Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Lifts

As women age, they will inevitably notice how their breasts begin to sag. The medical term for this is breast ptosis, and it can be addressed with a breast lift performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Women will find answers to a variety of common questions about breast lift surgery on this page.

What causes breast ptosis?

Even with a proper support bra, women’s breasts will eventually begin to lose their shape and firmness, causing them to sag or droop, which can also affect the orientation of the nipple. Losing breast volume after pregnancy, breastfeeding, or weight loss can speed this process along, as do the effects of heredity, aging, and gravity over time. 

What is mastopexy?

Mastopexy is the medical term for the procedure commonly referred to as a breast lift. It is performed in order to raise sagging breasts and reshape them. It can include reducing and/or repositioning the areola, which can also improve nipple alignment. Because a breast lift does not surgically alter the size of the breast, this procedure can also be combined with breast enlargement or breast reduction if desired. 

What does a typical mastopexy consultation entail?

An initial consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon is important. This is where you will learn whether or not you’re a good candidate for the procedure, what the surgery entails, how it is performed, what specific technique is best suited to your unique circumstances and desired appearance, the risks and potential complications, the results that may be expected, discussion of your medical history, post-operative care, and what kind of scarring you can expect. The cost of the procedure will also be discussed, which depends on nature and extent of the surgery needed. This is also an opportunity to discuss combining mastopexy with breast enlargement if desired.

Am I a good candidate for a breast lift?

Women who are older than 18, generally healthy (both physically and emotionally), without serious health conditions, not prone to keloid scarring, and finished having children (because pregnancy and breastfeeding can be a cause of breast ptosis) are generally good candidates. A final determination on this can be made during your initial consultation. It’s also important to have realistic expectation about breast lift procedure.

What are the benefits of a breast lift?

Besides the main benefit of raising the breasts, other benefits of mastopexy can include realignment of the nipple that might be drooping or pointing off to the side, an increase in the firmness of the breasts, reduced areolas that have been stretched out, and a more natural appearance of the breasts after weight loss. Many women combine mastopexy and breast enlargement to achieve the look they want.

What happens during a breast lift procedure?

The breast lift surgical procedure itself is typically an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour and a half under general anesthesia. There are several different techniques and incisions that can be used in mastopexy depending on what will work best for each patient and the desired appearance to be achieved. Your initial meeting with the surgeon will include a breast examination to determine which technique is best for you. It is also a good time to discuss whether or not you want breast enlargement as part of the treatment.

What is post-surgery recovery like?

Keep in mind you are a patient who has undergone surgery. You will feel some discomfort for at least several days afterwards. Your breasts will feel swollen and there could be bruising as well. The level of pain you feel after the surgery (typically not severe) will be addressed with appropriate pain medications. The stitches used to close the incisions will dissolve on their own in several weeks. While the average patient is up and moving around within a few days, you’ll need to be careful about not overdoing it. In general, you’ll want to plan resting and taking it easy for 1 to 2 weeks. If your work doesn’t involve any bending, lifting, or heavy physical exertion, you should be able to return to work after a week or two. We’ll go over post-op instructions with you in the recovery room, and also give you a written version to take home.

Will there be scars?

Yes, this procedure will leave scars. Your plastic surgeon will do everything to minimize them and make them as inconspicuous as possible. The extent of visible scars depends in large part on the surgical incision technique used, which will be discussed during your consultation. The scars will be red for at least several months. Over time they will fade. Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon to show you pictures of the patients they have performed breast lift for.

Is breast lift surgery safe?

Generally speaking, breast lift surgery (mastopexy) is considered safe for most healthy women. Like any surgery, however, there are always potential risks for the patient receiving the procedure. Potential risks and complications include negative reaction to anesthesia, infection, bleeding, and development or a hematoma or seroma. These can be minimized by strictly following all post-operative instructions. Your surgeon will go over all the potential risks and complications during your initial meeting. We will go over post-op care with you in the recovery room, and give you written instructions to take home.

What are the potential side effects of a breast lift?

One of the more common and expected side effects of mastopexy is a reduction of sensation in the nipple and breast skin. This is typically caused by post-surgery swelling that hampers the ability of nerves to send and receive messages. Most patients find sensation returns fully within three months, but in some cases it may take a year or more. We’ll explain these potential side effects to you in the recovery room so you aren’t surprised if they occur.

When can I resume normal activities?

It’s critical to really not do much of anything for a few days after surgery. Even when you start feeling like you can be up and about, be careful not to lift anything above your head (including your arms) for a good 10 days or whatever timeframe your doctor recommends. Avoid strenuous work, exercise, and other activities for a at least several weeks or up to six weeks based on your doctor’s recommendation. 

How long do the results last?

A breast lift can greatly improve the shape and position of your breasts, and while the results are generally described as “long-lasting,” they are not permanent and won’t last forever. Aging, gravity, and lifestyle choices will still take their toll over time. You can help the results last longer by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding large fluctuations in weight, and wearing a supportive bra. 

Will my health insurance cover a breast lift?

Because a breast lift is considered a purely cosmetic procedure, most health insurance policies do not cover mastopexy. If you have had breast cancer surgery, insurance may cover a lift.If you’re interested in exploring whether a breast lift surgery with Dr. Barbara Siwy is right for you, call us at 317-876-7777 or get in touch through the contact page of our website to schedule an initial meeting!

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