Breast Lift

[Your Comprehensive 2023 Guide]

Verified Dr.Edna Skopljak

Verified Dr.Edna Skopljak

Edna Skopljak is a Doctor of Medicine. She has over 10 years of experience in the medical field. She is also a volunteer at several organizations, and is always looking for ways to improve the health of her community.

Breast lift surgery is a procedure that continues to grow in popularity as more individuals seek to enhance the shape, appearance, and position of their breasts. This surgery, referred to as mastopexy, is a way for individuals to improve their appearance and self-esteem.

Breast lift surgery is an effective way to correct sagging and drooping breast tissue. Still, it is important to explore all aspects of the procedure, including finding a surgeon, what to expect before the operation and aspects of recovery.

This page will go over the different types of procedures, surgery preparation, candidates for the surgery, the process, and what to expect during recovery.

Whether you are considering this surgery for cosmetic purposes or to improve your quality of life, this guide will provide you with the information you need.

What is a breast lift?

A breast lift is a surgical procedure to correct sagging breasts and give the patient a youthful look. A breast lift can be effective for women who have gone through pregnancy, weight loss, or any other life change that causes the breast tissue to sag and droop.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make incisions to remove excess tissue and reshape the breasts to have a lifted appearance. If needed, and depending on the type of breast lift, the nipple, and the areola will be repositioned on the breast.

This surgery can be performed solo or combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as a breast augmentation to increase the size or reduce the size of the breasts.

Reasons for getting a breast lift

There are multiple reasons an individual may be seeking out a breast lift. Improvement in appearance, reshaping, and upgraded self-esteem are a few of those reasons. Life changes as simple as aging can impact the appearance of the breasts, causing an undesired sagging appearance.

Who is a good candidate for a breast lift?

Overall healthy individuals with realistic expectations are good candidates for breast surgery. These individuals should not smoke, have a stable weight, not plan to lose a large amount of weight in the future, and are not pregnant.
It is important to consult with a certified plastic surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. This surgery is highly individualized, and the surgeon will discuss your personal goals and expectations.

What to expect from the procedure

While the breast lift procedure can vary in length, the average time to complete the surgery is 2-3 hours. To begin, the patient is put under general anesthesia to ensure comfort and pain-free surgery. The next step includes incisions, reshaping, removing of excess tissue, repositioning the nipple if necessary, closing the incisions, and finally, putting bandages on.

Before the Procedure

Meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the first step before the procedure. Your surgeon will discuss different strategies, and you will decide on the best option together.

When the time for your surgery draws nearer, you should expect to have a preoperative consultation, discuss what to expect when preparing for surgery, receive guidelines on what to do before surgery, and be informed of the possible risks and complications.

Preoperative consultation with a surgeon

The preoperative consultation is an integral part of your procedure. During the consultation, you will discuss your medical history, including previous surgeries, medications you currently take, and any allergies you have.
You will also have a physical exam of the breasts and overall body to ensure you are a good candidate for the procedure.

Preparation for surgery

There are several steps to take when you are preparing for breast lift surgery. To make sure you are physically ready for the surgery, you should arrange transportation, as you will not be able to drive after the procedure.

Apart from the preoperative instructions given to you by your doctor, it may be a good idea to arrange for help at home with tasks like cooking and cleaning.

What to do before the surgery

Before your surgery, you will spend some time in the preparation room. During this time, you will change into a medical gown, discuss your medical history with the surgical team, remove all of your jewelry, meet your anesthesiologist, start an IV line, and review all forms and documents.

During the Procedure

During the surgery, you will be under general anesthesia and will not be able to feel, hear or remember anything. Your surgeon will make incisions, correct your breast shape while performing the lift, close the incisions, and place drains if necessary.

Anesthesia used during the procedure

During a breast lift surgery, you will have an anesthesiologist use general anesthesia. This type of anesthesia is given through an IV or inhaled gas. General anesthesia will put you into a deep sleep to ensure that you do not feel anything during the procedure. This type of anesthesia is only used for longer surgeries to help patients stay asleep during the entire procedure.

Steps of the procedure

The general steps during a breast lift procedure include preparation or pre-op, anesthesia to ensure no pain is felt, incisions during the procedure, skin removal will sometimes but not always be included, repositioning and reshaping of the breast tissue, closing incisions, and finally drains may be placed to help remove excess fluid.

What is the duration of the breast lift surgery?

A breast lift surgery can take 2 to 4 hours. It depends on the type of breast lift being performed and the extent of the surgery. 

Factors that determine the length of the surgery can also include the amount of excess skin that needs removal, the patient’s body, and repositioning of the areola. As a result, your surgeon will be able to give you a more accurate picture of the length of the entire process.

Risks and complications of a breast lift

All surgical procedures come with risks and the possibility of complications. Most patients will not experience risks or complications, but preparing yourself for the potential is important.

Infection is a risk with any procedure, and antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is suspected. Other risks and complications include excessive bleeding, keloid scarring, delayed wound healing, and permanent changes in nipple sensation.

Types of breast lifts

There are a few different types of breast lifts available, including the periareolar or doughnut breast lift, the vertical or lollipop lift, and the anchor lift.

The periareolar lift involves making an incision around the areola to perform the lift. This is the least invasive procedure but unsuitable for all breast lift candidates.

The vertical lift has an incision around the areola and down the front of the breast, which has garnered the nickname the “lollipop” lift.

