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Breast Lift

A breast lift can eliminate the "sagging" appearance brought on by the natural effects of aging. Performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation, desired results may be attained within a minimum amount of time.

Length: 1 to 3 hours.
Anesthesia: Local with sedation, or general.
In/Outpatient: Usually outpatient. Sometimes inpatient.
Side Effects: Temporary bruising, swelling, discomfort, numbness, dry breast skin. Permanent scars.
Risks: Thick, wide scars; skin loss; infection. Unevenly positioned nipples. Permanent loss of feeling in nipples or breast.
Recovery: Back to work: 1 week or more. Strenuous activities: 1 month. Fading of scars: several months to a year.
Duration of Results: Variable; gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight changes may cause new sagging. Results may last longer or be enhanced when breast implants are inserted as part of the procedure.

A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts.  As a woman ages, skin loses some elasticity which can cause the breasts to lose their natural shape and firmness.  This procedure is designed to elevate the breasts and give them a more youthful appearance.  A breast lift may also be completed in conjunction with breast enlargement surgery (augmentation).

Reasons for Considering a Breast Lift:

  • Elevate the breasts due to sagging caused by the effects of aging and gravity.
  • Firm the breasts if they have lost substance due to pregnancy and subsequent breast-feeding.
  • Re-align your nipples/areolas if they point down or to the side.
  • Bring back natural suppleness after weight loss.

General Procedure

The breast lift surgical procedure usually takes one and a half to three hours.  Techniques vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-like incision along the underside of the breast.  The incision goes around the area where skin will be removed, thus defining how the nipple will be relocated.  When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved into a higher position.  The skin surrounding the areola is brought down and together to reshape the breast.

Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions.  One such procedure is the "doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy" in which circular incisions are made around the areola and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.  Recent innovations in breast lift techniques include minimal incision techniques and nipple sensation reducing procedures.

If the patient is having an implant inserted along with the breast lift, the implant will be placed in a pocket directly under the breast tissue or under the muscle of the chest wall.

Recovery Process

Generally, post-operative instructions call for plenty rest and limited movement in order to speed up the healing process and recovery time.  Bandages are applied right after surgery to aid the healing process and to minimize movement of the breasts.   Once the bandages are removed, the patient will need to wear a specialized surgical bra for several weeks.  Patients sometimes report minor pain associated with surgery which can be treated with oral medication.  While complications are rare, patients can minimize potential problems by carefully following the post-operative directions given by the surgeon.