Should You Get A Mastopexy? Everything You Need to Know about this Body-Altering Lift
As we age, our bodies give into gravity and parts start to sag – including our breasts. While exercise can help strengthen the muscles underneath breast tissue, a surgical procedure may be needed to achieve the perkiness our breasts had at a younger age. Now more than ever women over 60 are going under the knife in a procedure known as a mastopexy to get back that lift.
“Masto relates to breast, and pexy means lifting or tacking. Strictly speaking, a mastopexy involves repositioning of the nipple and areola to a more aesthetically pleasing position on the breast mound, says Jonathan Bank, MD, FACS, of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, PC / New York Breast Reconstruction Associates. )
“There is a component of tailoring the extra skin and rearranging the breast tissue for a more pleasing structure/shape,” Bank adds. “This addresses excess droopiness or ptosis of the breast skin and/or gland. It is frequently combined with a reduction in the volume of the breast or with an augmentation of the breast volume with an implant or the body’s own tissue.”
Mastopexies, though less well known than other cosmetic procedures, have been in practice for the last 50 years, and the procedure has been refined with new surgical discoveries. “There are many modifications of the procedure that depends on the anatomical considerations of the particular woman,” Bank says.
And he says the operation is growing in popularity in women in their sixties, seventies and even eighties. “The overwhelming understanding that the 60 is the new 40 and people are living longer, healthier and fuller lives, they want to continue to enjoy a body that is keeping up with their mind. Decreased taboos of plastic surgery have been playing a role as well.”
A typical procedure can take anywhere between one and three hours, depending on the complexity of the individual case. It is usually done as an outpatient procedure, most commonly under general anesthesia. Drains are not typically required, and all stitches are dissolvable under the skin. Patients go home about an hour after surgery and are back to most activities at one to two weeks postop, with a recommendation to return to strenuous activity only after six weeks.
Long-term results are seen at three to six months after surgery. Once the surgical swelling resolves, the tissues settle to the position they will be at for the long-term. “This procedure basically sets back the clock about 10 years,” Bank says. He does advise that some droopiness will recur with time. “Gravity will continue to take its toll – unless you move to the moon.”
The cost of the procedure ranges between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on the complexity of the case, the cost of implants if needed, the duration of the procedure and the surgeon chosen. “I must reinforce the importance of seeking a plastic surgeon that is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery,” says Bank, who is currently producing a photographic essay of his work in breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. “There is only one first chance to do this procedure well, and correcting operations by ill-trained practitioners can be costly and at times impossible.”
Like any surgical procedure, there are risks. “All operations have the risk of bleeding, infection and scarring. Temporary or, on occasion, permanent reduced sensibility to the operated areas is a concern, but this is exceedingly rare,” Bank says. “As we age, we may accrue medical comorbidities [illnesses] that add to the surgical risk, but these can typically be managed and the risks mitigated.”
The mental lift of such a procedure can be astounding. “A woman over 60 may consider this operation if she feels that she deserves to regain her body’s youth and is ready to deal with addressing a part of her body that she feels warrants a tweak. She will look and feel fantastic with the results.”