Medical Benefits of a Breast Lift – How a Breast Lift can improve your Health
Do you have sagging or loose skin in your breasts after pregnancy or a major weight loss? Are you suffering from frequent skin irritation due to sagging breasts? Does the appearance of your breasts (due to age-related volume loss) bother you? If so, you may benefit from a surgery known as a breast lift. This procedure restores the youthful appearance of your breasts by repositioning your skin, nipple, and areola. Aside from treating cosmetic concerns, an overwhelming amount of clinical evidence suggests that breast lift can also address a variety of health issues.
What is a Breast Lift?
Also known as “mastopexy”, a breast lift is a surgical procedure that elevates the position of your nipple and areola. It also addresses the saggy and droopy appearance of your breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the remaining breast tissues. The procedure can also decrease the size of your areola if it’s not in proportion to the size of your breasts.
What Causes Sagging Breasts?
Several factors can affect the appearance of your breasts including;
- Underlying medical condition
- And, weight fluctuations
Health & Medical Benefits of a Breast Lift
Correct Breast Drooping
Drooping or sagging breasts is medically known as breast ptosis. Aside from being a cosmetic concern, this condition can also cause physical and emotional discomforts. Thankfully a breast lift can help correct this condition.
A study investigated the effects of breast lift on women with significant breast drooping.  The study included women who underwent abreast lift from 2002 to 2016. After the surgery, patients were given a survey to evaluate the clinical outcome. Results found that most patients not only reported an improvement in breast sagging but also a high satisfaction rate.
Another study assessed the effects of breast lift on women who had breast augmentation for breast sagging.  Patient satisfaction was assessed anonymously using a questionnaire 4 years after their surgery. Researchers reported that breast lift was safe and yielded satisfactory long-term outcomes. Most patients had high levels of satisfaction with regards to breast shape, size, and symmetry.
A third study investigated the long-term effects of a breast lift in patients with sagging breasts.  In this study, the researchers obtained standardized breast measurements as well as before-and-after-photos of the patients. After the surgery, the patients had higher overall long-term satisfaction and increased upper pole fullness.
Sagging breasts do not only cause physical discomfort they also take a toll on your self-esteem. This breast condition can lead to lesser clothing options as well as social isolation. Studies show that a breast lift is beneficial in restoring your self-esteem.
In one study, researchers evaluated the psychological well-being of cosmetic breast surgery patients.  A group of patients who had breast lift were asked to answer a 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey at 4 different times: immediately after the surgery, and at 1, 6, and 12 months postop. During this time researchers observed that patients did in fact have an increase in their self-esteem. This was evident by a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In a study of women who underwent consecutive breast lift from 2002 to 2016, researchers observed that self-esteem was improved in 85.6% of the patients.  The researchers concluded that this improvement was associated with a decrease in breast sagging and a high patient satisfaction rate.
Another study assessed the psychological effects of the different techniques of breast lift on patients with breast sagging.  After checking the patient questionnaires and conducting in-person interviews, researchers observed that the patients had improved self-esteem 1 month after their surgery. The researchers concluded that this is improvement was associated with a high level of satisfaction and reduced physical discomforts following the surgery.
Improves Quality of Life
A number of convincing studies suggest that breast lift can help improve the quality of life of patients. This improvement can be attributed to several factors including;
- Body image
- Reduced physical discomforts
- And an increase in self-esteem.
A study compared the quality of life of patients who had breast enlargement with implants and patients who had a breast lift.  The two groups of patients answered a 47-question survey to measure the quality of life after their surgery. Answers were then processed by a return mail system and sent to the authors. Both groups reported satisfaction with overall cosmetic result, enlargement, breast volume, shape, scar, and symmetry.
In a study assessing the effects of the combination of breast augmentation and breast lift on the quality of life of patients, an improvement in the various aspects of surgery was found.  Evaluation of the patient satisfaction surveys showed that the patients were satisfied with symmetry correction, scar quality, breast shape, nipple/areola size, and overall result.
