Breast lift surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient clinical sett Breast Lift Surgery | Breast Prosthesis/Cosmetic/Reconstructive Breast Surgery | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network

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Breast Lift Surgery


Breast lift surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient clinical setting. Some women will be admitted to the hospital after surgery where they will stay for one to two days after the operation. The procedure generally takes between two and four hours.

The most common breast lift involves an anchor-shaped incision along the breast’s contour. The incision will come from both sides of the breast and intersect above the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola (dark pigmented region around the nipple) are moved to the higher position. The skin around the areola is brought down and together to re-shape the breast. Stitches are usually made around the areola in a vertical line extending down from the nipple area and along the lower fold of the breast.

Another technique that may be performed on women with small breasts and minimal sagging involves circular incisions around the areola. A doughnut shaped area of skin is removed. If an implant is also being placed during the surgery, it is set under the breast tissue or the chest wall (pectoral) muscle. Stitches are placed were the incisions are made and gauze bandages are usually placed over the breasts to facilitate healing.

Side Effects

After surgery, the breasts will be swollen and bruised for a few days. Breast pain after the procedure is usually mild and may be treated with prescription medications. Stitches are usually removed within two weeks. Patients should avoid heavy lifting, pushing or pulling, and strenuous sports for at least one month after surgery to give the breasts time to heal. Serious side effects or complications of breast lift surgery are not common.

Side effects of breast lift surgery may include:

  • Bleeding or infection
  • Temporary or permanent loss of nipple sensation

Breast lift surgery leaves permanent, noticeable scars. Scars will appear red and lumpy at first but will become less obvious over time. Women who smoke may have wide scars because smoking tends to interfere with the healing process.

Breast lift surgery is not permanent. Additional pregnancies, nursing, weight gain, and aging will cause the breasts to sag again. The effects of breast lift surgery usually last longer in women who have breast implants placed during the operation. Breast-feeding is possible in some cases after breast lift surgery.

Additional Resources and References

Updated: July 28, 2008