Breast lift, also called Mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure done to change the shape of the sagging breasts and raise the position of the nipples and areolas to a more aesthetically pleasing position. The excess breast skin is removed, whereas the underlying connective and fat tissue are shaped and repositioned to give the breast more firmness and a more youthful appearance. A breast lift may be done concurrently with a breast augmentation or breast reduction surgery to change the size of the breasts also.

Why is it done?

Breast lift is usually done to address one of the following reasons-

  • Sagging breasts
  • Nipples fall below the breast creases
  • Nipples or areolas point downwards
  • Areolas are disproportionately large for the breast
  • One of the breasts falls lower than the other.

Aging, pregnancy, fluctuations in weight, and gravity can lead to the above changes in breasts. Breasts lose their elasticity and firmness over time which can be corrected with a breast lift.

It is usually possible to breastfeed after a breast lift surgery, but some women may have difficulty.

The results of breast lift are longer-lasting in individuals with smaller sagging breasts, since larger breasts are heavier and more likely to sag again.

Before procedure

  • One should be in good physical and mental health before going for a breast lift procedure. 
  • A detailed medical and medicinal history is recorded. Shape, size, and other details of the breasts may be recorded. Any history of breast cancer in the family and results of previous mammograms or biopsies should be disclosed.
  • A discussion about expectations and likely outcomes of the procedure is discussed.
  • A scheduled mammogram is done before the procedure and a few months later to see breast tissue changes.
  • Individuals undergoing surgery need to stop smoking prior to the procedure and maintain a healthy weight for the best result.
  • Any medication or supplement should be disclosed to the surgeon to be altered if needed. Blood thinners like Aspirin need to be stopped.

During procedure 

  • A breast lift is generally performed under general anaesthesia .The procedure takes about 3 to 4 hours.
  • The incision and resulting scars are permanent, although they fade over time. 
  • There are three techniques to perform this procedure, depending on what outcome is expected – 
  • Around the areolas
  • Extending downward from the areolae to the breast creases
  • Horizontally along the breast creases.
  • The breast tissue is reshaped and the size of the areola is reduced (if needed). The excess skin is removed, and the nipples are raised to a higher position.
  • The incisions are sutured, and a surgical dressing, surgical tape, or skin adhesives is placed. It is advised to wear a surgical support bra for 6 weeks.

After procedure 

  • There is swelling, bruising, and numbness for 2 weeks. There is an immediate change in the appearance of the breasts, but they continue to change and settle in a few months.
  • A follow-up appointment is usually scheduled after 4 days and  2 weeks to remove the sutures and review the results of the procedure.
  • Avoid straining, bending, lifting, combing hair, etc., for a few days. Avoid sexual activities for 2 weeks.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise/aerobics/weight lifting for 4 weeks
  • The surgical support bra should be worn around-the-clock for 3-4 weeks.
  • Pain medication is prescribed to help with the pain and tenderness.

Risks & complications

  • Scars are permanent and can sometimes get thick and wide instead of fading with time.
  • Sensation in the nipple and breast generally returns in a few weeks, but sometimes it might be lost permanently. Erotic sensation is not affected.
  • During the unexpected nature of the healing, there might be some irregularity and asymmetry in the shape and size of the breasts.
  • If the blood supply to the nipple and areola is disturbed during the procedure, it may lead to partial or complete loss of the nipple and the areola.
  • Excess bleeding, infection, and anaesthesia-related risks can also occur.

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