As we age, our skin begins to lose some of its natural elasticity. As a result, many women will notice a change in the appearance in their breasts. For women with smaller breasts, this change may be subtle, as their breasts begin to droop slightly downward. For women with larger breasts, however, their breasts may begin to sag and alter in shape significantly.
Fortunately, plastic surgery offers a potentially ideal solution in the form of breast lift surgery. Breast lift allows women to achieve more sensuous contours by elevating sagging breasts and giving them a perkier, more youthful projection. Women generally emerge from surgery looking younger and fitter and feeling more attractive and confident. Breast lift is an excellent option for any woman whose breasts have begun to droop; however, it is a particularly popular among mothers who wish to regain their pre-pregnancy figures, often as part of a comprehensive "mommy makeover" plan.
Breast lift should not be confused with breast reduction. While the goal of the latter is to make disproportionately large and heavy breasts smaller and lighter, the goal of breast lift surgery is simply to return breasts that have lost their youthful profile to a more flattering position on the chest. In fact, many women choose to combine breast lift with breast augmentation with implants in order to elevate and enlarge their breasts simultaneously. Whatever your personal goals, you will want to entrust your breast lift surgery to a plastic surgery with the experience and skills to customize your procedure to your satisfaction.
If your breasts have lost volume and elasticity, you may wonder whether breast lift surgery can help. Women often seek a breast lift after experiencing significant weight loss, pregnancy, or aging, which can all cause breasts to sag. Mastopexy can have enormous benefits for your appearance and quality of life, although it is not right for everyone. At your initial consultation, your doctor will determine whether you are a good candidate for a breast lift.
Ideal breast lift candidates are women in good health who are seeking a remedy for drooping breasts. It is important to have realistic expectations about the results of breast lift surgery. Although a breast lift can be performed on any size of breasts, women with smaller breasts typically enjoy the greatest benefits.
In general, mastopexy candidates should:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have drooping breasts (breasts with stretched skin and less volume than in the past).
- Be physically healthy and emotionally stable.
- Not be pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Not be planning to become pregnant.
- Be at a stable weight with no plans for major weight loss.
Breast Lift after Pregnancy
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are two of the most common causes of drooping breasts. Therefore, many women begin to consider a breast lift after they have children. Most doctors recommend that you postpone mastopexy until after you have finished having children. Although breast lift surgery will not hinder you from becoming pregnant, future pregnancies could alter your results and cause your skin to stretch further. By waiting to have a mastopexy, you are more likely to extend the results of your surgery.
Breast Lift after Massive Weight Loss
Massive weight loss can give you a new lease on life. However, because excess weight will stretch your skin, weight loss can also leave you with drooping breasts. Once you have achieved your goal weight (or have come close to it), a breast lift can restore firmness and the shape of your breasts. To avoid a second surgery, you should postpone mastopexy if you plan to lose further weight.
After sizeable weight loss, you may have excess skin across other areas of your body. In addition to a breast lift, you may want to discuss additional body sculpting procedures with your surgeon. These could include a tummy tuck, thigh lift, arm lift, or even a full body lift.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS), the average cost of a breast lift is $4,207.  This number does not include anesthesia or operating room fees. The total cost of your treatment will depend on your individual needs and goals. A number of factors will influence the final total of your procedure.
- Complexity of your surgery: If you have smaller breasts with a moderate degree of sagging, your procedure will typically fall on the lower end of the price spectrum. If you have unusually large or severely sagging breasts, your surgery will take longer, and your doctor may need to use advanced techniques. Therefore, costs will typically be higher.
- Surgeon's experience: A doctor who has advanced training, years of experience, and/or a stellar reputation will typically charge more than a less experienced surgeon. Remember that a breast lift is an investment in your appearance and future. You may be willing to pay slightly higher costs to ensure your safety and superior cosmetic results.
- Geographic location: Health care costs, like most things, vary from region to region. Typically, if the cost of living is higher in your area, your breast lift will cost more than it would elsewhere.
- Operating facilities: In most cases, breasts lifts are outpatient procedures. Typically, your surgery will cost more if it takes place at a hospital, rather than an ambulatory surgical center. Nevertheless, hospitals can more effectively ensure your safety in the unlikely event of complications. Therefore, you may be willing to foot a slightly higher bill to enjoy this added peace of mind. In rare cases, breast lift patients stay overnight in the hospital. If you choose this option, it will add to your final costs.
