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Breast Lift

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

A breast lift (mastopexy) is a surgical procedure designed to improve the contour of the breast, by removing excess skin creating a more firm appearance. It is important to understand that a breast lift by itself does not enlarge the breasts. If you desire or need enlargement, you can have a breast enlargement conducted at the same time as your breast lift.


Healthy, emotionally stable women who remain realistic about the outcomes of this type of surgery are most suitable for having a breast lift. The best results are usually achieved in women with small, sagging breasts. Although breasts of any size may be lifted, women with heavier breasts will most likely have shorter lasting effects.

As women mature, they find that their breasts begin to sag and lose shape. This also holds true for most women who have been through pregnancy. For breasts that have simply lost their fullness and projection, a breast lift is the ideal surgical procedure in creating a perkier, fuller and more youthful appearance.

How is a Breast Lift procedure performed?

There are two types of breast lift procedures the full lift and the modified lift (Benelli). Your surgeon will help you decide upon the appropriate procedure for your specific needs.

During a full lift the first incision is made around the dark area surrounding the nipple (areola) to allow a repositioning of the nipple to a higher, more attractive level on the breast. The nipple itself is not removed, however. Then, a second incision is made horizontally under the breast fold (inframammary crease). The third incision is made vertically from the areola's edge to the crease, creating an inverted t-shaped surgical opening. Excess skin is trimmed to tighten, firm and recontour the breast for your desired projection. Then, the incisions are closed with small stitches (sutures) placed beneath the skin. Bandages are applied to the breast for support.
During a modified lift a circular incision is made around the dark area surrounding the nipple (areola). Excess skin is removed to tighten and recontour the breast. If desired, large areolae can be reduced in size to more proportionate with your new breast size. The incision is closed with small sutures (stitches) and supportive bandages are applied to the breast.

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How long does a Breast Lift procedure take?

Breast lift surgery usually takes about one to five hours to complete. The length of the procedure varies according to the technique used.

What type of anesthesia is used?

A breast lift is usually performed using local anesthesia along with a light sedative to make you feel drowsy and relaxed. General anesthesia may also be used, causing you to be asleep during the whole procedure.

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Where is the procedure performed?

A breast lift is usually performed on an outpatient basis, in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite, an outpatient surgery center or hospital.

When can I return home and resume normal activities?

You may return home the same day. However, it is necessary that you have someone take you home after the procedure and stay with you for at least 24 hours. Most women return to their usual activities in one week. However, you must not lift anything for the first two weeks and do no heavy lifting for the first four weeks.

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How do I prepare for a Breast Lift procedure?

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance of your breasts is a matter of personal perception and preference, you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can determine the appropriate alternatives. You also should make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you to and from your procedure and to assist you with your daily activities during your recovery period.

Prior to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will perform a complete health history and physical. Your surgeon will also measure your breasts, take photographs, and possibly require a mammogram (breast x-ray). The new placement of your nipples as well as the size of the areolas (the darker skin around the nipples) will also be discussed. Knowledge of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention at this time. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for this procedure will be given to you after the health history and physical is complete. Depending on your individual health status, the instructions may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's instructions.

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What precautions are necessary during recovery?

After surgery, you will notice an immediate and dramatic change in the shape of your breasts. Most women are very pleased immediately after surgery. Some numbness is normal after surgery and may persist permanently, but almost all women feel that it is worth it. Small bandages are secured over your incisions. You must wear a bra for support for at least several weeks and also avoid an underwire bra as it may cause a blister on the delicate postoperative tissues.

You will receive specific instructions to follow during your recovery including rest and sleeping positions, raising your arms, bathing and showering techniques.

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What are the possible complications after a Breast Lift procedure?

In a full breast lift, your scars are placed in the natural skin demarcation lines around the dark area around the nipple (areola), down the breast from the bottom of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. In most patients, the scars from the incisions will be pink for about six months and gradually fade thereafter. It is important to know that all scars are permanent and their height, width and final color are never completely predictable.

As with most surgical procedures, small nerves to the skin may be interrupted. Portions of the nipple area may feel numb or have a less than full feeling. Sensation generally returns over several weeks, although some diminished feeling may last indefinitely. This does not usually interfere with erotic sensation.

Sun exposure or use of a tanning bed should be avoided until the numbness of the breasts has subsided. Afterwards, be sure to protect the incision site with a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 for at least six months.

No procedure is without risks; however, the majority of complications known to be associated with a breast lift are minor when the procedure is performed by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon. It is always important to be informed about the possible complications before any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your surgeon.

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What results can I expect after a Breast Lift procedure?

You will experience some discomfort once the anesthesia has worn off. Your surgeon will give you medication to relieve any discomfort. Your breasts may be swollen and bruised for approximately one-two weeks. Please note that the loss of elasticity that caused the original sagging of the breast can recur. Rarely, a woman will request another procedure to lift the breasts again. The vast majority of women maintain their enhanced, rounder and more youthful shaped breasts. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your surgeon.

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Choosing the right surgeon

To obtain further information regarding Breast Lift, we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the type of procedure you are considering, it is crucial to choose the right surgeon for your individual goals. To receive a complimentary consultation with a specialist in your area, simply fill out our Online Referral Form or call Toll Free 800.449.1884.

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