What happens during a breast lift?

Learn more about what happens during a breast lift

What happens during a breast lift?

(Breast Lift)

Changes in breast shape and firmness often occur due to pregnancy, weight loss, or aging. Breast tissue and skin lose their elasticity (ability to expand or stretch and return to normal). This allows the breasts to droop and lose their shape. Mastopexy is a type of cosmetic surgery done to reshape the breasts. It is often called a breast lift. Having a breast lift changes the look of your breasts and may improve their appearance.

Preparing for surgery

Prepare for the surgery as you have been told. In addition:

Tell your doctor about all medications you take. This includes herbs and other supplements. It also includes any blood thinners, such as warfarin, clopidogrel, or daily aspirin. You may need to stop taking some or all of them before surgery.

Do not eat or drink during the 8 hours before your surgery, or as directed by your surgeon. This includes coffee, water, gum, and mints. (If you have been instructed to take medications, take them with a small sip of water.)

The day of surgery

The surgery takes about 2 to 4 hours. You may go home the same day.

Before the surgery begins:

An IV line is put into a vein in your arm or hand. This line delivers fluids and medications.

You will be given medication to keep you pain-free during surgery. This may be general anesthesia, which puts you into a state like deep sleep. (A tube may be inserted into your throat to help you breathe.) Or you may have sedation, which makes you relaxed and sleepy. If you have sedation, local anesthesia will be injected to numb the area being worked on. The anesthesiologist will discuss your options with you.

During the surgery:

The doctor makes incisions in the skin around your breast. You and your doctor will have discussed incision sites before surgery.

The doctor moves the breast tissue higher on the chest. Breast skin is tightened to hold the tissue in position. Any excess skin is removed.

The areola (dark skin around the nipple) and nipple are moved higher on the breast. If the size of the areola is being decreased, skin is removed. The areola is stitched into place.

The process is repeated on the other breast.

The incisions are closed with sutures, surgical glue, or both. A tube (drain) may be placed into an incision before it is closed. This drains excess fluid that may build up as the wound begins to heal.

After the surgery

You will be taken to a room to recover from the anesthesia. You may feel sleepy and nauseated. If a breathing tube was used, your throat may be sore at first. You’ll be given medication to control pain. When you’re ready, you will be able to go home with an adult family member or friend.

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