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Breast Lifting

Women experience changes in the size and placement of their breasts as they age, and one of the most distressing effects is the sagging and flattening of breast tissue. While wearing the right type of bra can help provide support and the appearance of firmness, it only offers a temporary solution. Breast lift surgery is a beneficial cosmetic procedure that involves lifting and tightening the skin and underlying tissue to reshape the breasts and create a more youthful and proportionate appearance. Many experienced and well-trained cosmetic surgeons perform breast lift surgery to achieve natural and aesthetically pleasing results.

What is Breast Lifting?

Breasts that have been affected by factors like aging, genetics, pregnancy, and changes in weight can be rejuvenated through the procedure of breast lifting (mastopexy) in plastic surgery. This surgery removes excess skin and sculpts the remaining breast tissue for firmer and well-shaped breasts that sit higher on the chest wall. The surgeon also has the ability to perform alterations in the nipple placement and areola size which can improve the overall appearance of the breasts. Nevertheless, breast lifting surgery alone cannot significantly change the size and upper breast shape (i.e., fullness in the upper pole). To achieve elevated breasts with improved fullness, breast implant insertion or fat grafting is required in combination with the breast lift surgery.

Breast Lifting Benefits

Patients who have undergone breast lifting often express satisfaction with the positive outcomes of the procedure. Surgeons feel privileged to have an impact on the daily lives of their patients. Several benefits have been reported by doctors based on their patients' experiences. This technique involves plastic surgery to reshape the breasts of women who feel that their breasts have sagged or drooped due to the natural process of aging or after pregnancy and lactation. The primary goal of the surgery is generally to restore larger, more youthful-looking breasts. If there is any discrepancy in breast size or shape, the surgery can be used to enhance symmetry and contour. Following the procedure, many patients report a significant improvement in self-confidence.

Breast Lifting Types

There are various options for breast lift procedures that can be chosen based on individual needs. In some cases, adding a breast implant can help with minor drooping, while removing loose skin and tightening can address more significant drooping. During periareolar breast lifting, an isolated scar pattern is created around the nipples and can be used for treating very slight drooping. Vertical scar breast lift creates a scar that wraps around the nipple and extends down towards the breast crease, and this approach is suitable for moderate breast lifts. Anchor-shaped breast uplift is the most common approach used to repair severe breast droopiness by creating scars around the breast crease, vertically, and around the nipple. Breast implants can be added to a lift procedure if a person desires both lift and enlargement of the breasts. Augmentation mastopexy is a more complicated procedure that requires a thorough evaluation before consideration.

Breast Lifting Candidates

The most fitting candidates for mastopexy are women whose breasts are sagging or drooping. This procedure can be conducted at any age as long as their breasts are fully developed, and women who decide to undergo the treatment can still breastfeed without affecting the normal functions of their breasts. Women who require a breast lift most commonly meet these conditions: age, where the skin loses elasticity as individuals become older, making it difficult for breasts to maintain their position; postpartum or childbirth, where breastfeeding and engorgement can cause sagging or drooping; weight gain, which can cause the skin to adapt to the increased weight of breasts and lead to drooping; significant weight loss, which can result in excess, loose skin, causing breasts to droop; breast gland atrophy, which can be due to various disorders, although post-menopausal patients are more susceptible to it. Additionally, patients who have experienced implant removal are likely to develop ptosis because of the sudden reduction in weight and size of the breasts, which causes the skin to become flaccid.

Breast Lifting Preparation

Before undergoing breast lift surgery, it is advisable to take certain measures to ensure a smooth recovery and long-lasting improvements. These measures may include receiving written instructions about taking time off work, arranging for assistance at home, and gathering necessary medications and supplies ahead of time. Patients may also need to undergo preoperative examinations such as mammography. Preparing the body for a healthy recovery is also recommended, which could involve avoiding the use of tobacco products to prevent delays in healing, limiting alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising, following a nutrient-rich diet to encourage tissue recovery through vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and engaging in light exercises like stretching or upper body strengthening to improve posture. While avoiding rigorous exercise pre-surgery is important, being active in other ways can be beneficial.

Breast Lifting Procedure

Prior to your procedure, you will have an initial examination and consultation with your surgeon and their team. This consultation serves multiple purposes, such as determining if you are an appropriate candidate for mastopexy, ensuring you understand the procedure and are comfortable with it, and providing an opportunity to preview what your breasts will look like post-surgery. You can have your breast lifting surgery performed either in a modern surgical suite or at a local hospital with certified plastic surgeons. Your surgeon will make small incisions, typically near the areola, nipple, or under the breast crease, depending on your individual physique. They will aim to situate the incision in a way that minimizes the resulting scars. The incision site and scar location can vary depending on different factors, which your surgeon will discuss with you during your initial consultation. After making the incision, excess skin is removed, the breast is contoured, and the nipple and areola are relocated. If you are receiving a breast augmentation, a breast implant will be installed in a skin pocket behind your breast or chest wall. The incision will be closed using stitches, typically arranged vertically from the nipple to the breast crease.

