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Breast Lift - Reduction - How Safe Are They?


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Breast lifts, or mastopexy, is used so that women's breasts will return to its youthful shape and give lift where sagging has resulted by weight loss, loss of skin's natural elasticity, or from loss of shape from pregnancy. This procedure may also make the areolas smaller or larger. Some cosmetic surgeons combine mastopexy with augmentation for more firmness and volume. Any size breasts can be lifted, but the best results are when they were small and sagging in the first place. While a lift won't affect a woman's ability to breast feed, it is advised to postpone the surgery because the procedure can effect the stretching of the skin.

Mastopexy can be done in an outpatient center, in a hospital, or in the cosmetic surgeon's office. General anesthesia is necessary, and the operation lasts from one and half to three and a half hours. Pre-op procedures are taken such as measurements of the breasts, a mammogram, and discussion about the size, shape of the breasts and placement of the nipple.

During the surgery, an anchor shaped cut is made from the where the new nipple will be located down to the crease beneath the breast. Removal of extra skin, the relocation of the nipple and areola, with reshaping of the breast by using skin from the area of the areola is done before the incisions are closed with stitches. After the procedure, the breasts will be wrapped with gauze and a bandage is placed. This surgical bra is worn 24 hours a day for a month. Your breasts will be swollen, bruised, and painful for just a few days. Numbness and swelling will subside, however, once in a while it lasts for months at a time and sometimes permanently. After two weeks, the sutures are removed and the patient can return to work.

Large breasts often cause pain between the shoulders, in the back, and cause poor posture, breathing problems, deformities, and a lack of self-esteem. To provide relief from those symptoms, breast reduction surgery is available. It is performed under general anesthesia. A two to four hour procedure removes the fat and glandular tissue and also tightens the skin so that your breasts are in healthier proportion to the rest of your body.

Board certified cosmetic surgeons don't recommend breast reduction surgery if a woman is nursing because the milk ducts leading to the nipples are removed. An anchor shaped incision will be made at the new nipple location down to the crease beneath the breasts as with a mastopexy. Excess fat, skin, and glandular tissue is removed, and the nipple and areola are relocated, which reshape the breasts using skin from around the areola. Liposuction might be necessary to remove fat from the armpit area, and sometimes when only fat needs to be reduced from the breasts. Liposuction alone is sometimes used for reduction surgery.

As with mastopexy, the breasts are bound with a surgical bra or stretchy bandages. You may also be advised to use a surgical drainage tube for excess fluid removal. The stitches will come out in a week. The bandaging or surgical bra should be worn for about a month for support and healing.

A little bit of pain is normal, and can be mild discomfort, some swelling during menstruation, and a big of numbness or sensitivity. You may also experience random shooting pains that could last for a couple of months. You will have to avoid heavy lifting for three to four weeks and only gentle contact for six weeks.

The risks are usually rare and minor if they do happen. Bleeding, infection, and reaction to the anesthesia, sores around the nipple could also happen. You might notice a very slight mismatching of the breasts and unevenly placed nipples. Permanent loss of feeling in the breast or nipples could also happen but it is rare.

Vicki Wallace blogs on beauty topics on her website and shares her opinions and experiences on the pains of being beautiful. You can read more on her blog at


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