Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
What is a breast lift?
Also known as mastopexy, a breast lift is a surgical procedure performed to raise and reshape breasts that have sagged as a result of aging, pregnancy, weight loss, heredity, gravity or other factors.
By trimming excess skin and tightening supporting tissue, patients can achieve an uplifted, youthful breast contour. After surgery, the breasts are higher on the chest and firmer to the touch. The nipple and areola can also be repositioned or resized during this procedure to further enhance the appearance of the breast.
See Dr. Restifo’s Before/After Photo Gallery for Breast Lift procedures.
Please note: Although many doctors perform cosmetic procedures, you need to know that plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and cosmetic surgeons are not the same thing, plus board-certification matters. Learn more about specialization here.
Dr. Restifo is a Harvard-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon with over twenty-five years of experience performing surgery. He does breast lifts and/or lift/augment procedures at least once a week.
Watch Dr. Restifo’s video, “Maximize Your Breast Lift with Breast Mesh”.
Am I a good candidate for a breast lift?
A breast lift is a safe and effective procedure that can address the following issues:
- Sagging breasts
- Uneven or lopsided breasts (see video Fixing Breast Asymmetry)
- Breasts that have lost shape or volume
- Breasts that are flat or elongated
- Nipples or areolas pointing downwards
- Nipples or areolas positioned below the breast crease
- Drooping and/or stretched areolas
- One breast lower than the other
Ideal candidates for this procedure should be in good overall health, maintain a stable weight and have realistic expectations. It is recommended that women who are still planning to have children postpone this procedure since pregnancy and nursing can counteract the effects of a breast lift by re-stretching the skin.
Dr. Restifo’s Approach to Breast Lifts
Fully Customizable Treatment Plan
We know that every woman is unique in both her desires and her body shape. We also recognize that lifestyle and life-stage play a significant role in determining the best course of treatment when it comes to breast surgery.
Dr. Restifo devotes ample time during each pre-operative consultation to learn what each patient hopes to gain from breast surgery. By the end of a consultation, patients have a better understanding of whether a breast lift, either on its own or combined with breast augmentation, will achieve their desired results.
With over 25 years of experiencing performing breast lifts and breast lift/augmentation surgery, Dr. Restifo is fully committed to each patient’s safety, comfort, and satisfaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
A. A breast lift procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia and usually takes one to three hours.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Restifo will determine a treatment plan for a breast lift based upon:
- Your breast size and shape
- Your areola size and position
- Degree of breast sagging
- Skin quality and elasticity
- Amount of excess skin
- Your aesthetic goals
Steps for a Breast Lift:
- Incisions are made according to the treatment plan.
- Breast tissue is reshaped to achieve the desired breast contour.
- The nipple and areola may be moved higher on the breast and/or resized, if desired.
- Any excess skin is trimmed to create a tighter, more defined appearance.
- When the breast lift is complete, the incisions are closed with sutures.
A. Incision Techniques For a Breast Lift Include:
- The “donut” lift, also known as the “periareolar incision” involves two rings around the areola in a donut shape, which is quite inconspicuous as it leaves the final scarring around the areola at its very edge. This is ideal for women with smaller breasts.
- The “lollipop” lift, also known as a “keyhole” incision is around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease in a lollipop shape. This is suitable for women with a moderate degree of drooping.
- The “anchor” incision is a lollipop shape with an additional incision along the breast crease; this is ideal for breasts with significant sagging.
When to Combine a Breast Lift with Other Procedures
Sometimes a breast lift alone will not achieve the contour you desire. Women who want to restore fullness to the breast often consider breast augmentation as well. Our Vectra® 3D imaging system will help you to envision which options will best help you meet your aesthetic goals.
A. A breast lift is a long-term way to achieve a more youthful figure. In addition to improving the shape, projection, and symmetry of the breasts, most patients also report a renewed sense of confidence both in and out of clothing. There are, however, some limitations including:
- Scarring, which will fade over time.
- Subsequent weight fluctuations, including those caused by pregnancy, may undo the benefits of a breast lift.
- The effects of a breast lift will slowly diminish with time, gravity, and the natural aging process.
A. Prior to your consultation, you will be asked to fill out a complete medical history, which includes information about:
- Medical conditions, both past and present
- Current medications and supplements
- Previous surgeries and medical treatments
- Mammogram results from within the past year (for patients over 40)
- Previous surgeries, including breast biopsies
- Family history of breast cancer
- Current use of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs
- Weight fluctuations
During your initial consultation, Dr. Restifo will listen to your goals, needs, and concerns. He will evaluate whether you’re a good candidate for a breast lift/mastopexy based on your anatomy and physical health, and will determine a treatment plan based on your expectations. He will also be candid about whether he can achieve the outcome you desire.
