As time passes, all skin looses some of its elasticity. For some women, this leads to breast sagging, which can be severe. Childbearing and nursing contribute to breast sagging. A breast lift is used to restore the shape and firmness of breasts and/or to reduce the size of the areola (the dark area encircling the nipple).
Breast lifts are usually conducted on an outpatient basis using a general anesthetic. An anchor-shaped incision is made that goes around the areola, vertically from the areola to the natural crease under the breast and horizontally across the crease under the breast. Excess skin is removed and the areola is repositioned. The incision is sutured closed. A modified procedure is used for women with smaller breasts or with less sagging. In the modified procedure, an incision is made around the areola. All excess skin is removed, the areola is replaced and the incision is closed. The surgery generally takes between 1-1/2 and 3 hours.
Following the surgery, a gauze dressing is placed on the breast and covered with a tight elastic bandage or surgical bra. This helps reduce swelling. There is the possibility of infection following any surgery. Your surgeon will likely prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection in addition to any pain medication. Stitches are removed in 3 to 5 days, at which time a softer, support bra is worn over a gauze dressing 24 hours a day for 3 to 4 weeks. Swelling, bruising and numbness, particularly around the incision, are normal and generally subside over 6 weeks. Most patients return to work in 7 to 10 days, but must avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for 4 weeks.