Cost of a Breast Lift Combined with Additional Treatment
The average cost listed above is for a breast lift only. If you choose to combine your mastopexy with another procedure, it will add to the final cost. Like many patients, you may want to receive implants during your breast lift. On average, this will add $1,000 to the total cost of your treatment. Again, however, prices will vary. For example, silicone implants cost more than saline implants.
You could also combine body sculpting procedures to enhance your overall figure, particularly after pregnancy or weight loss. Treatments such as tummy tucks, butt lifts, and thigh lifts will have similarly fluctuating prices.
In most cases, breast lifts are considered elective treatments, performed primarily for cosmetic purposes. Therefore, insurance does not typically cover the cost of mastopexy. In rare cases, if your severely sagging breasts cause physical discomfort or inhibit your activities, insurance may fund all or part of your treatment. Your doctor's administrative team can check with your insurance company and file any needed paperwork.
Medical financing companies such as Compassionate Finance® exist solely to help patients fund elective medical procedures. In most cases, it is free to apply, and you can get approved within minutes. Often, medical lenders offer fixed and low-interest plans. Some even provide no-interest financing, if your balance is paid in full within a certain time frame. Your doctor's patient coordinator or office team can explain more about medical financing companies, as well as other lenders in your area.
Get financed for breast augmentation surgery today with Compassionate Finance
Many doctors also offer their own financing options. You may be able to set up a monthly repayment plan, tailored to your budget. Some practitioners also offer discounts if you pay for your breast lift upfront. These repayment plans will vary from practice to practice, but you should inquire about financing when you are choosing a doctor.
How to Choose a Surgeon
A breast lift can have a dramatic effect on your appearance for years to come. Therefore, it is important to choose a surgeon who will deliver stunning results, tailored to your needs and goals. Selecting the right surgeon can be a daunting task. However, there are certain criteria to look out for. Additionally, DocShop's handy search tool can help you find a qualified physician in your area.
To ensure your safety, you should always choose a doctor who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To earn this accreditation, a doctor must have three to five years of medical training, with at least two of those years dedicated to plastic surgery. To maintain this status, they must pursue ongoing training and take new exams every ten years. Thanks to this rigorous process, when you choose a board certified doctor, you will know that he or she is fully versed in the latest techniques and safety protocols. It is also vital that you choose a doctor who licensed by your state's medical board.
Although not essential, you may want to look for other memberships and accreditations, which can indicate that a doctor has extensive training and is highly respected in the medical community. These recognitions could include membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, participation in community outreach programs, and various local honors.
In addition to checking a doctor's accreditation, look to see if the surgical facility is certified, as well. If a doctor does not operate at a hospital, his or her surgical center should be certified by the American Associations for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Centers. This accreditation will indicate that the facility is completely up to date and follows proper safety protocol.
Experience and Reputation
There are thousands of outstanding plastic surgeons practicing today, but not every one of them will be a good choice for a breast lift surgery. To ensure good results, you should select a doctor who performs mastopexy on a regular basis. If you are interested in a particular technique or technology, look for a surgeon with experience in this area. Your primary care physician may be able to give you a referral. You might also ask for recommendations from friends and relatives who have undergone a breast lift.
Every state is legally required to provide copies of its records to the general public. When you have narrowed your search, obtain copies of these records. Check to see if a physician has had a high number of complaints or malpractice suits. In most cases, you can access medical records online, although in some states they may only be available through the mail.
Although many breast lift surgeries take place at ambulatory centers, you should only choose a doctor who has privileges at a local hospital. Complications are rare, but if they do arise, you will want access to emergency care. Additionally, hospitals will only award privileges to qualified physicians who follow proper safety and ethical protocol. Choosing a doctor with these privileges can put you at ease, knowing you are in competent hands.
Most cosmetic surgeons have galleries of past patients and their treatment results. You should closely examine these "Before and After" photos before making your final choice. Make sure the results look natural, and ask yourself if you would be happy with a similar outcome. Additionally, make sure that the photos are fully lit and taken from different angles.
A breast lift is a personal journey, so it is essential that you work with a physician who respects you and makes you feel at ease. Talk to several qualified surgeons about your procedure. Then choose the doctor who makes you feel comfortable, truly listens to your needs, and customizes your treatment according to your goals. Never choose someone who pushes his or her best interests or pressures you to undergo treatment you do not want.
