A woman's breast is primarily composed of fatty tissue and mammary glands. Mammary glands drain into the lactiferous sinus, which connects them to the nipple. The nipple is encircled by a pigmented ring called the areola. A woman may elect to have breast lift surgery if she has breasts that are of a suitable size but are low hanging, lack firmness, or have nipples that point downward. The number and size of surgical incisions for a breast lift, or mastopexy, vary according to the size and shape of the breasts, and position of the nipples prior to surgery. In some cases, an incision is made above the areola and the nipple and the areola are shifted to a higher position, lifting the breast and tilting it upward. However, more extensive breast lifts can require several incisions. For example, an incision is first made above and around the areola. Then, incisions below or to the sides of the areola, and along the crease line underneath the breast are made so that excess skin and fatty tissue can be removed. The areola is then shifted with the nipple to a higher position, usually without severing attachment to the functional tissues below. Finally, the skin of the lower breast is closed and sutured below the areola to lift the breast and give it its new contour. After a period of bruising and swelling, the incision lines begin to fade and the breasts take on a more natural shape. There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.
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