scars will depend on the technique used (as above). They tend to be quite red in the first 6 weeks, becoming purple over the next 2-3 months, and then fading to white. Most patients form very good quality scars over time. The length of time will vary in each individual, some patients may take longer or may form raised or stretched scars. The peri-aereolar scar can heal very well and is often difficult to see. How other wounds have healed in the past may be an indication.

Medicines
A full medical history will be obtained before any surgery. As a precaution, do not take any over the counter medicines or herbal remedies prior to surgery or for 3 days following. Also avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and Voltarol based tablets. It would be useful to bring a list of any prescribed medications to your pre-op assessment.

Smoking
If you are a smoker, try and stop for a minimum of six weeks before and five days after surgery as it can reduce the chances of complications.

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Recovering from Breast Lift

Length of surgery
The operation takes 1.30 - 3.00 hours depending on the type of technique used and size of the breast.

Length Of Stay In Hospital
Usually one night, occasionally two.

Dressings
All stitiches are dissolvable and buried. Your wound will be covered in special human super-glue dressings. You may have an elastoplast dressing on top of this. Please let Stephen McCulley know if you are allergic to elastoplast before surgery. The dressings will be removed either the following morning or after a few days. You can shower once the dressings are removed. You will be seen by the nursing team after one week to check the wounds.

Drains
It is common to place a small surgical drain into the breast to remove any unwanted blood/fluid for 24-48 hours. A drain is not always required for a simple Mastopexy.

Bras
You should bring a soft (non underwired) sports bra in the planned new cup size into hospital with you. The bra should feel comfortable, whilst still providing support. You will need to have two bras at home that can be worn on rotation. The chest measurement does not usually change but can reduce by 1-2 inches. You will be able to wear an underwired bra after 8 weeks; this should be properly fitted to your new shape and size.

Time Off Work
People vary in recovery; younger patients tend to experience more discomfort with this type of surgery, but patients should allow at least 2 weeks of recovery (full anaesthetic can take longer to recover from). Patients with highly active jobs may require longer.

Time To Exercise
Patients usually feel able to walk a distance at 5-7 days, swim by 10-14 days (if fully healed). Strenuous exercise (aerobics etc) should be avoided for 6 weeks.

Post-Operative Instructions
Day 1-4 You should be taking it very easy! You should not be looking after very young children or doing housework without help.
Day 5-14 You can start doing more exercise including walking for longer, shopping etc. You will have very little pain by the end of this period. If all wounds appear fully healed at day 10 you are unlikely to 'damage' anything by increasing your activity. Build up activity as you feel fit.
Week 3-6 You should be back to work and doing anything you wish by 6 weeks.

Driving
Patients should avoid driving until they are completely free of pain and restriction, and be able to confidently perform an emergency stop. This is to ensure they will be covered by their insurance policy. It may take two weeks to recover sufficiently.

Follow Up
We will check your wound and change the dressing at day 2-3 and again at 7-10 days. You will then have an appointment with Stephen McCulley at 3 months. You will not be charged for any follow up appointment relating to your surgery.

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Potential Complications With Breast Lift

This is a routine operation that is a great success for the vast majority of patients. However, as with any procedure, it is very important you understand what can go wrong as well as right. The potential complications are listed below.

  • Nipple loss: This is extremely uncommon and occurs if the blood supply to the nipple is stopped in the ‘tongue’ of tissue that it is connected to. If this happens the nipple will be lost and be replaced by a scar. Although rare, the risk is increased in any patient by smoking, obesity and old age. There is also an increased risk if the Mastopexy is for very large breasts. If you fit into any of these categories Stephen McCulley will discuss potential alternative surgical techniques during the consultation to avoid this risk.
  • Loss or altered nipple sensation: This occurs in 5-15% of patients, and can affect only one side. The risk is increased for patients with very large breasts.
  • Remaining asymmetry: Most women have different sized breasts and it is likely that surgery will improve symmetry. However, it is possible for one breast or nipple to be marginally different to the other side after surgery.
  • Scars: The quality of scars vary between patients.
  • Wound breakdown: Patients who undergo a Mastopexy can experience problems with their wounds healing, but this is uncommon compared to having a formal breast reduction. It is more likely to occur in patients with very large breasts and will be in the area of the breast crease.
  • Bleeding: A blood clot can collect in the breast, which would result in going back to theatre for its removal. However, if a blood clot is to form it will be within the first 24 hours post surgery. Blood clotting results in approximately 1% of patients.
  • Breast feeding: About 50-75% of women are still able to breast feed after breast augmentation.
  • Infection: Quite uncommon but if occurs you will need a course of antibiotics.
  • General operation risks: Chest infections, Blood clots in the leg or lung (DVT or PE). Although rare it is important to avoid these by not smoking, not being excessively overweight and moving about after surgery as soon as possible.
  • For implant related problems and capsule formation (hardening of the implant) please see the 'Breast Enlargement' section.

If you experience any side-effects that you are concerned about please don't hesitate to contact us.

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What does Breast Lift cost?

Mastopexy (breast lift) from £3,450 (unilateral) - £4,950 (bilateral)
Mastopexy with Augmentation £5,975 including implants

What Is Included In The Cost?
The prices listed are all inclusive and cover:

  • The pre-operative assessment and investigations
  • The operation
  • Hospital stay and any treatment required
  • All follow up (nursing and with Stephen McCulley) relating to your surgery
  • Any emergency re-admissions or treatments

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you'd like to see more then please view our frequently asked questions on Cosmetic Breast Surgery!

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