What is a Breast Lift?

During a Breast Lift, also known as Mastopexy, excess skin is removed and breast tissue is reshaped to raise the breasts.  Breasts sag and change over time due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight gain or loss, aging, among others. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast lift procedures have grown 70% since 2000, outpacing breast implants 2-to-1.  Here in Dr. McDonald’s office, Breast Lifts are among the most common cosmetic procedures in 2019.


How Do Breast Lifts differ from Breast Augmentation?

A breast lift alone does not significantly change the size of the breast. However, a breast lift often accompanies a breast reduction or breast augmentation.


About The Surgery

The operation is typically performed under general anesthesia and in an outpatient surgery center or hospital.  The operation time may range from three to four hours and depends on the complexity of the operation needed to perform. Most patients may be discharged home after the surgery, although some desire to stay one night for observation or convenience.

Dr. McDonald marks the patient prior to the procedure in the preoperative staging area and then the patient is carefully prepared by an Anesthesiologist and Registered Nurse. 

The incision used varies with the complexity of the changes that are desired.  Small lifts with minimal ptosis and excess skin require only an incision around the Areola.  This is called a Periareolar mastopexy.  If there is more sagginess to the breast and more skin removal is needed then a vertical component is added to allow more adequate contouring.   A breast implant can also be placed with any of these incisions.


What is Recovery for a Breast Lift?

Dr. McDonald advises all breast surgery patients to rest and recover for 1 week (no driving, light work) A front closure surgical bra should be worn for two weeks to assist in support of the breast to help reduce swelling and bruising and aid the healing process.  Sutures may require removal although this may vary. Many patients will feel capable of returning to work within one week of surgery, however, regular activity and exercise routines may need modification for up to 3 to 4 weeks. Dr. McDonald will see the patient the next day to monitor swelling and bleeding, the 5-7 days if drains were put in, then again at 1 1/2-2 weeks to remove any necessary sutures.


What are the Risks to Breast Lift Surgery?

Scarring is usually the most frequent concern of patients with mastopexy and it is understandable.  Dr. McDonald carefully puts incisions in the folds of the breast, camouflaging most of the potential scarring. While the incisions initially are scary, over time most improve dramatically and, in fact, some become almost imperceptible.  Rarely a scar revision may be desired.Other complications include bleeding or infection.  These are very rare and care is taken to prevent these.  Many women worry about being able to breast feed after surgery or whether a loss of sensation can occur to the nipple.  Although it is true that some patients can lose the ability to breast feed after mastopexy, many still can.  Changes in nipple sensation is also not uncommon and Dr. McDonald pays close attention to restoring the nipple sensation to the normal preoperative state.