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Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery

Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Surgery by Dr. Stevn Williams at Tri Valley Plastic Surgery

Actual Patient

Surgical procedure designed to raise and reshape sagging breasts to a higher position and more youthful shape.
Length of Surgery 2-3 hours
In/Outpatient Usually outpatient
Anesthesia Usually General
Duration of results Long lasting, however weight loss/gain, pregnancy, and age may reduce surgical results over time.

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Am I a candidate for breast lift surgery?

Women who undergo breast lift surgery are looking to increase the breast volume they have lost in recent years, and improve the stretched skin around the breast area. Ideal breast lift candidates are :
  1. Patients at least 18 years of age (or done with breast development).
  2. Healthy individuals who are not suffering from a life-threatening illness or any other medical conditions that could impair healing and recovery.
  3. Non-smokers
  4. Candidates who are not pregnant or breast-feeding.
  5. It is also recommended that candidates considering breast lift surgery be at a stable weight and be reasonably close to their ideal body weight.

Before undergoing a breast lift operation, it is important that as a patient you understand what a breast lift procedure entails. If in doubt ask Dr. Williams to discuss specific issues.

What is a breast lift procedure?

Breast lift (mastopexy): A cosmetic surgical procedure where Dr. Williams restructures breasts that have lost their original shape and appear to have an element of sagging (ptosis) or loss of volume to them. It is not designed to reduce the size or weight of breasts as would a breast reduction procedure.

Over time a woman’s breasts may change. Many factors can bring about a loss of youthful shape and firmness to the breasts, and loss of skin elasticity such as pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight fluctuations and weight gain, aging and natural gravity and heredity. Sometimes a woman in her teens may experience loose sagging breast tissue due to simple genetics.

For women seeking to restore the firmness and shape of their breasts, a breast lift procedure also known as a mastopexy may be a good option. A breast lift procedure raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. Sometimes the areola (the pigmented skin surrounding the nipples) can become enlarged over time; a breast lift will reduce this appearance as well. A breast lift can rejuvenate the female figure by giving a profile that is more youthful, uplifted and firm.

A breast lift is an ideal choice for women who wish to improve the shape and the position of their breasts. If an increase in volume and size is desired breast implants may also be inserted in conjunction with a breast lift.

Breast lift procedures can also address asymmetries in shape and position of the breast.

Preparing for breast lift surgery

Dr. Williams and the Tri Valley Plastic Surgery team will carefully explain your Breast Lift Operation with you at your initial consultation. Prior to surgery you may be asked to:

  1. Get a lab testing or medical evaluation
  2. Take certain medications or adjust you current medications
  3. Get a baseline mammogram before surgery (depending on age and breast health history)
  4. Stop smoking well in advance of surgery (at least 3 months prior to surgery)
  5. Avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin and herbal supplements as they may increase bleeding

You may also receive special instructions prior to surgery which include:

  1. What to do on the day of your breast lift surgery
  2. Post-operative care and follow-up instructions

Dr. Williams performs breast lift surgery in an accredited outpatient/ambulatory hospital surgical center.

Breast lift surgery procedure steps

A breast lift is a highly individualized procedure achieved through a variety of incision patterns and techniques. The appropriate technique for your individual case will be determined on your breast size and shape, the size and the position of your areola, the degree of your breast sagging, and your skin quality and skin elasticity as well as the amount of extra skin. Dr. Williams will review your incision options to maximize your cosmetic result.

Breast lift surgical steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures.

Step 2 – The incision
  1. Incision pattern for a breast lift will be determined based on individual breast size and shape, excess skin and skin elasticity of the individual patient in order to achieve realistic goals.
  2. The incision may include a circle around the areola, a line extending down the lower portion of the breast from the areola to the crease underneath the breast and a line along the crease of the breast (sometimes described as an anchor pattern or Wise pattern incision).
  3. Though this incision pattern is the most powerful and most common, not every patient will require all of the incisions mentioned above. It is possible to perform a breast lift through an incision around the areola only, or through a combination of incisions around the areola and a vertical incision down the lower portion of the breast.
  4. Once the excess skin is removed, the breast tissue is reshaped and lifted and the remaining skin tightened as the incisions are closed.
  5. Some incisions resulting from breast lift are concealed in the natural breast contours; others are visible on the breast surface.
  6. Absorbable sutures are layered deep within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts, absorbable sutures and surgical tape may be used to close the skin.
  7. Incision lines are permanent but in most cases fade and improve significantly with time.
Step 3 - Results

The results of breast lift surgery are immediately visible. Over time post-surgical swelling will subside and resolve, and incision lines will gradually refine in appearance. Patients experience an immediate satisfaction at their results, and experience fulfillment in self-confidence and personal body image in achieving their goal for an uplifted breast profile.

Breast lift surgery recovery and healing steps

Once your breast lift procedure is completed, the surgical areas will be covered in dressings. You may have to wear a support bra for the first week or two, avoiding underwire.

Breast lift recovery times vary from patient to patient. Initial breast lift recovery may include swelling and slight discomfort at the incision sites and in breast tissue overall. It is quite common to experience discomfort which can be controlled with medication.

The Tri Valley Plastic Surgery team will advise you of:
  1. How to care for the breasts following surgery.
  2. Medications to apply or to take orally to reduce the risk of infection
  3. Specific changes at the surgical site or in overall health
  4. Follow up consultation with Dr. Williams

A return to light and normal activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, (usually a few days after surgery), however initial wound healing may take between 5 to 10 days. You will be able to return to work and resume normal activity after this time. It is advisable not to engage in any vigorous exercise or activity or heavy lifting within 4 to 6 weeks after your procedure to avoid bleeding complications.

Breast lift recovery times can take up to several weeks as swelling slowly resolves. Incision lines will gradually fade; although they remain permanent they are often inconspicuous.

Breast lift side effects and surgery risks

The decision to have breast lift surgery is an personal one and you will have to decide if the surgery will achieve your goals and expectations. Risks and potential complications are possible and it is advised that you discuss these in detail with Dr. Williams and the Tri Valley Plastic Surgery team.

At Tri Valley Plastic Surgery, we often perform breast lift procedures and have an exceptional safety and cosmetic track record. However, in order to make an informed decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible side-effects and the risk of complications.

Breast lift side effects

These are the unwanted, but mostly temporary effects of a successful treatment, for example, feeling sick as a result of the general anesthetic.

For a few weeks after surgery, your breasts will feel sore, swollen and hard, and you may feel a burning sensation in your nipples.

You will have scars, they will be pink and noticeable at first, but should gradually fade.

Breast lift risks
  1. Unfavorable scarring
  2. Bleeding (hematoma)
  3. Infection
  4. Poor healing of incisions
  5. Changes in nipples or breast sensation – rare and typically temporary but can be permanent
  6. Skin discoloration, pigmentation changes, swelling and bruising
  7. Breast asymmetry
  8. Fluid accumulation
  9. Excessive firmness of the breast
  10. Potential or partial or total loss of the nipple or areola
  11. Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  12. Pain

It is possible that you still won't be satisfied with your appearance after the operation.

All surgery carries risks associated with Anesthesia. These and additional risks will be discussed prior to your consent.

The exact risks are specific to you and will differ for every person. We're happy to take the time to explain how these risks apply to you.


The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) American Board of Plastic Surgery Yale University Plastic Surgery Yale School of Medicine American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Expert Reviewer of California Medical Board
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