At A Glance: Breast Lift
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
How is a breast lift done?
When you have a breast lift, a surgeon removes extra skin and raises your breast. Then your incisions are closed and your breasts are bandaged. You may have small drains placed in your breasts; they will be removed in a few days. (If you are getting implants as part of the procedure, the surgeon will insert them.)
What issue does a breast lift solve?
You might decide to have a breast lift if your breasts have been stretched, if they sag, if one of your breasts is lower than the other one, or if your nipples point downward.
Do I have options for anesthesia for breast lift surgery?
Sometimes general anesthesia is used for breast lift surgery, but sedation and local anesthesia can be used, too.
How do I know if a breast lift is right for me?
You are a good candidate for a breast lift if pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or gravity has caused your breasts to lose their elasticity and firmness and you are bothered by this.
How safe is breast lift surgery?
Breast lift surgery is a relatively low-risk procedure. But smoking can impede healing, so if you’re a smoker your surgeon might recommend that you stop, at least during the time of your procedure. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are possible side effects and complications of a breast lift?
Some of the possible side effects and complications of breast lift surgery include scarring; infection; bleeding or the formation of a hematoma; deep vein thrombosis (when a blood clot forms in a deep vein); fluid accumulation; problems with breastfeeding; temporary or permanent changes in nipple or breast sensation; asymmetry in the size and shape of the breasts; loss of the nipple or areola; problems with anesthesia, and possible revision surgery if you don’t like the results of the initial surgery.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects of general anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are the possible side effects of local anesthesia?
Some possible side effects of local anesthesia include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, twitching muscles, drop in blood pressure, continuing numbness, weakness, and tingling.
What are the possible side effects of intravenous sedation?
Some of the possible side effects of intravenous sedation are drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, headache, bruising (from the IV), amnesia about the procedure, and crying.
What are the alternatives to a breast lift?
You can tone your pectoral muscles with exercise, giving your breasts a natural lift. You can also get a new, uplifting bra. Other nonsurgical options include skin creams; Botox injections and dermal fillers; laser treatments; Thermage, which uses radio waves to tighten your breast; Aptos threading, which uses minimally invasive threads inserted into the soft tissue and pulled tight to create a lift; and CACI bust treatment, which uses electric pulses to tone chest muscles.
What kind of outcome is typical for breast lift?
Breasts lifts create firmer, higher, and more elastic breasts. Generally, the procedure lasts for 10 to 15 years, but that depends on factors like weight fluctuations, health, and your age.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about breast life surgery?
You don’t need a referral to see a plastic surgeon.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon to talk about a breast lift?
Insurance informationMedical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physicianA list of your surgical goals and photos of the look you want to achieveYou should also be prepared for your surgeon to take photographs of your chest
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for breast lift surgery?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we’ll work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Why might I have to wait to schedule a breast lift?
In some cases it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for surgery—for example, if you have another medical issue including another surgical procedure or an illness, we might wait to schedule surgery. Your health and safety are our top priorities, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients. If you smoke, it may be necessary for you to stop smoking and wait for a period of time before your procedure, as smoking can impede the healing process.
Insurance & Cost
How much does a breast lift cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much a breast lift might cost.
Will insurance cover a breast lift?
Because a breast lift is a cosmetic surgical procedure, it probably won’t be covered by medical insurance unless it can be connected to a medically necessary, therapeutic benefit. To obtain your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Will Medicare cover a breast lift?
Because it’s typically elective cosmetic surgery, Medicare will usually not cover breast augmentation unless it has been deemed medically necessary.
What are payment options like for breast lift surgery at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for a breast lift?
Prior to your procedure you may be asked to get lab tests, a medical evaluation, or a baseline mammogram. (You might be asked to get another mammogram after your procedure so your care providers can better understand future changes to your breasts.) Exercise, including strength training and upper body stretches, can help with your posture and fitness level. If you smoke, you’ll probably be asked to stop for several weeks or months, and you’ll also likely be instructed not to take aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements because they can increase bleeding. Your surgeon will also likely tell you not to eat anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. (Not sure where to go to get your lab tests? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a hospital.)
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before breast lift surgery?
You’ll arrive an hour before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet the members of your surgery team. They will mark the location of your surgery on your body. An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including general anesthesia—can be administered. If you’re using a local anesthesia and sedation, you’ll receive an injection.When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after breast lift surgery?
You will need someone to drive you home after your procedure. We’ll help you arrange a ride home if you don’t have one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who will check you in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so your procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my breast lift surgery?
