Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

What is a Breast Lift?

by Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez

The breasts are like the rest of the body in that they sag with age. The structures that support the breast become stretched and weaker. Sagging can be exacerbated by childbirth, genetics, stretch marks on the breast skin, weight gain, and weight loss. It is normal for the breasts to sag with age.

Ever since I breast fed my children, I noticed that my breasts sag

-a Maryland patient

The structures that support the breast are the breast skin and the ligaments that hold the breast to the muscle beneath. The breast ligaments can not be reliably repaired, so we focus on the skin. Some of the breast skin is removed and the nipple and breast tissue are raised, which results in a lifting of the breasts.

How do I know if I'm a candidate for a breast lift procedure?

Many women say that they dislike the scooped out appearance of the breasts and the loss of fullness in the upper part of the breast. Others are seeking a breast lift to regain the full, pert, projecting breast that they had in their teens.

If you like the size of your breast post-pregnancy, you may be a candidate for a breast lift. If, however, you liked that your breasts were fuller during pregnancy, you may be a candidate for a breast augmentation or a breast lift with implants. For additional post-pregnancy breast information and advice see our blog post, After pregnancy: Breast Lift or Breast Aug?.

To determine if you could benefit from a breast lift we take a measurement during consultation to see how much your breasts sag. We measure from the center of the nipple to the sternal notch to gauge how far the nipple has fallen. The standard young breast has been determined to have a measurement of about 8" (or 21 cm) from nipple to sternal notch.

You can measure this on yourself. If you find that the distance is greater than 8 inches, try moving the nipple up to this level with your opposite hand to give yourself a very rough idea of the final position following a breast lift procedure. In reality, many other factors are considered and the final result may also differ due to stretching of the skin.

Can I get rid of the stretch marks on my breast?

The breast skin gets stretched when the breast gets bigger, either because of pregnancy or weight gain. Sometimes this leads to the formation of stretch marks, which are actually tears in the deeper layers of the skin.

Yes, some of the stretch marks which you see on the skin of the breasts will be surgically eliminated with the breast lift procedure since some of the breast skin (which includes the stretch marks)is removed.

I heard there are different ways to lift the breast. Which way is best for me?

The further the breast has fallen, the more extensive the surgery will be. We generally perform the breast lift by one of three ways:

  • crescent mastopexy
  • benelli mastopexy
  • vertical lollipop mastopexy

crescent mastopexy When the nipple has fallen only slightly, you may be a candidate for a crescent mastopexy. This procedure involves removing a small crescent of breast skin and breast tissue directly above the areola (the colored area around the nipple). You are left with a small scar above the areola. See Dr. Rodriguez explain the crescent breast lift as an option for mild asymmetry in What is a Crescent Lift Mastopexy?.

Benelli mastopexy If the nipple must be moved a little higher the best procedure may be the circumareolar mastopexy of Benelli. This involves removing a donut shaped piece of skin around the areola and attaching the remaining breast skin. The scar is circular and encompasses the areola. This procedure is also sometimes referred to as a Benelli breast lift or a Donut mastopexy.

vertical lollipop mastopexy The last approach is the best for severe breast ptosis (droop). In this approach the skin is removed around the areola and also on the lower part of the breast gland. The scar is around the areola and also vertically down the front of the breast, as a 'lollipop' scar.

What about the scarring? What is the best technique to reduce scarring?

Scarring is a common concern. For this reason many women request a breast lift with smaller scars, such as the 'benelli' or 'lollipop' scars. We perform these techniques exclusively and feel the results compare favorably to the 'inverted t' or 'anchor scar'. Using the benelli or lollipop methods will not only result in less scarring, but these techniques will also give you a better breast shape.

When doing a breast lift, the technique used and the skill of the surgeon determines the amount of scarring. To get a good idea of the various techniques and the types of scars associated with each technique see Dr. Rodriguez's blog post, Breast Surgery: What type of scar do I get with different breast techniques?.

Before and After Breast Lift Photos

See our gallery of  Before and After Breast Lift photos, all performed by Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with over 20 years experience. Please note that all of these patients have given their written consent to use the photos at our web site. We are very grateful to our patients for participating in patient education!

How much does the breast lift surgery cost?

The total cost for Breast Lift surgery ranges from $4700-$6100 depending upon the type of lift you have performed.

Can I finance my breast lift procedure?

Yes, we work with several finance companies. Please call the office at 410-494-8100 or see our financing section to find out more information.

Make arrangements for your breast lift consultation with Dr. Rodriguez in Baltimore by giving us a call at 410-494-8100. We also offer a virtual consultation option.