Breast Lift

A breast lift (mastoplexy) is a very common cosmetic surgical procedure. Your breasts often change over time, losing their youthful shape and firmness. If your breasts are sagging, a breast lift can help lift, firm, and reshape them. It is a highly individualized procedure that is a collaboration between you and your plastic surgeon.

Reasons to Consider a Breast Lift

Women who are unhappy with the shape, volume and/or firmness of breasts may want to consider a breast lift. One way to see if breast lift surgery might help you is to put a pencil under your breast and see if it stays there. If it does, a breast lift might be an option.

A breast lift raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast.  A breast lift will not increase the size of breasts, so it is often combined with breast augmentation surgery to increase both the firmness and size of the breasts.

You might consider a breast lift if:

  • Your breasts sag, have lost shape, volume or they have gotten flatter and longer
  • Your nipples (when breasts are unsupported) fall below your breast creases
  • Your nipples and areola point downward
  • One of your breasts falls lower than the other

What you can expect:

  • Improved shape, volume and/or firmness of breasts.
  • Improved breast position 
  • Enhanced confidence and self-image  

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for breast lift surgery?

Breast lift surgery is very individualized and is a series of incision patterns that involves removing excess skin, tissue and repositions the areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple) higher on your chest.

There are many variations to the procedure so a consultation with an Aspirus Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is great place to begin establishing your individualized treatment plan.

How do I prepare and/or plan for the procedure?

The first step is planning and scheduling a consultation with your plastic surgeon. Some key points that your surgeon will discuss with you:

  • Your reasons for wanting a breast lift and the outcomes you are hoping for
  • Your medical history and allergies
  • A list of current prescriptions and use of any over-the-counter medications, supplements, and vitamins
  • Family history

During the consultation, your plastic surgeon will:

  • Evaluate your health
  • Examine your breasts
  • Assess skin quality and elasticity
  • Discuss your options and the ideal procedure for you
  • Discuss outcome expectations and risks of breast lift surgery
  • Discuss other pre-operative and post-operative instructions  

What to expect the day of my surgery?

Breast lift surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you will go home the same day as soon as you are awake and feeling stable. You will be given medications to relax you before surgery.

Once in surgery, your surgeon will make some markings on your breasts. After that, you will be given anesthesia that will make you sleepy. The procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours. After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored and taken care of until you are ready to go home.

How is the surgery performed?

The procedure involves a pattern of incisions. Your plastic surgeon will determine the appropriate technique that will be best for you based on:

  • Breast size and shape
  • The size of your areolas (small darkened area around the nipples)
  • The degree of breast sagging
  • Skin quality, elasticity, and the amount of extra skin

Recovery after surgery?

Be sure to plan for someone to drive you home after surgery and stay with you for the first night after surgery.

  • Your breasts will be bruised, swollen and sore for one to two weeks 
  • You will need to wear a surgical bra for the first week. Then, a support bra for three or four weeks. 
  • Swelling will improve over time and incision lines will fade  
  • You may experience some loss of sensation in your nipples and breasts following breast lift surgery, with sensation gradually returning over the next weeks and months. On rare occasions, loss of sensation may be permanent.
  • In the first few days after your procedure, take pain medication as recommended by your doctor
  • Avoid straining, bending, and lifting for the first week after surgery
  • Sleep on your back or your side to keep pressure off your breasts
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to resume activities such as washing your hair, showering and sexual activity  

What results can I expect?

  • Results from breast lift surgery are visible immediately
  • Breast shape and position settle over the next few months
  • Incision lines are permanent but will fade over time
  • Breast appearance can change over time due to aging and gravity
  • Women with smaller breasts will likely have longer lasting results - larger breasts are heavier, which makes them more like to sag again
  • For best long-term results maintain a stable, healthy weight and lifestyle 

Is breast lift surgery safe?

All surgical procedures carry some risk. Although rare, risks associated with breast lift surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Permanent loss of sensation in the nipples or breast
  • Uneven nipples
  • Problems with wound healing  

Learn more about the breast lift procedure. 

Does insurance cover a breast lift?
Most breast lifts are considered cosmetic, so health insurance companies usually do not cover them unless they are done as part of a mastectomy reconstruction. You should check with your insurance company to be sure.

Will I have scars on my breasts forever?
Breast lift surgery incisions do leave scars, but they will fade with time with maximum fading occurring around the one-year mark.

Do you have to be a certain age to have a breast lift? 
You can get a breast lift at any age after your breasts have finished developing.  You can also get one before or after you are pregnant.

If I have a breast lift will I be able to breast feed?
Although breast feeding is usually possible after a breast lift, since nipples are not separated from the underlying breast tissue, some women might have difficulty producing enough milk.

Will my breasts sag again?
A breast lift can be done on breasts of any size, women with smaller breasts will likely have longer lasting results.  Larger breasts are heavier, which makes them more likely to sag again.