A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure to lift the breasts by removing excess skin and tighten the surrounding tissue. The goal of a breast lift is to raise, reshape, and improve the contours of the breasts.
The breast lift is an extremely popular procedure; according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast lifts have outpaced breast augmentation nearly two-to-one in recent years. However, a breast lift alone does not augment the size of the breast. Its purpose is a rejuvenated, youthful and more natural appearance. A breast lift is often coupled with breast implants (known as mastopexy augmentation) to enhance size while also lifting the breasts, though this depends on each individual patient’s aesthetic goals.
As we age, skin and soft tissue loosen, descend, and deflate. This can cause a loss of shape and firmness in the breasts, which can be further exacerbated by pregnancy, fluctuations in weight, breastfeeding, and genetics. A breast lift can also help to correct:
- Enlarged areolas or nipples that point downwards
- Flattened, elongated, or pendulous breasts
- Nipples that fall below the lower crease of the breast (or inframammary fold)
- One breast lower than the other
If any of these factors apply to you, you may be a good candidate for a breast lift. Ideal candidates should be in generally favorable health, non-smokers, and not currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, we understand that poor self-image and confidence can affect more than just self-image, but quality of life as well. The motivations for a breast lift can be varied, but our goal is to help each patient both look and feel like the best version of themselves.
During a consultation at our clinic, a board-certified plastic surgeon will discuss your aesthetic goals and review your medical history to ensure that you are a good candidate for a breast lift. Be prepared to discuss any past surgeries, the results of mammograms or biopsies, and if you have a family history that includes breast cancer.
The surgeon will examine your upper body and take measurements of your breasts for size, shape, skin quality, and nipple position. Photographs are usually taken at this stage so that your plastic surgeon can perform a full evaluation and work with you to determine the best course of treatment to reach your ideal aesthetic goals.
If you have any questions about results, recovery, potential risks, or any other factors, the consultation is the best time to discuss these with your plastic surgeon.
The particular technique required to perform a breast lift depends on your desired results, as well as your body shape and skin quality. To begin, a general anesthetic is administered to ensure comfort during the procedure.
The placement of the incisions depends on the necessary corrections. The incision sites are concealed whenever possible to avoid visible scarring. The most common incision sites for a breast lift are around the areola, vertically from the areola to the breast crease, or horizontally along the breast crease.
After the incisions are made, your plastic surgeon will reposition and lift the underlying tissue to improve the shape and contour of your breasts. If the breast lift is being performed in conjunction with breast augmentation, the implants would be inserted at this stage to increase volume. The nipple and areola will usually be repositioned to compensate for the new height of the breast, and any excess skin will be removed.
Once the corrections are made, the incisions are closed with sutures. In some cases, incision sites may result in visible faint scars, but these will fade over time. The results of a breast lift are noticeable immediately after surgery.
Swelling and bruising of the breasts and incision sites are normal in the weeks following the procedure. Usually an elastic bandage or support bra is necessary to maintain support while the breasts heal. A drain may be placed at the incision sites after surgery to remove any excess fluid.
Your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication and issue post-surgical care instructions to ensure a safe recovery. You should avoid any rigorous exercise or exertion until your doctor clears you to return to your normal level of activity.
There are relatively few risks associated with breast lift surgery; however, any surgical procedure has potential complications. Risks commonly associated with a breast lift may include:
- Hematoma (blood clot)
- Temporary or permanent changes in skin sensation
- Fluid accumulation
- Breast asymmetry
The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago takes every measure to minimize risk by using only the safest, most innovative techniques in aesthetic breast surgery. You can also reduce potential complications by carefully following all instructions from your plastic surgeon, both before and after the procedure.
The national average cost for a breast lift in the United States is approximately $4,600, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, this figure will be affected by your location, your plastic surgeon, the center at which the procedure is performed, and the extent of your aesthetic goals.
Most health insurance providers will not cover the expense of a breast lift, since it is considered a cosmetic procedure. Be sure to speak with your plastic surgeon about all associated costs and payment options during your consultation.
If you are unhappy with the firmness, contours, or shape of your breasts and you believe that a breast lift might be the solution for you, call the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago to schedule a consultation. A board-certified plastic surgeon will talk with you about your aesthetic goals and discuss all treatment options available. We will not perform any procedure unless we are certain that it is the best course of treatment for you.
All surgical procedures by the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago are performed at top hospitals in Chicago and CMS or AAAASF-certified surgical centers for safety.