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What is a Breast Lift?

Dr. Mary Gingrass and Dr. Melinda Haws

article courtesy Mary Gingrass, M.D. and Melinda Haws, M.D.

CLICK HERE to visit the website of Mary Gingrass, M.D. and Melinda Haws, M.D.

Breast lift surgery reshapes and raises sagging breasts. Breast lift surgery can also be performed to reduce the size of the areola. If you have small breasts that have lost volume due to pregnancy or other factors, breast implants are inserted during breast lift surgery to increase both size and firmness.

Breast Lift Surgery

At our cosmetic surgery office in Nashville, Tennessee, breast lift surgery usually takes an hour and a half to three hours to perform and is usually done under general anesthesia.

The type of incision and residual scar left on the breast will be determined by the amount of skin it is necessary to resect to achieve the desired lift. For breast lift surgery patients who require a minimal amount of tightening, the surgical scar may be confined to a circle around the areola. In a moderate breast lift surgery, this areolar scar may be combined with a vertical scar to maximize reshaping. If you are receiving a breast implant during your breast lift surgery, the implant will be placed under the breast tissue and in some cases under the muscle of the chest wall.

For a woman requiring a substantial amount of tightening of the breast, an anchor-shaped incision is made, following the breast's natural contour. The incisions made during breast lift surgery will determine the new nipple location and outline the areas from which excess skin and tissue will be removed. After excess skin and tissue are removed, both the areola and nipple are repositioned and the breast is lifted and reshaped. Stitches are often placed around the areola, down from the nipple to the underside of the breast, and along the crease below the breast.

After Breast Lift Surgery

After your breast lift surgery, the surgeon will place an elastic bandage over surgical gauze. Your breasts will be uncomfortable, swollen, and bruised for a day or two. Any discomfort you experience can be relieved with oral medications.
One to two days after your breast lift surgery, bandages will be removed. You will then wear a soft support bra 24 hours a day for three to four weeks. The stitches will be removed after a week or two. Initial swelling will tend to flatten the breasts, but your true shape will become evident as the swelling resolves. Most of the sutures are placed under the skin and will dissolve over time.
Moisturizer can be used if your breasts are dry after breast lift surgery. If you do use moisturizer, do not tug at your skin during application and keep the moisturizer away from stitch or suture areas.

Post-surgical swelling will cause some numbness to your breast skin and nipples, but this loss of sensation will fade during the next six weeks. Some patients report that this loss of sensation persists for a year or more and in rare cases this condition is permanent. If you experience any complications following your visit to our cosmetic surgery practice in Nashville, Tennessee, contact our breast lift surgeon immediately.


Following breast lift surgery, you may be up and moving in a couple of days. Most patients do not return to work for a week or more following the surgery. You will need to avoid overhead lifting and strenuous activities for three to four weeks following breast lift surgery. Because your milk ducts and nipples will be left intact, breast lift surgery should not affect your ability to breast-feed. As with all surgery, we recommend no activity that causes increase in heart rate or blood pressure for two to three weeks after surgery.

Potential Risks

As with any other surgery performed at our practice in Nashville, Tennessee, breast lift surgery presents some possible complications or reactions to the anesthesia. Bleeding and infection following breast lift surgery are not common and can cause scars to widen. Breast lift surgery does leave noticeable and permanent scars, although the scars will be covered by your bra. Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers. It may be necessary for smokers to have separate breast lift and breast implant surgeries rather than performing them at the same time. Breast lift surgery can also leave you with unevenly positioned nipples, or a permanent loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts.

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