Also known as a mastopexy, a breast lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure which involves elevating and shaping the breasts into a more youthful position and contour. In this procedure, the breasts are lifted on the chest itself, resulting in repositioning of the nipple and areola to a higher location; often reducing the size of the areola which frequently stretches out with age and pregnancy.
Just like many other aesthetic surgeries, a breast lift is performed under anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. There are several different types of breast lift surgeries. Some lift procedures are small in extent and primarily involve the removal of a small amount of skin above the areola. The shape of the removed skin is a crescent, similar to a quarter moon. As a result, the nipple is just slightly lifted. A somewhat larger breast lift procedure removes a donut shaped piece of skin from around the areola so that the scar runs around its edge. Even though this removal of skin lifts the nipple slightly higher, it doesn’t lift the entire breast. A standard breast lift surgery involves the removal of skin from the lower part of the breast, which results in the relocation of the nipple to a higher position.
The recovery from a breast lift is usually fairly short and easy. Since a breast lift is primarily a skin operation, surgeons perform the majority of work above most of the breast tissue and nothing is done to the chest muscle. As a result, most patients experience a minimal amount of discomfort. Most patients have relatively little pain and take few, if any of the prescribed pain medication. The majority of patients say that feel ‘sore’ after surgery, but not bad enough to take narcotics. If a breast lift is combined with another procedure such as a tummy tuck or breast implants, there is more pain involved and the recovery is longer. Breast lift only patients can go back to work within a few days and they can return to almost full activity in about a week.
Much of the results achieved through a breast lift can be permanent given that the patient will not go through breast feeing again or not likely lose a significant amount of weight following the surgery. Even though patients can experience some sagging over time, it will rarely go back to the pre-surgery state.
Some patients have the misconception that breast implants will provide them with a lift. Although it is possible for implants to provide a very small lift, any patient who is really concerned about sagging of their breasts will not get enough of a lift to make a significant difference.
Even though a relatively small volume of skin is removed during a mastopexy, many patients feel that their breasts are smaller as a result of the surgery. It is not unusual for implants to be placed at the same time as a breast lift in those patients who would like to be a little larger or who want that superior pole breast fullness to persist for years after their surgery.