Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Adam Boettcher describes what results you can expect to achieve after a breast lift procedure.
Breast lifts are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures – particularly among moms who want to restore their breast shape and position after breastfeeding. Normal aging, weight loss, and genetics can also cause breasts to change shape or sag over time.
Many of our patients want to get a lift for a range of reasons. Breast lifts – also called mastopexies – can address a wide range of cosmetic concerns. Patients typically can expect to have firmer, lifted, more youthful, and more symmetrical breasts. We can also resize or reposition the areolas and nipples into a more natural position and correct flat or pendulous breasts with a breast lift procedure.
While lifts help improve breast appearance by tightening and removing excess tissue, your breasts will stay the same size. Breast lift procedures reshape and lift the breasts by removing excess skin without changing breast volume. Patients who want to alter their breast size should consider combining their breast lift with an augmentation or reduction, which can be done at the same time as the lift.
Breast Lift Before and After Photos
This patient had a mastopexy augmentation to lift and enlarge the breasts. As you can see in the photos, the patient’s breasts were previously flat and pendulous.
During the breast lift and augmentation procedure we used implants to add breast volume and moved the patient’s areolas and nipples into a more natural position above the inframammary fold. The patient’s breasts are now more rounded, full, and youthful.
This patient previously had breast ptosis, characterized by the nipple and areola drooping below the inframammary fold The patient’s nipples also pointed downward. We corrected the patient’s ptosis during her breast lift and repositioned the nipples and areolas.
Breast Lift Before and After Surgery: What to Expect
Selecting A Qualified Surgeon
Before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, it’s critical to do your research and make sure that your surgeon is qualified. Anyone with a medical degree can technically market themselves as a “cosmetic surgeon” – even if they lack formal surgical training. However, unqualified cosmetic surgeons are unable to get privileges to operate in accredited surgical facilities or hospitals. This means they aren’t held accountable to the same level of patient safety and ethical standards as board-certified plastic surgeons. Qualified plastic surgeons are experts at handling delicate skin, fat, and muscle planes to achieve visible yet natural-looking results.
The American Board of Plastic Surgeons is the only accreditation body for plastic surgeons, requiring their members to undergo rigorous surgical training and pass multiple examinations. You can search for board-certified plastic surgeons near you on the ABPS website.
Scheduling Your Consultation
Once you select a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your breast lift, they’ll bring you in for a consultation. During this meeting, we will:
- Discuss your surgical goals.
- Examine your breasts.
- Take photographs and measurements.
- Discuss the procedure and sedation options.
- Talk about risks and potential complications.
- Make treatment recommendations based on your goals.
- Review a list of aftercare instructions.
It’s also important to ask your surgeon about the costs associated with your breast lift. The national average surgical fee for a breast lift is around $5,000, but that usually doesn’t include the cost of anesthesia, surgical facility fees, pre-operative tests, and post-operative medications or garments. Make sure to ask your provider for a complete procedure quote that includes these ancillary costs.
On the day of your breast lift, you’ll be checked in and asked to complete some paperwork. Next, we’ll take you to pre-op, where you will change into a surgical gown, take any additional labs, weigh you, and start an IV. There you will meet your surgeon to go over the surgical plan and give you an opportunity to ask questions. Your surgeon will measure and mark you with a surgical pen, and then you’ll be ready for anesthesia. For breast lifts, general anesthesia is usually administered.
Based on your anatomy and surgical goals, we will typically use an anchor, donut, or lollipop incision pattern. The anchor incision pattern – also known as the inverted T or Wise pattern – is used to address significant ptosis or to correct asymmetry. We’ll make one incision around your areola, a second running vertically from the bottom of the areola to the breast crease, and a third along the breast crease contour. The lollipop, or vertical incision pattern, is appropriate for breast lift patients who want a minimal to moderate lift. For this procedural approach, we make a small incision around the areola and a second vertically down to the inframammary fold. The donut, or periareolar incision pattern, is the most discreet and just involves a single incision around the areola.
The procedure typically takes one to two hours. After we’re finished you’ll be taken to our post-anesthesia care unit where you can rest under observation for about an hour. Somebody will need to drive you home after the procedure.
Breast Lift Recovery
Most of my breast lift patients feel ready to return to work after two weeks and feel fully recovered within four to six weeks. After the procedure, you’ll receive detailed aftercare instructions that will explain how to care for your incisions to yield the best results. We’ll also give you a post-operative bra to wear for six weeks. This bra provides gentle compression to the breasts and helps reduce swelling.
Breast Lift Outcomes
After your breast lift, your breasts should not look asymmetric, boxy, or flattened. You should have natural-looking youthful volume, with nipples positioned above the breast crease, and tightened tissue. Well-done breast lifts also have minimal scarring, versus widened scars that can occur when the tissue is overstretched.
Book Your breast lift Consultation Today
If you’d like to learn more about breast lifts, we’d love to bring you in for a consultation. Our team of board-certified plastic surgeons and experienced providers at Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona can answer your questions and discuss your goals.
Author Profile: Adam Boettcher, M.D., is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona partner. Dr. Boettcher specializes in cosmetic surgery, facial trauma, complex hand reconstruction, and oncologic reconstructive procedures. He joined Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona in 2012.