Breast Lift Plastic Surgery Procedure

Breast List Silver Spring, MD

Also known as mastopexy, a breast lift is a surgical procedure performed to alter the shape of breasts. During the surgery, the plastic surgeon will remove any excess skin and reshape breast tissue to lift the breasts. A breast lift will not change the size of your breasts remarkably. However, the procedure may be performed together with breast reduction or breast augmentation.

Why a breast lift might be necessary

Aging, pregnancy, gravity and weight fluctuations cause changes to the breast such as loss of firmness and elasticity. Someone might consider a breast lift if:

  • There is sagging of the breasts, loss of shape and volume, or if they become longer and flatter
  • Nipples collapse beneath the breast creases when the breasts are without support
  • Nipples and areola face downward
  • If the areola is out of proportion with the breasts
  • One breast falls more than the other

The breast lift procedure can decrease sagging and improve the position of the nipples and areolae. The surgeon may reduce the areolas' size to keep them proportionate to the newly shaped breast.

The breast lift procedure

During the initial consultation, the plastic surgeon will review the patient’s medical history, perform mammograms and breast biopsies, and conduct a physical examination to determine treatment options. The surgeon will need to know if the patient has a family history of breast cancer, history of surgeries, and any medications they are currently taking. They will also ask about the patient’s expectation from the surgery and explain the risks and benefits.

Before the procedure, the doctor will make additional recommendations, such as smoking cessation, weight loss and stoppage of certain medications such as aspirin, herbal supplements and anti-inflammatory drugs. Patients will need to arrange for transport back home and help for a few days after the surgery for initial recovery.

During the procedure

The surgeon may perform the procedure under sedation and local anesthesia, or general anesthesia. Many techniques exist to reduce excess breast skin and reshape the breast’s tissue. The particular method used by the plastic surgeon will determine the points of incision and the resultant scars.

The doctor might create the incisions around the areolas, horizontally along the breast creases, or at the point between the areola and the breast crease. The surgeon might decide to insert stitches deep inside the breast tissues and, if possible, decrease the size of the areola. Any excess breast skin will be removed, and the nipples moved higher. Afterward, the plastic surgeon will align the breast skin and seal the incisions with stitches, skin adhesives or surgical tape. The procedure typically lasts for about two to three hours, after which the patient will be ready to go home.


The breast might feel sore and swollen for some days after the procedure. The doctor will recommend pain meds to manage the pain and a breast support bra until the breasts heal. Patients will need to avoid any strenuous activity until the doctor suggests it is okay to resume routine activities.

Final note

A breast lift transforms the appearance of the breasts, as they will become firmer and rounder in the coming weeks. The procedure can significantly boost your self-confidence and make you feel more positive about your body's appearance. Although aging makes the skin less elastic and eventually causes some sagging, maintaining a healthy weight may help preserve the results.

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