A breast lift isn't for everyone. If you're considering pregnancy at any
point in the future, you might delay getting a breast lift. During
pregnancy your breasts could stretch and offset the results of the lift.
Breast-feeding is a consideration as well. Although breast-feeding is
usually possible after a breast lift — since the nipples aren't separated
from the underlying breast tissue — some women might have difficulties
producing enough milk.
While a breast lift can be done on breasts of any size, women with
smaller sagging breasts will likely have longer lasting results. Larger
breasts are heavier, which makes them more likely to sag again.
- Scarring. While scars are permanent, they'll soften and fade within
one to two years. Scars from a breast lift can usually be hidden by
bras and bathing suits. Rarely, poor healing can cause scars to
become thick and wide.
- Changes in nipple or breast sensation. While sensation typically
returns within several weeks, some loss of feeling might be
permanent. Erotic sensation typically isn't affected.
- Irregularities or asymmetry in the shape and size of the
breasts. This could occur as a result of changes during the healing
process. Also, surgery might not successfully correct pre-existing
- Partial or total loss of the nipples or areolae. Rarely, the blood
supply to the nipple or areola is interrupted during a breast lift.
This can damage breast tissue in the area and lead to the partial or
total loss of the nipple or areola.
- Difficulty breast-feeding. While breast-feeding is usually possible
after a breast lift, some women might have difficulties producing
Like any major surgery, a breast lift poses a risk of bleeding, infection
and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. It's also possible to have an allergic
reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the
How you prepare?
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Get a baseline mammogram before surgery and another one after
surgery to help detect any future changes in your breast tissue
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal
supplements as they can increase bleeding
Breast lift surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based
surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital.
Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to
stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
What can you expect?
A breast lift can be done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility.
Sometimes the procedure is done with sedation and local anesthesia,
which numbs only part of your body. In other cases, general anesthesia
— which renders you unconscious — is recommended.
During the procedure
Techniques used to remove breast skin and reshape breast tissue vary.
The specific technique your plastic surgeon chooses will determine the
location of the incisions and the resulting scars.
Your doctor might make incisions:
- Around the areolae — the darker area surrounding the nipples
- Extending downward from the areolae to the breast creases
- Horizontally along the breast creases
Your doctor might place stitches deep within your breasts to reshape your
breast tissue and, if necessary, reduce the size of your areolae. He or she
will remove excess breast skin and shift the nipples to higher positions.
Then your doctor will bring together the breast skin and close the
incisions with stitches, surgical tape or skin adhesives.
The procedure typically takes two to three hours.
After the procedure
After a breast lift, your breasts will likely be covered with gauze and a
surgical support bra. Small tubes might be placed at the incision sites in
your breasts to drain any excess blood or fluid.
Your breasts will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. You'll
likely feel pain and soreness around the incisions, which will be red or
pink for a few months. Numbness in your nipples, areolae and breast skin
might last for about six weeks.
In the first few days after a breast lift, take pain medication as
recommended by your doctor. Avoid straining, bending and lifting. Sleep
on your back or your side to keep pressure off your breasts.
Avoid sexual activity for at least one to two weeks after the breast lift.
Ask your doctor when it's OK to resume daily activities, such as washing
your hair, showering or bathing.
Drainage tubes placed near your incisions are typically removed within a
few days. When your doctor removes the tubes, he or she will also
probably change or remove your bandages.
Talk to your doctor about when — or if — your stitches will be removed.
Some stitches dissolve on their own. Others must be removed in the
doctor's office, often one to two weeks after the procedure.
Continue to wear the surgical support bra around the clock for three or
four days. Then you'll wear a soft support bra for three or four weeks.
Your doctor might suggest using silicone tape or gel on your incisions to
While you're healing, keep your breasts out of the sun. Afterward, be
careful to protect your incisions during sun exposure.
Breast lift surgery is quite successful at making the breasts firmer and
more shapely. Many women find that they no longer need to wear a bra to
feel comfortable and look good in their clothes.
You'll notice an immediate change in the appearance of your breasts —
although their shape will continue to change and settle over the next few
Initially, scars will appear red and lumpy. While scars are permanent,
they'll soften and become thin and white within one to two years. Scars
from a breast lift can usually be hidden by bras and bathing suits.
You might notice that your bra size is a little smaller after a breast lift —
even if you haven't had a breast reduction in combination with the
procedure. This is simply a result of your breasts becoming firmer and
Keep in mind that breast lift results might not be permanent. As you age,
your skin will naturally become less elastic and some sagging might
occur — especially if you have larger, heavier breasts. Maintaining a
stable, healthy weight can help you retain your results.