Breast Lift: Overview and Costs

What is a breast lift?

A breast lift, also known as mastopexy or a breast uplift, is a procedure where the breasts are raised and reshaped by removing excess skin and tissue. This procedure can also help restore firmness and realign the nipples if your breasts have sagged.

Why choose to have a breast lift?

Over time your breasts can lose their shape and firmness for different reasons:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Aging
  • Changes in your weight
  • Even gravity

All of these experiences can result in the stretching of the skin and breast tissue and leave the breasts saggy and elongated, your nipples pointed downward or below your breast creases, or one breast hanging lower than the other.

When your breasts sag, the areolas, or the darker area surrounding the nipple, can also become larger because the skin has stretched. During a breast lift, the areolas can also be reduced and reshaped to match the proportions of your breast after the lift.

Considerations when having a breast lift

If you are considering becoming pregnant at any point, you may want to wait to have a breast lift. Pregnancy may cause your breast to stretch and sag, reversing any effect the breast lift would have had.

Also you need to consider if you are or will be breastfeeding. A breast lift generally does not affect your ability to breastfeed since the nipple is not separated from the tissue underneath it but it could have an effect on the amount of milk you can produce.

There are some additional risks to consider when having a breast lift:

Scarring - the scars from a breast lift are permanent but will usually fade within a couple of years and can generally be hidden by bras or bathing suits. In rare cases, the scars can become thick and wide if healing is poor.

Asymmetry in the size and shape of breasts - Surgery might not fully correct any asymmetry that existed before the breast lift and changes during the healing process could also result in irregularities.

Loss or change in sensation in the breast or nipples - feeling usually returns within several weeks but some loss of sensation could be permanent. However, erotic sensation in the nipples is generally is not affected.

Partial or total loss of the nipples or areolas - Rarely during a breast lift, the blood supply to the nipple or areolas can be interrupted causing damage to the breast tissue. This interruption in blood supply could cause total or partial loss of the nipple or areola.

Like with any surgery, there is the risk of bleeding or infection, allergic reaction to any materials used, or an adverse reaction to anesthesia.

Recovery time and healing can also be affected by lifestyle factors such as smoking. This can lead to a longer period of healing and could also result in blood clots. So maintaining a healthy lifestyle even before you have surgery can have a great effect on your healing and recovery afterwards.

Read next: What is the right breast augmentation procedure for me?

How does the breast lift procedure work?

The best technique for you will be determined by your surgeon and is based on:

  • Your breast shape and size
  • The size, shape, and position of your areolas
  • The extent of the sagging of your breasts
  • Your skin elasticity and how much excess skin you have

Step 1

First, you'll be given anesthesia for your operation. A breast lift is usually done under general anesthesia or intravenous sedation and local anesthesia. You’ll be asleep during the operation under general anesthesia whereas with intravenous sedation, you are injected with a sedative to help you relax and only a part of your body is numbed. Your surgeon will discuss with you which type they recommend for you.

Step 2

For a breast lift, one of three types of incisions is generally used:

  • Around the areola
  • Around the areola and a vertical incision straight down from the areola to the breast crease
  • Around the areola, a vertical incision from the areola and horizontally along the breast crease (also known as the anchor)

The breast tissue is then reshaped and re-contoured to restore firmness while the areola is repositioned to match the proportions of the newly shaped breast.

If the areolas were stretched, they’re made smaller by removing the skin around the diameter of each areola.

Excess skin is then removed to help lift the breast and compensate for lost elasticity. Sutures are placed deep in your breast tissue to help reshape and support the new shape of your breasts.

Step 3

Your incisions will be closed which will also help tighten the surrounding skin. A combination of sutures, skin adhesives, and/or surgical tape can be used.

Some of the incisions used will be hidden in the natural contours of the breast (such as in the crease) but others will be visible on the surface of the breast. The scars are permanent but in many cases will fade over time and will be less prominent.

The surgery should take about 2 to 3 hours.

What is the recovery time for a breast lift?

Your surgeon will discuss with you their recommendations for what you need to do during your recovery period.

After the procedure, you’ll need to wear an elastic bandage as well as a support bra to help minimize swelling and provide support while you heal from the surgery.

Small, thin drainage tubes may also be placed under your skin to help drain away any excess fluid or blood. These will be removed before you are discharged.

In general, you should avoid lifting and bending for the first few days after surgery. Sleeping on your side and back is also recommended to keep any pressure off of your breasts. Your doctor will also let you know when it’s possible to resume your daily routine, for example, showering, bathing, or washing your hair.

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Your breasts may be swollen and tender for around 2 weeks. Most likely you will experience some pain and soreness around your incisions and the incisions can remain red or pink for a few months. It’s also possible to have numbness in your breast skin, nipples, and areolas for up to 6 months after the surgery. General discomfort and itchiness may also occur.

Any pain can usually be addressed by over-the-counter medications but your surgeon may also prescribe painkillers for you.

You’ll see an immediate change in your breasts but they will continue to settle and fall into position over the next few months, revealing the final result.

The results of a breast lift can be long lasting but are not permanent. Your breasts will still continue to change over time due to aging and gravity. It’s recommended to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle to retain the results of your breast lift.

What happens if you get treated away from home?

When having your treatment abroad, you are asked to stay in the clinic where you have your surgery for generally 1 or 2 nights and then to stay locally for about 3-5 days in order to do post-operative checks, including having the drains removed and any sutures removed if they are not dissolvable.

Can a breast lift be combined with other treatments?

Yes. You can have a breast lift in combination with either a breast reduction or breast implants.

Even if you have not had a breast reduction, it is possible that your breasts can become a little smaller after a breast lift since some tissue and skin are removed. An implant can help add fullness to maintain the breast size you were before the breast lift.

How much does a breast lift cost?

The cost of a breast lift will vary by country. The cost can also be affected by the size of your breasts and the extent of the lift needed. Below we have collected information about the average cost of the procedure by country:

Country EUR
Hungary 1910
Czech Republic 2120
Turkey 2570
Poland 3000
Croatia 3400
Lithuania 3500
Mexico 3680
Thailand 3950
Germany 4700
Austria 5900
Spain 7300
United States 9570

Looking for a breast lift procedure or any other treatment? Contact us for a free quote, our Health Managers are happy to help!

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About the author

Coree Howard, Content Writer

Coree has worked in international development, travel, and trained as a Health Coach. First as a Health Manager and now a content writer, her time on the front lines working with patients helped her understand their needs and what information they want when looking for the best healthcare options.

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