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A breast lift addresses sagging and uneven breasts, decreased breast volume and drooping nipples and stretched areolas (the darker area surrounding the nipples), recreating a youthful shape and lift to your breasts. If there is too little or too much breast volume, a breast augmentation or breast reduction might be recommended in addition to a lift. Every year, thousands of women undergo successful breast-lift surgery, experience no major problems and are pleased with the results.

When to Consider a Breast Lift

  • Pregnancy, nursing, gravity, weight gain or loss, normal aging, and heredity have taken a toll on the shape of your breasts, resulting in sagging
  • If your surgeon thinks that breast implants alone are unlikely to achieve the contour you desire
  • If the tissue surrounding the nipple or areola has become stretched

Are you a good candidate for a breast lift?

If you’ve become increasingly unhappy about the sagging of your breasts, you may wonder what surgery can do. Don’t be surprised if your surgeon suggests combining breast augmentation or breast reduction with your lift; adjunct procedures may be necessary to achieve your goals.

The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider a breast lift:

  • Breasts that are pendulous but adequate in size.
  • Breasts that lack substance or firmness.
  • Nipples and areolas that point downward, especially if they are positioned below the breast crease.
  • Breasts that appear different from each other; one breast may appear firm and well positioned while the other does not.
  • Breasts that are not equal in size.
  • Breasts that are relatively small.
  • Breasts that are large and heavy can be lifted, but the results may not be as long-lasting as a breast lift performed on smaller breasts; the weight of larger breasts works against surgical changes.
  • You are finished with childbearing and breast-feeding. If you plan to have children, you may want to postpone cosmetic breast surgery. Pregnancy may stretch the breasts and reduce their volume, compromising surgery benefits.

If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.

How is a breast lift procedure performed?

A breast lift is performed under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation in an accredited hospital or surgeon's office equipped with a surgical suite. Different techniques for removing breast skin and reshaping the breast determine the location of the incisions and resulting scars. Your surgeon will select a technique based on your breast size and shape, areola size and position, degree of breast sagging, skin quality and elasticity and how much extra skin you have.

  • Your plastic surgeon will remove excess breast skin and shift the nipple and areola to a higher position.
  • If your areola has become stretched, it can now be reduced in size.
  • Skin that was formerly located above the areola is brought down and together, beneath the breast, to reshape the breast.
  • Your surgeon will remove excess skin and close your incisions, tightening the skin, sewing the breast back together and placing sutures deep in the breast tissue to support the new breast position for a longer period of time.
  • Scars are usually hidden under the breasts, although some light scarring may be seen on top of the breast.
  • The nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, and this usually allows for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breast-feed.
  • In some patients, it may be possible to avoid the horizontal incision beneath the breast as well as the vertical incision that runs from the bottom edge of the areola to the breast crease. If you are a good candidate for a modified technique, your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you.