Lastly, the anchor lift, which is the most recognized breast lift. The anchor lift has a surgeon make an incision around the areola, down the front of the breast, and along the bottom crease.

Based on the severity of sagging, your surgeon will discuss the most appropriate lift with you to garner the best results for you and your body.

Recovery process

The recovery process will vary after a breast lift surgery, but most patients can expect to be fully healed after six weeks. Immediately following the surgery, you should expect to feel groggy and extremely sore. Within the first few days, you may see bruising, swelling, and your discomfort will worsen.

Patients must avoid lifting heavy items for one to two weeks following surgery. Around three to four weeks after the surgery, most patients will notice the swelling and bruising beginning to lighten. About six weeks post-surgery, most patients will return to their normal routine, including working out.

Medication and care post-operation

Your surgeon will provide postoperative care instructions and discuss pain management with you. Medications may include prescribed pain medication, over-the-counter pain medication, and antibiotics.

After surgery, you will need to care for your wounds and the dressings by keeping the incision sites dry and wearing a surgical bra. Your surgeon will also discuss rest, recovery, and follow-up appointments with you. The average patient will need to avoid heavy activity for at least two weeks and schedule follow-up appointments to check incision sites and remove drainage tubes.

When to resume normal activities

While the recovery time varies from patient to patient, on average normal activities can be fully resumed after six weeks. Patients will need to avoid any use of their chest muscles, including lifting, pushing, pulling, and any activities that make the breasts bounce. A few days after surgery, light activity, like showering, walking, and getting dressed, can be resumed.

Returning to work for a sedentary job will be sooner than a job that requires more physical activity. Your surgeon will discuss your ability to return to work, exercise, and resume normal activities.

Possible complications and how to avoid them

All surgeries pose a risk of complications. However, there are ways to avoid post-surgical complications and ensure your recovery time is smooth and easy. Infection is the most common possible complication, but this can be avoided by following your doctor’s instructions, caring for your surgical site properly, and taking prescribed antibiotics.
Another complication is bleeding; this can be avoided by following the surgeon’s guidelines on when to return to normal activity.

Results and long-term effects of a breast lift

While the results of a breast lift can be long-lasting, it is important to remember that natural aging and weight changes can impact the surgery results. Immediate results will show a lifted breast with a better shape.

Long-term results will be impacted by each patient’s lifestyle, including diet, pregnancy, weight changes, and alcohol consumption. Overall, a breast lift will provide a long-lasting improvement to sagging and drooping breasts.

Appearance and feel of the breasts post-operation

The immediate changes in appearance and feel include the breasts sitting higher on the chest, the nipples will be in an elevated and more youthful position, and the shape will appear rounder. In addition, the feel of the breasts will be firmer as the underlying breast tissues have been tightened and reshaped during the lift procedure.

Expected long-term effects of the procedure

Improved self-confidence is a personal long-term effect of having a breast lift. The sagging and drooping breasts being lifted will boost self-esteem and confidence as well as improve comfort levels.

Discomfort should dissipate when working out or participating in other strenuous activities. A healthy lifestyle will help maintain the procedures’ effects as long as possible.

Follow-up consultations with a surgeon

An important part of the breast lift process is scheduling follow-up appointments with your surgeon based on the surgeon’s guidelines. For the first few months after surgery, you should have multiple appointments scheduled so the surgeon can check on your healing process.

During follow-up consultations, the surgeon may also provide additional instructions for your postoperative care, wound care, or exercises to promote healing. The follow-up appointments are also the perfect time to ask your doctor questions or present any concerns you may have.

Maintaining the results of the surgery

Following your doctor’s instructions and guidelines is the first step to maintaining the results of your breast lift surgery. Wearing a supportive bra, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and monitoring your breast health are some basic steps to ensure long-lasting results.

Avoiding sun exposure is a lesser-known way to maintain results. Sun exposure can impact skin elasticity resulting in the breasts beginning to sag and droop once again.

Maintaining the results of breast lift surgery will require an ongoing effort.

Keeping in touch with your surgeon and following guidelines will assist patients in maintaining their results.


In conclusion, breast lift surgery is a popular procedure sought after by many individuals. Following your surgeon’s expertise, guidelines, and recommendations will ensure you have long-lasting results, avoid complications, and are overall happy with your results.

A breast lift is a cosmetic procedure performed by a licensed surgeon to lift sagging and drooping breasts. Candidates for the procedure are individuals in good health with realistic expectations.

Before the procedure, patients will meet with their surgeon to discuss suitable options, talk about what to expect, and receive guidelines for aftercare.

Recovery will take a couple of weeks, with full recovery in about six weeks.

Long-term results depend on the patient’s willingness to care for themselves, follow the surgeon’s guidelines, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Breast lift procedures can be a life-changing option for some who desire more comfort, less pain, and a more youthful appearance. The procedure can improve self-confidence and quality of life.

It’s important to remember that this surgery, and all surgeries, do come with risks and complications such as infections, scarring, and bleeding. Patients should choose a qualified surgeon and follow their instructions and guidelines to ensure a smooth procedure and healthy healing.

If you are considering breast lift surgery, it is important to seek professional advice from a qualified plastic surgeon. An experienced surgeon can evaluate your personal needs and goals, discuss the benefits and risks, and help you make a decision about whether a breast lift is right for you.