Various factors can cause a woman’s breasts to lose their youthful profile and begin to droop. Pregnancy and breastfeeding, weight swings, aging, genetics—any and all of these can play a part. For many women, a breast lift—mastopexy—can improve their self-confidence as well as their figure.

Mastopexy raises the breast position by lifting the underlying tissue and then bringing the nipple and areola up to the appropriate level. It doesn’t add volume, so the best candidates are women who are satisfied with the size of their breasts and simply want some elevation. For others, a breast lift can be done along with breast augmentation or fat grafting. This is called a mastopexy-augmentation. Sometimes it can be done simultaneously, or it may need to be staged as two operations. Dr. Jensen can help you decide which way is best for you. A breast lift can also be performed at the time of breast reduction. It’s best to postpone mastopexy if you’re planning to become pregnant or to lose a lot of weight, which would reduce the long-term effectiveness of the procedure.

A breast lift is most commonly done as outpatient surgery under general anesthesia. Incisions are made around the areola (the pigmented area surrounding the nipple) and, as needed, vertically from the areola to the breast fold and sometimes horizontally along the fold. (The placement of the incisions depends on the size of the breasts and how much they sag.) The breast tissue is then raised and reshaped, the nipple and areola are moved up to their correct location, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is tightened.

Breast Lift Recovery and Results

A more youthful profile will be apparent right away, although it will be a few months before the breasts have completely settled into position. There will be swelling after the surgery, and the dressings will be covered with an elastic bandage or special surgical bra designed to assist in breast lift recovery. While you can expect to feel soreness and mild pain in the days following your breast lift, most women are able to return to work within a week or two.

You’ll want to treat your breasts with extra care for the first few weeks—no lifting or bending at first, for instance. You may be instructed to sleep on your back initially and to wear a support bra to hold the breasts in position and reduce swelling.

A breast lift gives long-lasting results, but it doesn’t prevent ongoing natural changes caused by aging and gravity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a stable weight will help you prolong the results of your breast lift.

Breast Lift Before and After

Keep in mind for each breast lift, before and after surgery, results can slightly vary from patient to patient. Before mastopexy, drooping creates somewhat flattened breasts; the areolas typically point downward, below the level of the breast crease. After her breast lift, the patient’s breast profile is elevated and more rounded. The areolas have been raised and face outward, not down.

Breast Lift Scars

The scars from your breast lift will be permanent, but they’ll fade and flatten in time and will be easy to hide under clothing. The extent of the breast lift scars depends on what incisions are needed to achieve the desired lift—whether vertical incisions are made below the areola and horizontal incisions along the breast crease.

Breast Lift and Reduction

Not surprisingly, large breasts are more susceptible to drooping than smaller breasts. A breast lift itself doesn’t appreciably change breast size, but often it is done in combination with breast reduction surgery for women who want to both raise their breasts and reduce their size. In this case, excess tissue as well as excess skin is removed to reshape and lift the breasts.