Women who choose to undergo breast lift surgery are happy with their breast volume and overall size, but are unhappy with their ptotic (sagging) or pendulous appearance. With a breast lift, plastic surgeon Dr. John Kim can help you restore a more youthful breast contour and shape by positioning it higher on the chest wall, to eliminate the drooping appearance and feel.
As our bodies evolve and our skin elasticity and weight change, gravity has an effect. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are also factors that change our anatomy. Breast lift surgery (mastopexy) recreates a more youthful contour by raising and firming the breasts. By removing excess breast skin, the breast tissue is tightened, which reshapes and supports the new breast shape. In addition to lifting the breast, a mastopexy can also reduce the size of the areola (colored part surrounding the nipple) which may become larger over time. You should not expect your breast lift surgery to significantly alter the size of your breasts—it simply lifts the breast into a more desirable position on the chest. Women who desire both fuller, larger breasts as well as a lift should consider both a breast augmentation and a breast lift. This combined procedure is referred to as an augmentation-mastopexy. There is also the possibility of having a breast reduction combined with a breast lift, if you desire smaller but more youthful looking breasts. Dr. Kim also performs breast lifts as part of the mommy makeover procedure.
Check out Dr. Kim’s original research article entitled “A Systematic Review of Single-Stage Augmentation-Mastopexy” here.
If you are in Chicago or the surrounding areas, contact Dr. John Kim’s office to schedule a free, personalized consultation to discuss your breast lift. Dr. Kim can work with you to achieve your desired results, creating a more beautiful you.
Choosing a Breast Lift
Breast lift surgery is a very personal decision, and you should only undergo this procedure if it right for you, not to meet someone else’s expectations. Ideal candidates for this surgery are in good physical health and have reasonable, achievable goals. It is best for women who are bothered by their breasts sagging, have lost breast shape and volume, have a flatter/elongated breast shape, or have stretched skin and enlarged areolas. During your initial visit to Dr. Kim’s offices at Northwestern Plastic Surgery in downtown Chicago, he will carefully examine your breasts, taking detailed measurements of their shape and size, as well as your skin quality and the location of your nipples and areolas. He will also inform you of all risks of this surgery, so you may make the most informed decision possible.
Breast Lift Procedure
Mastopexy surgery can be done using a variety of surgical techniques. Dr. Kim offers his patients 3 different incision patterns, the first of which is around the areola, as shown below:
It is also possible to go around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease:
Dr. Kim can also go around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease.
Once the incision is made, Dr. Kim lifts and reshaped the breast tissue. This altered positioning of the tissue will improve the contour and firmness of your breast. Then, the nipple and areola are repositioned, and the areola is reduced in size if need be. Excess breast skin is removed, then, to compensate for the loss of elasticity over time.
Breast Lift Recovery
Dr. Kim usually does mastopexy surgeries on an outpatient basis, meaning your hospital stay is typically 23 hours or less. For several days or a couple weeks after surgery, you may notice swelling or feel sore, but this should not inhibit you from caring for yourself entirely after surgery. Dr. Kim will place dressings and/or bandages on your incisions at the end of surgery, and these along with an elastic bandage or support bra will minimize swelling and support your breasts as they heal gradually. Sometimes, Dr. Kim places a thin tube under patients’ breast skin to drain any excess fluid that may accumulate in the breast pocket.
Dr. Kim will inform you of specific instructions on how to care for your healing breasts, and he will prescribe various medications to aid healing, reduce pain, and reduce infection risk. You will follow up with Dr. Kim in the office shortly after surgery. He will be sure to specify any activity restrictions you may have. It is crucial that you do not subject your recent incisions to any excessive force, abrasion, or motion, as this may impair healing. After a few weeks, you should be able to resume normal activities and mild exercise.
The results of your breast lift surgery with Dr. John Kim should persist for many years. Of course, your breasts will continue to evolve over time due to aging and gravity, so if you maintain a healthy weight and sustain an active, healthy lifestyle you are most likely to retain your excellent results.
