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Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Procedure Description: Breast lift cosmetic surgery (mastopexy) is a common, but complex breast enhancement procedure that raises and reshapes sagging breasts. Breast lift can be performed with or without the insertion of breast implants, depending upon the anatomical factors and needs of the patient. The degree of lift needed generally will determine the number and length of the incisions. In a true mastopexy, excess skin is removed, and many times the breast gland is reshaped in order to create a more youthful appearing breast. The nipple is normally positioned so that it will be even (vertically) with the lower crease between the breast and chest. The skin that was previously above the nipple is brought down around the nipple and sutured together under the breast.

Length of Procedure: The procedure takes approximately two to four hours.

Recovery: The gauze dressing will be removed after a couple of days, and you will wear a surgical bra for many weeks. The stitches are removed about 2 weeks after the surgery. Your breasts will be bruised, and you may experience temporary numbness around the nipples as well as random shooting pains. These conditions generally subside within several weeks.

For the first few days, you need to limit your activities and movement in order to prevent breaking the stitches and stretching the scars. Most women can return to work about 2 weeks later, although overhead lifting and strenuous movements should be avoided for several weeks to ensure proper healing. Most bruising, swelling, shooting pains and loss of sensation should subside within 3 to 6 weeks. However, it may take up to a year for your breasts to settle into their new look and feel.

Risks: The most common risks and complications associated with this procedure include infection, bleeding, and scarring. Other, less common complications include skin death; hematoma (collection of blood), seroma (fluid buildup) and reaction to anesthesia. After healing, some permanent scarring will remain. When proper precautions are taken by the surgical team, complications are typically minimized or prevented. Risks specific to breast lift surgery include: those risks associated with implants, if they are used; permanent and noticeable scarring; unevenly aligned nipples; mismatched breasts; sores or numbness around the nipples; rarely, death of tissue around the nipple and areola.

Results: The results are long lasting, with only one procedure needed. After the surgery, the breasts are fuller and more shapely. The surgery is designed to minimize scarring, and although scars are possible, the surgery generally results in faint lines where the surgical incisions were made.

A breast lift will not keep you firm forever. Your breasts will be more youthful and full than they would have been without the surgery. However, the effects of gravity, pregnancy and weight changes will continue to affect your breasts over time.

Estimated Cost: The average cost of a breast lift varies from $3,500 to $6,000. Cost for anesthesia ranges from $1,000 to $1,300. The facility fee (or hospital fee) ranges from $500 to $1,500. The remaining cost is the surgeon's fee.

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