What is a Breast Lift?

The breast lift procedure, also known as mastopexy, may be done in conjunction with breast implants. Implants may also help lift the breast by increasing the volume of the contents of the breast

About the procedure…

Breast lift surgery is quite successful at making the breasts firmer and more shapely. Many women find that they no longer need to wear a bra to feel comfortable and look good in their clothes.


Several different techniques can be used to correct this condition, depending on the degree of sagging. Surgery consists of removing excess skin from around the areola, and possibly also from the bottom of the breast, with shifting of the skin of the breast to tighten the skin envelope and insertion of additional volume such as an implant for added projection and smoothing of the skin. In doing so, the position of the nipple and areola can be elevated to a more youthful position.

The specific breast lift techniques may vary, but they generally fall into two categories: the concentric (or doughnut) mastopexy for women with smaller and less droopy breasts and the more common anchor-shaped mastopexy. In general, the more tissue that is cut, the more shaping is possible. This means that in women with extensive sagging, the skin has stretched so much that a smaller incision will not remove enough tissue to lift the breast. In these cases, the larger incision is necessary.

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The Concentric:For women with smaller and less severely drooping breasts, this procedure (which requires fewer incisions) may be possible. In some instances, the physician may administer a local anesthesia with a sedative instead of general anesthesia. Concentric circles (like a doughnut) around the areola are drawn and cut. The doughnut-shaped skin around the areola is removed and the nipple & areola are moved upwards. Then the outer skin is stitched (sutured) around the areola.

Sometimes the skin that is stitched to the areola may wrinkle because there is more skin than needed around the areola (think of sewing the edges of a hole in a piece of fabric to a smaller circle of fabric in the middle of the hole. This wrinkling is much like the pleats you would see in a pair of pants at the waistline.) Often the wrinkling will subside in just a few weeks to months after surgery as the skin envelope adapts to the new shape and weight of the tissues. Our surgeons at IE Surgery Center will determine if is possible in your case, and if not the surgeon may instead elect to make a cut that descends from the areola down to the bottom fold of the breast where it meets the chest. A strip of skin is removed along this cut and the two sides stitched together. Even with this additional vertical cut, this procedure leaves less scarring than the more common anchor-shaped breast lift

Anchor-shaped Breast Lift:For women with larger or more severely drooping, sagging breasts, the anchor-shaped breast lift procedure is more effective.

The skin in the (upper cross-hatched) area of the “anchor” will be removed along with some excess breast tissue. The nipple and areola are moved up to the (lower cross-hatched) “key-hole,” then the skin is sutured (stitched) around the areola, vertically down to the chest and side to side along the newly created bottom fold of the breast.

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The gauze dressing will be removed after a couple of days, and you will wear a surgical bra for many weeks. The stitches are removed about two weeks after the surgery. Your breasts will be bruised, and you may experience temporary numbness around the nipples as well as random shooting pains. These conditions generally subside within several weeks.

For the first few days, you need to limit your activities and movement in order to prevent breaking the stitches and stretching the scars. Most women can return to work about two weeks later, although overhead lifting and strenuous movements should be avoided for several weeks to ensure proper healing. Your physician will provide you with a schedule for resuming your normal routines.

Most bruising, swelling, shooting pains and loss of sensation should subside within three to six weeks. However, it may take up to a year for your breasts to settle into their new look and feel. Over time, your scars will fade but may remain red and bumpy for many months. Finally, you should continue with monthly self-examinations for breast cancer as well as regular mammograms as advised by your doctor.


As with any surgery, there is always the risk of complication. Heavy smokers, patients who are overweight and patients with diabetes and/or other health problems are more susceptible to complications. Risks inherent to the use of general anesthesia include nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fatigue, headache, and muscle soreness. In very rare cases, the use of general anesthesia may cause blood pressure problems, allergic reaction, heart attack, or stroke.

Risks associated with maxoplasty include scarring, unevenly aligned nipples, numbness around the nipples, and in rare cases loss of sensation.