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Breast Lift Surgery Overview

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A mastopexy (also known as "breast lift") is a medical procedure designed to give the breasts a more youthful and upright appearance. This procedure can reduce sag and raise hanging, stretched out breasts back to their correct position. During mastopexy, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is sutured in a way that reduces or eliminates sag.

The goal of mastopexy is to return your breasts to a more youthful appearance. As with all cosmetic procedures, a mastopexy can only change your appearance, it cannot change your mental or emotional state. Still, a cosmetic procedure can help you feel better about your appearance, which in turn can give you self confidence and boost your self-esteem.


Improvements in surgical techniques are continually being made. If you are considering mastopexy, you should choose a qualified surgeon who can offer the latest options available for the procedure.

A breast lift and breast augmentation are not the same procedure. Breast augmentation is a procedure where the breast is enhanced through the addition of breast implants to increase volume and reshape breast tissue to create a desired appearance. But breast lift and augmentation can be performed in conjunction, if you wish to increase the size of your breasts and reduce sag.

Are You a Good Candidate For Mastopexy?

Most mastopexy procedures are performed on women between the ages of 35 and 50. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, about 50% of women getting breast lifts fall into this age group and the procedure is growing in popularity.

Are you a good candidate for a breast lift procedure? It depends on your overall physical and mental health. You should be free of any active infections or other diseases or medical conditions that could make you unable to endure the surgery and recovery period. If you have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or heart disease, you should consult with your doctor. Tell your surgeon if you smoke. Smoking can interfere with healing.

The healing process from mastopexy can be difficult and tedious and it requires a great deal of patience. It is not uncommon for people to become depressed after surgery, so you should be mentally prepared when deciding to have a breast lift. If you already suffer from depression or other mental illness, it may be wise to delay or opt against surgery.

Before committing to a breast lift, you should discuss your desired results with your surgeon to ensure they can be attained through mastopexy surgery. You and your surgeon can examine before-and-after mastopexy pictures to be sure you are in agreement about how you want to look after the surgery.

A common cause of sagging breasts is pregnancy and breastfeeding. It may be wise to wait until you are done having children before having mastopexy since future pregnancies will undo the results of the surgery.

Your health insurance will probably not cover the costs of a breast lift. This means that you will be responsible for the cost. However, financing can be arranged.

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How a Breast Lift Is Performed

A mastopexy can be done in a free-standing surgical clinic or in a hospital. It can also be done on an outpatient basis, where you arrive in the morning and go home that night. Most mastopexy procedures take between 1.5 and 4 hours, but if you are having other procedures, such inserting breast implants or liposuction, this will add to the length of the surgery.

Your surgeon will inform you of how long before surgery you need to fast. He or she will also tell you if you need to avoid any medications you usually take (such as aspirin) a few days before surgery.

There are several phases in breast lift surgery:

Preparation: This is the phase when you are "prepped" for surgery. At this time, your surgeon will mark you with a permanent marker to indicate where incisions will be made. The location, length and direction of these incision lines will be dictated by type of mastopexy being performed. During preparation, you will be scrubbed with an antimicrobial agent to minimize the possibility of infection. You will also be hooked up to several monitors so that the surgical team can monitor your vital signs.

Anesthesia: The choice of anesthesia should be discussed between you and your surgeon prior to the surgery. There are several choices for anesthesia during breast enhancement surgery. These include general anesthesia, conscious sedation, or local anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you are completely unconscious and unaware. With conscious sedation, you are asleep, but not completely unconscious. Local anesthesia numbs the chest area where the surgeon will be working, and you usually also receive a sedative to keep you calm and relaxed. In all cases, you will most have an intravenous (IV) line started. This is used to maintain your hydration levels or to administer medications during the procedure.

Surgical Procedure: After anesthesia is begun, your surgeon will carefully follow the premarked incision lines drawn during the preparation phase. After he or she is done, the incisions are then closed and a dressing is applied to protect the wounds, to keep the tissue (and implants, if used) securely in place, and to reduce swelling.

Recovery:After the breast lift surgery, you are awakened and moved to a recovery room where nurses monitor vital statistics for usually about 2 hours. You may feel a number of sensations during this time, including pain, nausea, or uncontrollable shivering. Some people experience emotional anguish as they come out of surgery. The staff can provide you with pain relievers, anti-nausea medications, and warm blankets if you need them.

Sutures placed underneath the skin will dissolve over several months. Sutures placed through the skin usually dissolve within one to two weeks or must be removed by your surgeon.

Most breast lifts are done on an outpatient basis, which means that you go home a few hours after surgery. You will be groggy and sore and will not be able to drive yourself home. You must arrange in advance to have a responsible adult drive you home after your surgery. During your pre-surgical consultation, you should ask your surgeon about any concerns you have related to recovery time for breast lift. And of course, the breast lift cost should be all inclusive of post- surgical care.

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