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Breast uplift surgery (mastopexy)

A breast uplift (mastopexy) is an operation to remove excess skin from your breasts to improve their shape

Close up of a woman who desires breast uplift surgery (mastopexy)
Breast uplift surgery, or mastopexy is a surgical procedure to change the shape of your breasts by removing excess skin, reshaping your breast tissue, and repositioning your nipples. A breast lift doesn’t alter the size of your breasts.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private breast uplift surgery with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what breast uplift surgery is, what happens during the procedure, and what to expect during your recovery.

The cost of this procedure depends on your individual circumstances. At the time of your appointment your consultant will discuss all options with you and ensure all your questions are answered.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you.

If you have private health insurance, the procedure will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

Breast uplift surgery may be right for you if you are unhappy with the shape of your breasts. As you get older, your breasts may lose firmness and the tissue may become less elastic causing them to sag. Pregnancy and weight changes can also affect the shape of your breasts.

Some common reasons for choosing breast uplift surgery include:

  • Your breasts have lost volume and shape (sagging breasts) due to getting older, pregnancy, or weight loss
  • Your nipples and areolae (the area around your nipples) point downwards or fall below your breast creases when unsupported
  • Your breasts are asymmetrical (one hangs lower than the other)
  • Your areolae have stretched and are out of proportion to your breasts

Some of the benefits of breast uplift surgery include:

  • Improved breast appearance, shape, and symmetry
  • Improved nipple projection
  • Breasts have a more youthful appearance
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Your clothes may fit better
  • Reduced under-breast skin irritation
  • Minimal scarring
  • Long-lasting results

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant cosmetic surgeon, a doctor specialising in performing cosmetic and aesthetic surgical procedures.

Your consultant will ask you about your reasons for wanting to have breast uplift surgery. They will also ask you about your general health, medical and family history, any previous surgeries you have had and any medications you are taking. They will examine your breasts to check the shape of your breasts, nipples and areola,  breast symmetry, and skin tone.

Your consultant will discuss your expectations for treatment and talk to you about what can realistically be achieved. In some cases, they may recommend another procedure such as a breast augmentation or breast reduction in addition to, or instead of breast uplift surgery.

Your consultant may recommend that you delay breast uplift surgery if you plan to get pregnant or breastfeed in the future. Pregnancy can stretch your breast tissue and affect the results of your breast uplift surgery. It can be harder to produce enough milk to breastfeed effectively after breast uplift surgery.

Ideally, you should be at your optimal weight before your breast lift surgery. This helps to ensure a good, long-lasting result where your breasts remain in proportion with your body.  If you lose or gain weight after your breast lift surgery, the results of your breast lift may be affected.

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is important as it’s where you will meet your consultant, the doctor responsible for your care. Your consultant will assess your reasons for wanting breast uplift surgery and advise you on whether the procedure is suitable for you. They will explain what happens during the procedure, including any potential risks and complications, and what to expect during your recovery.

Your first consultation is also an opportunity for you to ask your consultant any questions you may have about breast uplift surgery. We want you to be as well-informed and comfortable as possible during your time with us, so please discuss any questions or concerns with your consultant at your first appointment.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will decide if breast uplift surgery is a suitable procedure for you, based on your reasons for wanting the procedure, your physical examination, and expectations for treatment.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your breast uplift surgery. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice. Being well-prepared for your surgery will help ease any anxiety you may have and allow your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You may need to have a baseline mammogram before your breast uplift surgery. This may be repeated a few months after your procedure so that your consultant can detect and monitor any changes to your breast tissue after your surgery.

You will need someone to help you with tasks like cooking, cleaning, and shopping for the first few days after your procedure.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being as healthy as possible before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and help speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Lose weight if you need to
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Breast uplift surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, meaning you’ll be asleep for the procedure.

There are three techniques used in breast uplift surgery, depending on the types of incisions (cuts) your consultant uses. Your consultant will recommend the best technique for you depending on your breast size and shape and the result you want to achieve.

