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Breast Lift

Your unique beauty,
refreshed and enhanced


Average Stay

1 week

Duration of Hospital Stay

1 day

Duration of Operation

2-4 hours

Type of Anesthesia

General Anesthesia

Recovery Time

2 weeks

Who makes a good candidate for a breast lift?

Most women who have breastfed children benefit from a breast lift procedure. And yes, you can get one no matter the size of your breasts. The surgery is the same.

Ideal candidates for this cosmetic surgery are healthy nonsmokers at a stable weight with sagging, flat, or elongated breasts. Asymmetry, low nipples, and stretched skin are other qualifiers. 

The procedure isn’t meant to make breasts larger or bring them closer together. Women with volume loss often choose to get implants with a breast lift, but it’s not necessary. If you are currently satisfied with the size of your breasts, the breast lift can be the procedure of choice. All it entails is essentially repositioning the nipple, taking some excess skin out, and then reshaping the breast map.

What is a breast lift?

Breast lift surgery also called mastopexy, tightens and removes excess tissue to raise sagging breasts. This popular procedure also restores the areolas to a more perky position, and it may involve areola and nipple reduction.

Breast sagging is one of the most common concerns treated by plastic surgeons. Breasts often sag due to a loss in skin elasticity that's caused by factors like age, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations.

While it doesn't change the size or shape of your breasts, a breast lift is often combined with breast augmentation procedures like breast implants or a breast fat transfer, to restore lost breast volume. 

For those who instead want less fullness, the procedure can be paired with a breast reduction.

What types of breast lifts are there?

Breast lift options include:

Lollipop or vertical lift: An incision is made around the areola, and another incision runs vertically from the bottom of the areola to the inframammary crease, below the breast. Together, it looks like the shape of a lollipop. The majority of mastopexies can be accomplished via a lollipop lift. The advantage of this procedure is a more limited scar and less bottoming out over time.

Anchor lift: Incisions are made around the areola, down to the base of the breast, and along the crease, in the shape of an anchor. This method is ideal for heavy sagging or after significant weight loss. There are some patients with grade-3 ptosis (the most advanced grade of breast droop) that have so much redundant skin that an anchor incision must be added to remove it.

Periareolar, “donut,” or “Benelli” lift: This full-circle incision is made around the outside edge of the areola, and can be used not just for sagging but also for areola reduction. The periareolar ("donut" or Benelli) technique is suitable for the treatment of mild to moderate ptosis (classified as grade I or II). It is also the least invasive form of breast lift. You may find that you won't be able to achieve the results you want with this technique. 

Crescent lift: A crescent-moon-shaped incision is made around part of the areola. This type of lift leaves a minimal scar and heals well. It is best for someone who has some asymmetry between the areolas or only needs a small lift. It’s also recommended for correcting minor sagging or nipple positioning. 

The Bellasoma/Horndeski method: The Horndeski/Bellasoma method does have scars. They are found around the areola and the inframammary crease. They heal very well due to minimal tension on the incisions. Unlike [other methods], the weight of the breast is transferred to the pec major muscle to hold the breast in place for long-term results. The traditional vertical techniques solely rely on the skin envelope to hold breasts in place. There are a limited number of surgeons who have been trained in the Horndeski/Bellasoma method, so it’s not yet widely available.  

At your consultation, your surgeon will examine, measure, and photograph your breasts. Then they will discuss your options, recommend a treatment plan, review risks, and give you an idea of the results you can expect. 

They'll also tell you what kind of incisions and scars to expect from your procedure, and how you can help them heal well.

The appearance of your breast, how much loose extra skin you have, and how far the nipple is below the breast crease (inframammary fold or crease where the breast meets the chest) will determine the type of incision and extent of incisions you will need to reshape your breast and lift it.

How does a breast lift work?

A breast lift is typically an outpatient procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation (so you'll be deeply relaxed and sleepy) or general anesthesia (so you’d be completely numb and asleep). 

Your surgeon will use one of the breast lift techniques described above. As they lift your breast tissue higher on the chest wall, they will layer sutures to support the deep tissue and create your new breast contour. In most cases, they’ll raise your nipple position and may reduce the size of your areolas.

They’ll remove any excess skin before closing the incisions with stitches, tissue adhesive, or surgical tape.

The surgery typically takes two to three hours, and you should be able to go home the same day.

You’ll be groggy from the anesthesia, so make sure you have someone you trust there to drive you home and make sure you're comfortable.

What can you expect during breast lift recovery?

Most breast lift patients are able to head back to an office job after one week of recovery. If your work requires lifting anything over 10 pounds, you may need to take up to a month off while you heal. During that time, you'll also need to avoid lifting small children.

When you first head home from your surgery, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze bandages and supported by a surgical bra. You may also have small surgical drains to prevent fluid buildup.

Your surgeon will likely recommend wearing the surgical bra for three weeks before transitioning to a sports bra for the next three months. This prevents stretching the incisions, helps minimize swelling, and supports the tissue as it heals.

Your breasts will be bruised and swollen for the first few weeks, with swelling peaking around day three. They’ll probably feel heavy and tight.  

Your surgeon will give you aftercare instructions for changing your bandages and cleaning your incisions to prevent infection. They will also let you know when your drains and any stitches can come out at a follow-up appointment. 

Until then, sleep on your back or side, avoid lifting heavy objects, and follow your doctor’s recommendations for when you can go back to your regular routine. You should be able to have sex about six weeks after surgery but some people need longer to heal. Patients tend to do too much too soon, quite frankly, because they’re feeling really good.

When can you go braless after a lift?

You'll need to wear a support bra for several months after your surgery, although the exact amount of time recommended varies from surgeon to surgeon.

Patients wear a bra 24/7 for the first 3 months after a breast lift which discourages them from going braless for any extended period of time. Gravity never takes a vacation.

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