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Breast uplift (or breast lift/mastopexy)

  • Last modified date:
    16 May 2007


To make the breast appear higher and reposition the nipple.

The procedure:

This procedure should be carried out by a surgeon with relevant skills and experience in an establishment registered with the Healthcare Commission.

A breast uplift is a surgical operation which usually takes place under general anaesthetic, although some surgeons for some cases may use a combinations of local anaesthetic and sedation. The operation can last up to two hours and there are several techniques that can be used, all of which involve the removal of excess skin and a reshaping of the breast using the remaining skin. Some techniques also involve moving the areola (the brownish area around the nipple) into a higher position.

You will be required stay in hospital overnight, to take approximately two weeks off work to rest and should avoid lifting and physical exercise for about six weeks. It is important that the breasts are well supported by means of a firm dressing initially and then by a supportive bra. The sutures will be removed between seven and fourteen days and it is important to keep the incision sites out of the sun for one year.

The results:

Your breasts should appear higher, as will your nipples. Breast lifts are sometimes permanent, but the breasts may droop again as you get older, or if you become pregnant or put on weight.

The risks:

General risks associated with surgery - see Considering cosmetic surgery?

The surgery leaves permanent scars which initially may be lumpy and red but which normally fade close to your natural skin colour over several months. These scars may be more noticeable, eg wider, if you smoke. The procedure may also leave you with breasts that are not both the same size, asymmetrical nipples, or a permanent nipple loss, or loss of feeling in your nipples or breasts. Whilst the surgeon will tell you if it is possible to correct any existing asymmetry, this may not always be possible.

Before you start:

Regular exercise could change the appearance of your breasts. You may wish to look into the exercise-based options before considering breast lift surgery.

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