A breast lift, or mastopexy, is cosmetic breast surgery to lift the breasts. The surgery may also involve changing the position of the areola and nipple.
Cosmetic breast surgery 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 cuts in your breast. Your surgeon will remove extra skin and may move your nipple and areola.
Sometimes, women have breast augmentation (enlargement) when they have a breast lift.
Cosmetic breast surgery is surgery you choose to have. You do not need it for medical reasons.
Women usually have breast lifts to lift sagging, loose breasts. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and normal aging all may cause a woman to have stretched skin and decreased breast volume.
You should probably wait to have a breast lift if you are:
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.
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for breast surgery are:
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.
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:
During the days before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
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.
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 hidden from view. Your scars will generally not be noticeable, even in low-cut clothing. Surgical cuts 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.
Mastopexy; Breast lift with reduction; Breast lift with augmentation
Burns JL, Blackwell SJ. Plastic surgery. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 73.
Updated by: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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