What is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift removes some of the skin and raises the nipple and breast tissue, which results in a lifting and firming of the breasts.

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 cannot be reliably repaired, so we focus on the skin. Some of the breast skin is removed and the nipple and breast tissue are raised, resulting in a lifting of the breasts.

What primary concerns does a breast lift address?

Many women say 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.

  • sagging or drooping breasts
  • downward pointing nipples
  • unsightly stretch marks
  • overly enlarged areolas

Am I a good candidate for a breast lift?

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.

If you like the size of your breasts post-pregnancy, you may be a candidate for a breast lift. If, however, you liked how 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?.

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.

How is a breast lift performed?

There are different surgical techniques used to lift the breast. To determine which is best suited for you, you'll need to discuss your options during a breast lift consult. In general, the further the breast has fallen, the more extensive the surgery will be. I generally perform the breast lift by one of three ways:

  • 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 Scarring?

We use benelli or lollipop techniques to minimize scarring

-Dr. Rodriguez

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 are superior compared 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 final 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?.

What type of anesthesia is used?

All breast lift surgeries are performed in my AAAASF accredited, Medicare Certified, out-patient surgery center, located right next to my office. For the utmost level of safety, anesthesia is administered by Board Certified Anesthesiologist. I do not use CRNA's. I prefer the use of monitored IV-sedation instead of General Anesthesia because it quickens recovery immediately following surgery, reduces post operative nausea, and there's no endotrachael tube down your airway. To learn more about the difference between IV sedation and General Anesthesia, watch this video from one of our Board Certified Anesthesiologists.

What are the pre-operative requirements?

After you're consultation, you'll be able to work with our patient coordinator to schedule your breast lift. We require all of our patients to get medical clearance two weeks prior to surgery. An H&P (history and physical) and a CBC blood test are the minimum requirements for healthy adults. You should stop smoking four weeks prior to surgery and stop aspirin products at least one week prior to surgery. You will also be instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the evening before your surgery.

What is recovery like following a breast lift?

Following your breast lift, you'll be asked to wear supporting garments to help minimize swelling and will likely have a drain to help remove excess fluid. It important to follow all post-op instructions and to attend scheduled follow-up appointments.

  • drain removal and bandage change at post op day 2-3
  • wear supporting surgical bra/garment as instructed to help minimize swelling
  • minimum of 1 week off from work
  • follow up office visits at week 1, month 1, month 4, and 1 year
  • bruising and swelling for up to six weeks
  • return to regular exercise after week 4

What are the risks and potential complications?

As with any surgery, a breast lift poses certain risks and complications including, but not limited to:

  • infection
  • fluid accumulation
  • poor incision healing
  • scarring
  • asymmetry

How much does a breast lift cost?

The total cost for breast lift surgery ranges from $4000-$6500, depending upon the type of lift you have performed and how extensive the lift will be. More extensive surgery takes more time in the Operating Room, thus the cost is greater. Some patients have only mild ptosis requiring only a 'mini-lift', while others have severe breast drooping well below the inframammary fold . The total cost includes the surgeon's fee, the surgical center fee, the board certified anesthesiologist, and follow-up office visits. Here is a total cost guide:

  • Mini Breast Lift: $4000-$4400
  • Regular Breast Lift: $6000-$6500

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.

Before and After Breast Lift Photos

before and after breast lift using vertical scar techniqueSee our gallery of Before and After Breast Lift photos, all performed here in our fully accredited and licensed surgery center. 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!

Having your breast lift surgery in Baltimore

Contact UsGive us a call at 410-494-8100 or contact us online. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have about the breast lift procedure as well as make arrangements for you to have a consultation to discuss your specifics with us here in Baltimore. We also offer a virtual consultation option for out-of-town patients or patients who cannot otherwise visit us in person for the intial consult.

doctor's signatureUpdated August 13, 2015
Ricardo L Rodriguez
Board Certified Plastic Surgery