Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Breast Lift

If you are considering breast reconstruction, a breast lift is a possible option.

After a mastectomy, our surgeons will re-establish symmetry between your existing and reconstructed breasts and this may involve lifting the opposite breast.


What is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, removes excess skin and reshapes and tightens the breast contour. It gives you more shape and definition. After a breast lift, breasts will appear more firm and raised.

Unlike a breast enlargement or reduction, a breast lift minimally changes the size of your breasts, however a breast augmentation or reduction can be combined with a breast lift. For women with large areola, a reduction in the size of the areola can also be included as part of a breast lift.

With age women’s breasts can sag. For this reason, our surgeon may need to lift your natural breast to align with your new ‘perkier’ reconstructed breast. Depending on the amount of sagging, the incision will be made around your areola, or from the areola to the bottom of your breast.

During this procedure our surgeon will reshape the breast tissue, remove surplus skin and ensure both your nipple and areola are in the right position.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

After a breast lift it’s common to experience some pain, bruising and swelling. You may also lose nipple sensation for a short period of time. In most cases you can get back to everyday activities within three to four weeks.

After your breast lift we will provide you with an elastic dressing or surgical bra. This will help support your breast during the healing process. Dressings will be changed or removed over time. If needed, we will insert a plastic tube into your breast to help drain any excess fluid.

You may need to take time off work to rest, how much time will depend on the scope of your procedure. We recommend no heavy lifting and to avoid strenuous exercise, sports, and swimming.

At RPS, your surgeon will work with you to prescribe pain relief as needed.


Notify your surgeon immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • fever/high temperature – 38°C or higher
  • shortness of breath
  • breast leakage after day one of recovery – blood or fluid
  • increasing pain in either breast
  • increasing redness around incision site
  • heavy bleeding from incision site.
Breast Reconstruction
More information

What else you should know

How will RPS manage my post-operative care?

Your RPS surgeon will give you specific advice regarding your individual post-operative recovery. They will advise:

  • where you will go after your surgery
  • what medication you will be given or prescribed
  • what bandages and dressings you will need and when they’ll be removed
  • if you require stitches, when they’ll be removed
  • when you can get back to normal activity and exercise
  • when to book your follow-up care.
Will I have scarring?

With any invasive surgery, scars are inevitable. Our specialist plastic surgeons will go above and beyond to minimise your scarring and make them as inconspicuous as possible.

If they can, our surgeons will place the scars in areas where they are easily hidden, along natural skin lines and creases. Scars will fade over time. Your surgeon should be advised if you are prone to scarring.

Will I need additional surgery?

In most cases a breast lift is a one-off procedure. However, in some circumstances revisional surgery may  be needed to correct slight irregularities. As breasts age, additional surgery may be necessary to maintain symmetry.

What are some of the risks and complications?

While modern surgery is generally safe, there are potential risks and complications which can occur. These include:

Short-term risks (several weeks):

  • tenderness and swelling
  • loss of sensation in your nipple and breast
  • accumulation of fluid around the site.

Long-term risks (up to one year or permanently):

  • loss of sensation in breasts for up to one year
  • permanent loss of nipple sensation (uncommon)
  • additional surgery if sagging returns over time
  • visible scarring (including keloid) that is red and raised and can be itchy – but pose no threat to your health
  • allergic reaction to dressings, tape adhesive or other materials used during or after surgery
  • permanent changes to pigmentation
  • hard lumps caused by fatty tissue deep in the skin
  • asymmetry
  • overtly firm breast
  • partial or total loss of nipple and areola
  • allergic reaction to anaesthesia, potentially fatal cardiovascular complications such as heart attack
  • blood clots in legs (deep vein thrombosis), moving to the lungs (pulmonary embolus) or to the brain and could be life threatening.
Is there something I can do to help get ready for surgery?
  • Plan for recovery and returning home. During your recovery, which may take days, weeks or even months, you may need help with daily tasks such as cooking and showering. Make sure you have family and/or friends available to help you during this time. If you do not have help available, talk to your RPS team about local support services or staying at a rehabilitation centre after surgery.
  • You may be required to attend an assessment at the hospital before your surgery. This is a good chance for you to ask questions about your surgery and recovery. Also you may be able to talk to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist about any equipment you may need, such as crutches and handrails in the shower.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Stop smoking.
Our Canberra specialists

The team at RPS Canberra are committed to providing you with the best possible outcome.

The extensive specialist skills of our surgical team ensure that you are provided with surgical options designed to maximise form and function.

Our surgeons hold an impressive array of academic credentials, extensive professional experience and a personal commitment to patient satisfaction.