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Breast Lift - Mastopexy 

A breast lift (mastopexy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is used to create more youthful-shaped breasts.  It is a popular option for women that feel their breasts have lost their shape, are happy with their breast size in a bra, and want to enhance their figure.  Women may have a breast lift to firm and lift sagging breasts.  In conjunction with a breast lift, implants may be used to add fullness and volume to the upper part of the breasts.  Breasts may also be made smaller at the time of a breast lift with a breast reduction procedure.
The breasts will change in appearance over time because of aging, loss of skin elasticity, and hereditary factors.  Breast-feeding, pregnancy, and weight changes may all play a part, as well.  Additionally, the colored part around the nipple (areola) can become enlarged and point downward (droop). 
There are a few surgical methods for breast lift procedures.  The procedures are similar in that they remove excess tissue and tighten, firm, and reshape the breast.  The procedures differ in the specific incision patterns and techniques.  Your doctor will determine the most appropriate breast lift procedure based on your breast characteristics.
At your initial consultation, your doctor will help you decide which breast lift method is right for you.  Your breast size, shape, and skin integrity will be examined.  You should tell your doctor about your concerns and expectations.  A general health evaluation and breast examination will be obtained.  A pre-surgery mammogram may be recommended.  It is common for “before” photos to be taken for your medical records.  You will need to stop smoking before your surgery and your doctor will let you know if any of your medications should be temporarily discontinued, as well.

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A breast lift is usually an outpatient procedure.  You should plan to have someone drive you home and stay with you for the first night.  Breast lift procedures are performed at an accredited plastic surgeon’s outpatient surgical facility, hospital, or outpatient surgery center.  It may be performed with general anesthesia or IV sedation. 

A pre-determined incision pattern will be used. The design of this pattern, location and length of the resultant incision are related to the location and amount of excess skin present on the breast.  Your breast tissue will be lifted and reshaped.  Next, the nipple and areola are repositioned.  Excess skin is removed, enlarged areolas may be reduced, breast tissue may be removed, or breast implants may be inserted.  Deep layered sutures are used to create internal support.

At the end of the procedure, temporary drainage tubes may be inserted to remove excess fluid. The incisions in the skin are closed with stitches, tape, or surgical adhesive.  The area is gently wrapped with bandages. 

You will receive medication for post procedure pain and specific instructions for wound care.  After a few days, you will wear a surgical support bra or elastic bandage to support your breasts.  Your stitches will be removed at a follow-up appointment. You should not smoke cigarettes for several weeks before and after your procedure as this may affect your results, scarring, and loss of dead skin.  Your doctor will gradually increase your activity level.  It may take time for swelling to resolve and several months for incision lines to fade.

The results of your procedure are immediately visible.  You can help maintain your rejuvenated new look by maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.  You should continue to receive regular mammogram screenings, but be sure to inform the provider that you have received a breast lift.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit