Also Known as Breast Uplift or Mastopexy
“I had breast lift surgery with a small reduction by Dr. H-F in Dec 2011. I was very impressed with the way her office handled the entire process… I am happy with the results from the surgery and from the limited amount of scarring, even at only 3 months. Dr. H-F was very personable and very knowledgeable when I asked her questions. Never felt rushed or brushed off. My experience with her was very positive.”
– From a review posted on RateMDs.com.
“Mastopexy can give you a more youthful silhouette and the confidence to match. Many women tell us that they feel “matronly” because they can’t go braless. A breast uplift can improve the projection or “perkiness” of the breast and allow you to feel that you don’t always need to wear a bra. It can restore a woman’s sense of confidence in how she feels physically – with and without clothing.
Our focus is to give you as natural a result as possible, while taking into account your particular issues and desires. What’s right for one woman may be very different from what another is trying to achieve. When you come for a consult, we can use our experience to give appropriate recommendations for your individual circumstances that you won’t be able to figure out from all of the confusing information (and misinformation) on the internet. We want to work with you to determine what’s best for you, as an individual, with your own particular desires.”
Is Mastopexy Right for You?
If you’re comfortable with your breast size but would like a lift, then a mastopexy alone may help. Whereas a breast reduction removes skin and breast tissue, a mastopexy removes skin and rearranges breast tissue. The nipple is “moved”, not “removed”, in order to reposition it. The excess skin is then removed and the sagging breast tissue is rearranged and moved up.
A mastopexy or breast lift can raise sagging breast tissue but it can’t raise the breast itself (the breast footprint) up higher on the chest wall. A mastopexy alone can increase breast projection but it can’t improve fullness in the upper part of the breast. To improve roundness or fullness here, a breast augmentation combined with a lift may help.
On the other hand, if you have a ski-jump type of slope in the upper half of your breast – even if you like the size – you may need a reduction-augmentation instead. We can remove tissue in the lower part of the breast and use an implant to fill out the upper part.
In some patients, we improve the final shape by performing liposuction in the area in front of the armpits and along the sides of the chest to shape the breast. This causes some bruising and is usually the main area of discomfort.
The best candidate for breast uplift surgery is a woman who is close to her ideal body weight, who is healthy, who is a non-smoker and who has realistic expectations. Patients must quit smoking because nicotine can interfere with blood supply.
Good candidates are women who may have felt good about their breasts during pregnancy, but now feel emptied out. Good candidates are women who are tired of feeling like they need to always wear a bra. A good candidate also has to be aware that there will be scars. They may take a year to settle and they will be permanent. For many women, they do not want to feel matronly, they realize they have a whole other life to live and it’s time for them to invest in themselves.
Being in good health, both physically and mentally, is required for optimal results, and it may be appropriate to wait. Your own schedule is an important consideration as well. While recovery from breast uplift surgery is surprisingly easy, you will need time to recover. It takes about two weeks to get back to normal activities of daily living and about four weeks to get back to a more active lifestyle. Patients who have small children are worried about lifting them or being hit or kicked. Lifting may hurt but it won’t damage your results.
Mastopexy (Breast Lift) FAQ
What are the different types of breast lifts?
Vertical (“lollipop”) technique
This is by far the most common technique in our practice. The incisions go all the way around the areola and then vertically down to the bottom of the breast. This way, the areola can be made smaller, sagging breast tissue can be removed or repositioned, and the skin can be redraped. This technique lifts and cones the breast, and is versatile both with and without an implant.
Inverted T technique
There are many ways to do an inverted T mastopexy. In our practice, we add the T infrequently, primarily if there is simply too much extra skin to have a good result with only the lollipop scar. The breast tissue is still rearranged, the nipple elevated, and the breast reshaped, but additional skin is also removed along the crease under the breast, adding the additional scar.
Periareolar (donut) technique
This technique is useful for the true “tuberous” breast, but we don’t recommend it for most of our mastopexies. The tightness of the closure around the areola tends to flatten the breast, the scar quality can be poor and the areola can widen due to the tension. Many women ask about this technique due to the perception that there is less scarring, but we usually prefer the vertical technique for its superior reshaping.
Can mastopexy and augmentation be done at the same time or do I need 2 stages?
We commonly offer breast lift and augmentation at the same time. The combination is more complex than either operation alone, but many women benefit from the addition of an implant at the same time as mastopexy.
How can I decide if I need mastopexy alone or with implant?
Mastopexy alone, without implant, is a good option for women who have some sagging or deflation, but who still have a fairly significant amount of breast tissue that can be rearranged. When a woman has a breast lift without implants, her breasts may end up looking slightly smaller than before, even if no tissue is removed. This is because we are rearranging the breast tissue into a smaller area and making the skin envelope smaller. We can improve shape and projection with mastopexy alone, but we can’t realistically offer significantly improved upper breast fullness without adding an implant.
For women who desire a lift but have very little breast tissue or would like to have more fullness in the upper part of the breast, an implant is often added.
Will mastopexy interfere with breastfeeding?
Breast lift is done with the goal of reshaping the breast, but preserving its function. The nipple is left attached to the underlying tissue. Every attempt is made to preserve breastfeeding ability and nipple sensation, but some women are unable to breastfeed even without having breast surgery.
Should I wait until after pregnancy to have a breast lift?
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can change breast size, shape, and consistency. While there is no medical contraindication to pregnancy after cosmetic breast surgery, if you plan to have babies in the next 1-2 years, it may be better for you to wait until after you are finished having children so that your result will be more stable.
What are the potential complications associated with mastopexy?
As with any surgery, bleeding and infection are concerns, but happen infrequently. Difficulty breastfeeding and loss of nipple sensation are also concerns that we discuss with our patients. Scars can be raised, red, or itchy, and it can be challenging to get symmetry between the two breasts. Breasts will always change shape and re-droop to some extent with time, so it is important to have realistic expectations.
What is the recovery from mastopexy like?
The surgery is done as an outpatient, most commonly in our accredited office surgical facility. We recommend taking 1-2 weeks off work and 3-4 weeks off athletic activities. If an implant is also added, the recovery may be slightly more than what you would experience with mastopexy alone.
Are breast lift results permanent?
Your breasts will continue to age over time, and you may, over time, notice that your breasts are drooping again to a lesser extent. We like to follow patients over the course of many years, and find that vertical mastopexy has predictable staying power.