Doctors of USF Health

Plastic Surgery

Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

What is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift is also known as a mastopexy. It is a surgical procedure performed to raise and reshape the breasts. Factors such as age or nursing can cause the breasts to lose their shape and firmness. Over time, this may cause the breasts to sag. Mastopexy can be an effective treatment to make the breasts firmer and shapelier.

Who is a good candidate for a Breast Lift?

Candidates must be in good health, have no active diseases or serious, pre-existing medical conditions, and must have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery. Typically, patients who benefit most from mastopexy have stretched skin and reduced breast volume caused by aging. You should not have a mastopexy if you plan to lose a significant amount of weight. Women who are currently pregnant or nursing should not have a mastopexy.

NOTE: You may not be a candidate for surgery if you smoke, have recently quit smoking, or if you are exposed to second-hand smoke. Primary and secondary smoking decreases blood flow to the body's tissues. This can result in prolonged wound healing, skin loss, infection, increased scarring, and a number of other complications depending on the kind of procedure performed. In regards to mastopexy, there can be delayed wound healing resulting in unsightly scarring and skin loss and potential nipple loss necessitating skin graft. In all cases of patients exposed to smoke or directly smoking, wounds do not heal in the normal length of time. Wound healing can be prolonged, as long as 3-4 months.

How is this procedure performed?

There are many variations in technique, depending on the degree of sagging and other physical features of the breast. The number and length of the scars will vary with the technique. The most frequently used procedure involves three incisions - first around the areola, then from the nipple to the breast crease, and a third along the breast crease. In some cases the scar may be limited to the circular incision around the areola. The incisions outline the area from which skin will be removed and define the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the new position and the skin surrounding the areola is brought together to reshape the breast.

Options for Breast Implants

A breast lift may be done in conjunction with breast augmentation. This helps lift the breast by increasing the volume of the contents of the breast.