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Aging doesn’t just occur in the face.

The breasts are often an area of concern for women as they start growing older. Normal aging can wreak havoc on the breasts, causing them to droop, sag, and lose firmness and lift. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also take a toll on the breasts, exacerbating the signs of aging, and can make the breasts lose volume and lift. This often results in women being unhappy with how their breasts look outside of a bra.

In these cases, a breast lift (also known as a mastopexy) can be the perfect solution. Some women may not be interested in gaining more volume, but simply desire rejuvenation and re-contouring of the bust. In other cases a woman may want to lift the breasts and increase volume, and in these cases a lift combined with breast augmentation - known as an augmentation-mastopexy - can be a great option.

The enhancement process is totally customizable, and the aim is to give each patient beautiful, natural-looking breast rejuvenation.

Breast Lift Consultation

The first step in the process toward beautiful, youthful breasts is a consultation with one of our talented cosmetic surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. You’ll get the opportunity to discuss a variety of options for your breast enhancement, and our surgeons will ask you questions about how you feel about your breast appearance to get an idea of what procedure or procedures will be best for you.

During your breast lift consultation, you’ll get the chance to ask any questions you may have, learn more about the lift surgery itself, and discuss any concerns you may have. Our surgeons will also make sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. Your breast lift consultation is your chance to solidify your breast enhancement goals and speak with a knowledgeable plastic surgeon about your specific needs.

Breast Lift Candidates

The best candidates for breast lift surgery are women who have experienced sagging and/or volume loss that affects the overall aesthetics and lift of the breast. Patients should be in general good health, and have realistic expectations for the surgery. Breast lift can produce remarkable improvement in the appearance of the breasts, but there are limitations to what the surgery can accomplish. Women interested in breast surgery should be non-smokers, as smoking increases safety risks and has a negative impact on healing.

Breast Lift Procedure

Most breast lifts are performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The incisions used in breast lifts vary depending on the type of lift as well as the severity of laxity. At a minimum, a circular incision will be made in the skin surrounding the nipple.

Most patients will also need an incision that goes from the bottom of the areola (the colored area around the nipple) downward to the fold underneath the breast. In more severe cases, an incision may also be needed underneath the breasts as well. The surgeon will remove and tighten excess skin, contouring and lifting the breasts, without affecting any of the muscles of the chest. Once the desired placement and contour of the chest has been achieved, the surgeon will close the incisions.

Breast Lift Recovery

Breast lift recovery is short and involves only minimal discomfort. Because the procedure does not affect the muscles of the chest, pain is quite manageable, and patients should be able to go off pain medication a few days after surgery. Patients should expect to take about a week to 10 days off from work and can start resuming normal activities after this time. Strenuous activity will need to be postponed for longer than this, according to physician guidelines. Swelling will occur following any surgery, and this will persist for several months, though most swelling should disappear within the first few months and fully subside after 6 months or so. Once all the swelling has disappeared and the tissues are healed, patients will be able to enjoy the final results of breast lift surgery.

Breast Lift FAQs

  • What are the different incision types?

    Depending on the amount of sagging in the breast that needs to be addressed, there are a couple of common incision patterns that may be used. Our surgeons always use the least invasive incision patterns possible while achieving desired results.

    Donut ("Periareolar"): A circular incision made in the breast where the skin surrounding the nipple (the areola) meets the rest of the breast. This is a discreet incision that can be used for minor lifting of the breasts. This incision pattern is most commonly used when combined with breast augmentation in patients with more minor drooping or asymmetry of nipple position.

    Lollipop ("Vertical"): This is a combination of the donut incision around the nipple and a straight incision extending down the front of the breast. This incision pattern is less discreet than the donut incision, but is necessary for more significant lifting procedure or excess skin. The vertical mastopexy is a very common technique and is applicable in many women.

    Anchor, or Inverted "T" incision: The scar pattern in this instance is that of the vertical pattern plus adds an incision underneath the breasts. This technique is more common with more severe sagging, as occurs with massive weight loss. Breast lift scars will fade over time and should become less noticeable. You and your surgeon will discuss the specific techniques that will be used for your surgery during your consultation..

  • How is a breast lift different from breast augmentation?

    While an augmentation focuses on increasing the cup size of the breast, a breast lift does not affect the overall size, but rather the shape, firmness, and lift of the breast. Some women elect to have both procedures—augmentation and a breast lift, performed at the same time for comprehensive results and a firm, youthful bust that retains volume.

  • Will a breast lift reduce my cup size?

    While bras may fit differently following a breast lift, very little tissue is removed during the procedure, and overall breast size will remain the same. Women who are concerned about the size of the breast in addition to overall lift should consider a combination procedure with implants for added volume.

  • Can a breast lift be combined with other treatments?

    Absolutely. Many women want to improve more than one aspect of the breast, and a breast lift is often combined with either breast augmentation (using implants or fat transfer), or breast reduction depending on the patient's needs.

    For post-partum body rejuvenation, many women combine breast enhancement with other procedures, such as liposuction or a tummy tuck, to resolve unwanted fat and regain pre-pregnancy shape. These combination procedures are often called collectively the “mommy makeover”, and can be tailored to suit each patient's needs.

  • Will a breast lift affect my ability to breastfeed?

    Many women worry that breast surgery will have an affect on future ability to breastfeed. While it is possible for a breast lift to make breastfeeding more difficult or even impossible, for other women, there is no change. Trouble breastfeeding is more common as the breast tissue is manipulated more, such as in the more extensive lifting procedures. If you are worried about this aspect of breast enhancement, you must accept the risk in order to undergo surgery. Some women choose to wait for this reason. Also, since breastfeeding can take a toll on the breasts, it is often best to wait on a breast lift until you are done having children. In other cases where the sagging is limited, patients may elect to have a breast augmentation before children, but wait until after children to have the breast lift portion.

  • Does a non-surgical breast lift exist?

    Though gimmicky products may exist and claim to lift the breast, the only effective breast lift available is breast lift surgery. There are no breast lift exercises, pills, or clothing that can replace surgery for sagging breasts. Treatments are becoming less invasive over time though, and perhaps one day there will be a non-surgical solution to sagging breasts that is as effective as a breast lift. At this time, however, surgery is the best treatment for drooping bust lines.

  • What is ptosis?

    Ptosis is a medical term that simply means sagging. The term can refer to sagging of the breasts, facial skin, or other area of the body. Ptosis is a normal sign of aging, but the amount of ptosis a woman develops in her breasts is influenced by many factors, including genetics, weight fluctuations, pregnancy and breast feeding.

  • Will I have any changes in breast sensation?
    Our surgeons do their best to preserve normal sensation in the breast, but there is a small risk of changes to sensation, most often in the nipple area. Some changes to sensation may be temporary, but can also be permanent in rare cases.
  • How long will the results last?
    A breast lift is an effective surgery that can produce long-lasting results. However, nothing can stop the progress of aging, and patients should be aware that the normal changes that occur with aging will only be slowed down, not stopped altogether. Leading a healthy lifestyle will help preserve the results, as well as waiting to undergo breast surgery after pregnancies and breastfeeding are over.

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