Breast lift, also called mastopexy, is a procedure to raise sagging breasts. It is often used to:
- Reduce or reverse the effects of aging and gravity on the breasts
- Contour the body after childbirth and breastfeeding, returning breasts to their more natural position
- Give breasts a firmer, more youthful appearance and position
About the Procedure
A variety of procedures might be used, depending on the size and shape of each patient's breasts. Your surgeon can give you specific details of the procedure that is best for you.
In one common procedure, the surgeon makes a keyhole-shaped incision on the breast, in the spot where the areola and nipple will be repositioned. He or she will then remove excess skin and sometimes excess breast tissue and fat from the lower portion of the breast, preserving the nerves, milk ducts and other important structures in the breast.
The remaining breast tissue is pulled upward and the areola and nipple are moved into the center of the keyhole. Finally, the surrounding skin is pulled down and under the breast and stitched in place to support it. The scar that results from this procedure is an anchor-shaped scar that circles the areola, runs vertically down the underside of the breast and then follows the rounded crease under the breast.
Sometimes breast implants are inserted in combination with a breast lift to give the breasts a more desired shape or fuller appearance.
Women can still breastfeed safely after having a breast lift. However, pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause further sagging, so for best results, you may want to wait until after you are done having children before having this procedure.
Surgery and Recovery Times
- The surgery typically lasts from 1 to 3 hours. Patients typically go home the same day.
- Patients generally return to work and light activity in a few days to a week.
- Bruising and swelling go down in 1-2 weeks. Strenuous activity may be restricted for several weeks after the surgery.
- Scars may take several months to a year to fade to their optimum appearance.
Risks and Side Effects
All surgery poses certain risks. Your surgeon will fully disclose to you the specific risks associated with your procedure and your current state of health.
It is normal to experience temporary bruising, swelling, tightness or numbness in the breasts after this procedure. Although they are rare, more serious complications such as infection, asymmetry or loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts can also occur. To minimize the chances of complications, it is important to carefully follow all of your doctor's instructions both before and after the surgery.
Duration of Results
Results vary. Aging, pregnancy and significant changes in body weight can cause further sagging after the procedure. Some patients find that results last longer when breast implants are also inserted in combination with breast lift.