Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Breasts may sag due to significant weight loss or from one or more pregnancies and subsequent breastfeeding periods. A breast lift will raise and reshape sagging breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning the remaining tissue and nipples to improve the breast’s appearance. A breast lift can also reduce the size of the areola (the darker skin surrounding the nipple). If a patient’s breasts are small or have lost volume we can combine breast implants with the breast lift Augmentation Mastopexy.


Breast lift surgery will uplift and make your breasts firmer. The position of your areolas and nipples will be improved and the size of your areolas can be changed too. The incisions from your breast lift surgery will heal and fade over time but the incision lines will be permanently visible. For some, they will be only faint lines but for others they will be more noticeable. Fortunately, the incisions for your breast lift are in locations easily concealed by clothing, even low-cut necklines.

Unless you gain or lose a significant amount of weight or become pregnant, your new breast shape should remain fairly constant. Naturally, gravity and the effects of aging will eventually alter the size and shape of virtually every woman’s breasts. You are advised to wear a bra as breasts, which contain no muscles and therefore cannot be exercised, will be pulled down by gravity and larger breasts will tend to sag. If, after a period of years, you again become dissatisfied with the appearance of your breasts, you may choose to undergo a second breast lift procedure to restore their more youthful contour and appearance.

Before the operation

The most important thing to do is to talk with Mr Meagher so that there is a clear understanding of your desires and expectations, in light of any biological prerequisites. We want you to be well informed and have realistic expectations of the results.

During the consultation, you will be asked about the breast shape and size you want. Mr Meagher will discuss with you how your nipples and areolas will be repositioned and you should mention anything else about your breasts that you would like to see improved.

Mr Meagher will examine your breasts, taking measurements and photographs for your medical record. The size and shape of your breasts, the quality of your skin, and the placement of the nipples and areolas will be carefully evaluated. You will be asked to discuss your medical history, including information about any medical conditions, drug allergies, medical treatments you have received, previous surgeries including breast biopsies, and medications that you currently take.

Tell us if you plan to lose a significant amount of weight, particularly if you have noticed that your breasts sag or become smaller with weight loss. Mr Meagher may recommend that you stabilize your weight prior to surgery. Individual factors and personal preferences will determine the specific technique selected to lift your breasts.

If you decide to proceed with the operation you will be required to confirm your understanding of all aspects of the surgery and agreement to proceed by signing a consent form.

During the operation

Your breast lift surgery will be performed in a major hospital under a general anaesthetic so that you will be asleep throughout the operation.

The procedure for a breast lift is similar to that for breast reduction although usually involves smaller scars. A common method of lifting the breasts involves 3 incisions. One incision is made around the areola, another runs vertically from the bottom edge of the areola to the crease underneath the breast. The third incision is horizontal beneath the breast and follows the natural curve of the breast crease. The nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position.

Incisions following the breast’s natural contour define the area of excision and the new location for the nipple and areola. After we have removed excess breast skin, the nipple and areola are shifted to a higher position. The areola, which in a sagging breast may have been stretched, can be reduced in size. The nipples and areolas remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, and this usually allows for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breast-feed.

Once the nipple/areola are repositioned, skin that was above and beside the areola is brought in and used to reshape the breast.

Other surgical techniques

There are many types of incision we can use for breast lift surgery. The size and shape of your breasts, size of your areolas and extent of sagging are factors that will help Mr Meagher determine the most suitable technique for you.

Sometimes we can avoid the horizontal incision beneath the breast as well as the vertical incision that runs from the bottom edge of the areola to the breast crease.

After the operation

After surgery, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Sometimes, small drain tubes will have been placed in your breasts to drain any fluids. You will have gauze or other dressings on your breasts and an elastic bandage or surgical bra. You usually have to stay at least one night in the hospital after your operation.

The following day, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short periods of time. After 2 to 3 days, you should be able to move about more comfortably. Avoid straining, bending and lifting which might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. Try to sleep on your back to avoid pressure on your breasts.

Any surgical drains will be removed within a few days of surgery and your dressings will be changed or removed. We suggest that you wear a support bra for a few weeks, until the swelling and discoloration go down. You should be careful not to stretch your arms too high over your head as this may put undue stress on the stitches. Your breasts may also require some time to assume a more natural shape. Incisions will initially be red or pink in colour for a few months following surgery.

Breast sensation following surgery

You may notice that you feel less sensation in the nipple and areola areas but this is usually temporary. It may take weeks, months or even more than a year before sensation returns to normal.

Potential complications

The vast majority of matopexy procedures don’t create any side effects or complications. However, there are risks associated with any type of operation and breast surgery is no exception. Mr Meagher will explain the possible risks, which are rare, but may include:

1. Infection: Infection does not happen very often and you will be given an antibiotic at the time of your surgery to prevent this. If you do develop an infection, see Mr Meagher as soon as possible. Most infections can be treated with an antibiotic but they can cause serious problems and increased scarring.

2. Pain: As with any surgical procedure, pain of varying intensity may occur following breast surgery. You will be prescribed some pain medicine to take in hospital and at home after your discharge, if you need it.

3. Poor wound healing: Healing can take longer in cases of:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Overly tight stitches
  • Improper support during healing
  • Pressure against the scar tissue

To help your wounds to heal properly, we recommend you wear a sports bra for about 5 months after surgery. Wound healing may also take longer in patients who have diabetes, or other medical conditions, or who smoke.

4. Haematomas: Haematomas are a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissue and they can happen after any surgery. The risk of infection is higher if a large haematoma or seroma (a collection of watery fluid within the tissue) collects immediately after surgery. Mr Meagher may use a surgical drain to help prevent small haematomas but, in some cases, Mr Meagher may need to re-operate to remove a large haematoma.

Remember that the human body is asymmetrical and that even after surgery both sides of the body will look different and there may be some change in the shape of the breast over time.

Other potential complications with mastopexy include loss of the nipple either partial or total due to poor blood supply, persistently heavy scarring and an inability to breast feed.

Less than 1% of all operations lead to major complications. Potentially serious complications such as a blood clot or embolus or an unexpected response to drugs or anaesthetics, although extremely rare, can occur.

Because of the very nature of cosmetic surgery, sometimes patients can be dissatisfied with the results. It could be that the breasts are not exactly the same size and shape as each other or with the appearance of surgical scars.

Because we need to make incisions, there will be scars. These usually heal well, but in a small number of people the scar remains thick and heavy.

5. Changes in nipple and breast sensation: The breast and nipple may become painfully sensitive or may lose all pleasurable sensation. In most cases, these changes are temporary but, in rare cases, nipple sensory changes are permanent.


Because we need to make incisions, there will be scars. These usually heal well, but in a small number of people the scar remains thick and heavy.

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Suite 5 Beacon Consultants Clinic, Dublin, Ireland