A breast lift, or mastopexy, is essentially a “lift” of the nipple-areolar complex relative to the crease underneath the breast. This provides an “uplifted” appearance to patients with sagginess or droopiness in the breast that often occurs after pregnancy or with changes in weight.
James F. Boynton, MD, our board-certified plastic surgeon, is highly experienced in breast lift surgery and has helped numerous women rejuvenate the appearance of their breasts with this popular cosmetic procedure. After assessing your unique needs and listening to your aesthetic goals, Dr. Boynton can formulate a customized treatment plan that elevates the breasts and helps you regain a more youthful figure with exceptionally natural-looking results.
To learn more about mastopexy, we encourage you to view the educational videos and read through the information provided on this page. If you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule a breast lift consultation with Dr. Boynton, please do not hesitate to contact our practice by phone or email today.
Benefits of Breast Lift Surgery
Over time, a woman’s breasts can begin to droop or sag due to a variety of different factors, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, notable weight fluctuations, genetics, or simply the natural aging process. Depending on the unique needs and goals of the patient, breast lift surgery can help:
- Correct tissue drooping/sagging and raise the breasts for a more youthful look
- Eliminate excess skin and tighten remaining tissues
- Recontour breast tissue for an enhanced shape and improved symmetry
- Resize/reposition the nipple-areolar complexes for a more proportionate/desirable appearance
- Restore the breasts to a more natural, uplifted position on the chest
- Reduce one’s reliance on heavier bras needed for support
- Increase the number of tops and swimsuits that fit properly, including some that could not have been worn previously
- Significantly improve how one feels about herself from both a physical and emotional standpoint
For individuals who are experiencing volume loss in the breasts in addition to tissue drooping, mastopexy can also be combined with breast augmentation to help increase fullness and restore the breasts to their former size and contour. This combination procedure—known as a breast augmentation with a lift or augmentation-mastopexy—can also be a great option for those who wish to achieve a larger cup size than they had originally.
Candidates for Mastopexy
Mastopexy can be an incredibly rewarding and confidence-boosting procedure for many women seeking to rejuvenate the appearance of their breasts. Good candidates for breast lift surgery typically include individuals experiencing one or more of the following concerns:
- Drooping breast tissue
- Excess, sagging breast skin
- Breast volume loss
- Descended and/or downward-facing areolas
- Disproportionately sized areolas
Additional criteria for mastopexy candidates include being in good overall health, being a non-smoker (or stopping at least six weeks prior to surgery, ideally with no intention of resuming), and having realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure. During the consultation, Dr. Boynton will cover all of these particulars in complete detail to ensure breast lift surgery is right for interested patients prior to proceeding with treatment.
Details of the Breast Lift Procedure
The incision for breast lift surgery is essentially the same as breast reduction, without removing any or very little “internal” tissue. The areolas, which are usually dilated and enlarged, are made a bit smaller—this incision fades away around the nipple. There is a vertical incision in the lower aspect of the breast, and an inframammary crease incision that hides in the breast fold. Dr. Boynton typically performs a medial or superior pedicle to elevate the nipple. He feels this leads to a better and longer-lasting breast shape relative to the older inferior pedicle technique that is still very common. In some patients, a lift alone will not be enough, and an implant must be used at the same time. Dr. Boynton has advanced training in augmentation-mastopexy, which is the technique of performing a lift and adding a breast implant simultaneously.
There are some patients that do not want an implant, and in some cases, Dr. Boynton can perform an “auto-autologous” breast lift. Using this approach, the lower central area of breast tissue is “internalized” like a small implant with the breast draping around and over to create an uplifted, round shape.
Recovery from Mastopexy
Following breast lift surgery, most patients can expect some minor swelling, bruising, and/or tenderness in the breasts, though these symptoms should gradually subside over time. Significant pain is very rare after the procedure, and the majority of individuals do not require anything more than over-the-counter medication to relieve potential discomfort. In fact, many of Dr. Boynton’s patients do not need pain medicine at all.
Showering is permissible the day after surgery, and patients are encouraged to get up and walk around at this time. Most non-strenuous activities—such as office jobs and/or light exercise—can often be resumed within a couple days, but any heavy lifting (anything over 10 pounds) or vigorous physical activity should be avoided for at least two weeks to reduce the risk of complications.
Breast Lift FAQs
How much discomfort and how long will I be in pain?
Most patients have mild discomfort, and many don’t even require pain medication. Patients are up and about the next day and have a rapid recovery with the exception of strenuous activity, vigorous exercise, or lifting over 10 lbs. These activities need to avoided for two weeks following surgery to minimize any risk of bleeding.
When can I shower and resume activities, how long off of work, and when can I resume exercise?
You can shower the next day, and exercise can be resumed two weeks after surgery. Most patients are off work for a day or so—maybe several days at the most—depending on their job requirements.
Do any sutures have to be removed?
No. The sutures all dissolve.
Does Dr. Boynton completely remove the nipple in larger cases?
The “old fashion” nipple grafting technique is rarely necessary in my practice. I have vast experience with the medial pedicle technique, which allows me to cone and contour the breast and achieve a very nice shape without removing the nipple—instead it is “moved” up into place on the medial pedicle.
What about scarring?
All patients form “scars.” Scars are simply the lines where skin is “sewed” together. The thickness, width, character, and pigmentation of those lines can vary with respect to the patient’s demographics, heritage, and genetics. Representative examples of many results at approximately six weeks after surgery are available for viewing in Dr. Boynton’s breast lift photo gallery of cases. Even patients that have a genetic risk of keloid scarring have been happy with their results because they are able to find more clothing that fits properly and they routinely feel good about themselves.
Nipple sensitivity changes?
10-20% of all patients with breast lifts may get some degree of nipple sensitivity changes. Most of this resolves by six to nine months after surgery. Certain patients may have some permanent changes, but it is not usually an issue that they notice.
Will my breasts droop again? What if I get pregnant?
It is impossible to prevent breast tissues from drooping over time due to factors such as gravity and genetics, but wearing a supportive bra as often as possible can usually slow this process. The breast swelling and subsequent volume loss that often accompanies pregnancy or breastfeeding may lead to the recurrence of breast drooping in some women, though the extent to which this will occur is unique to each individual. While fairly rare, I have had patients who required a “second” breast lift—or sometimes a reduction—after having children. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict what the breasts will do after pregnancy.
Will I be able to breastfeed after a breast lift?
Will I have drains?
No. I do not use drains on breast lifts (as was common many years ago and is still common with some plastic surgeons).
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to schedule a breast lift consultation, please contact our board-certified plastic surgeon online or by phone today. Dr. Boynton will be happy to answer your questions and talk with you about all aspects of the procedure.