In a study evaluating the effects of the different techniques of breast lift on patients with breast sagging, researchers observed a significant improvement in various aspects of quality of life.  The patients answered six-category questions, they a;also had in-person interviews at least 1 month after their surgery.
During this time, the researchers assessed patient data, indications, recovery, results, complications, and psychological effects. Results revealed that the patients had a high level of satisfaction, improved self-esteem, and reduced physical discomforts such as nipple numbness. This in turn resulted in improved quality of life.
Would a Breast Lift help?
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will conduct a detailed health assessment to determine if you a suitable candidate for the surgery. This also allows your surgeon to create a customised treatment plan that will best suit your cosmetic and health needs. In general, you can have the surgery if you have:
- Large and heavy breasts. In this case, many patients combine a lift with a reduction.
- Breasts that fall too low.
- Nipples that point downwards.
- Stretched areolas.
- Breasts that appear loose and deflated.
- One breast hangs lower than the other.
- Realistic expectations and a positive outlook.
- Good physical and mental health.
You can also have the surgery if you don’t;
- Have a bleeding or clotting disorder.
- Have an active breast infection.
- Plan on getting pregnant after your surgery.
- Have an undiagnosed breast condition.
Breast Lift FAQs – Frequently asked Questions about Breast Lift
How long does a breast lift last?
- The results of the procedure may vary from patient to patient. This will depend on several factors including the following:
- How you care for your new breasts
- The surgical technique used
- Your age
- Desired results
- Dietary habits
- And, your skin elasticity
In general, the results of a breast lift can last for up to 2 years. However, you may need another surgery to maintain the results because it cannot stop the effects of ageing on your breasts. To ensure long-lasting results, your surgeon will evaluate your overall health condition before the procedure.
Does a breast lift increase size?
- No, the procedure reshapes your breasts by repositioning your skin, nipple, and areola. This achieves a younger, well-defined breast contour.
- If you are planning to increase the size of your breasts, you may benefit from a surgical procedure known as breast augmentation or breast lift with implants. This procedure enhances the appearance and size of your breasts by using implants or your own body fat.
Can I stop wearing a bra after a breast lift?
- No, your surgeon will require you to wear a special bra or compression garments after the surgery to reduce swelling and support your healing breasts. In fact, your surgeon will include the use of a support bra in your postoperative instructions. This also allows your breasts to adjust to their new shape.
What is a lollipop lift?
- The lollipop lift is a surgical technique that is indicated for patients with moderately sized breasts. This involves creating a cut around the areola going down the middle of the lower breast, resembling a lollipop on a stick (see image to the right).
- Through these incisions, your surgeon will raise the breast and reposition the nipple and areola into the desired location.
- Once repositioned, your surgeon will pull the skin tight and secure it with sutures. This surgical technique produces minimal scarring. However, it’s not easy to perform because your surgeon will only have a small incision to work with.
What is an anchor lift?
- Also known as standard breast lift, an anchor lift involves creating a cut around the perimeter of your areola going down to the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease, resembling an upside-down anchor (see image to the right).
- This procedure is recommended for patients needing the removal of large volumes of skin and breast tissues.
- However, this surgical technique is very invasive and has a higher risk of unwanted scarring.
How much weight can I lose after a breast lift?
- The procedure involves the removal of excess skin to make your breasts firmer and well-defined. However, it does not remove a significant amount of skin or tissues that is enough to produce noticeable weight loss.
Does a breast lift require implants?
- A breast lift does not involve the use of implants to improve the appearance of your breasts. Rather, your surgeon adjusts the position of the existing breast tissue, nipple, and areola to achieve younger-looking and well-defined breasts.
- A breast surgery that uses implants is called breast augmentation. In some cases, a breast augmentation can be combined with a breast lift to achieve optimal and longer-lasting results.
Does breast lift surgery reduce the size of the areola?
- Yes, the surgery can help reduce enlarged areola due to breast sagging. Most patients who undergo breast lift do require a reduction of the size of the areola to achieve better cosmetic results.