The three types of incision used in breast uplift surgery include:

  • An incision around the areola
  • An incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease
  • An incision around the areola, vertically down to the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease

Once the incisions are made, your consultant will remove any excess skin and reshape your breast tissue. They will reposition your nipple higher on your breast.

At the end of the procedure, your incisions are closed using stitches, surgical tape or surgical glue and a sterile dressing is applied.

Breast uplift surgery usually takes about one-and-a-half to two hours.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health, and what happened during your procedure.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be monitored closely until the anaesthetic has worn off.

When you wake up from the anaesthetic, you will have gauze dressings in place over your breasts and probably a surgical bra to support your breasts for the first few days after your surgery.

You may have a small drainage tube in your breasts to drain any fluid or blood after your surgery. This will be removed within a few days.

After your breast uplift surgery:

  • You can expect your breasts to be swollen and bruised. This should subside gradually over the next two weeks
  • Your breasts and incision sites will be sore for the first few weeks after your breast uplift surgery. Your consultant will prescribe medication to help manage any pain
  • Your healthcare team will give you instructions on when you can shower, and how to care for your surgical wounds in the days after your surgery
  • Your skin, nipples and areolae may be numb for about six weeks after your procedure. This is normal and should resolve gradually
  • Avoid bending, lifting, and strenuous activity for six weeks after your surgery and sexual activity for at least the first two weeks
  • Wear your surgical bra when sleeping and sleep on your back or your side for the first two to four weeks to keep pressure off your breasts
  • Depending on the type of stitches you have, they may need to be removed after around one to two weeks. Check with your healthcare team about whether your stitches need to be removed
  • Wear your surgical support bra continuously for the first three to four days. After this, you’ll be given a softer support bra to wear for the next three to four weeks

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

Breast uplift surgery can usually be done as a day case, meaning you’ll be able to go home the same day. In some cases, you may need to spend one night in hospital. If you go home on the same day as your surgery, please arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home from the hospital after your breast uplift surgery or for 24 hours following a general anaesthetic. Please make arrangements for someone to collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

How soon you can go back to work after your surgery depends on your individual recovery, and the type of job you do. We recommend that you take at least two weeks off work after your breast uplift surgery, longer if you have a manual or very active job.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive until you can wear a seatbelt comfortably, safely control your vehicle and perform an emergency stop. We recommend waiting at least one week before driving after your surgery. Get the all-clear from your consultant before driving again after your breast uplift surgery.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovery from breast uplift surgery is a gradual process that is different for everyone. To help your recovery go as smoothly as possible, listen to your body, and build up your activity level slowly. Follow your consultant’s postoperative instructions carefully and call the hospital if you have any questions or concerns. You can expect to resume most normal daily activities after around two weeks and be fully recovered by around six weeks.

It can take several months to a year for your breasts to heal fully and settle into their new shape.

As with all types of surgery, breast uplift surgery carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you may have about your procedure. Being as well-informed as possible about what to expect from your surgery will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision so please ask any questions you may have.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications specific to breast uplift surgery include:

  • Scarring — these are usually red at first, and then fade over the next 12 to 18 months. Any scars will be hidden beneath your bra/bikini line
  • Haematoma — a collection of blood under the skin. This normally resolves by itself, but in some cases may need to be drained
  • Seroma — a collection of fluid under the skin. This normally goes away on its own but may need to be drained
  • Poor wound healing — this is more common in smokers
  • Necrosis — tissue death due to loss of blood supply during surgery
  • Changes in breast sensation
  • Long-term pain — this is rare
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Extrusion — where deep stitches poke out through the skin. These can easily be removed
  • Damage to surrounding structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, or organs
  • Fat necrosis — a hard lump of scar tissue that develops in the breast
  • Loss of skin, including the areola and nipple
  • Reduced ability to breastfeed — breast lift surgery can affect the nerves and milk ducts in your breasts, making it harder or impossible to breastfeed
  • Changes over time — the results of your breast uplift may change over time due to ageing, pregnancy, or weight changes
  • You may be dissatisfied with the result

At Circle Health Group, we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about breast uplift surgery, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2024. Next review due March 2027.

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