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A patient's guide to cosmetic surgery sponsored by Nuffield Health

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Nuffield Health, a leading provider of cosmetic surgery in the UK, with a network of 30 private hospitals across the country.

Cosmetic surgery

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Breast uplift surgery guide

Breast uplift

Cosmetic surgery to lift droopy breasts to give them a more youthful appearance is known medically as a mastopexy. The breast uplift is done on both breasts at the same time so that breast symmetry can be maintained.

Why consider breast uplift surgery?

In her late teens and early twenties, a woman’s breasts are firm and the nipples point upwards or forwards. Age, gravity, motherhood and breastfeeding then take their toll and twenty years later, it’s very different. The skin of the breasts becomes less elastic, the fatty tissue within the breasts is distributed less evenly and supportive connective tissue has been damaged. The result is droopy breasts that sag and look shapeless.

If you are happy with the size of your breasts but just want them to look younger, breast uplift surgery is a good choice. This type of cosmetic surgery won’t make your breasts larger or smaller but it will restore their firmness and fullness, giving you back a much more youthful contour.

What does a breast uplift involve?

A breast uplift operation takes 2-3 hours, is done under general anaesthetic and usually requires a night in hospital. You will receive detailed instructions on how to prepare but this generally includes advice to stop smoking in the weeks before surgery and to fast the night and morning before the operation. Once you are in theatre and under the anaesthetic the cosmetic surgeon will:

  • Make several incisions under the breasts so that a strip of excess skin can be removed.
  • Remove skin from around the areola (the darker area around the nipple). If your areola is larger than you would like, the diameter can be reduced at this stage.
  • Reshape each breast so that it forms a tighter dome and reposition the nipple so it is higher up the breast.
  • Close the incisions with fine dissolvable stitches and then apply a dressing to support the breasts.


After your breast uplift

When you come out of the anaesthetic you will be taken back to your room and you may have a wound drain in place for 24 hours. You will be encouraged to get up and about, usually that same day unless your surgery is in the late afternoon. Most women are ready to go home within 48 hours. Your breast surgeon will give you specific advice about washing and wound care and you will need to wear a supportive bra for at least 6 weeks.

After a breast uplift your breasts will be bruised, swollen and sore. You may need to take painkillers for a few days, but most women cope with over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. You will have some bright pink scars where the incisions were made – these start to fade over the next weeks and months.

What risks are involved in a breast uplift?

Complications are rare, but these will be explained in detail before your breast uplift is booked. All surgery can lead to bleeding after the operation or infection within the first few days. In addition, a small proportion of women having breast uplift surgery will experience:

  • Loss of sensation around the nipple: the incisions may cut nerves in the skin which then do not recover, so some of the skin around the nipple can feel numb and will not respond to touch in the same way.
  • Keloid scars: some women respond to surgical incisions by forming raised scars, which are more noticeable than flat scars.
  • Difficulty breastfeeding later: this will depend on the individual surgery and how it is performed. When breast uplift is done in younger women, the milk ducts are spared as much as possible.
  • Dissatisfaction with the results: although cosmetic surgeons are highly skilled, they cannot work miracles. If your expectations before the breast uplift were unreasonable, you may not be happy afterwards. Most women have breasts with some asymmetry – the two breasts are rarely identical in size and shape and a mastopexy can make this asymmetry more obvious.

What does a breast uplift cost?

Typical range in a UK private hospital or clinic is £3,190.00 - £7,370.00.

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