Breast Lift Surgery

The aftermath of pregnancy can leave you with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, you have become a mother; which for some has been a lifelong dream and goal.

On the other hand, it’s disappointing to look at your post-pregnancy body because you know it’s going to take a long time to get it back to the way it was.

You noticed and possibly admired the larger, fuller size of your breasts due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. However, as hormone levels drop post-pregnancy, it can result in a major negative impact on the appearance of your breasts.

Your once full, nicely-shaped breasts look deflated, uneven, stretched and sagging after pregnancy.  Your post-partum breasts, along with fluctuating hormones, help contribute to post-partum depression.

It’s at this point you may consider breast lift surgery.

Read on for more information about breast lift surgery as part of a rejuvenating mommy makeover.

Common Reasons to Get a Breast Lift

Some of the more common reasons to get a breast lift after pregnancy include:

  • Stretching – While pregnant, your breasts became larger and supporting muscles and ligaments stretch out.  After pregnancy, there may be a noticeable sagging of your breasts as a result of stretching. Uneven, misshapen or sagging breasts result whether you breastfeed or not.  The larger and heavier your breasts are before getting pregnant, the more likely you are to experience sagging.
  • Weight Loss – As a result of losing weight after pregnancy, the likelier it is to experience sagging breasts.
  • Shape – After pregnancy, you may notice that your breasts have not only lost fullness, but the overall shape of your breasts has changed.  Your breasts may seem flatter, longer and uneven.
  • Nipples/Areolae – Even the nipples and areolae (dark area around the nipples) can appear to point downward.  It’s possible that the areolae have also been stretched out and become larger, making your breasts look less attractive.
  • Renewed self-esteem and confidence

Types of Breast Lifts

There are different types of lifts, as surgeries are not all done for the same reasons. Let’s take a look at the differences.

Breast Lift Surgery

A breast lift is also referred to as a mastopexy.  It is an invasive surgical procedure performed by a plastic surgeon to alter and restore the shape of the breasts.

The basic procedure involves manipulating the breast tissue to re-shape and raise the breasts.  It may also involve removing any excess skin that causes sagging of the breasts.

The goal of the procedure is to lift and/or correct imperfections in the breasts, nipples and areolae that result in misshapen, stretched or uneven breasts.

Augmentation Surgery

While a breast lift does not significantly change the size of the breasts even with implants, augmentation surgery can. Whether you want to correct post-pregnancy sagging, restore fullness or enlarge the size of your breasts, augmentation surgery involves a plastic surgeon inserting breast implants for these reasons.

Although breast augmentation surgery is a more permanent solution to changing the size and appearance of your breasts, it is possible that after a few years or future pregnancies, the implants may need replacement.

There are two types of implants:

Silicone Implants

Silicone is a gel that when used in an implant, is very similar in look and texture to natural breast tissue.  Because it is gel-based, silicone is softer and more flexible, mimicking the look and feel of breast tissue.  It is also the more expensive implant.

Saline Implants

Saline is a salt water solution very similar in composition to fluids already found in your body.  During the surgical procedure, the surgeon puts the implant in place, then fills the implant with saline solution.  Saline-filled implants have a more “firm” versus softer feel of silicone implants.

Since Saline implants more closely match body fluids, they may be a safer option in the event of a rupture or leak.  Saline implants are less expensive than silicone-based implants.

The surgery for either a breast lift or augmentation surgery takes approximately 2-3 hours.  You can return home for recovery the same day.

A target return-to-work date is approximately 2-3 weeks after surgery.

How to Prepare for the Breast Lift Surgery

In preparation of breast lift surgery, step one is to find a reputable, board-certified plastic surgeon.  Once found, it’s time for an initial consultation to discuss candidacy for plastic surgery, options, your goals and expectations.

Some of the things you can expect during the consultation with your plastic surgeon include:

  • Physical Exam – This includes a comprehensive examination of your breasts.  The surgeon will look at the size and shape of your breasts, and their overall health.  The surgeon will also examine the nipples, areolae and skin. If applicable, “before” photos are taken at this time.
  • Medical History – Prepare to discuss your current health status, medications and past medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.  The surgeon will need to know about a family history of breast cancer. You also need to provide information on past breast issues or surgeries, as well as past mammogram results.
  • Goals and Expectations – Your surgeon will want to know why you are looking to get a breast lift.  It is important to understand the procedure, discuss options and have realistic expectations regarding end results.  The surgeon will explain the benefits, as well as the risks involved in different surgical procedures. Part of the discussion will include what you can expect in terms of appearance and sensation of the breasts, nipples and areolae.

If you decide to go forward with breast lift surgery, you will begin to prepare for the surgery.

Pre-surgery action steps:

  • Pre-Surgery Mammogram – This is important to help the surgeon establish a starting point or “baseline.”  The pre-surgery mammogram results help to determine the current condition of breast tissue and provide a comprehensive picture of breast health.  As a comparison, you may need to schedule a post-surgical mammogram after healing from the procedure.
  • Pre-Surgery Medical Restrictions – Your body needs to be in the best shape possible before the procedure.  You may need to lose some weight or stop smoking. It is necessary to eliminate the use of aspirin, supplements and any other anti-inflammatory medications which can lead to excessive bleeding during or after the procedure.
  • Breastfeeding – It is recommended to cease breastfeeding for several months before scheduling breast lift surgery.  The breast lift surgery involves the healing of incisions, post-surgery healing and soreness which may have an impact on the production of milk and overall comfort of breastfeeding.
  • Post-Surgery Aftercare – Arrangements need to be in place for someone to drive you home after the surgery and watch for any resulting ill effects from the anesthetic.  For the first few days after surgery, your caregiver should be prepared to fill prescriptions, prepare light meals and help with basic personal hygiene or other household tasks involving heavy lifting.