The Initial Consultation
Once you have chosen a surgeon to perform your breast lift, you will attend a pre-operative consultation to discuss your surgery. First your doctor will conduct a thorough exam to determine whether you are a candidate for treatment. He will take your health history to make sure you are not at a high risk for complications. You should come to the consultation with a full list of your current medications so that your doctor can make a fully informed decision.
Your surgeon will also examine your skin elasticity and the position of your breasts on your chest. By observing how far your breasts droop and the position of your nipples in relation to the rest of your breast tissue, he or she can decide how much of a lift you require. Finally, your doctor will measure and observe your overall body type to ensure a proportionate and natural-looking figure.
Planning Your Surgery
During this consultation you will also discuss which surgical techniques will most effectively achieve your goals. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions you may have about the breast lift procedure. For the best results, it is important to be honest about your expectations and goals. Among other things, you will discuss:
- The technique your doctor will use
- The type of anesthesia you will receive
- Where your surgery will take place
- What you should do to prepare
- What you can expect during your recovery
If you choose to receive breast implants in conjunction with your mastopexy, your doctor will also discuss your various options. He or she will explain the differences between saline, silicone, and silicone gel implants. Together, you will choose the optimal material for your needs, and you will select the right shape and size for your figure.
Breast Lift Techniques
Your surgeon will select one of several breast lift techniques. The techniques vary according to the incision pattern used. Your doctor will explain the various choices, and you will select the one that meets your needs and goals. Among other things, you and your doctor will consider the size of your breasts, the extent to which they are sagging, your skin quality, and whether you are going to receive implants in conjunction with your breast lift.
When performing breast lift surgery, doctors have traditionally used standard anchor-shaped incisions. This technique involves the creation of an incision around the border of the areola, a second vertical incision down to the base of the breast, and a third horizontal incision along the breast crease. The anchor incision technique will leave some permanent scarring. Nevertheless, the standard anchor technique has been proven to reduce sagging and droopiness on the lower half of the breast. In this way, the procedure can give you an overall perkier and more youthful figure. Most women are suitable candidates for this procedure, although women with smaller breasts will be the best candidates.
"Doughnut mastopexy" involves less skin removal than an anchor incision breast lift. Therefore, it will result in a significantly faster recovery time and minimal scarring. To perform this type of breast lift, your doctor will create circumferential incisions around your nipple and areola. In this way, he or she can remove limited amount of tissue. If you have stretched or misshapen areolas, your doctor can also reshape and resize these areas. It is important to note that the doughnut technique may not be the optimal choice if you have larger breasts.
The "lollipop breast lift" falls midway between a standard breast lift and a doughnut mastopexy. To perform this technique, also known as vertical mastopexy, your doctor will create an in incision around your nipple and areola. A smaller incision will run down to your breast crease. This technique typically works well if you need a moderate lift. It results in less scarring than an anchor pattern, but it gives your doctor greater flexibility than he or she would have during a doughnut mastopexy.
Laser Bra Lift
The laser bra breast lift is an exciting new alternative to traditional mastopexy. It provides a longer-lasting solution for patients with sagging breasts. A laser breast lift uses the same laser technology that doctors have used for years in facial plastic surgery. During a traditional breast lift surgery, your doctor will simply eliminate the excess skin. With a state-of-the-art laser bra breast lift, your doctor will use the excess skin to add support to the underside of your breasts. Most women of all breast sizes are candidates for this technique.
Breast Lift with Implants
Along with stretched skin, you may have lost volume in your breasts. In these cases, a mastopexy with augmentation may produce better results than a breast lift alone.
Choosing Your Implants
If you decide to combine the treatments, your doctor will create a comprehensive treatment plan just for you. Before your treatment, he or she will explain the various types of implants and help you choose the right one for your needs. Your options include:
- Saline implants: These implants are made of a silicone shell and filled with a salt water solution. Like many women, you may prefer these implants because they typically cost less, and there is no risk of silent rupture.
- Silicone implants: These implants also have a silicone shell, but they are filled with a smooth saline solution. Most patients and doctors agree that silicone implants look and feel more natural that saline implants.
