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What is Breast Lift

A breast lift is cosmetic surgery that lifts and reshapes breasts that have sagged and stretched from pregnancy, breastfeeding, or aging. To perform a lift, excess skin is removed from the lower part of the breasts. Surgeons achieve the best results in women with small breasts because large, heavy breasts will begin to sag again after surgery. Breast lift surgery is not permanent, because no procedure can permanently halt the effects of gravity. If you plan to have children, consider delaying your breast lift until afterward because your breasts will probably stretch from pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Breast Lift Risks

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding or hematoma formation
  • Infection
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation, which may be temporary or permanent
  • Breast contour and shape irregularities
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Potential partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
Breast Lift

The Procedure

A breast lift is usually performed on an outpatient basis while the woman is under general anesthesia. The procedure takes about 1½ to 3½ hours. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision that determines the boundaries of the area from which skin will be removed and locates a new position for the nipple. After removing the excess skin, the surgeon moves the nipple and areola into their new position and pulls the remaining skin down and together to lift and reshape each breast. Some women with small breasts choose to have breast implants inserted during breast lift surgery. If so, the surgeon inserts the implant in a pocket under the breast tissue or behind the chest wall muscle. The surgeon then stitches the incisions closed.

After Breast Lift Surgery

Gauze dressings and an elastic bandage or surgical bra will be placed over your breasts immediately after surgery. After a few days, you will wear a soft support bra over the gauze bandages day and night for 3 or 4 weeks. Your surgeon will examine your breasts and remove your stitches 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery.

Numbness and swelling will cause some loss of sensation in your breast skin and nipples. The numbness usually goes away in 6 weeks but may take a year or more to completely subside. Your scars will be lumpy and red for a few months and then will fade, but they will never disappear. Resume your activities gradually, according to your surgeon’s instructions. You can probably return to work a week or two after your surgery.

Complications are unusual after a breast lift but can include bleeding, infection, unevenly placed nipples or asymmetrical breasts, or loss of a portion or all of a nipple. You can minimize these complications by carefully following your doctor’s instructions after your surgery.

Breast Cosmetic Surgery
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