- Your surgeon will give you more information during your initial consultation on whether your breast condition will require areola reduction.
What is the difference between a breast lift and breast implants?
- A breast lift focuses on enhancing the shape and symmetry of your existing breasts by reshaping and lifting them to achieve a better contour and appearance.
- On the other hand, breast implants add volume to your breasts to increase their size but implants do not change breast placement.
- To achieve optimal and long-lasting results, breast lift and breast implants are usually combined.
How much does a breast lift cost?
- Of course, the cost of a breast lift depends on several factors, for example:
- The materials and equipment used during your surgery
- The medical facility or clinic’s fee
- Anaesthetists’s fee
- Assistant surgeon’s fee
- The condition of your breasts
- Your desired results
- As well as, your surgeon’s fee
- It is important to keep in mind that every treatment plan is customised to suit your health and cosmetic needs as well as desired results. Therefore, the total fees may vary from patient to patient.
- In addition, you should know that breast lift is an elective procedure. In other words, the surgery is done to enhance the appearance of the breasts. Your health insurance will not cover the cost of your procedure.
- To know more about your financing options, talk to your surgeon if he or she offers a payment plan.
Can scars be prevented after a breast lift?
- Most patients are satisfied with the results of their breast lift that they don’t mind the appearance of their surgical scars.
- Many patients find that the benefits of a breast lift out way the scars associated with the surgery.
- However, it is normal for patients to be curious about the appearance of the scars after the surgical incisions have completely healed.
- The fact is that it is impossible to completely hide any sign of breast lift surgery.
- But, your scars should fade and become lighter in appearance as time goes by.
- To achieve minimal scarring, most surgeons create small and inconspicuous breast incisions during the procedure.
- The surgical technique or incision placement will be fully discussed during your initial consultation.
Further Reading – Medical References:
- Swanson E. All Seasons Vertical Augmentation Mastopexy: A Simple Algorithm, Clinical Experience, and Patient-reported Outcomes. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2016 Dec 27;4(12):e1170. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000001170. PMID: 28293517; PMCID: PMC5222662. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28293517/.
- de Vita R, Zoccali G, Buccheri EM. The Balcony Technique of Breast Augmentation and Inverted-T Mastopexy With an Inferior Dermoglandular Flap. Aesthet Surg J. 2017 Oct 16;37(10):1114-1123. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjx142. PMID: 29040405. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29040405/.
- Grünherz L, Burger A, Giovanoli P, Lindenblatt N. Long-term results measured by BREAST-Q reveal higher patient satisfaction after “autoimplant-mastopexy” than augmentation-mastopexy. Gland Surg. 2019 Oct;8(5):516-526. doi: 10.21037/gs.2019.09.05. PMID: 31741882; PMCID: PMC6842755. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31741882/.
- Pérez-San-Gregorio MÁ, Martín-Rodríguez A, Arias-Moreno MJ, Rincón-Fernández ME, Ortega-Martínez JI. Self-reported psychological development in cosmetic breast surgery patients. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(49):e5620. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000005620. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5266064/.
- Swanson E. Prospective outcome study of 106 cases of vertical mastopexy, augmentation/mastopexy, and breast reduction. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2013 Jul;66(7):937-49. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2013.03.021. Epub 2013 Apr 10. PMID: 23582506. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23582506/.
- Kalaaji A, Dreyer S, Brinkmann J, Maric I, Nordahl C, Olafsen K. Quality of Life After Breast Enlargement With Implants Versus Augmentation Mastopexy: A Comparative Study. Aesthet Surg J. 2018 Nov 12;38(12):1304-1315. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjy047. PMID: 29481590. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29481590/.
- Spear SL, Pelletiere CV, Menon N. One-stage augmentation combined with mastopexy: aesthetic results and patient satisfaction. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2004 Sep-Oct;28(5):259-67. doi: 10.1007/s00266-004-0032-6. Epub 2004 Nov 5. PMID: 15529204. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15529204/.