Breast Lift Overview
For sagging breasts, a breast lift (or mastopexy) can help lift and restore a youthful look. Breast sagging, also known as breast ptosis, can affect women differently, ranging from mild or moderate to severe. A plastic surgeon at MedStar Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery can evaluate your condition and determine the most desirable technique for lifting the breasts.
A typical breast lift involves incisions around the nipple and on the lower part of the breasts, which allow the surgeon to remove skin and tighten tissue. These techniques result in elevated, reshaped breasts.
Planning and Recovery
What to Expect
You and your doctor will discuss in detail the technique that’s best suited to your body and goals.
On the day of the procedure, you’ll receive general anesthesia through an IV. Your doctor will make incisions designed to minimize visual scarring. Depending on the technique, these may be:
- around the areola
- around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease
- around the areola, vertically down to the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease
After the incisions are made, your doctor will lift and reshape the breast tissue and reposition the nipple and areola higher up on your breast. If areolas are enlarged, your doctor can remove excess skin. He or she will also remove excess skin as needed to improve contour, firmness, and compensate for lost elasticity. The incision will be closed with sutures, skin adhesive, and/or surgical tape.
Recovery After Breast Lift Surgery
After the procedure, your breasts will be wrapped in gauze with a support garment to help minimize swelling and support your breasts during the healing process. A tube may be inserted under the skin to help drain any excess blood or fluid. You’ll typically return home after recovering for a few hours.
After returning home, you’ll wear your support garment and follow your doctor’s instructions for prescribed medications. You’ll need to take it easy during the initial healing process to prevent bleeding and pain. While pain typically subsides within the first week, you may have soreness, itchiness, and swelling for a few weeks after surgery. Your doctor will advise you on when to resume normal activity and exercise, and it’s important to follow these instructions even if you feel up to doing more. Your scars, while permanent, will fade over time. Depending on the technique, some scars will be hidden in natural creases, while others may be more visible.
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Frequently Asked Questions
You may be a good candidate if:
The costs for a breast lift will vary based on the type of procedure and your specific needs. Most insurance plans do not cover breast lifts.
When you come in for your consultation visit, we’ll be better able to discuss fees in detail with you. Our staff will also review the financing options available.
If you’re exploring options for insurance coverage, you may need to request a referral from your primary care doctor, depending on your health insurance plan. Check with your carrier to see if medical coverage is an option for you and, if so, whether a referral is required.
As with any surgery, a breast lift does pose some risks. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, risks include:
In addition to these risks, you should be aware that a breast lift generally does not last a lifetime. Pregnancy, changes in weight, and aging can affect breast appearance. Over time, your breasts will begin to sag again, but likely not as severe as they would have without the breast lift procedure.
Before surgery, you may be asked to get blood tests and take or adjust medications. If you smoke, quitting will help you heal faster and better avoid complications.
You’ll also need to arrange for transportation to and from the procedure on the day of surgery, and for someone to stay with you the night after the surgery.