A breast reduction or breast lift (Mastopexy) involves repositioning the nipple to a higher position, making the areola or colored part of the nipple smaller, and re-‐shaping the breast with a removal of a varying amount of skin and breast tissue.
If you’re considering a surgical breast lift, one way to see if it might help you is to put a pencil under your breast and see if it stays there. If it does, a breast lift might be an option.
You may choose to have this procedure if you are bothered by the appearance or feel of breasts that are droopy, flat, or have an areola that’s gotten larger. These effects can happen because of:
- Weight change
Women usually get this procedure on an outpatient basis, meaning there’s no overnight stay. It takes about 3 hours and is usually done under general anesthesia.
Some women also get breast implants at the same time as their breast lift.
The first step is to consult with a plastic surgeon. When you do, tell the surgeon what your goals are. If you’re also getting breast implants, bring photos showing the size and shape of the breasts you’d like.
The surgeon will consider your health and describe your options. The surgeon should also explain the procedure in detail and go over the risks and what the recovery will be like.
Complications after breast lifts are relatively rare. The main three are bleeding, infection, and scarring. Your surgeon will give you instructions for preparing that will help lower your risk of complications. Those instructions will include such things as not smoking, making sure you are off medications that may make bleeding more likely, and taking antibiotics if necessary.
You should also start planning for the recovery period. For instance, you will have to avoid heavy lifting for at least 4 to 6 weeks after your breast lift.
You’ll get your breast lift in a hospital setting, an outpatient surgery center, or the doctor’s personal operating room. You will meet with the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and nursing staff before the procedure.
The surgeon will mark the proper position where your nipple will go. After that, you’ll be brought to the operating room where you’ll get general anesthesia or sedation.
The surgeon will remove extra skin and lift your breast tissue up into the proper location. If you’re getting implants, the surgeon will insert them and then close and bandage your breasts. You may have tiny drains in your breasts for 24 to 48 hours.
After the operation, expect to be uncomfortable for a few days. Your doctor will usually recommend that you wear a bra or have a special dressing in place to provide the support you will need during your recovery. For the first week, you may need pain medication.
During your recovery, it is very important to limit your activity as directed by your surgeon and to report any side effects or problems you’re having right away. Any surgery has risks, including infection. With breast reduction surgery, permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breast skin is very rare.
You can get a breast lift at any age after your breasts have finished developing. You can also get one before or after you are pregnant. You will still be able to breastfeed after a breast lift.
You’ll see results right after your surgery, but it can take a few months for your breasts to settle into their final result.
Breast lift results might not be permanent. It’s possible you could need another breast lift. In time, some women choose to get a repeat breast lift as a “touch-up” procedure to improve the overall look of their breasts. But they may not need a full-length procedure.
It may help to retain your results longer by keeping a stable, healthy weight.