Why lifting a breast?

The sagging of breasts may have congenital origin. It can also be caused by pregnancy or be the consequence of extreme weight reduction. The nipple-areola complex in sagged breasts is located lower than the infra-mammary folds. Some women who suffer from this condition may the feeling that they are physically unattractive. Others may experience difficulties in finding an appropriate bra.

Weight reduction may influence the result of a breast lifting. Therefore, a breast lifting intervention is preferably carried out after a stable body weight has been achieved. Social or sexual problems are usually not solved by this type of intervention.

Who qualifies for a breast lifting according to health insurance?

In principle, the costs of a simple breast lifting operation are not reimbursed by a health insurance plan.

What do I have to do before the intervention?

Please inform your surgeon if you use medicines that alter blood coagulation, such as Marcoumar or Sintrom. The use of Aspirin (acethylsalicylacid) containing medication needs to be terminated 14 days before the intervention.

Smokers are strongly advised to quit smoking 2 weeks before and not to smoke again 4 weeks after the intervention. Continuation of smoking may have profound adverse effects on wound healing.

Patients older than 50 years of age, or patients with an increased known risk of breast cancer should be subjected to mammography prior to the intervention. As the surgery is always done under general anesthesia, you have to be sober before the intervention starting at 12 o'clock night.

The operation

The intervention is basically the same as a breast reduction. However, in breast lifting the breast tissue is moved upwards instead of being removed. Before the intervention, while you are still awake, the surgeon make a drawing on your breast, which will be used as pattern during the intervention. Pictures of yours breasts will be taken before and after the operation.

Questions concerning the general anesthesia procedure will be answered by the anesthesiologist.

During the intervention the sagging nipple-areola complex together with the remaining gland will be moved upwards in the desired position. The resulting scars are around the areola, in vertical direction connecting the areola and the infra-mammary fold, and horizontally in the infra-mammary fold. Regrettably, these scars will remain visible for ever. The size of the scars is dependent on the amount of skin removed, and on the elasticity of the remaining skin. If no horizontal scar is necessary, the skin of the vertical scar will initially be wrinkled. These wrinkles disappear after three months. If there is a preoperative asymmetry, it will be corrected as much as possible, but perfect postoperative symmetry cannot be guaranteed.

At the end of the surgery, a narrow tube is placed in each breast in order to drain excess of blood fluid into a vacuum bottle, and a compressive dressing is applied. These drains are removed the second or third day after the intervention. During the first night after the intervention, wound pain or a tearing feeling within the breasts may be experienced. These complaints usually disappear within a few days.

As soon as the drains are removed, and you have left the hospital, you will need a support bra, which needs to be worn day and night for 3 weeks. Showering of the wounds is allowed.

The new shape of the breast

When operating, the surgeon will take of your wishes and views concerning the future shape of your breasts into consideration as much as possible, as he tries to achieve your goal. However, the future shape of your breast is to a large extent determined by the pre-operative shape, which means that the surgical possibilities are sometimes limited. Too high hopes lead to disappointment. Immediately after the intervention the breasts will be swollen and extensively lifted. The final shapes will be visible after 4-5 months.


Because this kind of surgery is considered to be a basic and straightforward procedure, severe complications are rarely seen. Smaller complications such as continued bleeding, infection or delayed wound healing may be occur, however. As a consequence of these minor complications, the final scar may be widened in some areas. Scar revision under local anesthesia may be an option if necessary.

What else should you know?

Nipple sensation can be diminished or completely lost after this intervention. But fortunately, in most cases the sensitivity will return after a few months. Sometimes recovery may not be complete and exceptionally sensitivity will be permanent lost.

Although part of the breast gland will remain connected to the nipple it is impossible to predict whether and to what extent breast-feeding is still possible after a breast lifting intervention. It also has to be kept in mind that every new pregnancy will induce normal changes in the shape and the size of the operated breast.


How the scars will finally appear cannot be predicted. Besides the suture techniques, influencing factors are the genetical background and the occurrence of wound healing problems. Initially, the scars may appear red, sensible, and elevated. Additional treatment with a cream or silicone Band-Aid may be needed. After a few months the scars will become softer and will fade. Sun protection is needed during one year.

Generally, the recovery and the disability to work will take 2-3 weeks. Sometimes assistance in housekeeping is recommended during the first week after the operation. Heavy work, such as lifting weights, or extensive shoulder movements must avoided during this period. Approximately 10 days after the intervention, the wound healing process will be evaluated ambulatory.