What Should I Know About a Breast Lift?

Holly Collins
Holly Collins
A patient is usually given general anesthesia for a breast lift.
A patient is usually given general anesthesia for a breast lift.

Breast lift surgery is an elective procedure also known as mastopexy. It is performed by a plastic surgeon under general anesthesia, usually for cosmetic purposes. As with most elective surgeries, the procedure is generally not covered by medical insurance plans.

This type of surgery seeks to restore a youthful appearance to breasts that have lost some of their shape. Over time, breasts can begin to sag and lose their form and fullness. Pregnancy and breast feeding, as well as fluctuations in body weight, can contribute to these unwanted changes. Heredity and natural maturing processes also play a part in how breasts age over time

Mastopexy surgery lifts and reshapes breast tissue to improve firmness and contour. The procedure can return a patient’s youthful appearance by restoring the nipples and areola to a more upright position. A breast lift is also used to reduce the size of an areola that has become enlarged. Skin loses elasticity over time, contributing to breast sagging. Excess skin resulting from this stretching is removed during the procedure to raise the height of the breasts.

A breast lift does not generally seek to change breast size. Breast augmentation, or breast reduction surgery, called mammaplasty, is the procedure performed for the purpose of significantly altering the size of the breasts. Most mastopexy procedures are performed primarily to restore the breasts' appearance, but implants can be introduced during the procedure if requested by the patient.

As with any surgery, a breast lift presents risks. Patients should be non-smokers and in good health before undergoing any operation. The procedure can leave scars that fade over time but never completely go away. Some patients experience loss of sensation in the breast and nipple area as a result of surgery.

Incisions for breast lift surgery can be made around the areola to minimize scarring. They are also sometimes made vertically below the areola, resulting in more visible scarring. The chest will be wrapped to support the breasts and help contain swelling after the procedure. Small tubes may also be inserted into the incisions to facilitate drainage and prevent the buildup of excess fluid as the body heals.

Infection during the two week recovery process is a risk. During this time, pain swelling, and bruising are common. Movement will be severely restricted for the first week after surgery. Often times, two weeks after the procedure, patients can return to normal daily activity with few restrictions.

After undergoing breast lift surgery, patients can expect improvement in the volume and contour of their breasts. Sagging and drooping can be eliminated with an overall return to a more youthful appearance. Although breasts will again begin the normal aging process, results from the surgery are permanent.

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    • A patient is usually given general anesthesia for a breast lift.
      A patient is usually given general anesthesia for a breast lift.