Ahmet R. Karaca, MD

Ahmet R. Karaca, MD

If you’re happy with the size of your breasts but wish they appeared higher and firmer, you may benefit from a breast lift. A breast lift can restore a perkier, more youthful appearance to sagging, pendulous breasts, and reverse what gravity, aging, pregnancy and/or breastfeeding have done to your chest. 

Breast Lift Surgery

A mastopexy (breast lift) is a procedure where the nipple is repositioned higher on the chest, and excess skin is removed to reshape and contour sagging breasts. The remaining skin is tightened and sutured to create a lifted and firmer shape. In cases where the breasts severely droop or sag, the patient may opt to undergo a breast augmentation in conjunction with a breast lift to add volume and restore fullness.

Benefits of a Breast Lift

Firmer, shapelier breasts may add a youthful contour to the chest and proportion a patient’s overall figure.  While women with larger, heavier breasts can benefit from a breast lift, the results tend to last longer when performed on those with smaller breasts. This is because breasts that are lighter in weight aren’t pulled down as dramatically over time.  For women where the degree of sagging is mild to moderate, a minimally invasive approach to a breast lift, such as a doughnut mastopexy, may be sufficient for lifting and firming the breasts.

The Breast Lift Procedure

A mastopexy is usually performed under a general anesthetic and requires 2-3 hours to complete. During the procedure,  two to three incisions are made to form an anchor shape around the areola and down the natural contours of the breast. These incisions act as a guide for the new, higher positioning of the nipple and areola, and allow the removal of excess skin and breast tissue. Once these are removed, the remaining skin above the areola is pulled taut around the new position of the nipple, and the incisions are closed to form a firmer, new breast shape.

Breast Lift Recovery

Following the procedure, dressings are placed over the incision and a post-operative bra is prescribed to reduce swelling and support the breasts as they heal. A small, thin drain is placed under the skin to siphon any blood or fluids that may collect in the breast tissue.

The dressings will be removed at a follow-up visit and the patient is permitted to shower within a few days.  A week after the procedure,  the drain is removed and light physical activity may be resumed. Swelling, bruising, and discomfort usually subside within three weeks, at which point the support bra is no longer needed.

Mild to moderate exercise and normal physical activities may be slowly resumed during the healing process.  Any loss of nipple sensation or hypersensitivity in the nipple and areola will gradually improve over time. Within a few months, the incisions will begin to fade, the breasts will settle into a more natural-looking shape, and any discomfort in the back, neck, or shoulders should subside.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is an ideal candidate?

If you’re unhappy with the loss of firmness and projection, or if your breasts have elongated causing your nipples to point downward, a mastopexy may be a viable option. A breast lift is the ideal surgical solution to restore elasticity and eliminate sagging.

Breast lift procedures can be performed at any age, but it is preferred that candidates wait until age 17 when the breasts have fully developed.

Can implants be inserted during a breast lift?

A breast lift does not increase the size of the breasts, so augmentation (implants) is recommended for women who want to completely alter the projection, shape, and size of their breasts.  Combining a breast augmentation with a breast lift is a common practice, and it’s the ideal time to add volume and eliminate the need for any additional procedures.

Can I breastfeed after the surgery?

Breast lift surgery should not inhibit a woman’s ability to breastfeed. However, if you plan to get pregnant in the future, it’s best that you defer your mastopexy until you’ve given birth. Pregnancy and lactation may diminish the outcome of the surgery.

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