What to Expect During Breast Lift Surgery

On the day of your surgery, follow any special instructions such as fasting, removal of contact lenses, avoiding make-up and the use of deodorants and perfumes.

Whether the surgery takes place in an out-patient facility or the hospital, you will probably receive a general anesthetic that will put you “under” (an unconscious state) during the surgery.

Here is a general outline of the surgical steps:

  • General anesthetic administered intravenously
  • Based on a previously outlined plan, the surgeon makes incisions to gain access to breast tissue, which is re-shaped.  If necessary, an areolae reduction is performed.
  • Excess breast skin is removed; nipples relocated to a better position.
  • Incisions are closed with stitches and surgical tape.

Each patient is different and therefore, the incisions are made on an individual basis.  Incisions can be made along breast creases, near the areolae and/or a vertical incision beginning at the areolae down to the underside of the breast.

The surgeon will attempt to perform the procedure keeping incisions and resulting scars to a minimum and as discreet as possible post-surgery.

Risks Associated with the Breast Lift Surgery

Any surgical procedure comes with risks.  The risks will be discussed with your surgeon during your initial visit or consultation.

Some of the risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Negative Reaction to Anesthesia – It’s important for a caretaker to watch you, especially during the first 24-48 hours after the surgery.
  • Scarring – There will be scars post-surgery which with proper care and healing, will fade over time.  Poor healing or infection can lead to more noticeable or discolored scars.
  • Loss of Sensation – Because of manipulation of breast tissue and ligaments during the procedure, loss of feeling in the breasts, nipples or areolae may be permanent.  In most cases, normal feeling in the breasts and nipples returns after a few weeks.
  • Damage to Areolae or Nipples – Primarily caused if there is an interruption of blood supply to these areas during the surgical procedure.  This is rare but if it happens, it can result in a partial or total loss of affected nipples or areolae.
  • Asymmetry (Uneven Breasts) – If breasts are uneven prior to the surgery, correction may not be possible.  Uneven breasts can also result from changes in the breast tissue during the healing process.

Although there are risks associated with breast lift surgery, it is considered to be fairly safe.

What to Expect after the Breast Lift Surgery

As with any surgery, it will take a few weeks for the body to heal.

When released after breast lift surgery, you will wear a surgical support bra to ensure limited movement of the breasts.  You will wear a surgical support bra 24/7 for approximately one week; then switch to a softer support bra for the next month or so.

The incisions are covered with gauze and surgical tape.  Your surgeon may advise using a soothing gel or cream on your incisions to promote and expedite healing.

Small drainage tubes are sometimes placed near incision sites to help with proper draining of blood and fluids from the breasts.  If tubes are used, they will be removed within a few days after surgery. At this time, incisions will be examined, and dressings changed.

As for stitches, your surgeon can choose from either self-dissolving stitches, or those that need removal.  If you need stitches removed, expect a follow-up appointment with your doctor within a week or two.

Your breasts will be sore, bruised and swollen for at least a couple of weeks.  The incisions may be painful and inflamed for a few months. It is very common to experience a loss of sensation or numbness in the breasts, nipples and areolae for at least six weeks, if not a bit longer.

Post-surgical care includes:

  • Sleeping on your back to avoid pressure on the breasts and reducing the risk of tearing to incisions or stitches.
  • No lifting, bending or straining.
  • Avoiding sexual activity for at least two weeks.
  • The use of prescribed pain medications to help reduce post-surgery breast lift pain, soreness and keep you more comfortable.

You will receive instructions as to the amount of time for healing and resuming normal personal care and hygiene activities.

How Much Does a Breast Lift Surgery Cost?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast lift surgery is approximately $4,800.

The breast lift surgery helps ease any fears you may have about using implants, while still giving you a nice, uplifted mommy makeover figure.

How Much Does a Breast Lift with Implants Cost?

According to the Very Well Health website, the average cost of breast lift surgery with implants is approximately $3,800.

Adding implants to a breast lift surgery can really address all your concerns regarding size, shape, restoring fullness and lift, in addition to reduction of areolae and better placement of nipples.

The reasons these surgeries come with high price tags is due to:

  • Doctor’s fees (surgeon, anesthesiologist)
  • Pre-surgery medical testing (mammograms, blood work, etc.)
  • Out-patient facility or hospital charges
  • Prescriptions
  • Post-surgery care

Can a Breast Lift be Covered by Insurance?

In most cases, a breast lift is considered a cosmetic procedure.  In other words, there is no critical medical reason for the procedure.  Because of this, most insurance companies do not cover breast lift surgery.

If, however, your doctor feels that there is a medical reason for the procedure and can justify those reasons, submit paperwork to your insurance company prior to the procedure.  Your insurance company will let you know what, if any, portion of the breast lift’s costs will be covered.

Mommy Makeover – Is it for You?

As you pursue your goal of a mommy makeover, one of the most important factors in your decision is the real value of restoring your self-image and confidence.

Improving your appearance can do wonders for your mood, self-image and overall, make you a much happier and self-confident mommy.