Breast Lift Surgery

A breast lift surgery, otherwise known as mastopexy, is a cosmetic operation designed to elevate sagging breasts upon the chest wall. The procedure also aims to modify the size and contour of the breasts as well as make them more aesthetically symmetrical and proportionate. Most breast augmentation and reduction surgeries also require a breast lift surgery as a subordinate procedure. A breast reduction surgery is for the correction of over-sized breasts.

The surgical correction of a sagging breast involves the cutting and removal of structures like fats, skin, glandular tissues and overstretched ligaments. The nipple-areola complex is also transposed and put into a higher position relative to the breast hemisphere.

Patient Type

The correction of sagging breasts, or breast ptosis,is never an indication for any medical or physical health conditions. It is more of a cosmetic problem and a breast lift ismeant to boost the self-image of the patient. The usual candidates for the operation are those who want to improve the position, size, and contour of their breast followingthe lost of fat and glandular tissues. The lost of such tissues is most frequently seen in women who have just given birth, women in their menopausal age or those who have losta significant amount of weight. Other suitable candidates are patients who underwent breast augmentation and reconstruction surgeries. Patients not suited for the surgery include aspirin users, smokers, diabetics and obese patients due to the increased risk of nipple tissue death.


The average cost of a breast lift is $4500 but it can go as high as $15000.These estimates do not include fees for the surgeon, anesthesia, hospital facilities, medical tests, prescription medications, post-operative garments and other related costs. The surgeon’s fee depends on his expertise, experience, technique to be used and geographic location. A breast lift surgery is often done for cosmetic reasons so most health insurance companies don’t cover it unless it is a part of a breast reconstruction procedure following a mastectomy.


Three main techniques of breast lift exist and each is named according to the combination of incisions required. The techniques are donut, lollipop and anchor.

In general, the types of incisions include: 1) a circular incision around the nipple-areola complex, 2) a vertical incision from nipple-area complex down to the breast fold and 3) a horizontal incision along the breast fold.

A donut lift involvesa circular incision only to correct cases of mild sagging. The lollipop technique requires both circular and vertical incision and is used to manage moderate sagging and provide some form of reshaping. The most extensive of the three is the anchor technique which is used when dramatic reshaping is needed to correct extensive sagging. In this technique, all three incisions are utilized.

One other technique to note is the crescent lift. It is more conservative than the other three as far as the extent of incision is concerned. This technique can correct very minimal sagging only.


The risks and complications associated with a breast lift surgery include pain, bleeding, bruising, infection, scarring and anesthesia-related complications. These are relatively rare and usually go away even without further treatments. Other less common complications are skin tissue death, tingling sensation, numbness, seroma (fluid accumulation in the breast pocket) and hematoma. Death of the skin flap can be partial and may heal over time with proper care. If the death of the skin flap is complete it may require reconstructive surgery.


A breast lift surgery is done on an outpatient basis. This means that the patient does not need to stay overnight in the hospital. She will be allowed to go home a couple of hours after surgery once the general anesthesia used for the procedure has worn off. The surgeon will provide post-operative instructions that can help avoid complications or least minimize them. Such instructions include not smoking, avoiding blood thinners, taking painkillers and antibiotics as necessary and wearing a special garment to support the breasts. Patients are also advised to avoid any strenuous activities for at least 4 weeks following the operation. In general, they can resume their daily activities and go to work after a day or two.

Finding the Right Doctor

The first step in getting ready for a breast lift operation is to find the right surgeon. The right surgeon should be someone who will take into consideration a patient’s health before presenting and discussing any options. The surgeon should discuss the procedure itself and all the possible complications that come with it. It is also important to ask the surgeon how frequently he performs breast lifts and how many procedures he has done in the past.