Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Regarded among the top plastic surgeons in the Carolinas, Dr. Craig Rowin and Dr. Ram Kalus have earned such distinction by making women feel confident about their breasts and their bodies through high-quality cosmetic enhancement. After undergoing breast lift surgery, a procedure designed to rejuvenate the breast shape and overall aesthetic, their patients are able to enjoy the benefits of more youthful breasts with improved contours, enhanced upper pole fullness, and less drooping or sagging, often resulting in greater self-confidence.

What is a Breast Lift?

Breast lift surgery, also called a mastopexy, is performed by removing excess skin and tightening the underlying breast tissue to raise and reshape the breasts. As patients age, certain factors including gravity, decreased skin elasticity, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and/or weight fluctuation can cause the appearance of the breasts to change. Many women consider breast lift surgery when their breasts begin to droop below the breast crease or lose shape and/or firmness. For some patients, a breast lift with the addition of breast implants may be the most comprehensive solution to replace volume that may have been lost with aging or after nursing children.

Am I a Candidate for a Breast Lift?

Good candidates for breast lift surgery seek to achieve a more youthful breast shape after experiencing breast sag and/or a loss of volume. Ideal candidates for a breast lift generally include patients who:

  • Are within the ranges of their ideal weight
  • Wish to reverse the effects of pregnancy and/or breastfeeding
  • Have nipples that point downward, or breasts that droop below the breast fold
  • Are in good physical and emotional health to undergo a surgical operation

While women wishing to restore their pre-pregnancy figure comprise a large portion of individuals seeking a breast lift, even young women whose breasts simply developed with natural sag or droop, or who may have been affected by gravity, aging, or genetic influences, can also achieve excellent results with the procedure. For women also seeking to increase or decrease the size of their breasts, a lift can be combined with a breast augmentation or breast reduction to comprehensively fulfill a patient’s aesthetic goals.

What are the Different Types of Breast Lift?

After a thorough examination and discussion, if you are a good candidate, our plastic surgeons will recommend a lift type or combination procedure that is best suited for you. The various types of breast lift include:

Periareolar Mastopexy

If you have minimal breast sag or wide areolas that you would like to improve, the periareolar technique may be the most ideal approach for your needs. This involves Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus placing an incision along the borders of the areola, often allowing any post-surgical scarring to blend into the natural change in pigmentation. The breasts are then tightened using this discreet incision, and the areolas are reduced if desired. A periareolar mastopexy can be highly effective for patients with little to no breast sag.

“Lollipop” Incision or Short Horizontal Scar Technique

For patients who would like to correct moderate breast droop, the short-scar or “lollipop” mastopexy procedure can be well-suited to more extensively rejuvenate the breasts. This technique involves a lollipop- or keyhole-shaped incision that encircles the areolas and extends downward towards the breast crease. In some cases, a small horizontal incision is also made along the natural contour of the breast fold.

Full Mastopexy (“Anchor Type Incision”)

A full breast lift utilizes an anchor-shaped incision made within the edges of the areolas and horizontally along the breast crease. In general, this incision pattern resembles an inverted “T” over the breasts. The full mastopexy technique is typically reserved for women who have naturally large breasts and experience severe sagging and/or significant excess skin.

Combining a Breast Lift With Other Procedures

If your goals include enhancing volume as well as the breast shape, any of the above breast lift procedures can be performed with breast augmentation as well. During a procedure that combines a breast lift and breast augmentation, our plastic surgeon simply adds breast implants for a fuller and more enhanced appearance. Plus, a breast lift can also be performed as part of a comprehensive mommy makeover— an innovative enhancement option that can allow moms to restore their pre-pregnancy figure by combining multiple treatments to address a range of concerns. Because pregnancy and nursing can cause the breasts to sag, decrease in volume, or become flatter and softer, a breast lift is typically a great addition to a mommy makeover treatment plan. During your evaluation, our plastic surgeons will review the benefits, limitations, and risks of these joint surgeries with you so you can learn the most ideal treatment options for your needs.

How is the Breast Lift Procedure Performed?

Typically an outpatient procedure, basic breast lift surgery takes about one to three hours. If you are combining a breast lift with another treatment, the operation can take longer. This surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus will lift and tighten the underlying breast tissue; remove any excess skin to rejuvenate the breast shape; and reposition/resize the nipples and areolas, if necessary. Expert levels of care will be taken to provide a result that looks natural with as little post-surgical scarring as possible.

How Long Do Breast Lift Results Last?

In general, many patients can expect to enjoy the results from a breast lift for at least 10 to 15 years. With that in mind, the exact nature of the benefits and results from breast lift surgery will vary between individual patients. Although the natural aging process will continue to have an effect on the elasticity of breast tissue, patients can help maintain the results of breast lift surgery for as long as possible by sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle while minimizing weight fluctuations over time.

What is Recovery From a Breast Lift Like?

After your surgery, you will wear a surgical-type sports bra to reduce swelling and support your breasts as you heal. It is common to experience temporary bruising, swelling, or tenderness after the procedure, but this typically subsides as your recovery progresses. Any discomfort can generally be managed with oral pain medication. Our doctors make every effort to avoid the use of narcotics altogether while still ensuring your maximum comfort and safety.

