Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Procedures

Breast Lift / Mastopexy


Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing to minimize the chances of breast lift scarring. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.

  • About

    Over time, a woman’s breasts change due to pregnancy, weight fluctuation, breastfeeding, ageing and gravity. The skin loses its elasticity, and so the breast firmness and shape are lost over time, which leads to sagging of the breast.

    Mastopexy surgery raises and firms the breasts. Excess skin gets removed, and the surrounding tissue tightened to reshape and support the new breast.

    A variety of techniques are available, and Dr du Toit will discuss this with you and choose the correct procedure to achieve maximal lift fitting for your body type.

    During your consultation, she will also discuss the different scars, the possible risks, and you will be free to raise any concerns.

    The procedure is done under general anaesthetic and takes about one and a half to two hours. Expect an initial recovery period of about ten days.

  • Potential Risk
    • An unfavorable breast lift scar.
    • Bleeding (hematoma).
    • Infection.
    • Poor healing of incisions.
    • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent.
    • Anesthesia risks.
    • Breast contour and shape irregularities.
    • Skin discoloration, permanent pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising.
    • Damage to deeper structures – such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs – can occur and may be temporary or permanent.
    • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents.
    • Breast asymmetry.
    • Fatty tissue deep in the skin could die (fat necrosis).
    • Fluid accumulation.
    • Excessive firmness of the breast.
    • Potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola.
    • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications.
    • Blood clots.
    • Pain, which may persist.
    • Possibility of revisional surgery.

More information about precautions, preparations & planning before, on the day & after surgery is listed below.

  • Prior to Surgery

    Do not stop any of your routine medication unless specifically told to do so by the doctor.

    Typically Aspirin, Ecotrin, St John’s wort, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and Arnica tablets and Omega fish oils should be stopped at least 1 week before surgery.

    Cardiac patients on blood thinners for stents or those on Warfarin require specific instructions and this must be discussed 3 weeks in advance of surgery.

  • Recovery

    If shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats is experienced, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.

    The combination of decreased activity and pain medication may promote constipation, so you may want to add more fruit and fibre to your diet. Be sure to increase fluid intake. Movicol may also be used as a stool softener.

  • Activities
    • Start walking as soon as possible. This helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.
    • Avoid strenuous exercise and activities for 4-6 weeks.
    • Social and employment activities can be resumed in 7-14 days.
    • Breast lift surgery can interfere with diagnostic procedures.
    • Breast and nipple piercing can cause an infection.
    • Breast lift surgery does not normally interfere with pregnancy, but if you are planning to have a baby, your breast skin may stretch and offset the results of mastopexy and you may have more difficulty breastfeeding after this operation.
  • Incision Care
    • No soaking in the bath while sutures or drains are in place.
    • Avoid exposing scars to the sun for at least 12 months.
    • Apply Micropore to the incision lines for 3 months. Change every 7-10 days. Do not remove the tape every day as it will cause irritation of the surrounding skin.
    • Keep incisions clean and inspect through Micropore daily for signs of infection or oozing.
    • Incision areas must be massaged through the Micropore for the first 3 months.
    • ScarScience, Kelocote or Silderm can be applied from 6 weeks postoperatively, over the Micropore for another 6 weeks, and then on the incision directly for another 3 months postoperatively.
    • Support garments should be worn 24/7, and only removed for short periods while taking a shower. You should wear the postoperative bra day and night for 6 weeks, and thereafter for 6 weeks during the day.
  • What to expect
    • Discomfort will be maximal in the first 3 days, improving each day thereafter.
    • You may experience temporary pain, soreness, numbness, dry breast skin, swelling, discolouration and incision discomfort.
    • There may be a loss of nipple sensation, which should normalise in time (less than 5% of patients never regain nipple sensation).
    • Sagging or enlargement of breasts can occur with the ageing process, pregnancy and weight changes.
    • Scars will fade in several months to a year.
    • Breastfeeding may be possible after a breast reduction, but might be of insufficient volume to support the child.
  • Follow-up care
    • Drains will be removed when drainage is less than 50ml for 24 hours.
    • Most of the sutures are dissolvable in 6-8 weeks.
    • Any stitches will be removed in 7-10 days.
  • When to Call
    • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
    • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
    • If you have increased redness along the incision.
    • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
    • If you have any side effects to medications, such as rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
    • If you have any drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odour.
    • If you have bleeding from the incisions that does not stop with light pressure.