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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
What results can I expect after a Breast
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
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.