- Gummy bear implants: "Gummy bear," or silicone gel implants, recently gained approval by the FDA. These solid implants keep their shape if cut in half, just like the candy for which they are named. Although not all doctors offer this type of implant, they are rapidly growing in popularity.
Implants may be round or teardrop-shaped, and they come in several different sizes. Your surgeon can guide you in choosing the size and shape that will most suit your body type.
Placing the Implants
A surgeon may positon breast implants above (subglandular) or below your pectoral muscles (submuscular). If you are combining implants with a mastopexy, your doctor will typically use the submuscular method. He or she will place the implants first to determine exactly how much tissue must be removed. Once the implant is in place, your surgeon will eliminate the extra tissue before closing the incisions.
Advantages of a Breast Lift with Augmentation
By placing breast implants during mastopexy, your doctor can restore lost volume and create fuller breasts at the same time. Together, the two procedures can have more dramatic results for an overall younger appearance.
Because your doctor can typically place the implants through the same incisions he will make for your breast lift, combining the two procedures will not significantly increase your recovery time. Additionally, your doctor will typically need to remove less skin when he performs the two procedures together. Therefore, you will likely have less scarring than you would have following a breast lift alone.
Finally, combining the two procedures will typically cost less than undergoing two separate procedures. You will only face a one-time charge for anesthesia, surgical facilities, compression garments, and post-surgical care.
Before the Procedure
Your surgeon will give you pre-operative guidelines to follow before a breast lift procedure. Typically, your doctor will advise you to:
- Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol for two weeks prior to your surgery
- Stop taking certain vitamins and herbal supplements
- Discontinue the use of aspirin, ibuprofen, or anti-inflammatory medications
To ensure your breasts are in good, your doctor may also require that you have a mammogram before your breast lift procedure.
The Day of the Surgery
Although breast lift surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, it is important to have transportation arranged in advance. You will be sedated throughout your surgery, and, because the medication will take some time to wear off, you will be unable to drive. If possible, ask someone to stay with you for the first 24 to 48 hours following your surgery.
The breast lift procedure will vary slightly for each patient, but for the most part, it will follow the steps outlined below. Mastopexy will typically take between one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half hours, depending on your needs and the extent of the lift.
Before your breast lift surgery, your anesthesiologist will administer general sedation. He or she may use IV sedation, or you may receive inhaled anesthesia. Before your procedure, you will discuss the various sedation options with your doctor. Although both types are safe and effective, one may be more suited to your health needs. You or your doctor may also prefer one type over another. No matter which method you select, you will be completely asleep during your surgery. When the medication wears off, you will be unaware of what went on during your procedure.
After you have been sedated, your surgeon will carefully create the incisions, according to your surgical plan. Although breast lift surgery will leave some scars, your doctor will work to minimize scarring, placing the incisions in the natural folds of your breasts.
Reshaping Your Breasts
Through the incisions, your doctor will trim away extra tissue and reshape the underlying tissue to create a natural and proportionate shape. If your areola has become stretched, your surgeon will reshape this area and remove tissues from the perimeter. Then he or she can lift your nipple and areola, placing them higher up on your breasts. Finally, your doctor will re-drape your skin, bringing some of the tissue that was above your areolas down to the lower portion of your breasts.
If you choose a laser bra lift, your surgeon will also use a state-of-the-art laser to preserve a flap of excess tissue. Then he or she will use these tissues to create an "internal bra," placing them inside your breasts to achieve greater lift and projection.
Closing the Incisions
To keep the skin in place and to retain the new shape of your breasts, your doctor will place several sutures, extending into the deeper breast tissue. Many doctors use traditional sutures, and you will need to have them removed a week to ten days after your surgery. However, a number of surgeons now use dissolvable stitches, made with materials that your body can easily absorb.
Bandages and Compression Garments
To aid in recovery, your doctor will bandage your breasts. You will also need to wear a compression garment or bra. When you reduce the movements of your breasts, they are more likely to keep their new shape. These garments will also minimize your discomfort, and they will prevent your incisions from opening up.
Your doctor may also place drains just under your skin to eliminate excess fluid and reduce swelling and bruising. Not all doctors will use drainage tubes. However, if your doctor recommends these devices, you must be sure to clean and change them, as instructed. Because you will have a limited range of motion for the first few days, you may want to find someone who will help you change your drains and keep your bandages clean and dry.
