Often, pregnancy or nursing stretches breast skin, causing breasts to sag or become pendulous, or the nipples to point downward. Excessive weight gain or loss or the natural aging process can also take its toll. Breast lift surgery, or mastopexy, can take years off a woman’s body by creating a firmer and tighter bust line and more voluminous breasts. Our Austin, TX board-certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder IV can trim away excess tissue and skin for the breasts to help them appear tightened and lifted. A breast lift, which is often performed in conjunction with breast augmentation, is not permanent: gravity, age, and additional pregnancies can affect your skin over time. However, breast lift results are still very satisfying for the vast majority of our patients for a number of years. If you are considering having a breast lift, you should schedule an appointment to learn more about your options.
A breast lift is performed as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility in about 1 – 2 hours. During the surgery, incisions will be made around the skin-color line of the areola. It may extend vertically, down to the crease of the breast or extend further to a horizontal incision following the breast crease direction. How extensive the incision will be depends on how much skin must be removed. The excess skin will be trimmed away and the underlying tissues tightened. The remaining skin will be stretched up and closed with sutures. An implant placed underneath the chest muscle may also supplement the lift as it can provide additional support in keeping the improved projection in place. In some cases, the areola is reduced in size, thus making it more proportionate to the reshaped breast.
You may have a suture along the breast fold that will need to be removed 2 – 3 weeks after surgery. The incisions will be covered with surgical glue. This stays on the incisions for 1 – 3 weeks, and eventually will come off on its own. Over this, there may be small pieces of gauze and tape over the incisions, which may be removed 1 – 2 days after surgery. The areas should remain covered if they continue to drain any fluid. You will be placed in a surgical bra or ace wrap after surgery.
Women who contemplate undergoing breast lift surgery often wonder what the incisions will look like and how bad the scarring will be after the procedure. The incisions vary depending on how severe the breast sagging is and how much tissue volume is present.
Dr. Snyder typically uses a circular incision around the areola, along with a vertical incision that spans from the bottom of the areola to the fold underneath the breast. The vertical incision and surrounding skin located underneath the breast will appear bunched after surgery, but this will smooth out over time.
You will have double incisions with the lollipop lift to carry out the skin excision. One of the incisions will be around the areola, and the other will be a straight line from the areola to the underside breast crease.
A mastopexy procedure using the donut incision will lift the nipple to a higher position and excise the redundant tissue at the bottom of the breast. You can have a breast augmentation with implants carried out at the same time as a donut lift. The scar will only be around the areola.
The crescent lift is for women with minor sagging. Dr. Snyder would remove a crescent-shape section of the breast (above the areola) and elevating the breast to a higher position before sutures.
Breast lift surgery is performed using general anesthesia at an accredited surgery facility. On average, the procedure may last up to 2 hours. The recovery will vary as some patients will have had a breast lift in combination with a reduction surgery, or with implants. Regardless, patients will be encouraged to move around within the first 48 hours. After surgery, you will be given a prescription for pain medication. It is important to inform us if you have any allergies or adverse reactions to certain medications.
Activities such as carrying heavy objects or any activity that puts pressure on the chest must be avoided. Most patients can resume normal activities within a couple of weeks, but exercise should not be attempted for 6 – 8 weeks. There will be some scarring associated with this procedure, but with extra care they will heal and fade, and many patients feel they become secondary to a more beautiful breast shape.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $7,000 - $9,000
- Recovery Time
- 2 – 6 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 7 Days
- Procedure Recovery Location
Breast Lift FAQs
Lift or Augmentation?
It depends on the patient’s aesthetic goals and the current breast form. A breast lift will help correct a sagging, drooping breast. Many times after this surgery, patients are happy with their breast size because the lift alone creates a fuller breast. If the patient wishes to have more volume and increase the breast size, implants will resolve this issue. Before surgery, a thorough consultation and assessment will be provided, and Dr. Snyder will recommend if a lift alone is all that is needed, or if an augmentation and a lift may be done as a combination surgery.
It is common in a breast lift procedure that the nipple is repositioned so that it looks proportional to the newly shaped breast. When excess skin is trimmed away, a portion of an overly stretched areola (the colored skin around the nipple) is simultaneously trimmed away. The goal is for the nipple and areola to be within a normal size and position.
How Bad Is Scarring?
When incisions are made to trim away the skin, scars are an inevitable part of the process. Dr, Snyder are both exceptionally skilled when it comes to minimizing scarring with precise techniques when it comes to incisions and suturing. A post-surgery scar care program will be provided, and patients are strongly encouraged to follow the plan so that healing is healthy and quick.
When Can I Workout?
Most patients are able to return to their pre-surgery exercise routine approximately 6 weeks after surgery. Patients may be able to return to a light, low impact exercise routine as soon as 4 weeks after surgery. It is important to discuss this with Dr. Snyder at your follow-up appointments.
How long is this surgery?
Surgery times vary for each patient, though typically this procedure lasts approximately 2 hours. It is usually done as an outpatient procedure and patients are able to go home on the same day.
Patients are usually able to return to light activity/work after 1 week. Heavy lifting or strenuous activity/exercise should be avoided for at least 3-4 weeks after surgery.