A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is an elective plastic surgery procedure that corrects the ptosis (drooping) of the breasts by removing excess skin, lifting breast tissue, and tightening the remaining skin around the breast tissue to provide adequate support. Commonly sought by women with a history of pregnancy and breastfeeding, breast lifts also offer aesthetic benefits for patients whose breasts have begun to droop with age by resizing and moving the areolas and nipples back to the correct position on the breast.
A breast lift is often confused with a breast augmentation or a breast reduction. Still, it is a separate and unique surgery that can be performed alone or in combination with other body contouring procedures. Below, you can find the answers to some other common breast lift questions.
Do you lose a cup size after a breast lift?
Yes and no. The answer to this question is complex and requires a good understanding of the mechanics of a breast lift. In a breast lift, only excess skin is removed. Underlying breast tissue may be reshaped but not removed unless the breast lift is combined with a breast reduction (reduction mammaplasty). So even though a breast lift does not reduce total breast volume, it is not uncommon for mastopexy patients to wear a smaller bra or cup size after their surgery.
Why? It all comes down to wearing the incorrect bra size. It is well-documented that most women wear bras with either the wrong band length or cup size (or both). Breast lift patients, who often have significant ptosis, are more likely to wear a bra that is too loose because it more comfortably accommodates the excess skin present.
A well-fitting bra is more comfortable after extra skin is reduced and tightened to support lifted breast tissue properly. Breast lift patients are also more likely to be fitted for the correct bra size.
Patients who are concerned about their final breast volume should ask their surgeon about the possibility of adding a breast augmentation procedure (augmentation mammoplasty) to their breast lift.
How long does a breast lift last?
A breast lift is a permanent solution that removes excess skin and lifts the breast tissue to a higher position, which cannot be achieved through exercise or diet. But a breast lift cannot stop the aging process, nor can it prevent future ptosis related to significant weight gain or additional pregnancies.
The best ways to preserve the results of a breast lift are:
- Maintain a stable weight through moderate exercise and a healthy diet.
- Take care of your skin by using sunscreen, staying hydrated, and using products with added collagen and vitamins C and E as needed.
- Wear properly fitted bras that provide adequate support, especially during vigorous activity.
Breast lift results are permanent; most patients never require additional breast surgery. However, it is essential to understand that lifting the breasts doesn’t stop the effects of gravity or the natural aging process. Hence, both of these variables will continue to affect the appearance of the breasts in the long run.
What kind of scars will I have after a breast lift?
The type of scar you will have depends on the severity of your ptosis before surgery and the amount of lift required to meet your aesthetic goals.
A circumareolar incision, made just around the areola, is used for patients who need minimal correction. This type of incision results in virtually no visible scarring.
Lollipop incisions, made around the areola and then vertically from the areola down to the breast fold, are most effective for patients with moderate ptosis. Lollipop incisions will leave a thin, light scar on the underside of the breast.
Anchor incisions, which add a horizontal incision along the breast fold to a lollipop incision, are used for patients with significant ptosis. While this type of procedure is more involved, scars from the added incisions can be effectively hidden in the breast crease.
In any case, scarring can be minimized by carefully following your surgeon’s post-surgery instructions for wound care and using medical-grade creams or ointments.
What is breast lift recovery like?
Patients should expect to rest at home for approximately the equivalent of a long weekend after a mastopexy, with the first few days being the most painful. It is usual for bruising and tenderness in the breast to be present for two or three weeks.
Light exercise, like walking or spinning, can be resumed after two weeks as long as no pressure is placed on the chest muscles. Lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds and workouts that require significant upper body involvement (yoga, weight lifting, core strengthening, etc.) should be avoided for six weeks.
Even though full recovery usually occurs after six weeks, it may take several months before swelling is fully resolved and final results are visible.
How long is breast lift surgery?
A breast lift is usually an outpatient surgery that takes 2.5–3 hours under general anesthesia. If underlying medical conditions complicate your lift, or if you are adding an augmentation or reduction, your time in the operating room may be longer. Regardless of the length of the surgery, most patients can return home the same day as their surgery.
How much does a breast lift cost?
Like most plastic surgery procedures, the cost of a breast lift depends on the geographic region, the surgeon’s level of expertise, the level of pre-and post-operative care provided, surgical complexity, and whether other procedures are part of the same operation.
More important than the surgery’s cost is the surgeon’s skill. A cheap breast lift that results in complications and requires corrective surgery often ends up costing significantly more than seeking treatment from a qualified physician who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The breast lift procedure is a solution to drooping breasts through excess skin removal. While cup size may increase or decrease slightly, the results are long-lasting. Scarring varies based on the lift extent, with a typical recovery period of about 4-7 days. Surgery duration is approximately 2.5–3 hours, and costs fluctuate based on location and surgeon expertise. Remember, it’s not just about the cost—opt for a skilled surgeon for optimal and lasting results.