Breast lift recovery varies for each patient. Your exact timeframe will depend on the extent of your surgery, any additional procedures, and your body's natural healing process. Your doctor will provide guidance throughout your recovery to ensure your safety, faster healing, good cosmetic results, and minimal discomfort.
The First Few Days
Following breast lift surgery, you should expect to take at least a week off work
Following breast lift surgery, you should expect to take at least a week off work. During this time, you should get plenty of rest, and you should avoid bending and lifting. On the day of your surgery, you should get up and move around the room for short periods of time. After several days, you should be able to move around the house with relative ease. You will need to wear compression garments and bandages for about a week. Be sure to keep the bandages clean and change any drainage tubes, as needed. Your doctor will typically remove the tubes a few days after your surgery, at which time he or she will also check your progress and recovery.
The First Few Weeks
In about a week, you can typically return to work, although you should continue to avoid strenuous physical activity. In particular, bending and lifting can strain your chest and complicate your recovery. If you did not receive dissolvable sutures, your stitches will come out in several stages. In most cases, your doctor will begin this process about three weeks after your surgery. You will need to take sponge baths until your stitches come out.
The Months after Your Surgery
Your doctor will advise you about when you can return to your regular activity level. Typically, however, you can resume exercise about three weeks after your surgery. You should begin slowly, working your way up to your normal physical routine. You should continue to avoid heavy lifting for about a month to six weeks after your surgery.
Although any discomfort and irritation will typically subside after a few weeks, it may take several months for all swelling to disappear. You should continue to wear a compression bra or sports bra during this time. Avoid underwire bras until your doctor gives approval.
Currently, scarring is the most notable disadvantage of a mastopexy. Although the prominence of breast lift scars will diminish with the passing of time, you should understand that the scars will be permanent. Nevertheless, most patients find that the benefits of a breast lift outweigh the negative appearance of scars and are pleased with their final breast lift results.
Although scarring is unavoidable, there are several steps you can take to minimize the appearance of scars. These things include:
- Wearing your compression garment or bra, as directed
- Avoiding smoking, which can inhibit your body's ability to heal
- Gently massaging your breasts
- Staying hydrated
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Eating a healthy diet, high in lean protein
- Using a topical ointment or silicone sheets
Bear in mind that scars will become more noticeable a few months after your surgery. Over the next year or so, however, the marks will fade. Most women are not particularly bothered by their scars, which a bathing suit or bra will usually cover.
A breast lift can give you noticeably firmer, perkier breasts. Although you will probably notice an immediate improvement in your figure, the final results of your surgery will not be apparent for several months. As swelling subsides and your breasts adjust to their new shape, you will begin to enjoy the full effects of your procedure.
The results of your procedure can last for decades, although the exact time frame differs for each patient
The results of your procedure can last for decades, although the exact time frame differs for each patient. A breast lift procedure cannot stop the effects of time and gravity. Nevertheless, there are certain things you can do to maintain your results for years to come. First, retain a healthy weight. Significant weight fluctuations will damage connective tissue and stretch your skin. Second, moisturize your skin, use sunscreen, and avoid direct sun exposure. Finally, do not go braless. Bras are not simply a cultural construct. They provide important support for your breast tissue. When you neglect your bra, your breast tissues may start to break down, leading to severe sagging.
Before undergoing mastopexy, it is important to have realistic expectations about your treatment results. Although a breast lift can make you look significantly younger, it cannot turn back the clock completely. After your surgery, you should expect firmer breasts, positioned higher up on your chest. You can also look forward to a more youthful figure overall. However, you should not expect to look exactly the way you did twenty years ago, especially if you have had a baby or lost a dramatic amount of weight. When you go into your procedure with a realistic outlook, you are likely to be quite pleased with the results of your treatment.
Ensuring Good Results
Maintaining open communication with your surgeon is one of the best ways to ensure good surgical results. Be specific when talking to your doctor about your goals for the surgery. You may even want to bring in pictures of other people or of yourself when you were younger. If your sagging breasts cause physical discomfort, tell your doctor about this, as well. When your surgeon knows what you hope to achieve, he or she can create a treatment plan to reach those goals more effectively. You should also stay fully informed about your treatment options and work with your dentist to develop your custom treatment plan.
