What are some of the most common benefits of breast lift surgery?
A breast lift can successfully reposition saggy, droopy breasts into firmer, shapelier
ones that are located higher on a woman's chest. As a result, a better-proportioned
body is produced, enhancing the patient's appearance and potentially elevating their
What will happen at the initial consultation?
During the consultation, you and your surgeon will discuss the changes that you
would like to make to your appearance. Because plastic surgery is a highly personal
decision, you'll want to take time to address all of your concerns and desires.
At this time, your doctor should explain the breast lift surgery procedure, including
what kind of anesthesia he/she will be using. Your medical history should then be
discussed, and a visual examination performed.
Your surgeon should also measure your breasts and take photographs, and he/she may
possibly require a mammogram (breast x-ray). The physician should also discuss the
new placement of your nipples and ask if you want to reduce the size of your areolas
(the darker skin around once the surgery is scheduled, you should receive specific pre-
surgery instructions on what you may eat and drink, and whether or not you should
smoke. the nipples).
How is breast lift surgery done?
Several different techniques can be used during breast lift surgery, depending on the
degree of sagging that you experience. Breast lift surgery consists of removing excess
skin from around the areola, and possibly also from the bottom of the breast, and then
tightening the skin. The insertion of breast implants for additional volume and
smoothing of the skin may also be required for an optimal outcome. With these
surgical steps, the position of the nipple, areola, and breasts can be elevated to a more
The specific breast lift techniques may vary, but they generally fall into two
categories: the concentric (or doughnut) mastopexy for women with smaller and less
droopy breasts, and the more common anchor-shaped mastopexy . In general, the more
tissue that is cut, the more shaping that is possible. For women who experience
extensive sagging, the skin has stretched so much that a smaller incision will not
remove enough tissue to lift the breast. In these cases, the larger incision is necessary.
The Concentric (doughnut) Breast Lift:
For women with smaller and less severely drooping breasts, this procedure (which
requires fewer incisions) may be possible. In some instances, the physician may
administer a local anesthesia with a sedative instead of general anesthesia.
Concentric circles (like a doughnut) around the areola are drawn and cut. The
doughnut-shaped skin around the areola is removed and the nipple and areola
repositioned higher. Then, the outer skin is stitched around the areola. Sometimes the
skin that is sewn to the areola may wrinkle because there is more skin than needed.
Often, the wrinkling will subside in just a few weeks to months after surgery as the
skin envelope adapts to the new shape and weight of the tissues.
If your surgeon does not think that this technique will produce the desired results,
he/she may instead elect to make a cut that descends from the areola down to the
bottom fold of the breast where it meets the chest. A strip of skin is removed along
this cut and the two sides stitched together. Even with this additional vertical cut,
these breast lift scars are less extensive than the more common anchor-shaped breast
Anchor-shaped Breast Lift:
For women with larger or more severely drooping, sagging breasts, the anchor-shaped
breast lift surgery is more effective.
The physician will draw a key-hole shape above the nipple and areola. At the bottom
of the key-hole, he/she will draw an anchor shape from the right to the left side of the
The skin in the (upper cross-hatched) area of the "anchor" will be removed along with
some excess breast tissue. The nipple and areola are moved up to the (lower cross-
hatched) "key-hole," then the skin is sutured around the areola, vertically down to the
chest, and side to side along the newly-created bottom fold of the breast
How long does the breast lift procedure take?
Breast lift surgery usually takes about one to three hours to complete. The length of
the procedure varies according to the technique used.
Do I have to stay in the hospital?
Usually, breast lift surgery is performed in a surgical suite on an outpatient basis, so
an overnight visit isn’t necessary. This allows you to return home within a few hours
of the surgery, and spend the night in the comfort of your own home. However, if a
large amount of tissue is removed from the breasts, it may be necessary to spend the
night in the hospital so your recovery process can be monitored by a medical staff.
Most often, breast lift surgery is carried out under general anesthesia. If the procedure
requires fewer incisions, a patient may be given a local anesthetic combined with
intravenous sedation under observed anesthesia care.
What can I expect after a breast lift?
After the operation, you will notice an immediate and dramatic change in the shape of
your breasts. Most women are very pleased with what they see after surgery. Some
numbness is normal after surgery and may persist permanently.
What is the recovery period like?
Your breasts will probably be sore for two or three days. The pain is greatest within
the first 48 hours, but improves with each day and can typically be relieved by pain
The gauze dressing will be removed after a couple of days, and the stitches are
removed about two weeks after breast lift surgery. Your breasts will be bruised, and
you may experience temporary numbness around the nipples as well as random
shooting pains. These conditions generally subside within several weeks.
For the first few days, you need to limit your activities and movement in order to
prevent breaking the stitches and stretching the breast lift scars. Most women can
return to work about two weeks later, although overhead lifting and strenuous
movements should be avoided for several weeks to ensure proper healing. Your
physician will provide you with a schedule for resuming your normal routines.
You will wear a surgical bra that supplies support to your breasts for a few weeks to a
couple of months after your breast lift surgery (an under wire bra is not recommended
as it may cause a blister on the delicate postoperative tissues).
Most bruising, swelling, pain, and loss of sensation should subside within three to six
weeks. However, it may take up to a year for your breasts to settle completely into
their new look and feel. Over time, your breast lift scars will fade but may remain red
and bumpy for many months.
Finally, you should continue with monthly self-examinations for breast cancer as well
as regular mammograms as advised by your doctor.
What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
After the surgery, the breasts are fuller and shapelier. Breast lift surgery generally
yields faint lines where the surgical incisions were made. You may also notice slight
size or shape differences between your breasts. It is important to keep in mind that the
body is never completely symmetrical.
A breast lift will not keep you firm forever. Your breasts, however, will be more
youthful and full than they would have been without the surgery. The effects of
gravity, pregnancy, and weight changes will continue to affect your breasts over time.
Who is an Ideal candidate?
In general, the best candidates for breast lift surgery are women:
18 years of age or older
With stretched skin
With less breast volume than they had in previous years
Not intending to lose a great deal of weight, get pregnant, or breastfeed
Not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
In good health
Wanting to improve their appearance
Realistic in their expectations
The above is only a partial list of the criteria that your surgeon will consider in
determining whether or not this procedure is appropriate for you. Be sure to ask your
surgeon if he/she considers you an ideal candidate for breast lift surgery.
What are the possible complication and risks?
No surgical procedure is completely risk-free. There is the potential for complications
associated with any surgery involving anesthesia, including complications such as
bleeding, and infection. The patient is also susceptible to:
Permanent and noticeable scarring
Unevenly aligned nipples, mismatched breasts
Sores or numbness around the nipples
Dead tissue around the nipple and areola (rare)
Perhaps the most common risks are the quality of healing and your acceptance of the
resulting scars. With a breast lift, the most significant tradeoff for better-positioned
breasts is the appearance and permanence of the surgical scars that may take some
time before they flatten and become pale.