A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a surgical procedure designed to raise and reshape sagging breasts. It is a common cosmetic surgery option for individuals who are unhappy with the positioning and appearance of their breasts due to factors such as aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, and genetics. A breast lift does not significantly change the size of the breasts, but rather focuses on repositioning and reshaping them for a more youthful and lifted appearance.
During a breast lift procedure, excess skin is removed, and the underlying breast tissue is reshaped and tightened to lift the breasts to a higher position on the chest wall. The nipple and areola complex are often repositioned to a more natural location on the newly lifted breasts. In some cases, if a patient desires both a lift and an increase in breast volume, a breast augmentation (implant insertion) might be performed in combination with the lift.
It’s important to note that a breast lift is a surgical procedure and involves some risks, similar to any other surgical intervention. These risks can include infection, scarring, changes in nipple sensation, asymmetry, and dissatisfaction with the cosmetic outcome. Recovery times can vary, but patients are generally advised to avoid strenuous activities and follow post-operative care instructions to ensure optimal healing and results.
Before considering a breast lift, it’s crucial to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who can assess your individual goals, anatomy, and medical history to determine if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. They will also discuss the potential risks, benefits, and expected outcomes to help you make an informed decision about whether a breast lift is the right choice for you.
How long do breast lift last?
The longevity of the results from a breast lift (mastopexy) can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, including individual anatomy, genetics, lifestyle choices, and the quality of surgical technique. While a breast lift can provide long-lasting improvements in breast shape and position, it’s important to understand that the natural aging process and life events can still impact the breasts over time.
Generally, the results of a breast lift are not permanent, as the breasts will continue to be influenced by factors such as gravity, aging, hormonal changes, and weight fluctuations. Over the years following the surgery, the skin and breast tissue will naturally undergo some degree of stretching and sagging, although the overall position and shape should still be better than if the surgery had not been performed.
On average, the results of a breast lift can be expected to last around 5 to 10 years or more. Some individuals may experience longer-lasting results, especially if they maintain a stable weight, practice good skin care, and follow a healthy lifestyle. However, it’s also possible that additional corrective surgery or touch-up procedures might be needed to maintain the desired results as time goes on.
To prolong the results of a breast lift, it’s recommended to:
- Maintain a stable weight: Fluctuations in weight can affect the breast tissue and skin elasticity. Maintaining a stable weight can help prevent additional stretching and sagging.
- Wear a supportive bra: Wearing a well-fitting and supportive bra can help minimize the effects of gravity on the breasts and provide additional lift and comfort.
- Protect the skin: Protect your skin from excessive sun exposure, which can lead to premature aging and loss of skin elasticity.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking can contribute to overall skin health and tissue integrity.
- Consider follow-up procedures: Some individuals may choose to undergo additional surgical procedures or touch-ups as the effects of aging become more noticeable.
It’s important to have realistic expectations about the longevity of breast lift results and to maintain open communication with your plastic surgeon. Regular follow-up appointments and consultations can help you make informed decisions about any further procedures that might be necessary to achieve your desired aesthetic goals.
What does a breast lift consist of?
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure designed to lift and reshape sagging breasts. The specific techniques used in a breast lift can vary depending on the patient’s anatomy, the degree of sagging, and the surgeon’s approach. Here’s a general overview of what a breast lift procedure might consist of:
- Anesthesia: The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia, ensuring that the patient is comfortable and pain-free during the surgery.
- Incision Placement: The surgeon will make carefully planned incisions on the breasts. The type and pattern of incisions depend on the degree of sagging and the desired outcome. Common incision patterns include:
- Anchor Incision: This is the most common incision pattern, involving three incisions: one around the areola, another vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the breast crease, and a third along the natural curve of the breast crease.
- Lollipop Incision: This involves two incisions—a circular one around the areola and a vertical one from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease.
- Donut Incision: Also known as periareolar incision, this involves a single circular incision around the edge of the areola.
- Reshaping and Repositioning: After making the incisions, the surgeon will lift and reshape the underlying breast tissue to achieve a more youthful contour. The nipple and areola complex may be repositioned higher on the breast mound.
- Excess Skin Removal: Excess skin is removed to create a tighter, lifted appearance. This step varies based on the extent of sagging and the chosen incision pattern.
- Areola Reduction (if needed): In some cases, the areola might be too stretched or enlarged. The surgeon can reshape and reduce the size of the areola during the procedure.
- Closing Incisions: After achieving the desired reshaping and lifting, the surgeon will close the incisions using sutures, stitches, or surgical adhesive.
- Post-Surgical Dressings: The incisions are typically covered with sterile dressings, and a supportive surgical bra may be applied to aid in healing and provide support to the newly lifted breasts.
The exact steps of the procedure can vary based on the patient’s individual circumstances and the surgeon’s approach. During the consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your goals, examine your breast anatomy, and discuss the most suitable techniques for your specific case.
Recovery time after a breast lift can also vary, but patients are usually advised to avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks and follow the post-operative care instructions provided by their surgeon to ensure proper healing and optimal results.
How painful is a breast lift?
The level of pain and discomfort experienced during and after a breast lift (mastopexy) can vary from person to person. Pain perception is subjective and can depend on factors such as individual pain tolerance, the specific surgical techniques used, and the person’s overall health. That being said, here’s a general idea of what to expect in terms of pain and discomfort during different phases of the breast lift process:
1. Immediately After Surgery: Most individuals will experience some level of discomfort, tightness, and pain immediately after the surgery due to the surgical trauma and tissue manipulation. It’s common to feel soreness around the incision sites and in the chest area.
2. First Few Days: Pain and discomfort are typically more pronounced during the first few days following the surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to manage this initial post-operative pain. Rest, proper positioning, and limited physical activity are important during this phase.
3. Subsequent Weeks: As the healing progresses, the level of pain and discomfort should gradually decrease. Some individuals might experience more discomfort during activities that engage the chest muscles, such as lifting or reaching. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding limitations on physical activities during this recovery period.
4. Scar Healing: While not typically painful, scar healing can be associated with mild itching and discomfort. It’s important not to scratch or irritate the healing incisions.
It’s worth noting that surgical techniques, such as the incision pattern and the extent of tissue manipulation, can influence the level of post-operative pain. Some patients might find that they need pain medication only for a few days, while others might require it for a slightly longer period.
Your surgeon will provide you with detailed post-operative instructions, including information about pain management, how to care for your incisions, and when to schedule follow-up appointments. It’s important to communicate openly with your surgeon about your pain level and any concerns you might have during the recovery process. If you experience severe or persistent pain, or if you notice any unusual symptoms, it’s important to contact your surgeon promptly.
Remember that while discomfort and pain are part of the recovery process, they are temporary and typically subside as healing progresses. Most individuals find that the long-term benefits of a breast lift—such as improved breast shape and increased self-confidence—outweigh the initial discomfort.
Dr Clara Lee is specializes in aesthetic/cosmetic plastic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body, and is considered one of the best facial plastic surgeons in the world. MD, FACS, is highly qualified and experienced in the field of plastic surgery and aesthetic care and has performed over 10,000 surgical procedures.
Dr. Clara Lee couples his outstanding professional credentials and ethics with a personalized approach to patient care and a keen eye for aesthetic beauty.
Specialties: plastic surgeon, plastic surgery
by Clara Lee
Reviewed by Clara Lee
approved by Dr Clara Lee