The greatest benefit of a breast lift is the overall effect it can have on your figure, giving you firmer, perkier breasts. Your bust line will be more defined, certain clothing will fit better, and you will have an overall more youthful look. If you have lost a significant amount of weight, the breast lift will add the finishing touches to a trim, fit new figure. In turn, this can have a tremendous positive impact on your self-esteem.
Correct Drooping Breasts
Drooping breasts result from stretched skin and loss of volume. Often, these effects are the result of extensive weight loss, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or simple aging. Breast lift surgery is designed to improve the look of sagging and drooping breasts by removing excess skin and lifting the inner breast tissue. A breast lift can also improve the shape or symmetry of your breasts. When you combine the procedure with implants, it can further enhance your figure.
Restore Youthful Appearance
Youthful looking breasts rest high on your chest and are proportionate to the rest of your body. As you age, your skin will begin to stretch and you will lose volume in your breasts. This will create a droopy look which is exacerbated by breastfeeding or excessive weight loss. By tightening and lifting the breast, your surgeon can give you a perkier and more youthful appearance. Many women report that their figures look years younger after breast lift surgery.
Increase Clothing Options
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your breasts, you may find shopping for clothes to be frustrating and discouraging. You may avoid wearing fitted clothing, or you may wear items that hide your body. By creating a firmer and shapelier physique, a breast lift can give you a host of clothing options. You may find that bras and clothing fit better. You may even be able to wear new styles and cuts with confidence.
Sagging breasts can have untold effects on your overall self-confidence. A breast lift can improve your self-esteem by creating shapelier, younger looking breasts. Your improved level of confidence can enhance your overall quality of life. You may feel sexier and more confident in romantic relationships. You may also feel more comfortable going to the beach, laying out at the pool, or engaging in a wider range of physical activities.
Improve Physical Health
Mastopexy is primarily a cosmetic procedure, performed to enhance your appearance. Nevertheless, the treatment can also improve your physical wellbeing and reduce discomfort. For instance, sagging breasts can cause severe chaffing under the breast crease. In some cases, your drooping breasts can also lead to back and neck tension. Although doctors more commonly treat these problems with breast reduction, a breast lift may sometimes be a better option.
Breast lifts are very safe procedures with a low complication rate. As with all surgeries, however, there are some risks. To minimize these risks, choose an experienced surgeon, following the guidelines listed above. You should also be honest about your medical history and follow all guidelines for your recovery.
Thanks to advanced antibiotics and scrupulous hygiene standards, infection following cosmetic surgery is rare. Nevertheless, it is still a slight risk. Signs of infection include:
- Pronounced or worsening swelling
- Significant discomfort
- Skin that feels hot to the touch
If patients experience any of these symptoms, they should contact their surgeons immediately. Typically, doctors will prescribe antibiotics. In a few cases, patients may require revisional surgery.
Bleeding or Hematoma
In rare cases, patients experience uncontrolled bleeding following cosmetic surgery. In most cases, this is due to an underlying condition, a medication, or an herbal supplement. For this reason, it is important for patients to be thorough with their doctors when discussing their medical history.
Occasionally, blood lost during the surgery will accumulate under the skin, causing a hematoma. Although these pools of blood may appear serious, doctors can usually treat them with a small drain placed just under the skin.
Adverse Reaction to Anesthesia
Some patients do not respond well to sedation. In most cases, the medications will simply cause nausea or dizziness. However, in a few instances, anesthesia can have life-threatening effects. For the most part, only patients with an underlying health condition will have such an extreme reaction. An anesthesiologist will carefully monitor patients' response to the medication. He or she can also adjust the levels of anesthesia during surgery to keep patients safe and comfortable.
Sometimes the two sides of an incision may not heal together, and the tissues on either side may die. This is most common among patients who undergo traditional anchor breast lifts, as well as those who smoke. If this occurs, a surgeon will trim away the dead tissue and re-suture the two sides of the incision.
Necrosis is a very rare, though serious, risk. Necrosis, or tissue death, occurs when certain cells do not receive enough oxygen. It is important to receive treatment for this condition right away. If you notice significant pain in your breasts, or if your skin has a blue or gray tint, contact your doctor immediately.
