A breast lift (mastopexy) is a popular outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia to improve the appearance of sagging breasts. More complex than a basic skin lift, it entails sculpting the breast tissue to ensure the results are shapely, desirable and designed to last. The nipple is repositioned on the chest wall for a perkier, more youthful appearance.
Many women undergo a mastopexy if they’re unhappy with their sagging breasts, most commonly after pregnancy. Some opt to get breast implants at the same time in order to achieve the more voluptuous look they’ve always wanted.
A breast lift is recommended to help women who experience:
• Breast sagging due to pregnancy, nursing, gravity, weight gain or loss, normal aging and/or heredity.
• Stretched tissue surrounding the nipple.
What To Expect
Biologically speaking, breasts are sisters, not twins, so there will always be slight differences in the symmetry of your breasts after a breast lift (minor adjustments can be made if post-surgical asymmetry is bothersome). You will also experience scarring around the nipple. These incision lines – and there are different types depending on your situation – last a lifetime, but will fade and significantly improve over time. Bear in mind that getting pregnant can compromise your results, so ideally you should wait until you’re done having a family to undergo a breast lift.
We recommend bringing photos of the look you would like to mimic, especially if you’re planning to go up a few cup sizes. Prior to your surgery, you’ll get to know your anesthesiologist and nurses and we will do everything possible to make you feel at ease. Dr. Kirman will mark the perfect lifted position where your nipple will be, and design the contour of the breasts. What to wear for the first few days following your surgery will be important – pick items that open in front and wear slip-on shoes so you don't have to bend over.
In the operating room, you'll undergo general anesthesia or sedation before Dr. Kirman removes the extra skin, lifts, and reshapes your breast tissue. If you have opted for implants, they will be inserted at this time. Your incisions will be secured and bandaged comfortably.
You’ll be moved to a room where you will be closely monitored by Dr. Kirman, then released the same day. Your bandages will be removed during your first follow-up visit to our Walnut Creek office after your surgery. Stitches are used beneath the skin and never seen, and will typically not need to be removed at all as they will dissolve slowly over the next several weeks. For the first few days, you may need medication to manage your pain. Following surgery, you’ll be offered liquids to drink and a small snack. Our nursing staff will make sure you’re feeling well and comfortable going home.
Things To Consider
• If your breasts are large and heavy, you’ll see a much improved lift, but the results may not be as long-lasting as a breast lift performed on smaller breasts because the skin may have been significantly stretched.
• Following your surgery, you can get back to work in about a week. You may need more time if your work requires more physical activity.
• You’ll need to be gentle with your breasts and avoid exercise and strenuous physical activity for two weeks or more.
• A support bra will keep your breasts from jostling around until any swelling, bruising or redness at the incisions go away, usually within a few weeks time.
• Your nipple sensation may be altered for several weeks. Often times they are numb, but occasionally they may be more sensitive than normal. It may be a few months before sensation in your nipples return to normal.
• Be prepared to rest and sleep on your back continuously in an inclined position (25-to 45-degree angle) for the initial postoperative period or while significant swelling remains. You can keep your head and chest elevated with wedge pillows with an incline design or by sleeping in a recliner chair.
Q. How long does a breast lift take?
A. About two to three hours.
Q. How long do breast lift results last?
A. If you don't have significant weight loss or gain, which can stretch the skin, or plan to get pregnant, your new breasts and lifted nipple position will last for decades with only a bit of settling taking place over that time.
Q. Will it hurt?
A. Expect some mild discomfort during and after surgery..
Q. Can I still breastfeed after a breast lift?
Q. Will insurance cover my breast lift?
A. Unless your breast lift is done as part of a mastectomy reconstruction, it will likely be considered cosmetic surgery. Your health insurance likely won’t cover it.
Q. Will I need an additional breast lift later on?
A. It's possible. 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 a full-length procedure will usually not be required.