After you’ve discussed the size and shape that you desire, Dr. Restifo will work with his assistant to measure and photograph your breasts for your medical record. He will also evaluate the following:
- Current size and shape of your breasts.
- State of your skin’s elasticity.
- Quality and quantity of existing breast tissue.
- Current size and location of your nipples and areolas.
- Degree of sagging.
Depending on your goals, Dr. Restifo may also recommend a breast augmentation in conjunction with a breast lift to achieve the best overall outcome.
After the examination, you may be introduced to the Vectra® 3D imaging system which will enable you to see how different procedures will look on your body.
If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight, be sure to mention this in the initial consultation. Also be sure to mention any plans to get pregnant, in either the near or distant future. It is ideal to stabilize your weight before undergoing surgery to get the best possible long-term results.
A. Dr. Restifo aims to minimize the appearance of scarring and will work with you to determine the best incision point based on your overall aesthetic goals. While some incision lines can be concealed in natural breast contours, others cannot. However, scars from breast lift incisions will begin to fade in a few months and will continue to fade for months or years.
Our postoperative instructions include information about scar therapy.
A. The results of a breast lift are visible immediately after surgery. Your breasts will be positioned higher and feel firmer. Dr. Restifo will sculpt the entire breast tissue, creating a long-lasting lift that should last for many years if you are diligent to maintain a healthy body weight.
While the results will not last forever due to time, gravity, and the natural aging process, your breasts should not return to their preoperative droop for years. Your results will, however, be compromised if you experience significant weight fluctuations or go through pregnancy.
A. Prior to your surgery, Dr. Restifo will ask you to:
- Stop smoking at least six weeks before undergoing surgery to better promote healing.
- Keep alcohol consumption to less than two to three drinks per week.
- Contact your primary care physician to schedule a preoperative physical for the following tests required for your surgery:
- A recent complete history and physical with medical clearance for surgery and general anesthesia
- Labs complete with CBC, PT, PTT
- Current EKG and report of the reading for patients over the age of 50 or those with a cardiac history
- A mammography report completed within the last year (for patients over 40)
- Any other exam that you or your physician feel is indicated
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen) that can increase bleeding.
- Fill any prescriptions he provided prior to surgery (though you won’t need them until afterwards).
- Hydrate well both before and after the surgery for safe recovery.
- Purchase a front-closure sports bra.
- Arrange for a ride home after surgery.
- Plan to have someone to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours following surgery.
- If you have children, ensure that you have help for at least one week.
Prepare your home:
- Set aside a space for your prescriptions, thermometer, and postoperative instructions close to your bed, sofa, or recliner.
- Place toiletries, tissues, medications, beverages, snacks, and any other supplies you need within easy reach to minimize stretching, bending, and twisting.
- Prepare your recovery space to include a remote control, ample reading material, a tablet or laptop, and a cell phone with charger and/or a speaker phone.
- Ensure your pantry/fridge is stocked with healthy, easy-to-prepare, high-protein foods and bottled water.
- Your arms will have a limited range of motion. Be sure to set aside clothing and slip-on shoes or slippers that will be easy to put on and take off without a lot of stretching or twisting.
Full preoperative and postoperative instructions can be found under Patient Resources.
A. Recovery from Breast Lift
The first two to five days following a breast lift is typically the most uncomfortable. To address this, Dr. Restifo will prescribe medication to help manage any swelling or pain. A recovery timeline usually involves:
- Sleeping on your back in an inclined position during the initial healing period, using extra pillows for elevation if necessary.
- A return to work within a week of breast lift surgery.
- No laundry or housework for at least a week.
- No driving for a minimum of one week after a breast lift; if you’ve also had augmentation, you should not drive for at least two weeks.
- No heavy lifting > 5 pounds, pulling, or pushing for one month.
- The option to ride a stationary bike 2-3 weeks after surgery.
- No high-impact aerobic exercise or upper body workout for 6 weeks.
After surgery, the shape of your breasts will continue to improve as swelling subsides, settling take place, and scars fade. In approximately one month, most patients have a good sense of how the breast lift achieved their desired look. It may, however, take several weeks or months before the breasts fully settle, sensation returns to normal, and scarring fades significantly.
Most patients who maintain realistic expectations and who thoroughly discussed their goals prior to surgery are very satisfied with the look of their more youthful, lifted breasts.