Loss of Sensation
Because your doctor will reposition your nipple and areola during your treatment, there is a slight chance that you may experience a permanent loss of feeling in these areas. However, because the surgeon will not detach your tissues from the underlying nerves, this complication is very rare. If you have lost feeling in your breasts immediately after your procedure, this is not cause for alarm. Temporary numbness is a common side effect of a breast lift.
Unsatisfactory Aesthetic Results
For the most part, patients are quite pleased with the results of their surgery. However, in some cases, patients' breasts may be uneven after their mastopexy. Alternatively, they may be unhappy with the new shape of their areolas. In many cases, surgeons can fix these concerns with revisional surgery. Nevertheless, when patients choose qualified doctors who have performed numerous breast lifts, further surgery is rarely needed.
Temporary Side Effects
General discomfort after a breast lift procedure is typically minimal. Consider having someone help at home for a few days, as you will have a limited range of motion. Following your breast lift procedure, you can usually treat pain with over-the-counter painkillers or prescription medication. If you experience significant pain, you should contact your doctor immediately, as this may be a sign infection or another complication.
Swelling and Bruising
After your breast lift surgery, your breasts may be swollen and tender with bruises around the incision sites. The discomfort should dissipate within a few days, and swelling should go down within one to two weeks. Bruising around incisions will typically disappear in seven to ten days.
Permanent complications following a breast lift procedure are uncommon. However, you may experience a temporary loss of feeling or heightened sensation around your nipple and areola. This will generally dissipate after a few days. During your breast lift procedure, your surgeon will not remove your nipple and areola from the underlying tissues or nerves. Therefore, there is generally little risk for permanent loss of feeling.
Following your breast lift procedure, you may experience some itching and redness, especially as your incisions begin to heal. Antibiotic ointment can alleviate itching. You should also avoid scratching the area, as this can open up incisions and increase your risk of infection.
Many women worry that they will have an increased risk of complications if they receive implants in conjunction with their breast lift. However, a January 2013 article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official publication of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, set those fears to rest. Researchers reviewed 430 breast lift procedures performed between 2005 and 2009. 332 of the patients surveyed had implants placed at the same time. One third of the women had undergone previous cosmetic surgery on their breasts.
Overall, there was a 23 percent complication rate. The most common complications were capsular contracture (hardening of the tissue around the implant) and continued sagging of the breast tissue. 13 percent of the patients required a second operation, all to correct problems with the implants. The researchers also surveyed a control group of patients who received breast implants only. 10 percent of these women required a second procedure, only 3 percent less than the women who underwent combined treatment. Thus, researchers concluded the added risk of combining treatments is negligible. 
Mastopexy is the third most popular cosmetic surgery in the US  , and statistics show that the popularity of this procedure is on the rise. In fact, breast lifts have increased by a whopping 70 percent since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons®. Although more women undergo breast augmentation, the popularity of breasts lifts is growing at twice the rate of breast implants. In 2013, ASPS members performed a record breaking 90,006 breast lifts. Breast augmentation still enjoys overwhelming popularity. ASPS surgeons performed 290,224 such procedures in 2013. 
Like some women, you may desire firmer, more youthful breasts, but you may be apprehensive about cosmetic surgery. While there are some non-invasive alternatives to mastopexy, these treatments cannot yield the same dramatic results that breast lift surgery can provide. Although you may want to ask your surgeon about these options, in most cases mastopexy will be the optimal choice.
Vampire Breast Lift®
The Vampire Breast Lift® uses your body's own cells to enhance your bust. A doctor will take a blood sample, and he or she will isolate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The doctor will combine PRP with a dermal filler such as JUVEDERM® or Restylane®. Then he or she will inject the filler into your breasts at varying depths to achieve a fuller, rounder look. Because your body will eventually absorb the filler, the results of a Vampire Breast Lift® last about four to six months. Although the Vampire Facelift® has become increasingly popular, many experts remain skeptical about using this technique on the breasts. Most doctors believe the only way to achieve a true, permanent lift is through surgery.
Some doctors may recommend laser or radiofrequency treatments to lift and enhance your breasts. These methods use high power energy to stimulate collagen production and rejuvenate the skin. Laser and radiofrequency treatments can be very effective on your face and other areas of your body. However, these treatments can only target the outer layers of your skin. They cannot address the deeper layers of tissue that affect the overall shape and firmness of your bust.
