What to Know When You're Considering a Breast Lift
There's no avoiding it: The longer you live, the greater the effect gravity has on your breasts.
Breast lifts are on the rise in the United States. In 2019, more than 113,000 procedures were performed by members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, up 114 percent from 2000.
Surgical intervention is not only possible but it's also fairly easy, recovery is not too demanding, and the results can be spectacular. But like any operation, there are pros and cons.
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a cosmetic surgery in which excess skin and tissue are removed from the breast. Patients are typically women with breasts that are asymmetrical or sag or have downward-pointing nipples.
Incisions are made around the areola (the darker part around the nipple), down to the breast crease and then under each breast. The breasts are then reshaped and lifted, nipples raised and, if necessary, the size of the areola reduced. It can be done in tandem with breast reduction or augmentation.
Side effects include pain, temporary numbness and swelling.
Breasts change over time. Pregnancy, weight fluctuations and age—thanks a lot, gravity, for stretching out our Cooper's ligaments—can cause breasts to become less firm, sag, flatten out, and lose shape and volume.
Women who aren't comfortable with these changes may find a breast lift can help boost self-esteem. Improved comfort and confidence wearing certain clothing styles, including bathing suits and lingerie, are additional benefits.
The risks involved
As with any surgical procedure, infection is possible. Most women retain dark reddish scars, but these typically fade in a year or two. Though milk production is possible, some women have trouble producing enough to adequately breastfeed naturally.
Breast asymmetry may or may not be corrected by mastopexy and could remain after the procedure. Results may fluctuate with weight gain or pregnancy.
Rarely, loss of sensation to the breast or nipple can be permanent. Very rarely, the blood supply to the nipple is compromised, resulting in a possible removal.
Effects on your sex life
Like it or not, breasts are a defining part of femininity and gender identity for many women. They play a significant role in attraction and sex, and therefore, in a woman's self-confidence. Being uncomfortable in your own body can be devastating for your sex life. It's hard to be "you" and excited about being with a partner if you're really upset about the look of your breasts.
Conversely, increased body positivity can't help but bolster the enjoyment of lovemaking. In a 2012 realself.com poll that studied breast-enhancement surgery, as opposed to a specific procedure, 34 percent of women reported a higher satisfaction rate with their sex life, and 61 percent said they had more sex after surgery. An overwhelming 70 percent said their sex life improved overall.
Should you have it?
No female should feel defined by her breasts. Our bodies change with time, and breasts age naturally as well. Few women have perfect natural breasts anyway, even in youth.
The expectation of having perfect breasts isn't realistic, and women shouldn't feel pressured to change their bodies or undergo surgery to meet that expectation. However, if a procedure could drastically improve your self-confidence, if it would make you feel special, you should consider it.
The expectation of having perfect breasts isn't realistic, and women shouldn't feel pressured to change their bodies or undergo surgery to meet that expectation.
If you're considering a breast lift, talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training and experience in the procedure. Ask for before-and-after pictures—particularly of women with breasts similar to your own—to better understand the results you can realistically expect. Research online experiences, both good and bad. Talk to family, friends, your partner(s), and anyone with whom you feel comfortable sharing and who honestly has only your best interest at heart.
Living a long, full life will sag even the perkiest breasts. Don't chase an unrealistic ideal because you feel you should. But if you believe a breast lift could significantly improve your quality of life and happiness, get informed and choose a good surgeon. Your breasts are worth it, and so are you.