What is a breast lift?

Breasts can lose their firmness and shape over time because of pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, aging and gravity. A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that creates new breast contours and improves firmness by raising the breasts, removing excess skin and reshaping tissue.

If your breasts sag or your nipples point downward, a breast lift might boost your self-esteem and help your clothes fit better. This surgery can be performed in conjunction with breast augmentation or breast reduction.

How a breast lift works

A breast lift can be performed with intravenous sedation and local anesthesia, or with general anesthesia. Your surgeon will talk with you about which option is best for you.

There are several ways incisions might be placed, based on the size and shape of your breasts and areolae (the darker area around the nipples), the degree of breast sagging, the amount of extra skin that needs to be removed, and the elasticity of your skin.

After making the incisions, your surgeon will lift and reshape the underlying tissue to create new breast contours and firm the breasts. The surgeon also repositions the areolae and nipples so they are higher and can reduce the areolar size if desired. Excess breast skin is then removed to tighten the breasts, and the incisions are closed with stitches, skin adhesive and surgical tape. Your surgeon might place small, temporary drainage tubes to drain excess fluid after surgery.

How long does it take to recover from a breast lift?

Recovery from this procedure usually takes about two weeks, with some numbness persisting for about six weeks — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect.

Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Q. Will a breast lift change the size of my breasts?

A. A breast lift won’t significantly change the volume of your breasts, though the breasts may appear smaller after the reshaping to achieve, higher, rounder and tighter breasts. You often require a smaller bra after mastopexy/breast lift.

Q. Can a breast lift help improve breast asymmetry?

A. During a breast lift, your surgeon not only lifts the breasts but also reshapes the underlying tissue, so the procedure can be used to make your breasts more symmetrical.

Q. My breasts lost volume after breastfeeding. Will a breast lift help?

A. A breast lift alone doesn’t add volume, but you can choose to have breast augmentation at the same time as your lift if you’d like fuller breasts.

Q. Is a breast lift effective on breasts of any size?

A. Breast lifts usually have the best and most long-lasting results when performed on smaller breasts. Large breasts are heavier, so gravity will tend to cause sagging again over time.