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Side view of an Arab woman to represent breast lift surgery

Breast lift surgery, recovery and finding a procedure

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Pier Francesco Mancini from Medical village

So many factors influence the shape and feel of our breasts. Maturing, weight fluctuations, breastfeeding, and genetics can all play a part. Breast lift surgery promises to tighten and lift breasts, creating a firmer look and feel. But how exactly does it work?

Fast facts

  • Best results

    1 procedure

  • Duration of results

    10 to 15 years

  • Back to work

    1 week

  • Full recovery time

    6 weeks

  • Price range

    18,000 SAR to 26,000 SAR

  • Treatment duration

    3 hours

  • Comfort

    General anaesthetic

  • Treatment type

    Invasive

What is a breast lift?

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that can raise and shape the breast. Weight loss, pregnancies, and breast feeding can cause changes in the breast skin and fibrous ligaments affecting the shape and position of the breast. The breast lift procedure goes some way to rectifying this.

  • A breast lift does not enlarge your breasts – for that, you would require breast augmentation.
  • Demand for breast lifts has increased by 600 per cent in the past 16 years.
  • You usually have to be at least 18 to be able to have it.

How does the breast lift procedure work?

Breast lift surgery can be performed in a few different ways, but a typical procedure works as follows:

Pre-surgery

Smoking can slow the body’s immune response, so if you smoke, you will be advised to quit around six weeks before surgery to give you the best chance of healing quickly. You will also be asked not to eat or drink anything in the six hours before the operation.

During the procedure

The surgeon typically makes an incision around the nipple and then a second underneath the breast. Extra skin is then removed from under the breast before it’s reshaped, with the nipple moved higher. You can also have the shape of your areola (the pigmented area around the nipple) changed if you wish.

The kind of incisions that the surgeon will make are different depending on how many cm the breast has to be lifted and the amount of skin that has to be removed. The three common scars are:

1. Donut (around the areola).

2. Lollipop (around the areola and from there to the crease below the breast).

3. Inverted T.

The surgeon will shape and lift the breast in the new position and the wounds closed with internal stitches. Drains may be placed to avoid hematomas and a surgical bra is applied.

The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and will take two to three hours.

Patients can sometimes lose a whole cup size with a breast lift, depending on how much skin they have removed.

4 pink bandages to represent breast lift recovery

Breast lift recovery time, side-effects and finding a procedure

How long does breast lift recovery take?

A few days after surgery the patient can have a shower and go back to normal activities, but during the first month they will have to wear the surgical bra 24/7 and avoid exercise. It will take around four to six weeks to heal completely.

Does it hurt?

The surgery won’t hurt as you’ll be under anaesthetic, but you may feel some discomfort for the first week afterwards. This should be manageable with pain relief but contact your surgeon if you experience severe pain.

What are the side effects?

The main side-effects to be aware of are:

  • Scarring – you will have some noticeable scarring, but it will fade over time – usually within 12 to 18 months. Daily use of a silicone gel or Bio-Oil can help to fade scars.
  • Changes in breast sensation – you may have limited feeling in your breast and nipples in the first few weeks after surgery. If it doesn’t return after a couple of weeks, speak to your doctor.
  • Breasts that are a different size or shape – your breasts may heal at a different pace from one another if both are operated on, so you may experience them being slightly different shapes for a while – but this should even out.
Side view of a woman's body to represent a breast lift

Who is most suitable for surgery?

People who tend to opt for the procedure often choose to have it because their breasts have softened and become pendant-like due to ageing, pregnancy, weight fluctuations or breastfeeding. But if you’re unhappy with the positioning of your breasts for any reason or want your nipples resized, it could also be an option.

Is it safe?

A breast lift is a safe and popular procedure – but remember to always seek out an experienced, qualified clinician.

In rare cases, complications can include:

  • Developing a blood clot.
  • Chest infections.

These are unlikely. Talk to your surgeon if you are concerned.

How do I find a breast lift near me?

Use our clinic locator tool to find options near you. Explore ratings, potential costs, and learn more about the qualified practitioners in your area.

Alternatives to breast lift surgery

Padded bras

Push-up and padded bras can give the temporary appearance of a more uplifted breast.

Breast augmentation or reduction

Breast augmentation is an alternative to consider if you’re looking to change the size and shape of your breasts, while a breast reduction can help achieve smaller, firmer breasts. Different breast-altering surgeries can be carried out at the same time too.

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