Breast Lift Recovery Time

After your surgery, you will need to cover gauze dressings with an elastic bandage or surgical bra. You can expect your breasts to be sore, swollen, and painful for a day or two, but the pain should not be unbearable. If you experience any discomfort, your surgeon will recommend medications to help you manage it. The surgical bra or bandages will be replaced with a soft support bra within a few days, and you will need to wear this bra over a layer of gauze for three to four weeks. Stitches will be removed after a few days or a week. If your breast skin becomes extremely dry after surgery, you can moisturize it many times a day, but you must be careful not to pull at your skin or apply the moisturizer to the suture sites. Swelling after surgery may result in a loss of sensation in your nipples and breast skin, but this should gradually go away over the next six weeks. The healing process is gradual, so plan on taking at least a week off from work, and refrain from lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. If you experience any unexpected symptoms, don't hesitate to contact your surgeon. They will provide you with comprehensive instructions on how to resume your regular activities and may instruct you to refrain from intercourse for a week or more and from physically demanding activities for around a month. The procedure should not affect your ability to nurse if you become pregnant since your milk ducts and nipples will be preserved.

Breast Lifting Results

The period immediately following your breast lift surgery is crucial as it determines the final results. Even though the incision marks are permanent, they will fade gradually with time. Hormonal changes, aging, gravity, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy can lead to further changes in your breasts over time. However, if you follow your doctor's advice, maintain a proper body weight, and lead a healthy lifestyle, you can expect long-lasting results.

Breast Lifting Risks

Breast lifting surgery is conducted under general anesthesia, and patients are required to stay in the hospital for one to two nights. The usage of general anesthesia poses a threat to the development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, and precautions are taken to minimize these risks. Moreover, contracting chest infections and experiencing severe life-threatening outcomes, which occur once in every 100,000 cases, are other potential hazards.

There are various risks associated with surgical breast lift procedures, including bleeding, infection, delayed wound healing, fat necrosis, changes in nipple sensation, nipple loss, decreased capacity for breastfeeding, asymmetry, scarring, over-or under-correction, and the need for revision. While the chances of experiencing some of these risks are rare, they can occur. Infections can be treated using antibiotics, and changes in nipple sensation and scarring are generally expected outcomes that can occur after a surgery. Asymmetry can occur due to the inherent differences in each breast's shape and size, and revision procedures are sometimes necessary but typically minor and performed under anesthesia.

Breast Lifting Cost

As per the 2020 data provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the mean cost of a breast lift surgery is about $5,000. This cost refers to only a part of the overall cost and does not include expenses such as anesthesia, surgical equipment, and other related expenses. The final cost of the surgical procedure may vary depending on various factors like the surgeon's proficiency, the type of technique employed, and the location of the medical facility. Although breast lift surgery and complications stemming from it are usually not covered by medical insurance, some plastic surgeons propose financing options to their patients. It would be best to ask about these financing alternatives from the surgeon's office for more information about the ultimate cost.

Expenses related to breast lifting may comprise anesthesia charges, medical facility or hospital bills, medical examinations, prescribed medicines, expenses for post-operative clothes, and doctor's fee. It's essential to note that besides the total expense of the procedure, the expertise of the surgeon and your comfort level with them are equally vital factors when picking a board-certified plastic surgeon for breast lifting in your area.

Breast Lift and Reduction

During breast lift surgery, also called mastopexy, the breast tissue itself is not lifted and instead the adjacent tissues require more repair. On the other hand, reduction mammaplasty, known as breast reduction, reduces the size and weight of large breasts by removing extra fat, skin, and glandular tissue. The technique for this procedure often involves liposuction and manual tissue removal. This results in firmer and more proportionate breasts with minimal sagging, leading to a reduction in breast size. Apart from this, breast reduction can also ease or eliminate the pain that arises due to large breasts, such as in the shoulders, neck, and back, which enables women to move more freely and dress more comfortably and flatteringly.

Breast Lifting Exercises

Several workouts can assist in maintaining your breasts in a well-shaped and lifted form, including the dumbbell chest press, pushup, wide pushup, dumbbell fly, dumbbell inner chest press, standing press, plank with rotation, and Superman exercise.


There are different methods for adjusting the breast tissue and creating skin incisions in breast lifting. The patient's goals, breast sagging level, breast tissue volume, skin condition, and breast placement on the chest wall are all carefully evaluated. Each of the incision options, tissue manipulation techniques, and implant placement involve important technical considerations. Combining breast augmentation and lifting increases the risk of complications. Despite their effectiveness, breast lifting surgeries have the highest litigation rate among cosmetic breast procedures.

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