Loss of skin elasticity, gravity and other factors such as weight loss, pregnancy and breast-feeding ultimately affect the shape and firmness of breasts. Patients who are generally satisfied with the size of their breasts can have a breast lift to raise and firm them, resulting in a more youthful breast contour. Some patients may be unhappy that they have lost a significant amount of breast volume over time. In such cases, implants inserted in conjunction with a breast lift can increase breast size at the same time as the shape and position of the breasts are enhanced.
Breast lift may be performed under local anesthesia with sedation, or under a general anesthetic. Most breast lift procedures involve placing an incision around the areola (the pigmented skin around the nipple), and sometimes under the nipple and within the fold under the breast. The breast lift surgery usually lasts for one or two hours, and can be performed on an outpatient basis. Pain and discomfort following the breast lift surgery are typically controlled with oral analgesics. Stitches are removed within seven to ten days after surgery, and within one week most patients can return to work.