Also known as mastopexy, a breast lift raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. Sometimes the areola becomes enlarged over time, and a breast lift will reduce this as well.
Breast Lift Procedural steps:
Excess skin is surgically removed to raise the nipple and tighten the breast tissue. Incision patterns vary, depending on degree of excess skin and amount of lifting required as well as patient and surgeon preference.
Swelling should subside in 2-4 weeks. Breast shape may take 1-3 months to fully refine. Incision lines will continue to flatten and fade for up to 1 year.
Where do I begin?
A consultation with your plastic surgeon is the first step to learn how a breast lift can improve your breast contours. A consultation is designed to fully educate you about breast lift in a non-pressured environment, and will include:
- A discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your individual case
- The course of treatment recommended by your plastic surgeon
Your plastic surgeon will also answer your questions.
Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of your surgery. These will be carefully evaluated in your consultation with your plastic surgeon. The success of your procedure, safety and overall satisfaction require that you:
- Honestly share your expectations
- Fully disclose health history, current medications, the use of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Commit to precisely following all of your plastic surgeon’s instructions
- Be candid about any history of breast cancer in your family and your personal breast health
By making the decision to consult with your plastic surgeon and following all the instructions given, you are taking an important step in helping to assure your safety.
Your plastic surgeon is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery(,) or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada”‘). This certification designates surgeons who are specifically trained in plastic surgery of the face and entire body.
Breast lift is a highly individualized procedure achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for your case will be determined based on:
- Breast size and shape
- The size and position of the areola
The degree of breast sagging
There are many variations to the procedure, however one of the most common is a pattern with three incisions:
Through these incisions, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height. If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter. Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity.
Alternative techniques eliminate either the horizontal incision at the breast crease, the vertical incision from the areola to the breast crease or sometimes both. In any case, incisions are usually placed so that they can be hidden under clothing and swimsuits. Non-removable sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin.
Your plastic surgeon will carefully explain your breast lift plan. Prior to any surgery, you will be given specific instructions that may include: In addition, you will be asked to sign consent forms to assure your plastic surgeon that you fully understand the procedure or procedures you will undergo and any associated risks or potential complications.
Possible risks ofbreast lift include bleeding, infection, fluid accumulations, delayed or poor wound healing, skin loss, blood clots, excessive or widened scars, numbness and other changes in skin sensation, and irregular or asymmetric contours or scars. Any surgery carries risks associated with anesthesia. These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent.
It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcomes or preoperative stress. Discuss these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
A breast lift may be performed in your plastic surgeon’s accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. The decision for anesthesia will be based on the requirements of your specific procedure and considerations of patient and surgeon preference. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
Once your procedure(s) are completed, dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions. Areas of the body that have been treated may be wrapped in an elastic bandage to minimize swelling and to support your new contours as you heal. Small, thin tubes may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain excess fluid or blood that may collect. Before you are released, you and an accompanying caregiver will be given specific instructions.
Progress and Healing
Initial healing will include swelling at the incision sites. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. You will be instructed to return to light walking as soon as possible to minimize the potential for blood clots and other complications.
In many cases, you will be instructed to avoid bending, straining or lifting for several days to weeks. Where tightening of the abdomen or thighs is involved, your plastic surgeon may also instruct you to avoid standing fully upright and stressing any internal sutures as they heal, and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees. Follow all instructions carefully – this is essential to the success of your outcome.
Initial wound healing may take 7 to 14 days, after which time sutures will be removed if necessary. You will be ready to return to work and normal activity in a few weeks, so long as you do not engage in any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise
Healing will continue for many weeks as swelling resolves and incision lines continue to improve. Numbness and a firm feeling over the skin’s surface will improve over time. Once you have completely recovered from one series of procedures, it may be time to begin preparing for additional procedures to target other areas of the face or body. You must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process is fully complete. It may take a year or more following a given procedure for incision lines to refine and fade to some degree. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.
The final results of your breast lift will appear over the next few months as breast shape and position continue to settle. Incision lines are permanent, but they most likely won’t be visible even under your favorite bathing suit.
Over time, your breasts can continue to change due to aging and gravity. Your new breast profile is best maintained by maintaining your weight, a healthy lifestyle and proper support of your now firm and rejuvenated breasts.