Following the operation, patients should rest for the remainder of the day, but begin light ambulation as soon as they feel up to it. Non-strenuous activities can usually be resumed within a few days. Exercise and aerobic activities will need to be avoided for four weeks. Many patients plan for approximately one week of downtime to ensure an adequate amount of time for the healing process, but specific post-operative instructions depend on the complexity of your procedure. Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus will provide detailed recovery information at the time of operation. Depending on your line of work, one to two weeks out of work may be recommended in most cases.

Over the next few months, your breasts’ shape and position will gradually settle into place and scars should fade and improve. Following the procedure, women generally report a more rejuvenated look with restored firmness, shape, and projection of the breasts.

What Will My Scars From Breast Lift Surgery Look Like?

Dr. Rowin and Dr. Kalus work diligently to make your scars from breast surgery as inconspicuous as possible. At any rate, the shape and size of a mastopexy scar will either blend into the borders of the areola; resemble a lollipop-shaped mark that encircles the areola and descends toward the breast fold; or appear like an anchor combined with a well concealed scar around the areola and along the breast crease. This will depend on the extent of lift required to achieve your desired look. During your consultation, our plastic surgeons will inform you of which incision will likely be necessary during your mastopexy.

With that said, the majority of patients report that scars flatten and fade to a large degree over time after the recovery process is complete. Proper wound care can typically optimize the healing of your scars and, therefore, decrease their visibility after surgery.

How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?

The expenses associated with a breast lift vary widely, as the procedure is customized to address the needs and aesthetic concerns of each patient. Factors that typically influence the price of a breast lift include:

  • The extent of lift necessary to achieve one’s cosmetic goals
  • The surgical technique used
  • Whether breast implants were utilized
  • The expertise of the surgeon
  • The geographic location of the procedure

After Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus see you in a consultation, our office will be able to provide you with a more accurate quote of your breast lift costs, including the surgical fee, anesthesia costs, and facility fees. Our practice accepts all major payments, as well as plastic surgery financing from CareCredit®. Offering a number of flexible payment plans that can be chosen to suit your personal budget, this reputable healthcare lending company allows qualified candidates to pay for their treatment over time once they are approved through the easy application process. For more information on how to apply, or to learn more about the price of a breast lift, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our practice.

Can I Breastfeed After a Breast Lift?

A breast lift should not affect the ability to breastfeed. If a patient has lactating function before surgery, this shouldn’t change after the procedure as long as the desire for future breastfeeding is communicated prior to the operation. Although the milk ducts and nipples can remain intact after a breast lift, be sure to discuss any plans for breastfeeding when consulting with Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus about breast lift surgery.

Volume changes in the breasts associated with pregnancy, nursing, and substantial weight loss can often cause additional breast sag and compromise the results of a lift. If these factors are applicable, it is generally advisable to undergo breast lift surgery after weight loss, childbearing, and breastfeeding are finished to achieve an optimal, long-lasting result. A discussion of your needs with Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus can help determine whether breast lift surgery will benefit you.

Additional Breast Lift Frequently Asked Questions

Will insurance cover breast lift surgery?

Many insurance companies will not cover breast lift surgery since it is typically categorized as an elective cosmetic procedure. The insurance companies that do cover breast-related procedures will usually only provide financial aid if the surgery is necessary due to a medical condition. Fortunately, the options available for payment at our practice, including third-party financing plans for qualified applicants, make it possible for many patients to work the cost of this treatment into their budget.

Can I get a breast lift without surgery?

Surgery is the only treatment method that can effectively remove excess breast tissue and lift the breasts to a higher, more youthful position. Alternative, non-surgical methods such as breast exercises will not produce the same type of results that can be achieved with a breast lift.

How can I reduce swelling after a breast lift?

During recovery from breast lift surgery, resting and avoiding strenuous activities or exercises can play a major role in controlling swelling. Any forms of pushing, stretching, lifting, or pulling can cause or increase levels of swelling and pose other significant risks to the healing process. Wearing any prescribed surgical garments as directed and limiting intake of foods/beverages that are high in salt can also help manage swelling. While post-surgical swelling is a normal side effect of surgery, our office will provide you with detailed instructions to help you control these effects and achieve the smoothest recovery possible.

How is breast lift surgery different from breast reduction?

Breast lift surgery and breast reduction surgery can sometimes offer similar benefits, but they are quite different in terms of what they are designed to accomplish. Breast lift surgery focuses on treating breast ptosis (sagging) by raising the breasts to a more youthful and vibrant position. Breast reduction surgery focuses on reducing the size of breasts that are too large or heavy for one’s body frame. While, for some patients, there can be a lifting effect that results from breast reduction surgery, the procedure is primarily designed to reduce breast size for a more proportionate aesthetic balance and to alleviate physical discomforts caused by overly large breasts.

If you are interested in breast lift surgery, or a combination breast surgery, contact Dr. Rowin or Dr. Kalus at Plastic Surgery of the Carolinas to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Dr. Ram Kalus on Combining Chiropractic Care with Breast Reduction

In a recent YouTube video, Dr. Ram Kalus spoke with Dr. Stephen Khouri, a well-known chiropractor in Charleston, about the... Continue Reading

This Month, Help Us in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time for people around the world to learn and spread awareness about this... Continue Reading