A breast lift is a cosmetic procedure designed to give sagging breasts a more appealing look and feel. The procedure removes skin from the bottom of the breast and tightens the skin on the sides around the breast tissue, renewing firmness in the chest. Breast lifts are often sought by women whose breasts have been stretched from nursing after pregnancies. It may be performed in conjunction with breast augmentation.
A breast lift takes approximately one to three hours. The most frequent technique begins with an incision down the front and along the bottom of the breast. A circular cut is made around the areola — the dark skin surrounding the nipple — and continues straight downward to the crease underneath the breast. Then a horizontal cut is made along the crease. The surgeon moves the nipple up to a more attractive position. The skin from the sides of the breast is pulled down to wrap around the nipple’s new placement, and the excess skin is removed. The surgeon then sews up the incisions.
After surgery, the breasts remain wrapped in a bandage; later, this will be replaced by a surgical bra. The patient may have mild pain, numbness, swelling, and/or bruising in the breasts. Most of these symptoms subside within a few weeks, though a slight amount of swelling and numbness may persist for longer.
Like any surgical procedure, there are some risks associated with breast lift. In rare cases, patients may experience a reaction to the anesthesia or may suffer from infection. Small breasts usually produce the best results, as larger breasts tend to sag faster after a lift. And though a breast lift does not usually interfere with pregnancies or nursing in the future, the breasts can stretch out again during breast-feeding, negating the results of surgery.