Breast lift surgery is a common cosmetic procedure, which helps to correct the elevation of the breasts. In many instances, it is used to improve the appearance of the bust and reverse the process of sagging, which often develops with age, significant weight loss or as a consequence of having children.
The procedure itself is known as a mastopexy and involves removing excess skin from around the breasts, tightening the surrounding tissue. This then provides the breasts with more support. The nipple and areola will also be repositioned, so that they appear in a more natural-looking location on the breasts.
Why Have a Breast Lift?
Many women find themselves unhappy or even distressed by the appearance of their breasts, especially if there is significant sagging. Despite this being a natural part of the ageing process, breast lift surgery can help to enhance the appearance of breasts and help to restore confidence and improve self-image.
In addition, there are practical advantages associated with breast lift surgery, such as the ability to wear clothes without a bra, which can dramatically widen the choice of clothing available. Moreover, some women opt to have a beast lift in conjunction with a breast enlargement procedure, in order to improve the final result.
Is A Breast Lift Right For Me?
Breast lift procedures are common and are a good solution for lots of women who feel self-conscious, unhappy or distressed by the appearance of their breasts. In particular, it is a suitable procedure for those who have excess skin on their breasts caused by weight loss, ageing, or following pregnancy and/or breastfeeding.
Suitable candidates must have a good overall standard of health and surgeons must be satisfied that there is no unusual level of risk associated with the operation. Moreover, it will usually be necessary for patients to prove they can afford to pay for the procedure, especially if they wish to pay over a longer period.
How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?
Although prices vary depending on the exact clinic and surgeon chosen, a breast lift procedure will usually cost upwards of £5,000 and could even cost as much as £8,000. In almost all cases, this price includes consultations, the procedure itself, aftercare appointments and any prescriptions that are necessary.
Breast lifts are almost always considered a cosmetic procedure and so are not usually available on NHS, although there may be exceptions when the appearance of breasts is causing significant psychological distress.
While patients can pay the full fee upfront, most clinics will also allow patients to pay on finance, spreading the cost over several months, or even several years. Nevertheless, an upfront deposit is usually required for this, with typical deposit amounts ranging from around £500 to £800 – often around 10 percent of the total fee.
Breast Lift Procedure Explained
The breast lift or mastopexy procedure itself is carried out under general anaesthetic, meaning patients will not be awake for it. A surgeon will remove skin from around the breasts, especially underneath, in order to increase the level of support and restore the breasts to a more aesthetically pleasing position.
The nipple and areola will then be repositioned onto the new breast structure, so that nipples appear in a more natural location. This part of the procedure may also involve re-sizing the nipple. Typically, the procedure will take around two hours in total, although it may be longer if more extensive work is required.
Risks and Potential Complications
While a breast lift operation is considered a relatively safe procedure, with little chance of any serious complications, there are still some risks associated with the procedure that patients should be aware of. Some of the most significant risks or complications are outlined in greater detail below:
Reactions to Anaesthetic – In rare instances, patients suffer from bad reactions to the anaesthetic used during the procedure. This may result in feelings of dizziness, sickness, nausea, disorientation and, in the most serious instances, repository problems and temporary memory loss.
Infection or Internal Bleeding – As with any open wounds, there is a potential risk of infection. Occasionally, the procedure may also lead to internal bleeding. You should speak to your surgeon about things to look out for, which may indicate either of these problems, as well as ways to prevent them.
Uneven Size or Final Shape – In some cases, the final result may be uneven breasts, either in terms of size or final shape. If this occurs, it may be necessary to undergo a follow-up procedure, in order to correct this.
Bruising, Scarring and Wounds – Following the procedure, there will be visible scarring and it is not uncommon to also experience bruising on the breasts. Scarring will typically fade on its own, while bruising should also subside in time. One potential complication is wounds having difficulty healing. This can usually be aided by following the correct aftercare advice, but medication may sometimes help to speed healing up.
Loss of Sensation and Function – Finally, some women experience a loss of sensation and function, especially with regards to the nipple area of the breasts. This could result in an inability for nipples to become erect, a general loss of sensitivity and an inability to breastfeed, among other things.
Recovery Time and Aftercare
Following a breast lift operation, a short stay in hospital may be necessary, although this will usually only be a day or two. Upon waking up, it is common to experience some pain and discomfort and painkillers will usually be prescribed to manage this. The overall recovery time, however, is usually between four to eight weeks.
Patients will usually have to return for follow-up appointments, during which healthcare professionals will assess the recovery and remove any stitches. Typically, patients will be told to avoid driving for two weeks, avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for up to six weeks and avoid under-wired bras for eight weeks.
Alcohol and aspirin should be avoided in the initial weeks after the operation and it may be necessary to take up to two weeks off work. The final results will not be apparent until swelling has subsided, which can take up to six weeks. After eight weeks, it is usually safe to return to normal levels of activity.
Will I Have Scars From Breast Lift Surgery?
It is normal to have some scarring following a breast lift procedure, although the extent of this will vary from person to person, depending on the placement and size of the incisions necessary to perform the breast lift. In most cases, these incisions are made in discreet locations, minimising their visibility.
Most patients will also experience a circle of scarring around the nipple. All scarring will start off red, and gradually fade towards a white colour over time. It is advisable to speak to your surgeon about the correct aftercare plan to follow in order to improve this fading and reduce the final appearance of any scars.
Can I Breastfeed After Breast Lift Surgery?
In many cases, breast lifts will make it impossible to breastfeed after. This is because the nipple is often separated from the milk duct during the repositioning process. Even when breastfeeding is possible afterwards, it is not necessary recommended, as it can alter the appearance of the breasts and make scarring more visible.
For most patients, childrearing is a significant factor in their breasts sagging in the first place. Generally speaking, for this reason, it is advisable to wait until after you have had children in order to have your breast lift operation.