Breast Lift

1 What is a Breast Lift?

Also known as a mastoplasty, a breast lift is a surgical procedure to change the shape of your breasts. During this procedure, excess skin is removed and breast tissue is reshaped, this will restore firmness and raise the breasts. A breast lift might be an option for you if your breasts sag or your nipples point downward.

A breast lift might also give young confidence boost and improve your image. A breast lift will not significantly change the size of your breasts. However, a breast lift can be done in combination with breast augmentation or reduction.

2 Reasons for Procedure

The main reason for the breasts lift is that as you age, your breasts lose their elasticity and firmness. There are many causes for these kinds of breast changes, including:

  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the ligaments that support your breasts might stretch due to the breasts getting heavier and fuller.
  • Weight fluctuations.  Changes in your weight can cause your breast skin to stretch and loose elasticity.
  • Gravity.  With time, gravity causes the ligaments in the breasts to stretch and sag.

A breast can decrease sagging and raise the position of the nipples (areolae). The size of the areolae can also be reduced during the procedure to keep them in proportion to the newly shaped breasts. You might consider a breast lift for the following reasons:

  • Your breasts sag.
  • Your nipples fall below your breasts.
  • Your nipples and areolae point downward.
  • One of your breasts falls lower than the other.

Not everyone can have a breast lift. If you are considering pregnancy at any point in the future, you might delay getting a breast lift.  Breastfeeding is a consideration as well. Although breastfeeding is usually possible after a breast lift since nipples are not separated from the underlying breast tissue, some women might have difficulty producing enough milk.

While a breast lift can be done on breasts of any size, women with smaller sagging breasts will likely have longer lasting results. Larger breasts are heavier, which makes them more likely to sag again.

3 Potential Risks

A breast lift poses various potential risks including:

  • Scarring. While scars are permanent, they will soften the face within one or two years.
  • Changes in breast or nipple sensation. While sensation typically returns within several weeks, some loss of feeling might be permanent.
  • Irregularities or asymmetry in the shape and size of the breast. This could occur as a result of changes during the healing process.
  • Partial loss of the nipples or areolae. Rarely, the blood supply to the nipple or areola is interrupted during a breast lift. This can damage breast tissue in the area and lead to the partial or total loss of the nipple or areola.
  • Difficulty breast-feeding. While breast-feeding is usually possible after a breast lift, some women might have difficulty producing enough breast milk.

Like any major surgery, a breast lift carries risks of bleeding, infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In order to prepare for the procedure, you will initially talk to a plastic surgeon about a breast lift. During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely: 

  • Review your medical history. You must be prepared to answer questions about your current and past medical conditions. Tell the doctor if you any family history of breast cancer.
  • Do a physical exam. In order to determine your treatment options, the doctor will examine your breasts. He or she will also consider the quality of your skin tone.
  • Discuss your expectations. Explain why you want a breast lift and what you are hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the risks and benefits, which include scarring and changes in nipple sensation.

Prior to a breast lift, you might want to do the following: 

  • Schedule a mammogram. Your doctor might recommend a baseline mammogram before the procedure and another one after the procedure.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking decreases the blood flow to the skin and can slow down the process of healing.
  • Avoid certain medications. You will likely have to avoid taking certain medications, such aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
  • Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home following the surgery as stay with you as you begin to recover. You might also need someone to help you with daily activities such as washing your hair, during your initial phase of recovery.

5 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your breast lift procedure.

A breast lift can be done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. Sometimes the procedure is done with sedation and local anesthesia, which numbs only part of your body. In other cases, general anaesthesia — which renders you unconscious — is recommended.

During the procedure. Techniques used to remove breast skin and reshape breast tissue vary. The specific technique your plastic surgeon chooses will determine the location of the incisions and the resulting scars.

Your doctor might make incisions around the areolae — the darker area surrounding the nipples. Extending downward from the areolae to the breast creases. Horizontally along the breast creases.

Your doctor might place stitches deep within your breasts to reshape your breast tissue and, if necessary, reduce the size of your areolae. He or she will remove excess breast skin and shift the nipples to higher positions.

Then your doctor will bring together the breast skin and close the incisions with stitches, surgical tape or skin adhesives. The procedure typically takes two to three hours, and you can go home on the same day.

After the procedure After a breast lift, your breasts will likely be covered with gauze and a surgical support bra. Small tubes might be placed at the incision sites in your breasts to drain any excess blood or fluid.

Your breasts will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. You'll likely feel pain and soreness around the incisions, which will be red or pink for a few months. Numbness in your nipples, areolae, and breast skin might last for about six weeks.

In the first few days after a breast lift, take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. Avoid straining, bending and lifting. Sleep on your back or your side to keep pressure off your breasts. Avoid sexual activity for at least one to two weeks after the breast lift.

Ask your doctor when it's OK to resume daily activities, such as washing your hair, showering or bathing. Drainage tubes placed near your incisions are typically removed within a few days. When your doctor removes the tubes, he or she will also probably change or remove your bandages.

Talk to your doctor about when — or if — your stitches will be removed. Some stitches dissolve on their own. Others must be removed in the doctor's office, often one to two weeks after the procedure.

Continue to wear the surgical support bra round-the-clock for three or four days. Then you'll wear a soft support bra for three or four weeks.

Your doctor might suggest using silicone tape or gel on your incisions to promote healing. While you're healing, keep your breasts out of the sun. Afterward, be careful to protect your incisions during sun exposure.

6 Procedure Results

You will notice immediate procedure results in the appearance of your breasts. Their shape will continue to change over time. Initially, scars will appear red and lumpy.

While scars are permanent, they usually soften and become white within a year or two. Scars from a breast can usually be hidden by bras or bathing suits.

You might also notice that your bra size is a little smaller after a breast lift, even if you have not had a breast reduction in combination with the procedure.

This is as a result of your breasts becoming firmer and rounder. Keep in mind that breast lift results cannot be permanent.

With age, you skin will lose its elasticity and some sagging may occur, especially if you have larger, heavier breasts.

Maintaining a stable, healthy weight can help you retain your results.