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Breast Lift

A breast lift — also known as mastopexy — is a surgical procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to change the shape of your breasts. During a breast lift, excess skin is removed and breast tissue is reshaped to raise the breasts. Can be combined with breast implants to create a fuller, perkier, more youthful decolletage.

As you get older, your breasts change — losing elasticity and firmness.

There are many causes for these kinds of breast changes, including:

• Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the ligaments that support your breasts might stretch as your breasts get fuller and heavier. This stretching might contribute to sagging breasts after pregnancy — whether or not you breast-feed your baby.

• Weight fluctuations. Changes in your weight can cause your breast skin to stretch and lose elasticity.

• Gravity. A breast lift can reduce sagging and raise the position of the nipples and the darker area surrounding the nipples (areola). The size of the areola can also be reduced during the procedure to keep them in proportion to the newly shaped breasts.

Are you a candidate for a breast lift?

A breast lift isn't for everyone. If you're considering pregnancy at any point in the future, you might delay getting a breast lift. During pregnancy your breasts could stretch and offset the results of the lift. However, it’s up to you to decide when you are ready to have a breast lift.

Surgical techniques used for breast lifts

Techniques used to remove breast skin and reshape breast tissue vary. The specific technique your plastic surgeon chooses will determine the location of the incisions and the resulting scars.

Your doctor might make incisions:

• Around the areola — the darker area surrounding the nipples

• Extending downward from the areola to the breast creases

• Horizontally along the breast creases

Your doctor might place stitches deep within your breasts to reshape your breast tissue and, if necessary, reduce the size of your areola. He or she will remove excess breast skin and shift the nipples to higher positions. Then your doctor will bring together the breast skin and close the incisions with stitches, surgical tape or skin adhesives.

Post surgery and recovery

After a breast lift, your breasts will likely be covered with gauze and a surgical support bra. Small tubes might be placed at the incision sites in your breasts to drain any excess blood or fluid.

Your breasts will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. You'll likely feel pain and soreness around the incisions, which will be red or pink for a few months. Numbness in your nipples, areola and breast skin might last for about six weeks.

In the first few days after a breast lift, take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. Avoid straining, bending and lifting. Sleep on your back or your side to keep pressure off your breasts.

Avoid sexual activity for at least one to two weeks after the breast lift. Ask your doctor when it's OK to resume daily activities, such as washing your hair, showering or bathing.

Drainage tubes may be placed near your incisions and are typically removed within a few days. When your doctor removes the tubes, he or she will also probably change or remove your bandages.

Continue to wear the surgical support bra round-the-clock for three or four days. Then you'll wear a soft support bra for three or four weeks. Your doctor might suggest using silicone tape or gel on your incisions to promote healing.

While you're healing, keep your breasts out of the sun. Afterward, protect your incisions during sun exposure.

You'll notice an immediate change in the appearance of your breasts — although their shape will continue to change and settle over the next few months.