Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is a procedure in which a woman's sagging breasts are lifted and reshaped. Most women decide to have the surgery done to restore breast size and/or shape because of pregnancy, nursing, aging or muscle atrophy. In 2005, there were 92,740 breast lifts performed according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Keep in mind many factors when choosing a surgeon. It is generally suggested to use an ASPS member surgeon to ensure that he has been trained in all plastic procedures including breast lifts, has completed at least five years of surgical training and two years in plastic surgery, is bound by a strict code of ethics, and only operates in accredited medical facilities. It's also important that you have a comfort and trust level with the doctor.
The breast lift procedure lasts from 1 to 3 hours. The surgeon makes several incisions at various points around the breasts. The excess skin from the lower section of the breast is then removed, and the areola, nipple and underlying breast tissue are pulled to a higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then collected and drawn down to reshape the breast. The incisions are then sutured and bandaged.
During the days following surgery, the patient feels a manageable amount of pain, which can be eased with medication. Bandages and/or surgical bras might need to be worn for several days as tenderness and swollen breasts can last a few weeks. Within the first two weeks, the stitches are removed in gradual stages.
The cost of a breast lift surgery is based on the type and extensiveness of the procedure. Generally, most procedures will cost between $3,000 and $5,000, but this does not include pre-operative lab fees and post-operative costs such as drug prescriptions. An expensive surgery does not necessarily mean a more skilled surgeon is performing the operation. Ask for patient referrals and testimonials before selecting a doctor.
The benefits of having a breast lift include immediate improvement of breast shape and size, appearance restoration and, in most cases, more self-confidence. Depending on the case, other benefits could be improved posture and/or spinal health.
Aside from common surgical risks such as procedure complications and severe blood loss, a breast lift operation can leave permanent scars on the patient's chest. Fortunately, most scars lighten in color over time and can be covered by a bra or bathing suit. Some patients may lose some or all nipple sensitivity, but this normally subsides with recovery. The effects of the breast lift might diminish over time because of gravity and the age of the patient.
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