Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, restores a more youthful appearance to a woman’s breasts. Over the years, breasts can lose their shape and firmness due to pregnancy, nursing, and loss of skin elasticity, causing them to sag. A breast lift will raise and reshape breasts, slowing the effects of aging and gravity. This procedure can also reduce the size of the areola.
A breast lift alone will not increase the fullness of the upper part of the breast; it simply allows removal of sagging breast tissue and repositioning of the nipple. For this reason, breast lifts are commonly performed in with breast augmentation to increase the fullness and improve the shape of the breasts.
How is breast lift surgery performed?
Breast lift surgery is occasionally performed in a hospital, are usually performed under general anesthesia.
The surgery may take between 2-3 hours. The incisions are around the nipple, vertically beneath the nipple, and sometimes also horizontally in the crease of the breast. The breast tissue is recontoured and some breast tissue and skin are removed. The nipple and areola are then repositioned. The skin is closed with dissolvable sutures.
Risks of Breast Lift Surgery
As with any surgery, there are possible complications. A patient may suffer an adverse reaction to the anesthesia (rare), or experience bleeding and infection following a breast lift, causing scars to widen. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit for a minimum of 4-6 weeks before surgery to minimize the risk of complications. Smokers are much more prone to delayed healing, wound breakdown, and possible loss of the skin of the nipple and areola.
Breastfeeding After Breast Lift Surgery
Because some milk ducts are disrupted during the surgery you may not be able to breastfeed following the surgery. Some women successfully breastfeed after having the surgery, but it is difficult to predict who will be able to.
After surgery, your stitches will be covered with tape and a surgical bra will hold the breasts in place. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and you may experience some mild discomfort for a couple of days. The pain is generally well controlled with oral pain medication. In the recovery stage, it is important to wear the bra all time.
After one week the tape will be removed. The stitches are placed under the skin and are dissolvable. The scars may be red and lumpy for a few months but will eventually fade and become less obvious. The procedure can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples or a permanent loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts.
To ensure proper healing, plan to stay at home for at least a week before returning to work. You will need to avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks and avoid strenuous physical activity for four to six weeks.
If you are planning a future pregnancy, it is advisable to postpone your breast lift as pregnancy will likely cause further stretching and droop to the breasts.
As with all cosmetic surgery, realistic expectations and emotional stability are important. Though breasts of any size can be lifted, women with smaller breasts enjoy longer lasting results.