Breast Lifts: Everything You Should Know About the Surgery

Cosmetic breast surgery. Cosmetic surgeon applying a protective bandage round the client's breasts after surgery.

Deciding to undergo any sort of plastic-surgery procedure — from a single nose job to a full mommy makeover — requires a lot of considerations. Getting a breast lift is no different. Before committing, you might have some questions: how much does a breast lift cost? What should you expect during and after surgery? How long does a breast lift last? The list goes on.

With a breast lift, the goal is to move or return breasts to a raised position. "This involves reshaping the tissue of the breast for a more round, youthful look and also moving the nipple back into an ideal position at the center of the breast," Ashley N. Amalfi, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon with the Quatela Center for Plastic Surgery, tells POPSUGAR. "For some women, it may also include a change or a reduction in cup size."

If you're considering a breast lift and have questions, we have the answers. Getting plastic surgery is no longer a taboo topic. Plenty of celebrities have opened up about getting plastic surgery, including Cardi B, Chrissy Teigen, and Kehlani who have had full breast augmentations rather than lifts.

To learn the answers to your breast lift questions, keep reading to hear from a plastic surgeon.

Who's a Good Candidate For a Breast Lift?

Despite what you may think, you don't need to be a certain age to be a good candidate for a breast lift. Though, you should be at least 18 years old and have fully developed breasts. Outside of that, Dr. Amalfi says, "it really depends on the position of the breasts and what type of look you are going for."

As long as you're deemed healthy enough to undergo surgery, anyone who wants to change how their breasts sit can be a good fit. "We see young women who just have naturally sagging breasts, women after pregnancy and breastfeeding, and women later in life who have lost skin elasticity and want to return to a more youthful look," says Dr. Amalfi.

Breast Lift Benefits

Unlike breast augmentation, which increases size, and breast reduction, which reduces it, the main goal here, as the name suggests, is to lift. "The benefits of a breast lift are an improved shape and contour and ideal nipple position," says Dr. Amalfi. "For women this means that they feel great in their clothing, fill out their bras well, and can even go bra-less in certain types of shirts and dresses."

How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?

How much you pay for a breast lift will vary widely based on your geographic location and the surgeon you go to, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost is around $5,000. Additionally, as this is deemed a cosmetic procedure, most insurance companies do not cover it.

Breast Lift Risks

Dr. Amalfi categorizes breast lifts as a "straightforward" procedure [meaning?]. As with any surgery, you run the risk of prolonged healing, bruising, swelling, and infection. "Whenever we are working on the breast, there can be injury to the nipple, nerves, and blood supply, which can leave the patient with temporary or permanent numbness, but these are rare complications," she says. "As with all breast surgery, asymmetry is expected, as most women are asymmetric to start, and both breasts will heal independently and may have a slightly different look."

What to Expect During a Breast Lift

A breast lift is a fairly simple procedure and only lasts a few hours from start to finish. You're put under general anesthesia and wake up once the surgery is complete. "In a standard breast lift, there are no drainage tubes, and there should be no external stitches to remove," says Dr. Amalfi. "The patient simply wears a sports bra after the procedure."

Recovery: What to Expect After a Breast Lift

If you're wondering what to expect after a breast lift, it's pretty routine. It's normal to experience some pain at the incision site, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain medicine. You'll be able to return to work a few days after surgery and you'll be back in the gym a few weeks after that.

It's impossible to not have a scar from a breast lift, but it most likely won't be very noticeable. "Whenever we perform a breast lift, we are trading the shape of the breast for scars," says Dr. Amalfi. "As plastic surgeons, we do everything we can with our expertise and training to make as ideal of a scar as possible."

Three months after surgery your scars will turn a pink or red color and thicken slightly before they begin to fade. "Most patients' scars fade to be very thin, white lines that often go around the nipple-areolar complex vertically down the breast and extend underneath the fold of the breast," she says. To ensure your scars heal as nicely as possible, your doctor should provide aftercare instructions, like when to begin using a scar-lightening cream.

Breast Lift Before and After

How Long Does a Breast Lift Last?

Your breast lift will last as long as your skin and the surrounding tissue hold up. "Gravity will continue to slowly pull the breast down with time, and the patient's skin will age as it normally would," says Dr. Amalfi. "Most patients can expect a great result for at least 10 years, and often longer."