What Is Breast Lift?
A breast lift, also known as the mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgery to restore a more youthful breast contour by correcting the shape, firmness, and size of the breast. Unlike breast augmentation or breast reduction, a breast lift won’t significantly change the breasts’ size, but it can still be performed in combination with them.
A mastopexy procedure can greatly boost your look, self-image, and self-confidence and make bras and swimsuits fit better and more attractively.
There are many reasons women breasts change over time, and typically, there’s not much they can do about it. The most common reasons why the breasts tend to lose elasticity and stiffness are:
- Weight gain or loss,
A breast lift is meant for you if:
- Your breasts sag and have lost shape and volume;
- Your nipples and areolas are pointing downward;
- You have stretched skin and enlarged areolas;
- While not wearing a bra, your nipples fall below the breast crease;
- One of your breasts is hanging lower than the other;
- You want to restore a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and enjoy a beautiful, perky breast shape.
However, there are a few circumstances where you should consider postponing the procedure:
- If you are considering pregnancy. During the pregnancy, your breasts could stretch again and affect or revoke the results of the lift.
- If you are breastfeeding. Although a breast lift typically doesn’t affect breastfeeding, some women have experienced difficulties producing enough milk.
How to Prepare for Breast Lift?
The mastopexy procedure’s preparation starts with a consultation with your plastic surgeon to, first of all, determine whether the breast lift is the best fit for you.
During the initial meeting with the doctor, they will review your medical history, examine your current physical condition, and, depending on the age and genetic risk, ask you to go through a mammogram test. You will also comprehensively discuss the expectations and determine the realistic result of the mastopexy for you.
If you’re cleared for the breast cosmetic surgery, then you’ll also be asked to do the following:
- Limit your alcohol and nicotine consumption to a minimum for two weeks before and after the procedure to prevent slowing down the healing process and make it less likely to get an infection;
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medicines;
- Keep off of certain medications and supplements that contain acetylsalicylic and can increase bleeding (such as anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, and herbal supplements) for at least 14 days before the surgery;
- Avoid preparations that contain hormones (pills, hormonal substitution preparations);
- Arrange for help during the recovery so someone could drive you back home and help you with everyday activities while you are recovering from the surgery.
What to Expect from Breast Lift?
The breast lift surgery is done under general anesthesia, and the whole procedure can take from 1.5 to up to 3.5 hours. The duration depends on the patient’s anatomy, expectations, and the operation technique your surgeon chooses. The specific approach will determine the location of the incisions and the resulting scars.
These are the four most common techniques to choose from:
- Donut – also known as the Benelli and the peri-areolar incision lift, involves an incision made around the areola’s perimeter only. This technique is most suitable for small breasts or breasts with minor ptosis.
- Lollipop – also known as the Vertical technique, leaves a scar around the areola and a vertical one from the areola to the breast crease, forming a lollipop shape. Best suitable for women with moderate or more extensive breast ptosis.
- Horizontal – involves an incision that is again made around the perimeter of the areola and a horizontal incision under the breast. It’s recommended for women with long and narrow breasts.
- Anchor – involves a circular incision around the areola, then one vertically down from the areola to the breast crease, and finally an incision horizontally along the breast crease. This is the most extensive technique, used with a severe degree of sagging.
When the incision technique is chosen, the further steps are:
- The surgeon marks intended incision locations and the nipples’ new locations on the patient’s skin.
- Disinfects the operation area and operation field covering.
- Makes incisions.
- Mammary glands are given a new shape, and the nipples are placed in their new position.
- The skin around the areola will be brought down, incisions will be stitched together, and the new breast is formed. Also, drainage tubes will be placed.
Essential details about the breast lift procedure:
- Surgery duration: 1.5-3.5 hours
- Anesthesia: general
- Hospital stay: 1 night
- Recovery time: several weeks
- Work leave required: 1-2 weeks
Recovery and Results
As usual, the first few days after the procedure are the toughest. Your breasts will be swollen, bruised, and very sensitive for about two weeks. They’re also covered with gauze, and wearing a surgical support bra during the first 3-6 weeks after the surgery is highly recommended. After the operation, narrow drainage tubes might be placed at the incision sites to help any excess fluid and blood move out, but they will be removed during the first few days.
To deal with the pain, pain medications will be prescribed. You can also apply cooling remedies, but it won’t change the fact that the incision areas will be red or pink for a few months. Numbness in your breast skin, areolas, and nipples might last about 1.5 months.
During the recovery, avoid straining, lifting, and bending, limit your daily activities as much as possible, and just rest. It’s recommended to sleep on your back or, in some cases, on your side to keep unnecessary pressure off your breasts.
Consult with your doctor to determine if or when your stitches will be removed (since some of them can dissolve on their own), and when you can return to your daily activities, such as showering, bathing, or even just raising your hands above the shoulder height.
Also, don’t be surprised if you encounter mood swings or emotions like sadness and fear – they are associated with surgery side effects and the anticipation of seeing the results. However, gradually you’ll feel better, and these emotions disappear.
You will get the first impression of your fresh-looking breasts immediately. Despite that, it can take up to 3 to 6 months to see the mastopexy procedure’s final result.
Your surgeon has given their best to hide the incision lines and scars as good as possible, but they will still be visible. However, they can typically be hidden by bras and bathing suits, so most likely, people won’t even notice them.
You might also notice a decrease in your bra size, even if you didn’t have a breast reduction combined with the surgery. This is simply an outcome of your bust becoming rounder and firmer.
Important to know! The breast lift results might not be everlasting, because with the passing of the years, the initial results may naturally degrade simply because your skin becomes less elastic, and your breasts may sag again. This is especially common for women, whose bust is bigger and heavier. However, if there are a wish and need, the breast lift procedure can be repeated. But maintaining a healthy and stable weight can work wonders and decrease the chance of the recurrence of sagging.
Risks and Complications
Compared to other cosmetic procedures, breast lift complications are fortunately rare. However, all surgical procedures pose some degree of risk, so if you opt for the breast lift surgery, take these risks and complications into consideration:
- Anesthesia risks;
- Bleeding or hematoma or seroma formation;
- Poor wound healing or scarring;
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation;
- Allergic reactions;
- Breast asymmetry;
- Breast contour and shape irregularities;
- Damage or death of fatty tissue;
- Potential partial or complete loss of the nipple or areola;
- Unsatisfying results;
- A need for revisional surgery.
But as mentioned before, these complications are infrequent, and most of the women are delighted with the final results. Get in touch with our experts today, and let’s bring those perky breasts back to life!