Bid for Surgery: Breast Lift
||Raise and reshape sagging breasts by
removing excess skin and repositioning remaining tissue and nipples.
||Thick, wide scars; skin loss; infection.
Unevenly positioned nipples. Permanent loss of feeling in nipples or breast
||Temporary bruising, swelling, discomfort,
breast skin. Permanent scars.
||1 to 3 hours.
||Local with sedation, or general.
||Usually outpatient. Sometimes inpatient.
||Back to work: 1 week or more. Strenuous
month. Fading of scars: several months to a year.
||Variable; gravity, pregnancy, aging, and
may cause new sagging. Results may last longer or be
enhanced when breast implants are inserted as part of the procedure.
||Mastopexy is a surgical procedure designed to
lift and reshape breast tissue. Mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola, the
darker skin surrounding the nipple. In some cases, breast implants are used in conjunction
with mastopexy to increase firmness and breast size. A breast lift can restore the shape
of your bustline, enhancing your appearance and self-confidence.
|The best candidates.
||A breast lift can enhance your appearance and
your self-confidence, but it won't necessarily change your looks to match your ideal, or
cause other people to treat you differently. Before you decide to have surgery, think
carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.
The best candidates for mastopexy are healthy, emotionally-stable women who are realistic
about what the surgery can accomplish. The best results are usually achieved in women with
small, sagging breasts. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as
long in heavy breasts.
Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin
and less volume in their breasts. However, if you're planning to have more children, it
may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that
affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn't interfere with
breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results
of the procedure.
|Types of anesthesia
||Breast lifts are usually performed under general
anesthesia, which means you'll sleep through the operation. In selected
patients--particularly when a smaller incision is being made--the surgeon may use local
anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed, and
will feel minimal discomfort.
Your breast lift may be
performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center, or a surgeon's office-based
facility. It's usually done on an outpatient basis, for cost containment and convenience.
If you're admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, you can expect to stay one or two
Breast lifts are usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you'll sleep
through the operation. In selected patients--particularly when a smaller incision is being
made--the surgeon may use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy.
You'll be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort.
Mastopexy usually takes one and a half to three and a half hours. Techniques vary, but the
most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision below the nipple following the
natural contour of the breast.
The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new
location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are
moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and
together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually located around the areola, in a
vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the
Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be
candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure
is the "doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy," in which circular incisions are
made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.
If you're having an implant inserted along with your breast lift, it will be placed in a
pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall.
|Do I have to stay in a
hospital after the surgery?
||This operative procedure can be performed in the
hospital or in an office surgical suite.
|Risk factors, complications, side effects?
||A breast lift is not a simple operation, but
it's normally safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, as with
any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications or a reaction to the
anesthesia. Bleeding and infection following a breast lift are uncommon, but they can
cause scars to widen. You can reduce your risks by closely following your physician's
advice both before and after surgery.
Mastopexy does leave noticeable, permanent scars, although they'll be covered by your bra
or bathing suit. (Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.) The procedure
can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples, or a permanent loss of feeling in
your nipples or breasts.
|How long would recovery take?
||After surgery, you'll wear an elastic bandage or
a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and
uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn't be severe. Any discomfort you do
feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by your surgeon.
Within a few days, the bandages or surgical bra will be replaced by a soft support bra.
You'll need to wear this bra around the clock for three to four weeks, over a layer of
gauze. The stitches will be removed after a week or two.
If your breast skin is very dry following surgery, you can apply a moisturizer several
times a day. Be careful not to tug at your skin in the process, and keep the moisturizer
away from the suture areas.
You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the
swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next
six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally
it may be permanent.
Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a
day or two, don't plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel.
And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks. If you have any unusual
symptoms, don't hesitate to call your
Your surgeon will give you detailed instructions for resuming your normal activities. You
may be instructed to avoid sex for a week or more, and to avoid strenuous sports for about
a month. After that, you can resume these activities slowly. If you become pregnant, the
operation should not affect your ability to breast-feed, since your milk ducts and nipples
will be left intact.
|Would I have a new look?
||Your surgeon will make every effort to make your
scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it's important to remember that mastopexy scars
are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually
become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin
white lines. Fortunately, the scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even
You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won't keep you firm forever--the effects
of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll
again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last
Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you understand the
procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic.
|Cost of this procedure varies with
region from a low of $5,348 to a high of $6,275. This cost includes surgeon's fee,
anesthesia, and facility costs.