What is a Breast Lift?
Breast lift, also known as ‘breast uplift’, and ‘mastopexy’, is a surgical procedure often considered by women after experiencing significant changes in their breasts after pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Over time, the breast’s shape and firmness can undergo significant changes, particularly an increase in droopiness. Apart from pregnancy, several other causes can affect the shape of the breasts, including changes in weight, genetics, and the natural ageing process can significantly affect the shape of breasts, thus diminishing their youthful appearance. The skin envelope overlying the breasts naturally diminishes in elasticity over the years. This gradually causes the breasts to droop and is often associated with the breasts taking on a pendular appearance. The reduction in volume will often cause the nipples to drop to a lower position with a possible increase in areola diameter. Large breasts tend to be more prone to sagging compared to smaller breasts, although any woman may experience these issues. The changes leading to breast atrophy are permanent in nature.
RELATED: Breast Lift FAQs – Q&A about Mastopexy Surgery
View our breast lift patient education video
Fortunately, there is a robust solution in the form of a breast uplift which can dramatically restore a more lifted and youthful appearance to the female chest. In most breast lift procedures, the surgeon will perform an enhanced correction to compensate for the breasts falling into their natural position once the swelling from surgery settles down. The net effect from a breast lift is a more ‘perkier’ and prominent breast mound which has a more natural appearance in harmony with the structure of the chest.
Breast lift surgery, otherwise known as a mastopexy, lifts the breast and involves the removal of excess skin with tightening of the surrounding tissue. While a breast lift does not make the breasts any bigger in size, it does make the breasts feel firm and can appear more youthful. A breast reduction is identical in the types of incisions used, but in addition to the removal of skin, the surgeon removes underlying breast tissue to reduce the size of the breasts. Breast lift surgery is also commonly combined with breast augmentation for women who have both volume loss and drooping of the breasts.
If you want your breasts to look bigger, you may wish to undertake a breast augmentation, breast augmentation, and uplift or fat transfer to the breasts.
|Breast lift||Fast facts|
|Procedure time ⏳||2-3 hours|
|Anaesthetic type 💉||General anaesthetic|
|Length of stay 🛏||Day case|
|Up and mobile 🚶🏻♂️||Same day|
|Washing 🛁||1 week|
|Travel ✈️||3 weeks|
|Sexual activity ❤️||6 weeks|
|Driving 🚗||1 week|
|Back to work 📅||3 days (desk work)|
|Postoperative garment 👕||6 weeks|
|Sleeping 😴||On back 2 weeks|
|Exercise 🏃🏽♀️||4 weeks|
|Full recovery 🕺🏻||6 weeks|
|Final results 😃||6-12 weeks|
Breast Lift Before and After Photos
At Centre for Surgery, we only show photos of breast lift patients that have given full written consent allowing the use of their images on our website.
What is Breast Ptosis?
Breast ptosis, also known as sagging breasts or drooping breasts, is a common condition in which the breasts lose their shape and firmness over time. This can occur as a result of factors such as aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss or gain, and genetics.
What are the different grades of breast ptosis?
There are four grades of breast ptosis, or sagging, as defined by the Regnault Classification:
Grade 1: Mild ptosis, where the nipple is at or above the inframammary fold (the crease beneath the breast), and the breast maintains a good shape.
Grade 2: Moderate ptosis, where the nipple is below the inframammary fold but still above the lower pole of the breast. The breast may appear less full and shapely.
Grade 3: Severe ptosis, where the nipple is at or below the inframammary fold, and the breast appears flattened and elongated.
Grade 4: Very severe ptosis, where the nipple is at or below the level of the inframammary fold, and the breast appears pendulous and empty with a flattened lower pole.
In some cases, ptosis may be accompanied by a loss of breast volume or asymmetry in the size and shape of the breasts.
Breast ptosis can have a significant impact on a woman’s self-esteem and can also make it difficult to find clothing that fits well. For women who are self-conscious about the appearance of their sagging breasts, breast lift surgery, also known as Mastopexy, may be an option.
The procedure involves removing excess skin and repositioning the nipple and areola to a higher position on the breast. In some cases, the surgeon may also use breast implants to restore lost volume or reshape the breast tissue.
It’s important to have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your individual case. They will examine your breast and give you advice on the most appropriate procedure for you, the risks and benefits and the results you can expect.
