A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure to reshape and lift sagging breasts. If your breasts have lost firmness and form, a plastic surgeon from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus can help.

Breast lift for a smoother, firmer bust

Breast lift surgery can reverse the effects of changes due to aging, gravity, weight fluctuations, pregnancy and breastfeeding. After a breast lift, you’ll have a smoother, younger-looking, firmer bust. The plastic surgeon can also reduce the size of an enlarged areola — the darker skin around the nipple — during a breast lift.

Breast lift surgery enhances breasts but won’t cause dramatic changes in shape or add fullness to the upper part of your breast. To achieve the look you want, your breast lift can be done in combination with other procedures. Options include a breast lift with breast augmentation or a lift with breast reduction

How to prepare for breast lift surgery

If you’re considering breast surgery, schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Your doctor will consider your condition, goals and expectations. You’ll learn more about the best breast lift options for you, and you’ll discuss breast lift cost ranges and possible risks.

During a pre-surgery office visit, your doctor will evaluate your health, medical condition and health history. The surgeon will discuss your pre-surgery preparation steps and what to expect.

Typical breast lift preparations include: 

  • Breast exam and mammogram before and after surgery
  • Discussion of breast condition, goals and expectations
  • Guidance about medications or medication changes
  • Instructions to quit smoking if you’re a smoker
  • Lab tests or other health and diagnostic testing 
  • Physical exam, including evaluation of breasts and skin
  • Reminders about advance plans for transportation and post-surgery care
  • Review of health history, including breast cancer history or risk

What to expect if you have breast lift surgery

Ohio State plastic surgeons may perform breast lift surgery in an outpatient surgical center or hospital surgical setting. You may have general anesthesia or a sedative medication and local anesthesia.

During the breast lift procedure

Types of breast lifts and surgical techniques vary. Your Ohio State plastic surgeon will determine the appropriate technique based on your condition, including:

  • Amount of excess skin
  • Degree of breast sagging 
  • Quality and elasticity of your skin
  • Size and position of your areolas 
  • Size and shape of your breasts 

During surgery, your surgeon will make an incision either around the areola; in a vertical line from the areola to the crease of the breast; or around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally across the crease

After your surgeon makes the incisions, your doctor will:

  • Lift underlying breast tissue and reshape it to improve the curve of the breast 
  • Reposition the nipple and areola to the predetermined height 
  • Reduce the size of enlarged areolas if necessary 
  • Remove any loose or excess breast skin  

During breast lift surgery, your doctor will layer sutures deep within the breast that help shape and support the breast. Skin is further tightened as the surgeon closes the incisions. Your doctor may use adhesives, sutures or surgical tape to close the skin.

Most breast lift procedures take two to three hours, and you can go home the same day. 

Recovery after breast lift surgery

A breast lift procedure is not painful, but you can expect some bruising, swelling and discomfort. If needed, your doctor will give you medication to keep you comfortable. The surgeon may also prescribe oral or topical medication to prevent infection.

After the procedure, you’ll have gauze dressings or bandages across your breasts. You may have tubes in your incisions to help drain excess fluid. Your doctor will remove these during a post-surgery office visit. You’ll also wear an elastic bandage or support bra, which helps limit swelling during breast lift recovery.

You’ll receive individualized instructions, including: 

  • Instructions regarding follow-up care and appointments 
  • Medication review and instruction
  • Post-surgical wound, skin and breast care  
  • What symptoms should be promptly reported to your doctor 

You’ll wear a surgical support bra 24 hours a day for a few days. The surgeon will tell you when you can change to a softer support bra that’s usually worn for three to four weeks. You’ll need to keep your breasts covered and protected while they heal and avoid sun exposure.

Breast lift results

You’ll see immediate results in your breasts’ position and overall appearance after breast lift surgery. The results will continue to improve as swelling subsides, healing progresses, and breast skin and tissues settle into their new position.

Breast lift scars vary, depending on the type of breast lift and approach. The natural curves and creases of your breasts will conceal some breast lift scars. Others will be visible on the surface. Although surgical scars are permanent, they’ll fade over time.

It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions to ensure successful breast lift results. Protect your surgical incisions and avoid any forceful stress, pressure, friction or movement as you heal. Your surgeon will give you specific care instructions.

A breast lift lasts for years, although breasts can continue to change due to normal aging and other changes such as weight fluctuations or pregnancy. The following steps can help to keep your new look longer: 

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure 
  • Maintain a steady weight 
  • Practice healthy lifestyle habits 

Risks of breast lift surgery

Your surgeon will discuss the risks of breast lift surgery. Any surgery can have complications such as bleeding, infection and anesthesia complications. Risks of a breast lift include: 

  • Results not as expected, including irregularities or imbalanced breasts 
  • Changes in nipple or breast sensation 
  • Blood clots, including heart and lung complications 
  • Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue deep within the skin) 
  • Poor wound healing 
  • Loss of part or all of nipple and areola 

At the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, surgical teams take every precaution to reduce risks and protect your health and safety. Before surgery, your surgeon will answer all of your questions and fully explain the breast lift procedure. If you have another procedure, such as breast augmentation, your surgeon will also explain what to expect and discuss post-surgical care and recovery processes. 

Why choose Ohio State for breast lift surgery?

If you’re considering a breast lift, it’s important to choose the most experienced team with proven results. At the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, you’ll find board certified plastic surgeons with expertise in a wide range of innovative breast lift techniques. 

Because Ohio State is a teaching and research hospital, our physicians train the next generation of plastic surgeons. Our surgery team includes academic leaders who conduct research to bring about new advancements in cosmetic surgery, including different types of breast surgery. 

At Ohio State, you have access to: 

  • Our entire team of experts, not only in plastic surgery, but in every other field of medicine 
  • The most comprehensive and latest cosmetic surgery treatments and care 
  • Safe procedures with fast recovery 

Get answers to your questions

Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation with an Ohio State plastic surgeon. Your privacy, comfort and safety are of the utmost importance to us and will always be a top priority. 

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