You should bring something to keep you entertained in the waiting area. You’ll also want to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, including a loose fitting top that buttons up or has a zipper closure. A blanket and a pillow might also be helpful during the ride home. You may want a bottle of water and some crackers for the ride home after your procedure.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so. It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for local anesthesia to wear off, but the effects can last longer. It takes several hours for intravenous sedation to wear off though the effects can last for 24 hours.
What will happen during breast lift surgery?
Depending on the technique being used for your breast lift, your surgeon might make incisions horizontally along the breast creases, around your areola, or from your areola vertically down to your breast fold. If you are getting implants, they will be inserted. Your surgeon will remove the extra breast skin and move the nipples and areola to a higher position. If necessary, the size of your areola will be reduced by removing skin at the perimeter. Stitches are placed deep within your breast to support the lifted breast. Then your surgeon will close the incisions with sutures, skin adhesives, and/or surgical tape.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
How long does a breast lift take?
A breast lift takes about three hours.
How long will I be under for breast lift surgery?
You will be anesthetized during the entire surgery regardless of the type of anesthesia being used. If you have general anesthesia, you’ll wake up soon after the procedure is complete.
How long will I be in the hospital after breast lift surgery?
You’ll be able to go home the same day as your surgery.
What can I expect right after breast lift surgery?
You’ll spend about two hours in the recovery room as the anesthesia wears off and then you’ll prepare to go home. You might experience tightness or muscle aches in your chest area.
How will I know if the breast lift worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you but, in the long run, you’ll decide if your procedure worked. If you are pleased with the results, and your lifted breast or breasts make you feel better and more confident, then your procedure worked.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
How soon after breast lift surgery will I be up and moving around?
Your nurses will help you get up as soon as possible after surgery.
Will I receive pain medication right after breast lift surgery?
You will receive pain medication immediately after breast lift surgery.
How soon after breast lift surgery can I eat or drink?
You might not be able to eat or drink right away and you might be asked to follow a clear fluid diet for a short time. After that, you’ll probably be able to return to solid foods—but easy-to-digest items, including soups, pudding, and yogurt, are recommended.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after breast lift surgery?
You might receive a prescription for pain, muscle relaxers or both. You might also be instructed to use over-the-counter pain medication to minimize discomfort from the procedure.
Recovery and Follow-Up
How should I prepare to recover from breast lift surgery at home?
Ask someone to spend a day or two after the surgery at home with you—especially if you live alone. Prepare to take it easy for at least a week—compile reading material or a list of movies or television shows you’d like to watch. You’ll be instructed to avoid straining, bending, or lifting.Prepare to be asked to wait for at least 36 hours to shower. Shop for groceries before your procedure and have lots of hydrating liquids and healthy foods, full of fiber and protein, on hand. Have dark towels and clothing available. They’ll absorb any leaking fluid.Prepare to wear a surgical support bra day and night for several days. Know you will probably have one or two small drains at your surgical site. We’ll tell you exactly how to care for them and how long they’ll be in. Expect your breasts to be swollen and bruised for about two weeks. Numbness in your nipples and areola might last for a few weeks.Prepare to sleep on your back or side.Avoid sexual activity for one to two weeks.
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after a breast lift?
Your first follow-up visit will be in about a week after your surgery. That’s when any drains, and possibly your stitches, will be removed. Additional follow-up appointments might be at four to six weeks after the procedure, three months, and six months—the schedule will depend upon your individual needs.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove after a breast lift?
You can expect to have some scarring, which will fade over time, at your surgical sites. Drains and any stitches that won’t dissolve are usually removed in the first week after surgery.
How do I care for my incision at home?
Check with your surgeon on the timing of your first shower following the procedure. You will likely have to wait 36-48 hours. When you are able to shower, face away from the shower spray. Don’t scrub the incision area. Just run soap and water over it.After showering, gently dry the incision areas with a clean towel.Wear the surgical bra until your surgeon instructs you otherwise.Wear loose-fitting clothing.Avoid putting a heating pad, a hot compress, or an ice pack on your surgical site.Expect some drainage from the surgical site—especially from any places that have drains in them.Follow the instructions you receive about your drains and how to care for them.Keep your gauze pads clean, dry, and intact for a day after the surgery. It’s OK to remove them after a day.Avoid removing the steri-strips or skin glue over your incisions. These will disappear with time. If you have stitches, keep them as clean and dry and possible—they will either dissolve or your surgeon will decide when to remove them. Sleep with your head and chest slightly elevated above the level of your lower body—this will help with swelling. Stay well hydrated. Take short walks each day.Avoid sexual activity for one to two weeks.
What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after breast lift surgery?
Call your surgeon’s office, and, if you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
When will I be able to get back to work after breast lift surgery?
You will be able to return to work in about a week.
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