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Sieber Plastic Surgery San Francisco

Breast Lift Risks and Safety

Breast Lift Risks And Safety

Women who are considering a breast lift face a big decision. Generally speaking, breast lifts are routine surgeries that come with a high rate of success and minimal risks. At the same time, it is still a serious surgery, and the decision to undergo a breast lift should not be taken lightly.

In the following article, we’ll go over the most common safety risks associated with a breast lift.

Breast Lifts Basics

Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is when the breasts are raised and reshaped for a perkier overall appearance. Women generally choose to undergo this surgery because they are unhappy with drooping, sagging breasts that have the appearance of being “deflated.”

A breast lift does not add volume to the breasts, but it may make the breasts appear slightly bigger because the breast skin is being lifted, as are the areolas and nipples. In some cases, the areolas and nipples may need to be repositioned. Breast lift surgery is one of the most common plastic surgeries available to U.S. patients.

Are Breast Lifts Safe?

Overall, breast lifts are extremely safe. At the same time, it’s important to know that, like any invasive surgery, there are some risks. In general, the most serious breast lift risks include:

  • Anesthesia-related risks
  • Hematoma formation (blood clots)
  • Severe bleeding
  • Infection
  • The accumulation of fluid
  • DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
  • Pulmonary and cardiac complications
  • Fat necrosis (the death of deep fatty breast tissue)
  • Poor incision healing
  • Breast Shape and contour irregularities in the breasts
  • Asymmetry of the breasts
  • Breast sensation and/or nipple sensation issues (these can be permanent but are often temporary)
  • Potential loss of areola and/or nipple
  • A possible need for revision (secondary) surgery

Keep in mind that these are worst-case scenarios. Breast lifts are common surgeries, performed by thousands of doctors every day. In general, the surgical procedure is safe, and your surgeon and medical staff will be doing everything within their power to ensure a safe and effective outcome for you.

General Risks and Symptoms Associated with Breast Lift Surgery

Aside from the more serious risks listed above, it’s far more likely that patients of breast lift surgery may run into one or several of the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Numbness (usually temporary)
  • Discomfort and pain
  • Scarring

In fact, all patients will have some level of swelling at the beginning of their recovery. Discomfort, bruising, and numbness are also common symptoms that should not be alarming. These symptoms should disappear over time, though it’s still important to keep your doctor informed and ensure they know of all the symptoms you encounter.

Lastly, remember that scarring is an inevitable part of any invasive surgery that requires an incision. A standard breast lift requires at least two incisions in each breast, and sometimes more, depending on your anatomy and goals for surgery.

The good news is, Dr. Sieber will employ several techniques to minimize the appearance of long-term scarring in the first place and to help the scars that do appear visible to fade faster over time. During recovery, adherence to Dr. Sieber’s scar-reducing recommendations will drastically improve your odds of reducing the appearance of scars.

Best Ways to Reduce Your Risks Before Breast Lift Surgery

A breast lift is a safe surgery overall, but here are several more ways to reduce your risks even further:

  • Ensure you are medically cleared for surgery and Dr. Sieber considers you a quality candidate
  • Get a mammogram before surgery
  • Stop smoking
  • Talk with Dr. Sieber about your medications and follow his directions for taking meds in the weeks leading up to surgery (sometimes, certain medications should be altered or ceased for a short time before the surgical procedure)
  • Ensure you have the proper at-home help during your breast lift recovery period
  • Closely follow Dr. Sieber’s recovery guidelines
  • Become fully informed on the surgery itself

Is a Breast Lift Right for You?

Many patients still might wonder “is breast lift safe for me?” In the end, the decision to have a breast lift is completely up to you, as long as you are a good candidate and cleared for surgery by Dr. Sieber.

If you have questions about the procedure (and it’s great if you do), be sure to ask Dr. Sieber about them at your consultation appointment. You may wonder do you need a breast lift after weight loss? Don’t be shy about learning as much as you can about how to plan for the procedure, what happens during the surgery, and how to best recover once you’re back home. Across the board, the more informed a patient is, the better their outcome will be during surgery and post-surgery.

Deciding on Implants

Some patients may be interested in a breast lift with implants. In nearly all of these cases, the breast procedure and breast implant procedure can be performed at the same time. In effect, the breast lift procedure will be lifting drooping breasts and possibly repositioning the areolas and nipples, and the breast augmentation (implant) portion of the surgery will be adding volume to your breasts.

Are there more risks associated with breast implant surgery?

Overall, breast implants add another element to your breast surgery, so a few more risks may be present. Generally speaking, however, breast augmentation surgery is just as common (if not more common) than breast implant surgery and comes with a similar risk level.

Risks associated with breast implant surgery mostly include the possibility that an implant could rupture and leak. However, routine appointments will be scheduled so that your doctor can check for possible leaks over time and remedy the problem if a leak does present itself.

Questions and Answers

Is a breast lift high risk?

While breast lift surgery is generally safe, all surgeries carry some risk of complications. Your surgeon and care team will monitor your recovery, addressing any concerns. Risks associated with breast lift surgery may include temporary numbness.

Does having a breast lift increase your chances of breast cancer?

Undergoing a breast lift does not lead to cancer. Breast cancer originates from abnormalities in breast tissue. Detection may occur on a mammogram as microcalcifications when the cancer develops.

How does a breast lift work?

In a breast lift, a plastic surgeon eliminates excess skin and sculpts breast tissue to elevate the breasts and nipples. Incisions are typically made around the areolae, downward to the breast creases, and horizontally along the creases. During a breast lift the breast skin is lifted upward after excess breast skin is removed which leads to a more youthful appearance.

How is a breast lift related to a breast reduction?

During a breast reduction a similar process of lifting after incisions is used with the addition of tissue removal in order to reduce the size of the breasts.

Schedule Your San Francisco Breast Lift Consultation

Is Breast Lift SafeSieber Plastic Surgery’s Dr. David Sieber is one of the few double-board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons in the San Francisco area. His record of excellence precedes him as he’s garnered his wealth of satisfied patients, often simply by word-of-mouth recommendation.

If you are considering a breast lift, contact Sieber Plastic Surgery today to book a consultation appointment. Even if you’re still on the fence and have some questions and concerns, a consultation appointment is a great way to find out if you’re a candidate for surgery, become more educated, and ultimately make the best decision for you and your body.

Contact our San Francisco office today!


Dr. Dave Sieber and his staff are so awesome! Dr. Sieber is personable yet professional, his work is impeccable. He listens to his patient and works with them to achieve what they want. He’s like my hair dresser, a magician, you just want to do a happy dance with the results, only these results are lasting. Ok, but seriously, the procedure was very smooth, the staff and the doctors (Dr Sieber and the anesthesiologist) had great communication and made sure I was comfortable with very clear and concise pre op and post op directions. The healing process was very easy and the results are FABULOUS. Side note, Dr. Sieber has really awesome skin, I feel like this is impressive and important because really, would you trust a dentist with bad teeth? I am so elated and satisfied with the results, the size is perfect and they look and feel very natural. They are exactly what I wanted.*

SF Scientist

Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is attentive, responsive, and well trained. I had seen him for Botox and filler and he had done both without any pain or bruising and more importantly the results were fabulous. He has met with me on time at each appointment. He communicates what to expect, made sure I was comfortable throughout the procedure, checked on my healing every day post procedure. He couldn’t be more delightful not more talented. I had seen other plastic surgeons for in office treatments over the past decade and Dr. Sieber is at the top of the list in terms of delivering the desired outcome and high quality care.*

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