Will I need a Breast Lift or Breast Implants?
Breast enhancement procedures generally fall into two categories: breast lift and breast augmentation with implants. While a breast lift involves tightening the skin envelope with the removal of excess skin, breast augmentation is designed to increase the volume of the breasts with a silicone implant.
- Breast lift surgery focuses on correcting breast droopiness. A breast implant surgery is designed to increase the size of the breasts.
- The incisions for a full breast lift are more extensive than those for a breast augmentation.
- Breast lift surgery results in a more natural appearance of the breast
- Breast lift surgery is a great option for women who are happy with the size of their breasts
- A breast lift can be combined with breast augmentation, either in the same procedure or as a 2 stage procedure
- While a breast augmentation can slightly lift the breasts, particularly if the implants are placed on top of the muscle, only a breast lift can address all types of breast sagging from mild to severe
- Although the breast lift procedure takes longer to perform and involves more incisions, the recovery process is a lot quicker compared with breast implant surgery
Questions to ask at your breast lift consultation
At your consultation for a mastopexy, you will have the opportunity to ask key questions to help you form a better idea of how the breast uplift procedure can benefit you and whether it is the right procedure for you. The consultation with the plastic surgeon is the most important part of the decision-making process.
The following are possible questions you could ask your surgeon:
- Is the mastopexy procedure right for me?
- Do I have realistic expectations based on my breast shape
- Is one procedure enough to give me the shape I want?
- Do you have before and after pictures I can view of similar patients?
- What is the recovery period like after breast uplift surgery?
- Do you offer continuous nursing support after the procedure?
- What side effects can I expect in terms of bruising, swelling, and numbness?
- What happens if I am unhappy with the outcome of a breast uplift?
Types of breast lift
As a result of degeneration of the breast tissue (medically known as breast ptosis), the breasts will appear hollow, flat, or stretched out. The effects will vary depending on the shape and size of your breast and may be more noticeable with those who have larger breasts. This occurs naturally as you age but can also occur due to factors such as breastfeeding, pregnancy, genetics, and lifestyle choices. This can often negatively impact women’s self-esteem, confidence, and body image. The solution for this is a breast lift.
Mini breast lift vs Full breast lift
There are a variety of breast lifts that you can choose from, which include minimally invasive procedures or major surgical options.
The breast lift can be performed in one of four ways:
The crescent mastopexy is performed without mobilising the areola and can address minor asymmetries and can be used to minimise scars for patients with mild to moderate ptosis.
The doughnut mastopexy can be a great option if the nipple and areola are not wide and do not need to be raised more than 2cm. The procedure can be used to minimise scarring of the area around the areola and preserve the nipple-areola sensation. The surgery is also much shorter compared with the more major types of breast lifts. A doughnut breast lift can be combined with a breast implant in a single stage to raise the nipple and areola and simultaneously increase breast volume and projection.
The lollipop or vertical breast lift is a more powerful technique with a greater ability to remove loose skin. There is less tension on the doughnut incision. The vertical breast lift is a good option for patients with moderate to significant ptosis of the breast.
The inverted T or anchor lift is the most invasive type of breast lift and has the greatest ability to correct severe ptosis by removing excess skin and elevation of the nipple. A breast lift is ideal for moderate to severe breast drooping. The technique is particularly useful for massive weight loss patients. A downside of the inverted T lift is the significant scar burden with periareolar, vertical, and horizontal components. There is a small risk of minor wound breakdown at the inverted T junction, which is easily treated with regular dressing changes.
The first two techniques are mini lifts, while the latter 2 are more complete breast lifts. These techniques will ensure you achieve the desired results while having minimal scarring. Your surgeon will determine the most appropriate method for you. Any prominent scarring can be addressed with several scar management techniques, including laser scar reduction, offered at the Centre for Surgery.
When deciding on which technique you should choose, you will need to think about several things, including:
- The size and shape of your breasts
- How much lift will be required
- How much skin elasticity do you have
- Your preferences
The breast lift aims to make the breasts sit higher, increase their firmness, and look more youthful.
Am I suitable?
Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is a procedure that is used to reshape and raise sagging breasts. It is typically recommended for women who have experienced changes in the shape and position of their breasts due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, or ageing.
To determine whether you are a suitable candidate for breast lift surgery, your surgeon will likely consider several factors, including:
- The size and shape of your breasts: A breast lift can be performed on women with various breast sizes and shapes, but the results may be more dramatic in women with larger breasts.
- The degree of sagging: A breast lift can correct a range of sagging, from mild to severe.
- Your skin elasticity: Women with good skin elasticity tend to achieve better results from a breast lift than women with less elastic skin.
- Your overall health: You will need to be in good general health to undergo breast lift surgery.
- Your expectations and goals: You should have realistic expectations about what a breast lift can achieve and be committed to maintaining a stable weight and healthy lifestyle after the surgery to maintain the results.
It’s important to consult with a specialist plastic surgeon at Centre for Surgery to discuss your individual case. They will examine your breast and advise you on the most appropriate procedure for you, the risks and benefits and the results you can expect.
It’s also worth mentioning that a breast lift may be combined with breast augmentation or reduction surgery to achieve the desired results.
It’s important to note that breast lift surgery is not recommended for women who are planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding in the future, as pregnancy and breastfeeding can reverse the effects of the surgery.
Preparation for Breast Lift
Preparing for a breast lift, also known as mastopexy, can help ensure that you have the best possible outcome from the surgery. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for your breast lift:
- Schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon: During your consultation, your surgeon will examine your breasts, discuss your goals and expectations, and determine whether a breast lift is a right procedure for you. They will also explain the risks and benefits of the surgery, as well as the potential recovery time.
- Stop smoking: If you smoke, it is important to quit at least six weeks before your surgery. Smoking can interfere with healing and increase the risk of complications.
- Avoid taking certain medications: Certain medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of medications to avoid before the surgery.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first day or two after surgery: After a breast lift, you will likely experience some pain and discomfort and will not be able to drive or care for yourself for a few days.
- Prepare your home for recovery: You will need to rest and avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activities for several weeks after the surgery. So, it’s important to arrange your home to make it comfortable and easily accessible during your recovery.
- Prepare your wardrobe: You will be wearing a surgical bra for several weeks after the surgery, and your clothing options will be limited, so it’s important to have comfortable clothing that will fit over the bandages and surgical bra.
- Follow all pre-operative instructions provided by your surgeon: These instructions will include detailed information on preparing for your surgery and will be provided to you before your procedure.
Preparing for a breast lift can take some time, but it’s worth the effort to ensure you’re comfortable and have a smooth recovery. It’s important to remember that breast lift surgery is a serious procedure, and it’s important to follow all pre and post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure the best possible outcome.
Breast Lift Surgical Technique
Your breast lift surgery will be performed in our central London Baker Street facility as an outpatient, which means you will be admitted and discharged on the same day.
The benefits of outpatient cosmetic surgery
You will receive general anaesthesia, and the procedure typically takes 3 hours to perform. If the breast lift is combined with additional procedures, the surgery may be longer. Breast enlargement with uplift takes about 4 hours to perform. A general anaesthetic means you will be comfortably asleep for the procedure.
Breast lift step by step:
STEP 1: For a full breast uplift, the surgeon will make an incision encircling the areola, which then goes vertically downward from the nipple and then runs horizontally across the breast crease. This pattern is known as the ‘anchor type’ incision.
STEP 2: The surgeon then removes skin and fat according to the shape to be achieved.
STEP 3: The surgeon then repositions the nipple upwards into a more natural position that is more forward-facing.
STEP 4: Incision closure. Once the surgeon is satisfied with the overall shape, the incisions will then be closed using dissolvable sutures with special sutures to minimise visible scarring.
What is an augmentation mastopexy?
After the surgery, you will be able to notice the breasts appear fuller. However, the final results will not be visible until the swelling completely goes down.
Breast lift with implants
If you wish, you can combine breast augmentation and a breast lift and undergo a procedure known as an augmentation mastopexy. This is a good option for women who want to address both the lack of shape in the breasts, as well as the level of sagging. Women with breast asymmetry who only require slight correction or who have been pregnant are considered good candidates for this procedure.
Before undergoing your consultation and procedure, make sure you understand the risks of travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery.
