Introduction The breast lift is a modern and effective way to reinstate your firmer and youthful breasts. Tens of thousands of women get the breast lift each year in the US. This plastic surgery procedure has an impressive record of delivering safe and effective outcomes. Most women have firmer and perky breasts during their youth. However, different factors affect the contour of the breasts, making them saggy and loose. Chief among these factors are pregnancy, aging, and massive weight fluctuations. Getting the breast lift is a personal decision. Since the procedure is highly invasive and traumatic, you should get it only as a last option and not just to please someone other than yourself. You should analyze the risks and complications of the procedure and undergo surgery only when the benefits are higher than the associated risks. Is the breast lift safe? While the breast lift has an excellent record of patient safety, it is not free of risks. The good news is that over the last several years, there have been considerable advancements in plastic surgery in general and the breast lift in particular. As such, the procedure is now safer than ever. However, we cannot say that it is entirely free of risks. How risky the breast lift can be for you depends on other factors as well, such as your surgeon’s credentials and experience, your overall health, aftercare, and following the surgeon’s instructions. If you are considering getting the breast lift, you must discuss the risks with the plastic surgeon. To understand and discuss the risks of the procedure with the plastic surgeon, you should do your research and know how the procedure is performed and what to expect. The plastic surgeon can tell you whether you are a good candidate for the breast lift. If you are not a good candidate for the operation, the doctor would advise you to avoid the procedure. Keep in mind that the breast lift is an elective procedure, meaning that you are not getting it for medical purposes. Instead, you want to use it to make your saggy breasts firmer again. The plastic surgeon will examine your breasts during the pre-operative consultation and tell you whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. The doctor will also check your medical history and make sure you have no serious medical problem that can increase the risks of breast lift for you. You must also be certain to share your complete health and medication information with the doctor. During the consultation session, the patient must ask the surgeon as to how risky the procedure can be for her based on her candidacy and health. A good plastic surgeon would discuss the risks with you upfront. If the risks are higher than the benefits for you, he would advise you to avoid going under the knife. The good news, however, is that the breast lift is now safer for most women, thanks to the technological and procedural advancements made in the field in the last decade. Majority of women who got the breast lift report being happy with the outcomes of the procedure. How is the surgery performed? To understand the risks of breast lift, it is essential for the patient to be aware of how the operation is performed. Doing so will not only help you make a good decision but also take care of yourself during the recovery period. The breast lift is performed under general anesthesia because it is invasive and involves surgical tissue removal from the breasts. For your safety, a board-certified anesthesiologist must administer the anesthesia. This is yet another important thing that you must discuss with the plastic surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. After the anesthesia is administered, the plastic surgeon will begin the surgery by making incisions on the breasts. The patient will not feel any pain or see the operation because she will be asleep under the effects of the general anesthesia. After making the incisions, the doctor will access the weak and separated breast muscles and repair and tighten them. In the next step, the surgeon will lift your nipples higher on the breasts so that they can look perky and sexy. If the areolas are large, the surgeon will decrease their size by trimming the excess pigmented skin from the edges. In the next step, the plastic surgeon will carefully remove the excess fat and skin from the breasts. This step plays a crucial role in making the breasts firmer. Once the required amount of excess skin and fat is removed from the breasts, the plastic surgeon will re-drape the remaining skin. He will then suture and close the incisions, and the surgery will conclude. Risks of breast lift Now that you understand as to what steps the breast lift involves, you can easily comprehend the risks associated with the operation. Many of the risks associated with the breast lift depend on your health. If you are not suffering from serious health complications, the risks will be lower for you. The risks of the breast lift are: – Infection: The fear of being infected is a concern of all patients who get invasive procedures. The incisions open your body to possible infections, and infection after the breast lift usually emerges within the first six weeks. The symptoms include a rise in body temperature, vomiting or nausea, pus discharge from the incision site, and pain. Depending on the type and severity of the infection, the surgeon can treat it with IV antibiotics or oral antibiotics. – Excessive bleeding: Since the breast lift involves incisions, there is a risk you may experience excessive bleeding during or after the surgery. If you have diabetes, this risk will be higher for you. Excessive bleeding can in turn trigger other problems like infection, weak and slow wound healing, and abnormal scarring. Patient carelessness after the surgery is a leading cause of excessive bleeding after the breast lift. – Breast asymmetry: Since every patient heals in a different way and at different speeds, some patients may experience breast asymmetry after the breast lift. For example, the size or shape of one of your breasts may be different from the other. In most cases, the breast asymmetry is mild; however, some patients may get considerably noticeable breast asymmetry. In such a case, the patient would be required to obtain corrective surgery. – Altered breast sensation: The breast lift involves incisions on the breasts and surgical removal of the excess skin. The nerves responsible for maintaining your natural breast sensitivity are located in the skin. During the operation, the nerves may be injured or damaged. As a result, you may experience a change or loss of breast sensation. In most cases, this condition is temporary. The nerves will heal in the next few months, and you will get back your natural breast sensation. However, in the case of severely damaged nerves, the change or loss of breast sensitivity may be permanent. – Abnormal scarring: The incisions made during the operation will gradually change into scars in the weeks and months following the breast lift. Usually, the scars fade over time and become less visible. However, there is a risk that abnormal scars may develop. The leading types of abnormal scarring after the breast lift are keloids and hypertrophic scars. These scars are raised, rough, and highly noticeable. Abnormal scarring happens mostly due to genetic factors and careless on the part of the patient or doctor. – Interference with breastfeeding: During the breast lift, the plastic surgeon may end up injuring or damaging the milk ducts and epithelial tissues. As a result, the patient may experience interference with breastfeeding. For example, your breasts may not produce enough milk or the milk supply may be blocked or slowed down. To avoid this condition, be sure to select your plastic surgeon carefully. – Anesthesia reaction: The breast lift is usually performed under general anesthesia that comes in the form of a liquid or gas. Your overall health, age, and genetics will determine whether you will experience anesthesia reaction. The common symptoms of anesthesia reaction include vomiting, shivering, sore throat, and general sickness for several days after the procedure. If you have a history of anesthesia reaction, you must share this information with the surgeon in advance of the procedure. Conclusion Even though the breast lift is safer and delivers better aesthetic improvements to the breasts, it is not risk-free. Like all other invasive procedures, there are risks linked with the breast lift. The level and severity of the risks depend on your candidacy for the operation, your choice of plastic surgeon, and care after the procedure. In this article, I have discussed how safe the surgery is, what risks are involved in the procedure, and how you can reduce the risks.