Dr. Mukami Gathariki

Mastopexy (Breast Lift)

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.

A breast lift can reduce sagging and raise the position of the nipples and the darker area surrounding the nipples (areolae). The size of the areolae can also be reduced during the procedure to keep them in proportion to the newly shaped breasts.

What you can expect

A breast lift can be done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility. Sometimes the procedure is done with sedation and local anesthesia, which numbs only part of your body. In other cases, general anesthesia — which renders you unconscious — is recommended.

During the procedure

Techniques used to remove breast skin and reshape breast tissue vary. The specific technique your plastic surgeon chooses will determine the location of the incisions and the resulting scars.

Your doctor might make incisions:

  • Around the areolae — the darker area surrounding the nipples
  • Extending downward from the areolae to the breast creases
  • Horizontally along the breast creases

After the procedure

After a breast lift, your breasts will likely be covered with gauze and a surgical support bra. Small tubes might be placed at the incision sites in your breasts to drain any excess blood or fluid.

Your breasts will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. You’ll likely feel pain and soreness around the incisions. 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.

Drainage tubes may be placed near your incisions and are typically removed within a few days. When your doctor removes the tubes, he or she will also probably change or remove your bandages.

Continue to wear the surgical support bra round-the-clock for three or four days. Then you’ll wear a soft support bra for three or four weeks. Your doctor might suggest using silicone tape or gel on your incisions to promote healing.

Results

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.

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