Breast Lift FAQs
Who is a good candidate for this surgery?
Many women who consider having breast lift surgery experience sagging or deflated breasts. Often times, pregnancy or weight loss can lead to a loss in firmness and shape of the breasts. Breast lift can restore the firmness and positioning of the breasts. Women with fully developed breasts who are mature enough to understand the surgical procedure and have realistic expectations are the best candidates for breast lift surgery.
What are the benefits of breast lift surgery?
Breast lift can help restore a woman’s natural breast shape. If a woman is unhappy with the sagging appearance of her breasts, a breast lift can improve placement and positioning.
Should I have breast lift with an implant?
If the breasts have both become deflated and the breast tissue has diminished, you may want to consider having an implant along with breast lift surgery. This will restore not only the placement of the breasts, but also the volume.
How long does breast lift surgery take?
Breast reduction surgery typically takes anywhere from one to three hours.
What happens during surgery?
Breast lift surgery may take place through a variety of techniques. Each method will remove excess skin from the breasts. Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Kim will then reshape the breast tissue to ensure an aesthetic shape, and the incisions will be closed. The number of incisions made and the length of time the surgery may take depend on how much correction is required.
Are there risks?
There are always risks before any major surgery, although breast lift risks are fairly minimal. There is a chance that nipple sensation may be lost temporarily following surgery, although in some rare cases this loss of sensation may be permanent. Dr. Kim will let you know of any possible complications that could arise during or after your breast reduction.
Is there swelling or bruising after breast lift?
The moderate swelling and bruising from breast lift surgery resolves in seven to ten days. To reduce swelling, rest in a semi-upright position and keep your heart higher than your chest. Ice can also be used to minimize swelling.
What can I expect after surgery and the recovery period?
Following the procedure, your breasts will be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a surgical bra over gauze dressings. Dr. Kim will prescribe pain medication, and the bandages will be removed after a couple of days. You may be up and around moving a day or two following the surgery, but your breasts may still ache for a couple of weeks. You should avoid lifting or pushing or pulling of any kind for at least four weeks.
Will there be scarring?
All breast lift surgeries will leave a scar; however, they may be hidden and undetectable when wearing bikinis and very low-cut tops. The scar will fade over time, and will eventually become hardly noticeable.
What is the recovery like?
Although all patients heal differently, light activities are often resumed within the first week. Gentle exercise is often tolerated by two weeks, and more vigorous activities within another month or two. Patients may experience soreness, numbness and swelling following surgery. A support bra should be worn continuously, night and day, for the first few weeks.
When can I expect to resume my normal daily activities?
Many patients can resume most of their normal activities, including some form of mild exercise, within a few weeks. You may continue to experience some mild, periodic discomfort during this time, but these feelings are normal.
How long will I be out of work?
Following breast lift, most patients find they are able to return to work within seven to ten days. The exact amount of time will depend on the extent of your breast lift surgery, your pain tolerance and the physical demands of your work.
When will I be able to see the results of my breast lift?
After your breast lift surgery, you will immediately notice the new positioning and placement of your breasts. It will take several weeks for the final cosmetic result. Eventually, the breasts will settle into place and the incisions will smooth and fade.
Are results permanent?
Breast lift should make a long-term improvement in your breast shape and positioning. However, if you gain weight following the procedure, your breasts may grow in size and change shape. Staying at a healthy weight and exercising regularly are important for maintaining proportioned and attractive breasts after your surgery.
Can I breastfeed after breast lift?
No woman is guaranteed to have the ability to breastfeed her newborn. Until it comes time to try for the first time, a woman will not know if she will be able to successfully breastfeed. When you choose to undergo any surgical procedure that affects the breasts, there is a chance that breastfeeding may not be possible. For breast lift procedures, the level of risk of not having the ability to breastfeed depends on the surgical technique used for the procedure. If breastfeeding is an important part of your surgical decision, make sure you consult with Dr. Kim about your options to help decide what is best for you.
For more information on breast lift, please contact board-certified reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon Dr. John Kim at his office at Northwestern Plastic Surgery.