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
Insurance and Breast Lifts
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.
After a Breast Lift
Your surgeon will remove the bandages and any drains during your follow-up visit on the first or second day after your breast lift. The doctor will also check the nipple's color and blood supply.
After the operation, expect to be uncomfortable for a few days. Your doctor will usually recommend that you wear a bra or have a special dressing in place to provide the support you will need during your recovery. For the first week, you may need pain medication.
If you've gotten breast implants, be careful to avoid any impact to your chest, which could make the implant rupture.
Within two to three weeks, your surgeon will remove all your stitches. The size and shape of the breast will continue to improve as time passes.
There may be slight differences in symmetry between the two breasts. If so, your plastic surgeon will do a small touch-up procedure to help reposition the nipple as necessary. Minor adjustments can be made later on.
During your recovery, it is very important to limit your activity as directed by your surgeon and to immediately report any side effects or problems you're having. Any surgery has risks, including infection. With breast reduction surgery, permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breast skin is very rare.
Will I Need a Lift if I Have My Breast Implants Removed?
Perhaps. Surgeons sometimes do a breast lift after removing an implant.
Will I Ever Need Another Breast Lift?
It's possible. In time, some women choose to get a repeat breast lift as a “touch-up” procedure to improve the overall look of their breasts. But a full-length procedure will usually not be required.