There are a number of breast enhancing creams on the market today. Like laser treatments, however, they only enhance the outer layers of skin. Although moisturizing your breasts may make your skin feel younger and softer, these creams cannot reposition your breast tissue.
Your doctor or a trainer may show you some strength building exercises that can enhance your chest. Although these exercises can correct poor posture and give your breasts a slight lift, they cannot address damaged tissue or eliminate excess skin. If you only desire a slight lift, and you still have good skin elasticity, chest exercises can be a good solution. They can also enhance the results of your breast lift following your recovery.
A few doctors may offer BOTOX® Cosmetic to perform a non-surgical breast lift. A surgeon will inject BOTOX® Cosmetic into your chest muscles. Your back muscles will compensate for these weaker muscles, and your breasts will appear higher and perkier. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of BOTOX® Cosmetic for this procedure. Other researchers caution that the treatment yields minimal results that will fade in a few months. Additionally, because the pectoral muscles are so expansive, doctors need to inject large amounts of BOTOX® Cosmetic to achieve the desired results. As a result, this treatment can become quite expensive. The ASPS does not recommend BOTOX® Cosmetic breast lifts. 
A New Bra
A new bra is the least invasive way to lift your breasts, and - after a surgical breast lift - it is typically the most effective. A properly fitting bra can enhance your appearance and provide an immediate lift. It can also reduce discomfort, since your breast tissues will have proper support. Finally, a well-fitted bra will protect the long-term health of your breasts. When your bust does not have proper support, the connective tissues can become weakened and damaged. As a result, your breasts will start to sag even more as you get older.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I too old for a breast lift?
There is no upper age limit for breast lifts. To qualify for this procedure, you must be in good health, and you should be able to tolerate anesthesia safely. If you are a senior, your doctor may require more extensive testing to determine your candidacy for mastopexy. Additionally, for optimal results, you should still have a certain amount of skin elasticity in your breasts.
Am I too young for a breast lift?
Young women who have finished growing may be excellent candidates for a breast lift. The procedure can be especially beneficial for women who have recently lost a large amount of weigh, as well as those who are simply embarrassed by the appearance of their breasts. Young women should be aware that they may need a repeat procedure later down the road, especially if they become pregnant.
Will mastopexy make my breasts smaller?
Because your doctor will remove some skin, your breasts may be slightly smaller after breast lift surgery. For most patients, the change is quite minor. Because your breasts will be firmer, they are likely to appear larger, even if you wear a smaller bra size.
Can a breast lift enhance my tubular breasts?
Yes. If you have tubular breasts, this means that the connective tissues at the base are constricted. Your doctor can release these tissues during mastopexy to give you rounder breasts.
Can a breast lift bring my breasts closer together?
A breast lift cannot correct breasts that are spaced far apart. Often, this is simply due to the natural size of your breast bone. However, if you have diminished cleavage because your breasts have started to sag, a breast lift can enhance this aspect of your appearance.
When can I sleep on my stomach again?
If you habitually sleep on your stomach, changing your sleeping position can be awkward and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is an important way to reduce discomfort and avoid opening up your incisions. It will also help your breasts to adjust to their new shape. Your doctor will advise you about when you can start sleeping on your stomach. This will vary widely from surgeon to surgeon. Some may give approval after about three weeks, while others may advise you to wait several months.
What happens if I am dissatisfied with my results?
When they choose a qualified surgeon, most women are extremely pleased with the results of their surgery. Nevertheless, you can typically undergo a second surgery if you are unhappy with the way your breasts look after your first procedure.
 How much will a breast lift cost? (American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, 2014) < http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/breast-lift.html?sub=How+much+will+a+breast+lift+cost?>
 No Increase in Complications with Simultaneous versus Staged Procedures. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, 2013) <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/past-press-releases/2013-archives/combined-breast-lift-and-augmentation-is-safe.html>
 2012 Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Statistics. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, 2013) <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2012-Plastic-Surgery-Statistics/Cosmetic-Procedure-Trends-2012.pdf>
 Breast implants are still overwhelming choice for women, but since 2000 breast lifts are up 70%. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, 2014) <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/past-press-releases/2014-archives/stats-show-breast-lifts-outpacing-breast-implants.html>
 BOTOX® Breast Lift. (American Society of Plastic Surgeons®, 2010) <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/articles-and-galleries/video-gallery/botox-breast-lift-.html>
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