A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that lifts and tightens the breast, giving them a more youthful appearance. Aging, pregnancy/breastfeeding and weight changes can cause a loss of breast volume and excess skin. This results in the breasts having a flat appearance and drooping of the nipples. Breast lifts address this by removing loose skin and placing the nipples in a higher position. This gives the breast a shaplier look with a round and more tight appearance.
A breast lift can treat:
- Flat, long or limp breasts
- Sagging breasts
- Nipple appearance, shape and appearance
Who is a candidate?
The ideal candidate for a breast lift is someone who is happy with the size of their breast but not the shape or way the breasts sit on the body. Not everyone is a candidate for this procedure.
What To Expect From Your Consultation
If you are considering having breast lift surgery, your consultation visit is your opportunity to get to know your surgeon. This visit sets the tone for your entire treatment process. It is important to ask all of the questions you have and also provide your doctor with information that will be relevant to your case. Expect your doctor to as about:
- Your personal goals for surgery
- Your family history of breast disease
- Experience with previous surgeries, if you’ve had any
- Your breast health, including your last mammogram report
- List of current medications and supplements
After your consultation to discuss breast lift surgery and what it involves, your doctor will perform a thorough breast examination. This will inform treatment planning with details regarding your breast size, skin condition and laxity, the measurement of your breast size, nipple location and projection, and the degree of breast sagging you have. If you choose to move forward with the surgery, the doctor or staff may take photos for reference.
Breast Lift FAQs:
The breast lift itself can take between three and four hours. It is an outpatient procedure, so you can plan to go home after some time in the monitored recovery room. You may be in the recovery area for at least one hour after your surgery is done.
Anesthesia is essential to a comfortable, safe surgery. For your procedure, your doctor may consider a few different types of anesthesia. If your case is more complex or you want to combine your breast lift with another procedure, like breast augmentation, your surgeon may suggest that you receive general anesthesia.
For the breast lift alone, the most common procedure is to administer a local anesthetic into the surgical site in addition to IV sedation administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. This method decreases risks because you are breathing on your own the entire time. It is advantageous because you do not feel pain, are in a deep sleep throughout the surgery, and remember little if anything about your procedure.
You will be advised to take one to two weeks off work to fully recover from your breast lift, provided that your job does not require strenuous physical activity. For three to five days, you can expect to need prescription pain medication to manage optimal comfort. If you take your pain medication as directed, you should remain in the mild to moderate level of discomfort. A compression bra or surgical bra is applied after your procedure. Wearing this as instructed can also help mitigate post-operative discomfort and swelling.
You will have an appointment a few days post-op to observe your initial healing. If you have drains, these may be removed at that visit. A second follow-up may take place about 10 to 14 days after surgery. At this visit, the doctor may remove your stitches. By this time, you should be feeling much more comfortable and have transitioned from prescription pain medication to an over-the-counter pain reliever.
While you may return to work and light activities around two weeks after your breast lift, you may be instructed to postpone strenuous exercise, swimming, and certain other activities for four to six weeks.
You will notice a difference in the shape of your breasts as soon as you are alert after your procedure! That said, your breasts will be swollen and firm for a few weeks. You can expect for settling to occur over several weeks, throughout which your new, perkier shape continues to reveal itself.
Your breast lift results are expected to last 10 to 15 years. To maintain a perkier shape, it is necessary to follow healthy lifestyle habits that help you stay at a healthy weight. Fluctuations of more than 15 to 20 pounds can cause breast size to increase, stretching out the overlying skin. Another way to sustain a more youthful shape is to take excellent care of the skin on your chest. If the area is exposed to the sun, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent collagen damage that can accelerate tissue aging and laxity.
There are several potential incision options for your breast lift. Dr. Nealy will recommend the best option to achieve your unique needs and goals. Incision options include:
- Around the areola with a vertical line extending down to the breast crease (lollipop lift)
- Around the areola with a vertical line extending down to the breast crease and a horizontal line along the breast crease (anchor pattern)
- Around the areola with a vertical line extending down with only a partial short horizontal line (short-scar mastopexy)
During the procedure, Dr. Nealy will lift and reshape the underlying breast tissue in order to improve the breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola will be repositioned to give your breasts a perkier, more youthful appearance. Excess skin is removed and the remaining skin is tightened to improve elasticity.
Generally speaking, this procedure is safe and has a very low risk of serious complications. That said, you should be aware of risks such as the following:
- Poor wound healing
- Fluid or blood buildup beneath the skin
- Tissue firmness
- Capsular contracture (if your lift includes breast augmentation)
Breast Lift Before & After Photos
*Procedure results are typical and may vary
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