Breast Lift


Mastopexy, or breast lift, is a procedure designed to improve the appearance of sagging breasts. The goal of surgery is to obtain a more youthful appearance, restore breast perkiness, and to improve the position of the areola and nipple in relation to the breast. Breast lift surgery can be performed by itself or more commonly in combination with breast augmentation using implants.

What can a breast lift achieve?

Breast lift surgery tightens the breast skin envelope and redistributes breast volume in a more aesthetically pleasing way. The nipple and areola are lifted into a youthful position. Breast lift surgery does result in scars on the breast, and this is the trade-off for a lifted breast shape. For additional breast volume, a breast lift can be combined with a breast augmentation using a silicone or saline breast implant. Because breast implants provide additional volume to the breast, they do in effect also provide some level of breast lifting and help minimize the incisions required for the breast lift. In the case below, a significant lift was achieved with limited incisions around the areola because simultaneous augmentation was performed.


Periareolar breast lift and simultaneous breast augmentation using silicone gel implants.  * Individual results may vary.

When a breast lift is performed in isolation (i.e. without simultaneous breast augmentation) typically more incisions are needed, such as in the case below where an anchor-shaped (Wise pattern) incision was used. These incision typically do heal well but often require a full year to become optimized.


Wise-pattern breast lift.  * Individual results may vary.


How does the breast shape change with age?

Many women notice two changes in their breast shape after pregnancy and with age. The first is a loss of volume and fullness of the breast. The second change is the descent of the nipple and areola relative to the center of the breast in a manner that breast develops a sagging, droopy and deflated appearance.

How is a breast lift surgery done?

There are three main techniques for lifting the breasts with incremental differences in scar length. A basic rule of thumb is that the greater the amount of excess breast skin, the longer the mastopexy scar will need to be. This is why combining a breast lift with breast augmentation can often reduce the length of scars necessary to lift the breasts, since the implants enlarge the breasts and minimize the amount of excess skin.

The first type of breast lift is known as a periareolar breast lift, also known as a circumareolar breast lift or donut mastopexy. The incisions for this type of breast lift are strictly around the areola.


Incisions for periareolar breast lift

The second type of breast lift is known as a vertical breast lift, also known as a lollipop breast lift or vertical mastopexy. The incisions for this type of breast lift are also around the areola but continue down vertically from the areola to the breast crease.


Incisions for vertical breast lift


The third type of breast lift is known as a Wise-pattern breast lift, also known as an anchor style breast lift or anchor mastopexy. The incisions for this type of breast lift are also around the areola, also continue down vertically from the areola to the breast crease, but also continue horizontally along the breast crease.


Incisions for Wise pattern breast lift


Breast Lift Photo Gallery

You may wish to browse through the gallery of representative before and after breast lift images. Click on any of the thumbnails to enter the slide show. The text accompanying the photos describes the details of the procedures performed.


* Individual results may vary.

What type of anesthesia is used for breast lift surgery?

Breast lift surgery can be performed either under IV sedation or general anesthesia in our Medicare-certified ambulatory surgery center. You will be able to discuss the anesthesia options with your surgeon and anesthesia provider. Regardless of the anesthesia technique you are kept comfortable and are constantly monitored by an anesthesia provider.

I am interested! What do I do next?

If you are considering a breast lift procedure we encourage you to complete this Surgical Consultation Intake Form. Dr. Burnett will tell you whether you are a suitable candidate for a breast lift procedure and inform you of the potential risks of the procedure. You will also have a chance to view before and after photo albums of patients who have undergone procedures similar to what you are considering.

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