Mastopexy (Breast Uplift) &
(Breast Uplift + Implants)
As with other parts of our bodies that change over time, our breasts also change. They lose firmness and usually volume too, the skin loses its former elasticity, the internal supporting ligaments become weaker, and so the breasts start to droop. These natural ageing changes are accelerated by pregnancy, breast feeding and significant weight loss.
Essentially, the degree of breast sag (medically known as “Ptosis”) will determine the design of the Mastopexy required. With a Mastopexy, only the excess loose skin is removed, not breast tissue. Varying amounts and patterns of breast skin are removed in order to tighten the skin over the existing breast tissue. This skin removal restores the tightness of the breast envelope which in turn produces ‘lift’ and elevates the nipples to a higher, more desirable position.
If you are happy with your breast volume and only wish to lift your breasts to a higher and more attractive position, you only need to have a straightforward Mastopexy.
If, however, you have also lost breast volume and wish to increase the size of your breasts at the same time as the ‘Lift’, this is known as an Augmentation Mastopexy.
Causes of Ptosis
With age, every woman’s breasts change in size and volume as:
- the skin envelope becomes looser; and
- the supporting Cooper’s Ligaments within the breast itself – and whose function is to hold the breast up high on the chest wall – become weaker and allow the breast to droop.
These changes are accelerated by pregnancy and breast-feeding and significant weight loss.
The main groups of women presenting with Breast Ptosis are:
- Young women with large breasts in whom the breasts have sagged from the sheer weight and volume of the breasts.
- Women following pregnancy and breast-feeding due to the engorgement of the breast skin in preparation for breast feeding and when finished:
- loss of breast volume through shrinkage of the milk glands; and
- failure of the overstretched breast skin to return to its former state leaving the skin envelope looser.
- Post-menopausal women due to progressive loss of breast tissue and skin elasticity.
- Women of any age following major weight loss
Degrees of Ptosis
Mastopexy (Breast Uplift) Techniques
Whereas very minor degrees of Ptosis can be corrected by inserting implants alone, the more advanced degrees of Ptosis require one of the following types of Mastopexy – each given its descriptive name based on the pattern of the final scars:
- Crescent Mastopexy is the simplest Breast Lift and involves removing a crescent of skin above the areola. Sometimes, it is necessary to extend the incisions a little sideways in which case it then changes its name to a ‘Batwing Mastopexy’ as follows.
The other more extensive patterns of Mastopexy are:
- Circum-Areolar Mastopexy(also known as a Benelli Lift or ‘Doughnut Pattern’ Lift). This involves removing a ‘doughnut’ pattern of skin from around the areola. Its ability to “lift” is limited and it may cause some flattening of the breast. By nature, it does leave variable degrees of puckering of the scar which may or may not completely disappear over time.
- Vertical Mastopexy (Vertical Scar Mastopexy or ‘Lollipop’ Lift). This is an effective lift for moderately sagging breasts.
- Wise Pattern Mastopexy (‘Anchor’ Pattern) is the most extensive lift and is used for major degrees of sagging.
Mastopexy alone may well suffice if a woman is happy with the size of her breasts and is only concerned about the sagging. In a Mastopexy, the breasts are lifted but remain the same size. If, however, a woman wishes to also increase the size of her breasts, implants would be inserted at the same time and this is known as an Augmentation Mastopexy.
Mastopexy Surgery is currently eligible for a Medicare Item Number and rebate if you meet Medicare’s criteria which until 1 November 2018 are:
Item 45558: “BREAST PTOSIS, correction of by Mastopexy by any means (bilateral), following pregnancy and lactation, when performed not less than 1 year, and not more than 7 years after the end of the most recent pregnancy, and where it can be demonstrated that the nipple is inferior to the infra-mammary groove”
If your Breast Ptosis satisfies all the above criteria you will qualify for the above Medicare Item Number. If you also have Private Hospital Insurance, a variable portion of the Hospital Fees can also be claimed depending on your Fund and level of Cover.
PLEASE NOTE: Changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule in relation to Breast Lift Surgery are due to come into effect on 1 November 2018 and could impact on your eligibility for a Medicare rebate. Please contact us when we have full details of those changes to see if you can still claim a Medicare Rebate.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE: If you have only a very mild degree of Ptosis known as ‘Pseudo-Ptosis’ (where the breast mound has fallen below the breast crease but the nipple is still above it – see diagram above), you may not need a formal Breast Lift as Pseudo-Ptosis can often be corrected by implants alone.
Augmentation Mastopexy (Breast Uplift + Implants)
- If a woman is happy with her breast size and is only bothered by the Ptosis, only a Breast Lift is necessary.
- However, as is usually the case, if the woman has also lost breast volume and desires the breasts to be larger as well, implants need to be inserted. Naturally, this will increase the duration of the surgery and accordingly the final cost as well.
- Although implants are usually inserted at the same time as the Breast Lift, some surgeons recommend waiting 6 months after the Breast Lift before inserting implants.
- Our Surgeon will give you a detailed costing at your initial consultation.
FAQ’s about Breast Lift Surgery
- How long does the procedure take?
This will depend on the design of the Breast Lift and can take as little as 2 hours for a minor ‘Lift’ to 4 hours for an ‘Anchor Lift’.
- Do I have to stay in hospital?
Usually yes, but for one night only.
- Is there any scarring and do the scars eventually disappear?
Yes, the extent of the scarring depends on the pattern of skin excision required as shown above. Although the scars never totally disappear, they do become less conspicuous with time.
- What is the recovery time?
Unless you are also having implants inserted to increase the size of the breasts, recovery is fairly quick as only excess skin will be removed. Generally, this is around 7-10 days. However, it does takes a number of months for your breasts to assume a more natural, rounded shape after the more advanced Breast Lift techniques.
- Costs involved:
If your Breast Ptosis satisfies ALL the above Medicare criteria you will qualify for a partial rebate from Medicare until 1 November 2018. However, changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule in relation to Breast Lift Surgery are due to come into effect on 1 November 2018 and could impact on your eligibility for a Medicare rebate. If you do still qualify, and you also have Private Health Insurance with Hospital Cover, you should also be able claim a variable portion of your Hospital Fees depending on your Fund and your Level of Cover.