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Breast Lift Surgery

If you're considering a surgical breast lift, one way to see if it might help you is to put a pencil under your breast and see if it stays there. If it does, a breast lift might be an option.

The most common breast lift operation, called mastopexy, repositions the nipple higher on the chest wall. Women usually get this procedure on an outpatient basis, meaning there's no overnight stay. It takes about three hours and is usually done under general anesthesia.  

Some women also get breast implants at the same time as their breast lift.

Your surgeon should describe your options and explain the procedure in detail.

Age and Breastfeeding

You can get a breast lift at any age after your breasts have finished developing. You can also get one before or after you are pregnant. You will still be able to breast feed after a breast lift.

Insurance and Breast Lifts

Most breast lifts are considered cosmetic surgeries. Health insurance companies usually don't cover them unless they are done as part of a mastectomy reconstruction.

Check with your health insurance company in advance so you're clear on what costs you'll need to pay.

Getting Ready for the Surgery

The first step is to consult with a plastic surgeon. When you do, tell the surgeon what your goals are. If you're also getting breast implants, bring photos showing the size and shape of the breasts you'd like.

The surgeon will consider your health and describe your options. The surgeon should also explain the procedure in detail and go over the risks and what the recovery will be like.

Complications after breast lifts are relatively rare. The main three are bleeding, infection, and scarring. Your surgeon will give you instructions for preparing that will help lower your risk of complications. Those instructions will include such things as not smoking, making sure you are off medications that may make bleeding more likely, and taking antibiotics if necessary.

You should also start planning for the recovery period. For instance, you will have to avoid heavy lifting for at least 4 to 6 weeks after your breast lift. If you have young children, you may need to line up help.

Getting the Breast Lift

You'll get your breast lift in a hospital setting, an outpatient surgery center, or the doctor’s personal operating room. You will meet with the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and nursing staff prior to the procedure.

The surgeon will mark the proper position where your nipple will go. After that, you'll be brought to the operating room where you'll get general anesthesia or sedation.

The surgeon will remove extra skin and lift your breast tissue up into the proper location. If you're getting implants, the surgeon will insert them and then close and bandage your breasts. You may have tiny drains in your breasts for 24 to 48 hours.

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