Lift Your Breasts: How It Works

There are several methods for a woman to achieve a successful breast lift with improved breast contour. After an evaluation and frank discussion with a qualified plastic surgeon, the best choice can be made to achieve the desired cosmetic results.

Who Needs a Breast Lift?

Patients who commit to breast lift surgery or mastopexy are usually women who are satisfied with their breast size. Most women undergo the surgery to correct breast sagging, raise and firm the breasts and/or change the contour of their breasts.

Women who choose to have breast lift surgery are those who have experienced sagging breasts for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • The force of gravity
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding

Some patients opt to enlarge their breasts, also called breast augmentation, with saline or silicone gel implants during the same surgery as they undergo a breast lift.

The Surgical Options

Breast lift surgery is most often an outpatient procedure. The majority of patients go home the same day. The surgery takes one to three hours and is usually done under general anesthesia although some patients opt for local anesthesia with intravenous sedation.

Three incisions are commonly made; one around the areola, one vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the natural crease under the breast and one horizontally under the breast following the natural breast crease.

Excess breast skin is removed and the nipple and areola are repositioned higher. Sometimes, the areola needs to be cut down in size due to stretching from saggy breasts. While nipples and areola are repositioned, they are kept attached to underlying breast tissue in order to preserve sensation and milk duct function for breastfeeding.

Some patients opt to enlarge their breasts with saline or silicone gel implants during the same surgery as they undergo a breast lift.

After Surgery

General post-operative guidelines apply after this surgery. Straining, bending and heavy lifting should be avoided. Follow-up with the surgeon for drain, if applicable, and suture removal will be scheduled.

Decreased sensation of the nipples and surrounding areola is often noted but usually a temporary result of the surgical manipulation.

Sexual activity should be avoided for about two weeks, and breasts should be handled gently for several more weeks beyond that initial post-surgery period.

Once the dressings are removed, it is important to wear a supportive bra during the recovery period. While slow and significant improvement of the breast contour will be seen during the first six weeks after surgery, the final results will not be fully seen for up to six months after surgery.

Potential Complications

Breast lift surgery carries the same risks as most other surgical procedures. Some of the potential complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Asymmetrical breasts
  • Loss of sensation of nipples or other areas of the breast tissue

Long Term Results

Breast shape and contour after breast lift surgery should be long-lasting unless there is a significant weight gain or loss. It is important to remember that pregnancy, gravity and natural aging do still affect a reconstructed breast over time.

Evaluation by a board certified plastic surgeon and a discussion about the best surgical option will result in the desired outcome for each woman.


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