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Breast Lift

What is a breast lift?

A breast lift is an operation which lifts the breast to the ideal position.  The nipple is raised to a more youthful position and the breast tissue if raised.  It is often done in conjunction with a breast reduction.

 A breast lift is sometimes done with a breast implant to both increase the size of and lift the breast.  This is called an augmentation mastopexy.

Why should I have a breast lift?

  • To raise breasts that are droopy or sagging.

  • To lift the nipple to an ideal position

  • To reduce the size of the areola

  • To remove excess skin which can occur from weight loss, post breast feeding or with hormonal changes.

  • To increase the volume of the breast – an implant is used as well as a breast lift (augmentation mastopexy)

Preparing for my surgery

You will have a full consultation with Dr Kerri Mooney to discuss your concerns and medical history.  It is ideal if you are at a stable weight and your body mass index (BMI) is close to normal.  It is important to be as healthy as possible before an operation by eating well, exercising and avoiding cigarette smoke. 


Typically, you will have some routine investigations prior to surgery including a mammogram.  We will discuss pre-operative preparation with you in detail including what post-operative bra to get, when to fast and arrive for surgery.  You will be given written and verbal information so that you are as prepared as possible for the surgery.

What to expect in the surgical period

The operation takes approximately three hours.  Typically, patients stay one night in hospital and go home to recover the following day with support from friends or family.  During the operation, the lower portion of the breast tissue is elevated up.  The lower breast skin is removed.  The nipple is elevated to an ideal position and the breast tissue is lifted to create a more youthful breast as necessary.  A drain will often be placed on each side which can often be taken out the next day.  The sutures are dissolving so they do not need to be removed.  The dressings will be a light tape which can get wet at 48 hours post-operative in the shower.

Recovery after surgery

It is normal to have some bruising and swelling after surgery which goes down over time.  You will be discharged with some medications including pain relief.  We will arrange a dressing change at approximately 10-14 days after the operation. We advise that you wear a post-surgical bra 24 hours a day for the first two months.  We recommend light walking in the immediate post-operative period with return to exercise at approximately 6-8 weeks.

Possible risks of breast lift surgery

All operations come with associated risks.  Although rare, it is important that you understand what these are.  

  • Infection
    Any operation comes with the risk of infection. This can often be addressed with tablet antibiotics. However, if it is a serious infection, admission to hospital and even further surgery may be required.
  • Bleeding
    Although very rare, a patient may bleed during surgery and require a blood transfusion. Also, rare, a patient may develop a haematoma (blood clot) after surgery and require a return to the operating theatre to evacuate a haematoma (blood clot).
  • Wound healing problems
    Surgical incisions may take longer to heal than expected and require a longer time with dressings. This can be a result of multiple reasons including poor nutrition and smoking.
  • Scar
    Dr Mooney will discuss the expected scar with you. Please see the diagrams of the standard incisions with include an inverted “T” and a vertical incision. Usually, these incisions heal as a faint white line. However, abnormal scars can form which are called hypertrophic or keloid scars. These are prominent, red scars that are raised. They are rare unless you have a personal or family history of keloid scars.
  • Peri-operative medical problems
    There are always risks when having an anaesthetic. These are rare. They include heart or lung problems, allergic reactions and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).
  • Asymmetry
    A certain amount of breast asymmetry is natural in most women before an operation. Asymmetry can occur after surgery which may result in further surgery.
  • Change in sensation of the nipple
    There is a variable amount of change in nipple sensation that can occur. This often returns to normal after several months but can be long term. This is because the nipple is moved during the procedure to an ideal position. It can also occur if a nipple graft is required.
  • Loss of nipple or areola tissue
    As the nipple is moved to an ideal position during the procedure, it is possible that it does not have a good enough blood supply and results in some or all of the nipple tissue dying. This is very rare.
  • Breast feeding
    It is unknown if a breast reduction will improve or reduce a woman’s ability to breast feed after surgery. If a woman has a nipple graft as part of her breast reduction, where the nipple is fully removed and replaced as a patch, it is unlikely that she would be able to breast feed.
  • Breast disease
    Breast disease and cancer can occur independently of breast reduction surgery. All tissue that is removed during a breast reduction is sent to the lab for analysis. On rare occasions, an unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer is made.
  • Breast lumps
    Occasionally, patients can feel small lumps following breast reduction. These can be the result of fat necrosis where some fat cells have died in the breast tissue. This is because of the changes of blood supply to the tissue as it is moved. All lumps must be investigated to out-rule a breast cancer diagnosis.

Breast lift (mastopexy) is an excellent procedure to lift and reshape the breast to recreate a natural, youthful breast.

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