Breast drooping not only occurs following pregnancy, it can also occur following weight loss and a breast uplift can offer solutions in both instances. In cases where the breasts have only slightly drooped, it may be better to consider breast augmentation alone as an aid in lifting and firming the breast.
A combination of lift and implant can also provide an aesthetically pleasing restoration of breast shape. This operation may be considered before you have finished childbearing as, dependent upon the technique, it may not interfere with breast-feeding. A breast uplift will not prevent the breasts from drooping again if presented with the same circumstances that made them droop in the first place.
Asymmetry of the breast pre-operatively, may persist post-operatively in terms of size, shape, or nipple position. It is often not possible to achieve perfect symmety between breasts. For most patients this is not an issue, but the limitations of cosmetic surgery will be pointed out to you at your initial consultation-so that you can make an informed decision whether to continue.
Breast uplift, also known as breast “ptosis correction” or mastopexy, takes approximately two hours. It is performed under general anaesthesia and requires an overnight stay in hospital. Excess skin will be cut away from above, below and around the nipple and areola. The skin will be stretched taut when rejoined. I mark out a pattern on the. breasts, which will cause the breast to be lifted and allow repositioning of the nipple. Loss of nipple sensation, is in my experience uncommon, nor is breast-feeding prevented. A routine precaution against blood clotting is taken with this procedure so you will wear ‘TED’ stockings (anti-embolism stockings) on your legs which should not be removed until you are discharged from the hospital. You will also be expected to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible after surgery
The results of this operation are usually excellent and you can expect less drooping of your breasts with the nipples in a higher position. Immediately after surgery your new breasts will be apparent but the final shape takes approximately six months to fully emerge. Scars are the greatest consideration in this procedure. As explained, they will eventually return to normal skin colour but you should not assume that the scars in a breast uplift can ever be ‘hairline’; they cannot.
Following surgery, your breasts may be uncomfortable. However, this is easily relieved, initially by injection and thereafter by taking two pain-killing tablets (such as Paracetamol) as required. Aspirin should be avoided. There will be dressings and possibly drains on your breasts after surgery, which are usually removed on the first post-operative day. The breasts will be redressed with a simple light tape dressing which should be kept dry and in place until the stitches are removed and the wounds checked at ten days. You may shower during this period being careful to keep the tapes dry, or take a shallow bath.
A comfortably fitting bra can be worn immediately after surgery. You should be aware that bruising of the skin of your ‘new’ breasts may occur but will probably disappear in 2-3 weeks. To help rapidly decrease swelling and bruising you may, if you wish, take Arnica one week prior to surgery and two weeks afterwards.
As in any surgery, there is a possibility of infection, but this is readily treated with antibiotics and/or dressings as required. Delayed wound healing is more likely if you smoke tobacco after surgery. The scars in this procedure are around the areolae of the nipples, possibly extending down to the under breast crease and along this crease. Your surgeon will define the extent of the scars as they vary depending on your initial shape.
Immediately after surgery, the skin adjacent to the incision may appear slightly ‘pleated’. Initially, the scars can be hard, red, raised and lumpy and can take up to 18 months to flatten and resolve, depending on the healing qualities of the individual. Pressure on any lumpy scars with a firm well-fitting bra will help them to soften more quickly.
Expect to be somewhat tired for up to two weeks after your surgery. You may drive after three or four days but do not return to vigorous exercise for two weeks and it is not advisable to make any travel plans for at least one month after your operation.
You should arrange for someone to drive you home from hospital. You will experience mild to moderate discomfort after your surgery and it is recommended that you take one or two pain relieving tablets (such as Paracetamol) on a regular basis for the first week or so. DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN OR ANY PRODUCTS CONTAINING ASPIRIN as this may prolong or cause bleeding in the early post operative period. Your breasts will be slightly swollen and tender and there may be some bruising mild initially, though this should settle by one-two weeks to achieve your final cup size. It is important to rest as much as possible for the first week after surgery. I will advise you to purchase a sports bra beforehand your surgery and it is wise to wear your bra day and night for the first two weeks to support the scar lines and provide maximal comfort. After two weeks you can wear the bra in the daytime only and by six weeks you can commence wearing underwired bras. You should avoid getting the wounds or dressings wet for the first week.
Post surgery meeting
For your surgery, buried dissolvable stitches will usually be used. These normally dissolve spontaneously in the first four to eight weeks, so there are no sutures to be removed. At one week post operatively, you will be seen by the nurse in the Dressing Clinic who will remove the dressing and inspect your breasts. If the wound is healing nicely at this stage you may recommence showering to include the breasts then. If the wounds are still a little moist after one week they will be redressed by the nurse and an appointment given to revisit the nurse in a further weeks time.
It is very important in the early period after your operation that you move around your home, setting yourself a daily walking programme and not lying in bed for protracted periods. However, you should abstain from heavy or sustained exercise from for at least three weeks. By 4 weeks post operatively you may recommence light gym work, returning to full normal activities usually by six weeks
Following breast reduction people feel confident to return to driving at various time periods, but you should refrain from driving until you feel in full control of the car in an emergency situation. Until you feel confident to do this you should refrain from driving.
I will advise you that it is important to stop smoking prior to your operation in order to reduce the risks of complications. You should however, avoid smoking for the first two weeks post operatively.
Returning to work
Following surgery the type of job that you do determines when you can return to work. If you mainly confined to deskwork, you may feel able to return to work after a few days. More physical occupations may require 2-3 weeks of recuperation before you feel able to return to work.
The scars will take time to mature. By week three you should commence moisturising and massaging the scars and breasts generally with a good quality moisturiser, the aim being to soften the scar and speed up final scar maturation. The delicate scar tissue is at greater risk of sunburn if exposed to the sun, therefore, you are advised to avoid sun exposure to any scar tissue for the first six weeks of healing, after this if the area is to be exposed to sunlight you should apply sun protection factor 50 sun block to exposed scar tissue.
Though most people experience uneventful post operative recovery, if you develop any of the following you should contact the ward on the telephone number printed below:
Limited mobility: 2 days
Corset: 4 weeks
Hospital stay: 2-3 nights
Washing: 72 hours
Full recovery: 4-6 weeks
Surgery time: 2-4 hours
Driving: 2 weeks
No smoking 2 weeks before and after any surgery
Off work: 4 weeks
Exercise: 6-8 weeks
I feel completely refreshed and although some people did not see why I wanted to have it done I did and it has made me feel renewed. Well done to Anthony and his team for their support and care. So recommended.
I feel so appreciative of my surgery and I would like to highly recommend the expertise of Mr. Armstrong and his professional and caring team.