Breast Lift
In-Depth Guide

Have you have ever stood in the mirror, lifted your breasts with your hands and thought, “If only my breasts were up here…”? If you have, you may be one of many women who have benefited from a breast lift.

What is a breast lift? (mastopexy)

Breast lift surgery is technically called a mastopexy. It raises and reshapes sagging breasts. Over the years, factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and the force of gravity take their toll on a woman’s breasts. Breasts begin to sag, lose its firmness and skin elasticity, and become flatter and elongated. Eventually, the nipple and areola (the pigmented skin around the nipple) points downward. Often times, the skin becomes stretched and the areola enlarged.

Is a mastopexy for me?

A breast lift restores the female figure with a breast profile that is more youthful, uplifted and firm. The breast lift can also reduce the size of the enlarged areola.

If an increase in breast volume is also desired, breast implants may be inserted at the same time as the breast lift. When you come in for your consultation, our surgeons will talk to you more about this and tell you which option would be better for you.

How much does a breast lift cost?

Breast lift surgery may be more affordable than you think. When you call our office, we can give you an estimate over the phone. We will also give you information about the many financing plans we offer.

Financing plans give you the flexibility and convenience of having a low monthly payment. Some people choose to put some money down and finance the rest. The most important thing is to take the first step and find out more about it. Give us a call at 951-699-9201 and speak to one of our friendly, informative cosmetic consultants.

How is a breast lift procedure performed?

A breast lift is a highly individualized procedure achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. At the Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery, we customize the surgery according to your breast size and shape, size and position of the areola, the degree of breast sagging, and your skin quality.

We take the time to describe to you what the incisions and final result may look like when you have completed healing. Breast lift surgery, in particular, is one that requires an artist’s eyes and hands to bring about the best result. It is not something that can be done using a “factory” or “one-size-fits-all” approach. Because we perform a large number of breast surgeries, we bring care and attention to making your breasts look their best.

A breast lift usually takes between 1 to 3 hours depending on the technique utilized. When the lift needed is minimal, a “doughnut” breast lift can be performed by placing the incisions around the areola. When more lifting is required, a vertical incision down from the areola to the breast crease is added. This technique is often called a “lollipop” breast lift because of the appearance of the final scar. With more significant breast sagging, an “anchor” breast lift is performed, which adds a horizontal scar along the breast crease.

Through these incisions, the underlying breast tissue is lifted and reshaped to improve breast contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a natural, more youthful height. If necessary, enlarged areolas are reduced by excising skin at the perimeter.

If you’re having a breast augmentation along with your breast lift, it will be placed either in a pocket directly under the breast tissue, or deeper, under the muscle of the chest wall.

How is the mastopexy recovery process?

After surgery, you will wear an elastic bandage over gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications. For a few days after surgery, keeping the upper body elevated will help keep the swelling down. Some numbness of the skin is normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.

Within a few days, the bandages will be replaced by a soft sports bra. You will need to wear this bra all the time for three to four weeks.

Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for a week or more, depending on how you feel. And avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks.

Most patients are back to work or school in 5 to 14 days depending on the surgical technique and the type of work you do. Avoid strenuous activity, including heavy lifting, pushing, jogging, bending, housework, sex, or any activity that may put excessive pressure on your breasts. By the third week, you will look and feel much better as the swelling subsides and the incisions heal.

What are the possible risks and complications?


Bleeding can occur after any surgery. The bleeding risk is greatest in the initial week or so after surgery. We will give you instructions on what to avoid in order to minimize the risk of bleeding. Fortunately, if you follow directions carefully, the risk of bleeding is usually low.


Our surgeons will explain to you exactly where the incisions will be. There is no such thing as invisible breast lift surgery. The scars are necessary in order to give your breast as much lifting as possible. Over time the scars tend to fade and improve in appearance. We will also give you advice on how to best care for your scars so they look as good as possible.

Numbness of the nipple

Because there is an incision going around the nipple, numbness of the nipple can occur. Usually it is temporary but occasionally it may be permanent.


Even before the surgery, breasts are naturally different from the left and right sides to begin with. After the surgery, there may still be some differences between the two sides. The final result also depends on postoperative healing and internal scarring which can change how the two sides look. One way to think about breast asymmetry is that breasts are like children: no two are exactly the same. Each breast has its own “character” and behaves differently.

Recurrence of sagging

After the surgery, your breasts will continue to follow the effects of gravity. This is both normal and expected. The larger your breasts are, the more they will fall with gravity. People with thinner skin also will tend to have their breasts fall faster. However, after a lift, your breasts are much less likely to ever be as saggy as they once were.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How much time is required for a breast lift?
A: The surgery usually requires between 2-4 hours depending on the surgical technique. As with all surgeries, the amount of time needed varies from patient to patient.

Q: Is a breast lift an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
A: Outpatient.

Q: What are some common side effects?
A: Side effects of a breast lift include temporary swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Sometimes the breast may become temporarily numb. Scars along the incision sites are permanent but usually fade with time.

Q: What is the recovery time?
A: Most patients are able to return to work or school in 5 to 14 days depending on the surgical technique.

Q: How long do the results last?
A: The results from a breast lift can be permanent. However, the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again and may create the need for future breast lift revision.

How do I schedule a breast lift consultation?

Our surgeons would love to meet and go over everything you need to know about breast lift surgery with you. Just give us a call at 951-699-9201 or use the link below. We look forward to meeting you soon!

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