A breast lift is a surgical procedure used to lift the breast up and change the shape. Also called a mastopexy, a breast lift involves removal of excess skin and tissue, so the breasts can be reshaped with restored firmness. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast lift procedures have increased at twice the rate of breast implant surgeries. In 2013 alone, there were over 90,000 breast lifts performed in the U.S.
Candidates for Breast Lift
You may choose to have a breast lift if:
Your breasts sag.
Your nipples point downward.
You are unhappy with your breast shape and appearance.
Your areolas have stretched out of proportion with the breasts.
Factors to Consider
Many things can cause the breast to lose elasticity and firmness. Factors to consider when having a breast lift include:
Pregnancy – During pregnancy, the supportive breast ligaments stretch as the breast become heavier and fuller. It is best to wait until you are done having children to schedule your breast lift.
Weight changes – Fluctuations in weight can lead to skin stretching and loss of tissue elasticity. Before having a breast lift, your weight should remain stable for 12
Gravity – Even after your breast lift surgery, time passes, and gravity causes stretching and sagging of the ligaments.
The Initial Consultation
You will first meet with the plastic surgeon to discuss your concerns. During the consultation, the doctor will ask you questions about current and past medical history, conduct a physical exam, and take pictures of you. He will make sure you understand the benefits and risks of the procedure, and ask questions about your expectations. We want to have a comfortable, open discussion of your desires and concerns and the procedure.
Before the breast lift procedure, you should:
Have a mammogram – Your doctor will recommend a baseline mammogram, as well as schedule one a few months afterward.
Stop smoking – Because smoking decreases wound healing, you should stop smoking 6 weeks before your procedure.
Avoid certain medications – Any drug that thins the blood needs to be held for 2 weeks before your procedure. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen, over the counter natural supplements/vitamins, and Coumadin.
Arrange for help – You will need someone to drive you home from the surgical center, and someone to stay with you while you recover.
The breast lift surgery is done using general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep and will not feel pain. Techniques to remove excess skin and tissue vary, and the location of the incisions depend on what techniques are used. Incisions usually are around the areolas, along the breast creases, and/or downward from the areolas. Sutures are used to reshape the breast tissue. After all changes are made, the incisions are typically closed with absorbable sutures. Bandages and a compression garment cover the surgical area.
After the Procedure
A nurse will monitor your condition in the recovery room for several minutes. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and tender. This gradually improves with time, but you may experience numbness of the nipples, areolas, and skin for up to 6 weeks. Avoiding strenuous activities for at least 2 weeks, and do not soak in a tub or sauna until all wounds have healed. You will return to see the doctor in 3-7 days, at which time the bandages are removed and the breasts inspected. You must wear the support bra around the clock during the recovery process.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2014). Breast implants are still overwhelming choice for women, but since 2000 breast lifts are up 70%. Retrieved from: