Breast lift scar options

In plastic surgery, scars are always a concern and a good surgeon will discuss all of your options, including what types of scars are likely to result from any surgical plan. Years ago I wrote about the various surgical techniques related to breast procedures. Today I’d like to concentrate on the Breast lift, specifically, and the types of scars associated with Breast lifts.

For women who are wanting a breast lift, scars are always one of the main concerns, so I’m going to answer this common question here.

What type of scar will I get with a breast lift procedure?

Any procedure that lifts the breast will require the surgeon to make an incision and that incision will leave a scar on your breast. In most cases, the scar will eventually fade and the positive aesthetic outcome of the ‘lifted’ breast will far surpass the remnants of a scar. But the fact is, you will have a scar following a breast lift (whether or not an implant is involved in the procedure). In fact, breast lifting actually occurs in breast reductions, too.

Surgical technique determines scar shape

Any procedure that lifts the breast will require the surgeon to make incisions to change the breast shape so that the breast is lifted. There are three different surgical approaches that can theoretically be performed for procedures that lift the breast:

  • Benelli scar
  • Vertical scar
  • Inverted T (Wise pattern)
A diagram showing breast lift surgical techniques and scars.

The figure below describes the incision pattern and what the scars look like after completion of surgery. Each surgical technique will leave you with a distinct type of scar.

In the top row, the white lines are the skin incision pattern, or the cut out pattern of how your surgeon will excise the skin. The pink is the area of the actual skin and tissue that he removes during surgery.

As you can see in the diagram, the Benelli pattern takes out the least amount of skin, and the Inverted T (Wise-pattern) takes out the most skin. The bottom row illustrates what the scars will most likely look like after surgery. To summarize:

  • Benelli scar is around the areola, forming the border of the areola
  • Vertical scar is visible in the middle underside of the breast
  • Inverted T (Wise-pattern) has two scars, a vertical and a horizontal

Which scar looks the best?

If you are looking for the best looking scar, or the smallest scar, that would be the Benelli. This is eventually a ‘hidden scar’ as it will eventually fade into the nipple line. Most patients are also happy with the vertical scar as the scar is on the underside of the breast, and not exposed horizontally on the chest wall. In my opinion, the least attractive scar is the Inverted T technique (Wise pattern), which is really two scars.

Complication rates scars

The most commonly used incision pattern in the U.S. is the Inverted T, also known as the Wise pattern or Anchor pattern. For the most part this is simply because the Wise pattern has been in existence for many decades while the other techniques are younger and, therefore, not as widely adopted.

Recently I read an article on Medscape from the journal “Wounds” about wound healing problems in Breast reduction and Breast lift (Mastopexy). The article, Treatment of wounds following breast reduction and mastopexy with subsequent wound dehiscence with charged polystyrene microspheres, cited that the use of the Inverted T technique (Wise pattern) has a 10% wound complication rate. IMO, that is a pretty high complication rate, and it is much higher than the other two techniques, the Vertical scar and the Benelli technique. In my practice, the wound rate with the other scars is less than 5%.

Inverted T (Wise pattern) scar

Because of the large pattern of skin cutout with the Inverted T scar (Wise-pattern) the scar complication can look really bad. Here is a photo of one of these wounds using this surgical technique. Although it is not a life threatening problem, this wound complication at the incision location could certainly look very scary to the patient. In addition to scars, this procedure also tends to flatten the breast, instead of making them perky. I no longer perform this technique in my practice as I feel that the other surgical techniques are far superior.

A collages of photos showing a breast scar complication.
Inverted T Scar complication in a breast reduction

As shown in the figure above (Source: Wounds, HMP communications, as seen in Medscape), this pattern cuts out the most skin and leaves the most scarring. The wound breakdown is usually where the vertical and horizontal scars underneath the breast come together. The photograph is worth a thousand words.

Vertical scar (aka Lassus technique)

Less common is the Vertical scar technique, which has less scarring than the Wise pattern, but has a vertical scar visible in the middle underside of the breast. The vertical scar has the advantage that it can give the breast a better shape and the scar does eventually fade with time. I use this technique primarily for breast lifts and breast reductions of any size.

For breast lift with implants, the implant itself gives such great shape to the breast, that the Benelli is truly the best choice of technique .  The vertical scar can have wound complications, but because the scar area is so much smaller than the Inverted T scar (Wise pattern), the complications are much easier to manage.

Benelli scar

Very few surgeons use the Benelli scar because it is technically more difficult. I like it because the scar is well camouflaged as it forms the border of the areola. The only downside with this type of scar is that it can not be used in large Breast reductions. However, it is ideal for small Breast reductions, Breast lifts, and Breast lift with implants.

Most importantly, in cases of breast lifts with implants, there are hardly any wound complications with this technique. There’s a good reason for this. When you add an implant to a Breast lift, you are filling up the skin envelope and, as a result, you do not need to take out much skin at all. You really only need to take out enough skin to move the areola to the new position higher up. The procedure is safer, and has less scars. That’s why the Benelli is my favorite.

Please remember, all patients should discuss what types of outcomes they can expect, including scar expectations, with with their plastic surgeon prior to having breast lift surgery. Knowing ahead of time where your scars will be placed and what they will look like is just as important as knowing what kind of results you can expect from any plastic surgery.

Knowing what to expect

If you are contemplating a breast lift, with or without an implant, be sure to discuss your goals and objectives, very specifically, including the type of scar you should expect following surgery. Your surgeon should be able to show you exactly where your scar will be. He/she should be willing to discuss your options, describe his surgical techniques, and answer any other questions you have about your breast lift.

Please see our before and after photos for Breast Lift, Breast Lift with Implants, and Breast Reduction.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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19 thoughts on “Breast lift scar options”

  • Natalie ford says:

    Hi I am looking at having an uplift with high profile implant around 300/350 c but do not want the vertical scarring , would prefer the bennelli procedure , is this something you could help with , I live in the U.K. But this type of surgery isn't available here !
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Natalie: We have plenty of patients from overseas so we have worked the mechanics of staying around town for a few days after surgery. We do the Bennelli almost exclusively for our lifts. If you are interested contact Kelly at and we can set up a virtual consult with Skype or FaceTime. Looking forward to it!
  • Daja smith says:

    Ive for the most part always had big boobs and i hated them , I want them lifted alot but i dont want that T shaped scarring , i want them done to look better thatd just make another upcoming issue . I was a 40DD gained wait and my boobs got to 40G i lost the weight now my boobs are just saggy instead of as full and big as they use to be . So about how much would it cost with minimal scarring and is it possible to get the benelli incision with how big my boobs are ?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Data: The Bennelli scar is better for smaller breasts. I has the disadvantage that it tends to flatten the breasts somewhat. The lollipop scar gives a more shaped and perky breast. Again, thanks for the interest.
  • Daja smith says:

    Ive for the most part always had big boobs and i hated them , I want them lifted alot but i dont want that T shaped scarring , i want them done to look better thatd just make another upcoming issue . I was a 40DD gained wait and my boobs got to 40G i lost the weight now my boobs are just saggy instead of as full and big as they use to be . So about how much
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Data: We do a vertical scar breast reduction ("lollipop" scar). I assume you mean how much it costs? Kelly at will get in contact with you for that info. If you have insurance, the insurance company may or may not reimburse you for part of the cost. Thanks for your interest!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Mary: I will put you in contact with Kelly at so she can give you all the info. Thanks for checking out our blog!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Natasha: It all depends on wether you are doing just a lift or wether you are doing a lift and an augmentation. It also matters wether you are having fat injections to the breasts. In any case, I have forwarded your email to Kelly at and she will be more than happy to help you.
  • Liturname says:

    Hi.. I have done my breast lift surgery with highly cohesive silicone gel implant from a clinic in Toronto. Dr. Sammy Sliwin suggested this implant as it will not leak even if the outer shell becomes torn. I recovered within few weeks and he also assured that breast augmentation generally does not interfere with my ability to breastfeed.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Liturname: Great! Sammy is a great guy and I know him well. I'm sure he did a great job!
  • Lorraine says:

    Very informative article about breast lift scar. I will be undergoing breast lift surgery soon in a clinic in Toronto, had initial consultation with my surgeon Dr. Ronald Levine last week and he had given an idea about these surgical techniques. And I prefer the Benelli scar but don't know how successful it would be as it is technically more difficult. Hope everything would go well.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Lorraine: I have done the Bennelli technique for 10 years and have worked through many of the technical difficulties so that now the procedure is routine for me. The key thing for me has been the use of Quill barbed sutures. That has made all the difference in the world. FYI, Augmentation and lift has a rate of anywhere from 24% to 50% of needing touch-ups. Mine hovers at the lower edge, 24%. But whatever the revision rate is, when you use a Benelli, you have A LOT less scaring at the end, and that to me is worth a lot.
  • Sophie says:

    Thank you for the article it will allow those who are willing to do a breast lift to know all the important details. And most of all to learn that they must not trust any doctor for the surgery.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Sophie: What is most important is to get opinions from more than one Surgeon before deciding who is better suited.
  • Joseph Racanelli says:

    Very informative article. People should be armed with as much information as possible before undergoing any invasive procedure. Scarring is a huge concern because different people heal differently. Good to know that there are choices one can make so that the scarring isn’t too visible.
  • Kriztina says:

    Hi dr I had injection done and they are becoming hard balls now I have lots of discoloration of the skin what can I do can I still get a fat transfer after all this and will those dark color go away all I do is cry
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Kriztina: I think we will need to get more details and pictures before I can give you a good idea of what we can do. Contact Kelly at and she will let you know how to set up a virtual consult. We would love to help you.