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Breast Lifting Surgery


Breast Lifting Surgery

A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, raises the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. New statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show breast lifts have grown 70% since 2000, outpacing breast implants 2-to-1. Sometimes the areola becomes enlarged over time, and a breast lift will reduce this as well. A breast lift can rejuvenate your figure with a breast profile that is more youthful and uplifted. A woman's breasts often change over time, losing their youthful shape and firmness.

These changes and loss of skin elasticity can result from:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Aging
  • Gravity
  • Heredity

What breast lift surgery can't do

Breast lift surgery does not significantly change the size of your breasts or round out the upper part of your breast.If you want your breasts to look fuller, consider breast lift and breast augmentation surgery. If you want smaller breasts, consider combining breast lift and breast reduction surgery.

Case Study

In preparing for breast lift surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Get a baseline mammogram before surgery and another one after surgery to help detect any future changes in your breast tissue
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Breast lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.


During your breast lift consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Your surgical goals
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
  • Previous surgeries
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer
  • The results of any mammograms or previous biopsies


Your surgeon may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Examine your breasts and may take detailed measurements of their size and shape, skin quality and placement of your nipples and areolas
  • Take photographs
  • Discuss your options
  • Recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of breast lift surgery and any risks or potential complications
  • Discuss the use of anesthesia during your breast lift

Be sure to ask questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your breast lift surgeonthat you can take with you to your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your breast lift procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.


The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal, and you'll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of breast lift surgery are acceptable. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any breast lift risks and potential complications. Breast lift risks include:

Possible breast augmentation surgery risks include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding or hematoma formation
  • Infection
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all of your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.

    Breast lift and breast implant placement

    Some women may want to consider placement of a breast implant in addition to the breast lift. An implant can provide improved upper breast fullness or cleavage. Implants can be placed at the same time or as a second procedure, depending on the experience of the surgeon.


    Frequently Asked Questions About This Procedure

    What should I expect during breast lift surgery? How long does the procedure take?
    Although there are variations as to how this procedure can be performed; typically, breast tissue is removed and the areola repositioned to a higher position upon the breast. Often, because tissue is removed, breast implant will be used to enhance the size and shape of the breasts. The procedure can take one to three hours to complete, depending on the method being used.

    Where will the surgery most likely take place?
    Usually the procedure is performed in a surgical suite.

    What is the recovery period like? When can I return to work and strenuous activity?
    The first few days are the most painful, but discomfort can easily be controlled with pain medications and will soon decrease. After about two weeks patients can return to work (if no heavy lifting is involved). Numbness and bruising may persist for several weeks.

    What risks and side effects are associated with mastopexy?
    Some of the risks and side effects associated with breast lift surgery include infection, negative reaction to anesthesia, prominent scarring, uneven nipples, and breast asymmetry.

    What are the concentric (doughnut) and anchor-shaped breast lift techniques?
    The concentric or “doughnut” breast lift is generally performed on women with smaller breasts. It involves removing a circular shaped piece of skin and repositioning the breasts. The anchor-shaped method is similar but removes a greater amount of breast tissue in an anchor shape.

    What is the ‘profile’ of an implant?
    ‘Profile’ refers to how far the implant will stand out. There are a variety of different profiles designed for different women and the looks they want to achieve. High and extra high are the largest, while medium and low are more subtle. Your surgeon will advise you which profile will best suit your breasts.

    Is mastopexy a painful procedure? Is there noticeable scarring?
    The first day after surgery you will feel some pain, but pain medication will help to reduce discomfort. Over the course of a few days, the pain will subside. Scarring is noticeable with breast lift surgery; however, most patients report that the results are often worth the scars.

    How much does a breast lift cost? Do I have insurance coverage or financing options?
    In 2007, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reported that the national average cost of breast lift surgery was $4,341. That accounts for physician/surgeon fees only and doesn’t not represent the price of the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical test, and other related costs. Unfortunately, insurance companies may not cover breast lift surgery. In that case, patient financing is available such as loans and payment plans.

    What is the long-term outcome like? How long do the results last?
    Breast lift results are permanent but the natural aging process, pregnancy/breastfeeding, and weight loss can cause the breasts to sag once again.