A breast lift — also known as mastopexy is a surgical procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to change the shape of your breasts. During a breast lift, excess skin is removed and breast tissue is reshaped to raise the breasts.
You might choose to have a breast lift if your breasts sag or your nipples point downward. A breast lift might also boost your self-image and self-confidence.
A breast lift won't significantly change the size of your breasts. However, a breast lift can be done in combination with breast augmentation or breast reduction.
Why it's done
As you get older, your breasts change — losing elasticity and firmness. There are many causes for these kinds of breast changes, including:
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the ligaments that support your breasts might stretch as your breasts get fuller and heavier. This stretching might contribute to sagging breasts after pregnancy — whether or not you breast-feed your baby.
- Weight fluctuations. Changes in your weight can cause your breast skin to stretch and lose elasticity.
- Gravity. Over time, gravity causes ligaments in the breasts to stretch and sag.
Before a breast lift you might also need to:
- Schedule a mammogram. Your doctor might recommend a baseline mammogram before the procedure and another mammogram a few months afterward. This will help your medical team see changes in your breast tissue and interpret future mammograms.
- Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery.
- Avoid certain medications. You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
- Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you as you begin to recover. You might need someone to help you with daily activities, such as washing your hair, during your initial recovery.
- Be at a healthy weight. Consider making dietary changes or participating in an exercise program to assist with weight loss if you've gained weight in the past year.
After the procedure
- Your breasts will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. You'll likely feel pain and soreness around the incisions, which will be red or pink for a few months. Numbness in your nipples, areolae and breast skin might last for about six weeks.
- In the first few days after a breast lift, take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. Avoid straining, bending and lifting. Sleep on your back or your side to keep pressure off your breasts.
- Talk to your doctor about when — or if — your stitches will be removed. Some stitches dissolve on their own. Others must be removed in the doctor's office, often one to two weeks after the procedure.
- While you're healing, keep your breasts out of the sun. Afterward, protect your incisions during sun exposure.
You'll notice an immediate change in the appearance of your breasts — although their shape will continue to change and settle over the next few months. Breast lift results might not be permanent. As you age, your skin will naturally become less elastic, and some sagging might occur — especially if you have larger, heavier breasts. Maintaining a stable, healthy weight can help you retain your results