Operating Room

Over time our bodies are subjected to a variety of forces outside of our control. Some parts, the breasts, for example, feel these changes more significantly than others. Many women find themselves frustrated by a loss of shape or firmness in their breasts as time goes on. This is caused by a natural decrease in skin elasticity which can be caused by things like:

  • ● Age
  • ● Weight gain
  • ● Pregnancy
  • ● Breastfeeding
  • ● Heredity

Botox has been cited by some as an option but the chemical is expensive and painful to inject. In addition, Botox is believed to offer minimal benefits compared to the cost. There have even been reports of major health concerns developing as a reaction to injections. Thankfully, there are other methods available for those interested.

A breast lift, otherwise known as mastopexy, is a surgery developed to change the shape of a person’s breasts. This is achieved by removing excess skin through a series of careful incisions.

Typically, the goal of a breast lift is to help the patient achieve a more contoured, and energetic bust line. Skin naturally loses a certain degree of elasticity as a person ages. This process has a clear effect on the breasts and can cause things like sagging, or loss of mass.

Prep Work

It’s wise to plan ahead and do a little bit of prep work beforehand. This ensures that you have all the information you need. It also helps troubleshoot possible health concerns. Medical procedures of any kind can be taxing on the body so it is important to try and be in the best health possible. This will decrease the risk of negative side effects and speed up recovery time. Prep-work includes doing things like:

  • ● Getting a lab test done.
  • ● Reduce or stop smoking.
  • ● Getting a mammogram.
  • ● Consult your doctor and adjust current medications accordingly.
  • ● Avoid medication that increases bleeding.

Procedural Steps

The actual procedure and pattern of incisions will vary depending on the specific result desired. However, here is a general outline of the steps involved in a mastopexy.

Anesthesia will be applied to ensure the patient is comfortable while the procedure takes place. The specific methods will be recommended by the doctor based on your health needs. The available options include general anesthesia and intravenous sedation.

Once the anesthetic has set in the surgeons will begin the planning phase, marking the surgical site in order to guide the incision pattern. Incisions will often circle the areola and then may move on depending on the desired result.

Once this step is complete the surgeons begin working. The tissues underlying the breast will be reshaped and lifted in order to restore firmness and increase the contour of the breast. Excess skin will then be removed to counteract the decrease in elasticity and give a smoother appearance. Finally, based on how the procedure has affected the overall shape of the patient’s breasts, it may be necessary to reposition the areolas. During this process, some skin can be removed from the outermost region to reduce areola size.

Once this is all done the incisions are closed again, tightening the skin in the process. Sutures are worked into the tissue to provide structure and support and the incisions sealed with surgical tape or other adhesives.

According to William A. Ross, breast lift expert from Naples, FL, surgeons attempt to conceal incision marks whenever possible and many fade significantly over time. However, patients should be aware that these marks are usually permanent before agreeing to the procedure.

While incisions can be minimalized this may decrease the overall effectiveness of the surgery. Therefore, it is best to work with your doctor to achieve the desired results.

Improvement in shape and firmness should be immediately apparent after surgery. However, post-operation conditions such as swelling and incision lines will take time to resolve themselves.


Eventually, the full results will take effect as the body naturally adapts to the changes made. The patient’s breasts tissue should shape and settle over time, creating a more natural appearance.

While the effects of a mastopexy operation are permanent, be aware that the human body continues to change and develop with age. This means continued loss of mass and elasticity are natural. Patients who wish to minimize this effect should try to maintain their weight level and keep up a healthy lifestyle. It’s also worth noting that changes to the body occurring during pregnancy can reverse or minimize the results of a breast lift. Thus it is wise for patients planning on having children to wait until after pregnancy to pursue a mastopexy treatment.

Recovery Period

During the recovery period, patients will need to wear a special support bra or an elastic bandage. This provides necessary support and decreases swelling as the skin and tissues heal. In some cases, a tube may be installed to help remove extra blood or fluid. This is a temporary measure, however, and will be removed when the drainage is complete.

Recovery rates vary depending upon individual health factors. However, after a breast lift, the general rule of thumb is that the post-surgery bruising and swelling should disappear after two weeks.

Unfortunately, the incisions may be sore and painful for up to a month. Afterward, they will appear reddish or pinkish in hue before eventually fading.

Numbness in the areola, nipple, or surrounding tissue may persist for roughly six weeks.

Potential Risks

Any surgery comes with potential risks. Patients should research and familiarize themselves with the possible complications in order to identify postoperative health issues should they arise.

It is important to consider the risks before making a final decision about any medical procedure. If the potential issues affect pre-existing health conditions or simply seem too unpleasant to outweigh the benefits then the surgery may not be advisable for you.

Research and discuss with your doctor thoroughly before making signing any consent documents. Likely risks include things like:

  • ● Infection
  • ● Bleeding
  • ● Slow healing incisions
  • ● Deep vein thrombosis
  • ● Fluid accumulation
  • ● Cardiac complications
  • ● Fat necrosis

Learn the symptoms of potential health risks so that you can contact your doctor immediately if they appear.

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