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Diseases reference index «Breast lift»

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is cosmetic breast surgery to lift the breasts.

Description

Cosmetic breast surgery is surgery you choose to have. You do not need it for medical reasons. It can be done at an outpatient surgery clinic or in a hospital.

You will probably receive general anesthesia before this procedure. This will make you unconscious and unable to feel pain. Or, you may receive medicine to help you relax and local anesthesia to numb the area around the breasts to block pain. You will be awake but unable to feel pain.

Your surgeon will make 1 to 3 surgical incisions (cuts) in your breast. Your surgeon will remove extra skin and may reposition your nipple and areola.

Sometimes, women have breast augmentation (enlargement) when they have a breast lift.

Why the Procedure is Performed

Women usually have breast lifts to lift sagging, loose breasts. This surgery is best for are women who have stretched skin and decreased breast volume caused by aging. You should not have a breast lift if you are planning to lose weight or are pregnant or still nursing a child.

Talk with a plastic surgeon if you are considering cosmetic breast surgery. Discuss how you expect to look and feel better. Keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection.

Breast lift procedure steps

What happens during breast lift surgery? Your mastopexy surgery can be achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for you will be determined based on:

  • Breast size and shape
  • The size and position of your areolas
  • The degree of breast sagging
  • Skin quality and elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin
Step 1 - Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during breast lift surgery. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 - The incision

There are three common incision patterns:

Around the areola

Breast lift Breast lift

Around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease

Breast lift Breast lift

Around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease

Breast lift Breast lift

Step 3 - Reshaping your breasts

After your doctor makes the incisions:

  • The underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness.
  • The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height.
  • If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter.
  • Excess breast skin is removed to compensate for a loss of elasticity.

After your breasts are reshaped and excess skin is removed, the remaining skin is tightened as the incisions are closed.

Some incision lines resulting from breast lifts are concealed in the natural breast contours; however, others are visible on the breast surface. Incision lines are permanent, but in most cases will fade and significantly improve over time.

Sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts. Sutures, skin adhesives and/or surgical tape may be used to close the skin.

Step 5 - See the results

The results of your breast lift surgery are immediately visible. Over time, post-surgical swelling will resolve and incision lines will fade.

Satisfaction with your new image should continue to grow as you recover and realize the fulfillment of your goal for breasts which have been restored to a more youthful and uplifted position.

Risks

Risks for any surgery are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Risks for any anesthesia are:

  • Reactions to medicines
  • Breathing problems, such as pneumonia
  • Heart problems

Risks for breast surgery are:

  • Inability to nurse a baby after surgery
  • Large scars that take a long time to heal
  • Uneven position of the nipples

The emotional risks of surgery may include feeling that your breasts don't look perfect, or you may be disappointed with people's reactions to your “new” breasts.

Before the Procedure

If you smoke, you must stop. Women who smoke after breast surgery have a higher risk for delayed wound (incision) healing, infection, and scarring. You must even avoid breathing in secondhand smoke.

Always tell your doctor or nurse:

  • If you are or could be pregnant
  • What drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription

During the days before your surgery:

  • You may need to have mammograms or breast x-rays before surgery. Your plastic surgeon will do a routine breast exam.
  • Several days before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of surgery.
  • You may need to fill prescriptions for pain medicines before surgery.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and help you around your house for 1 or 2 days.

On the day of your surgery:

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Wear or bring loose clothing that buttons or zips in front.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the clinic or hospital.

After the Procedure

After you have a breast lift, a bulky gauze dressing (bandage) will be wrapped around your breasts and chest, or you might wear a surgical bra. Drainage tubes may be attached to your breasts. These will be removed within 3 days.

Schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor. Your doctor will want to check your healing, remove sutures (stitches), and discuss special exercises or massaging techniques with you.

Outlook (Prognosis)

You are likely to have a very good outcome from breast surgery. You may feel better about your appearance and yourself. You may need to wear a special supportive bra for a few months to reshape your breasts.

Scars are permanent and often remain very visible for a year after surgery. After a year they fade some. Your surgeon will try to place the cuts so that scars are as hidden as possible. Your scars should not be noticeable, even in low-cut clothing. Incisions are usually made on the underside of the breast.

Normal aging, pregnancy, and changes in your weight may all cause your breasts to sag again.

How much will a breast lift cost?

Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Breast lift prices can vary widely. A surgeon?s cost for breast lift may vary based on his or her experience as well as geographic location.

Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

The cost of breast lift surgery may include:

  • Surgeon?s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medical tests

Most health insurance plans will not cover breast lift surgery, related complications or another surgery to revise the appearance of your breasts. You must carefully review your health insurance policy.

Alternative Names

Mastopexy; Breast lift with reduction; Breast lift with augmentation

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