Also known as a mastopexy, a breast lift is surgical procedure performed to raise and reshape the breasts. The breasts are elevated on the chest, which involves lifting the nipple and the areola to a higher position. A breast lift is ideal for patients who are happy with the size of their breasts but not with their present position or sagging appearance. As one patient put it during her consultation, “The girls aren’t happy.”
In the Pre-op Area
Just prior to surgery, the patient is placed in a standing position for marking of the incisions. It is best not to have any lotion or creams on your skin at this time as the marking pens won’t work very well and the markings may get removed during the skin preparation for sterilization. This is your last opportunity to discuss your desires with your surgeon and to emphasize what you are trying to accomplish, so take advantage of it. Examples include, “Make me a little smaller,” “Try not to make me smaller,” “Please make my areola’s smaller,” or “Take out that extra skin under my arms.”
Different Types of Breast Lifts
This surgery is normally performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. There are several types of breast lift surgeries, from the very small to standard procedures. The smallest of the breast lift procedures include the removal of small amounts of skin in the shape of a quarter moon from above the areola. As a result, the nipples are lifted slightly but there is little, if any, in the actual shape of the breasts. Larger procedures involve the removal of a donut shape of skin, which results in the lifting of the nipple and areola slightly higher, but this technique doesn’t elevate the entire breast. Lastly, a standard breast lift procedure removes skin from the lower part of the breasts and repositions the nipples and the breasts to a higher position on the chest. Generally, a considerable amount of skin is removed which often includes the outer portion of the areola in order to make it smaller when necessary. There are modifications on each of the above procedures to make them slightly more or less extensive.
For patients who opt to undergo breast lift surgery without combining it with any other procedure such as inserting breast implants or a tummy tuck, the recovery time is usually minimal. Since a breast lift is primarily a skin operation involving little, if any work on the breast tissue and no work on the chest muscle, most patients experience minimal amounts of discomfort during recovery. Even if a minor breast reduction is done at the same time, there is typically relatively pain or discomfort. They can get back to work within a few days. For full activities, it might take around a week or two depending on the size of the breasts and the extent of the surgery.
It is not uncommon for a woman’s breasts to be different in size or shape. Sometimes one breast needs to be enlarged with an implant or one needs to be reduced in the form of a breast reduction. In addition, one breast may require more of a lift than the other to create as much symmetry as possible.