Breast lift recovery
Breast lift surgery is associated with surprisingly little in the way of discomfort and often less than having breast augmentation which is considered a more minor procedure. You will find you will be able to shower generally after two days, with the first three days typically being the most painful recovery period. During this time, you will be advised which medication you can take to alleviate discomfort.
Bruising and swelling are often seen after a breast lift, but these clinical features will resolve naturally over the following one to two weeks.
Breast lift recovery often needs a period off work, and this is usually 7-10 days. Most patients are back at work after a week. Strenuous activities should be avoided, which include gym workouts for approximately 6-8 weeks and always check with your surgeon when it is safe to resume physical exercise. Doing too much too soon may increase the risk of prolonged swelling and possibly delayed wound healing.
How to speed up recovery after cosmetic surgery
You must wear a support bra at all times (except when showering) for the first month to ensure your breasts heal appropriately.
After the procedure, you may notice the scars appear red and sometimes lumpy. However, after the first month, this will reside, and the scars will reduce in size and look white rather than red. Most of these scars will occur around the areola.
Lifestyle changes to make after having cosmetic surgery
However, as this is a surgical procedure, there are some risks, particularly with the scars. Scars can sometimes turn into:
- Hypertrophic scars: these will appear red and will generally only occur
- Keloid scars: this occurs when scars heal too quickly and may occur in areas other than the incision site
- Capsular contracture: This is an internal lining from scar tissue that forms around a breast implant. This will make the implant tighter and may cause it to be misshapen.
You will have several follow-up appointments with your surgeon. The surgeon will assess the progress of your healing. At the follow-up appointments, the surgeon will discuss when certain activities can be resumed and when you can wear a normal bra.
Risks and potential complications of breast lift
Breast lift surgery is a commonly performed procedure at Centre for Surgery in London. At your consultation, your surgeon will discuss the potential risks and complications associated with breast lift surgery in depth. You can minimise the risk of complications by choosing an experienced surgeon at Centre for Surgery.
Potential complications of breast lift:
- Anaesthetic risks
- Postoperative haemorrhage
- Hypertrophic scars / Keloid scars
- Delayed wound healing
- Seroma or haematoma
- Nerve injury or sensory disturbance
- Change to nipple sensation
- Asymmetry of the breasts
- Surgical site infection
- Fat necrosis
- Nipple/areola necrosis – risk increased with smoking
- Requirement for revision surgery
How much does a Breast Lift cost?
There are several factors that will determine the overall cost of your breast lift procedure, and the final quotation will be given after your face-to-face consultation with your plastic surgeon.
- Mini uplift or full uplift
- Breast lift alone or combined with breast implants (known as an augmentation-mastopexy)
- Previous breast surgery
Why not call 0207 993 4849 and speak to one of our expert patient coordinators, who may be able to give you a rough costing before your procedure?
Remember that price should never be the determining factor when choosing your provider. We feel that safety and quality of service should be your number one priority and instil in you the confidence that our team will look after you before, during, and after your procedure to the best of their ability.
Spread the cost of your breast lift procedure
Centre for Surgery is fully approved to offer breast lift finance via our specialist finance partner, Chrysalis Finance.
You no longer need to use your savings to pay for your treatment – you can apply to spread the cost of your procedure with Chrysalis Finance using their simple 1,2,3 application to pay for it.
Please don’t wait until you have enough money for your treatment. Apply today and (subject to status) pay for your procedure easily in monthly instalments, using one of their payment options.
Chrysalis Finance is the only ethical provider that focuses solely on the provision of specialist financing for medical procedures.
Breast Lift specialists
Patients keen to explore if a breast lift is right for them are recommended to book a consultation with one of our expert plastic surgeons. At your consultation, the surgeon will perform a thorough review of your medical history, and what medicines you are taking, followed by a comprehensive physical examination. The surgeon will want to learn about your expectations and what you expect to achieve from the procedure. The full range of treatment options will be discussed for the breast lift procedure, and you will have a full opportunity to ask any questions you may have. If you would like to have a volume increase as well as reshape your breasts, then a breast augmentation combined with the mastopexy would be appropriate. The surgeon will show you a range of implants in different sizes and shapes. For women who want a more natural appearance to their breasts, the option of shaped breast or teardrop breast implants can be used in combination with a breast lift. Fat grafting to the breast is also an option for women who are not keen on silicone implants. Your surgeon may perform computer 3D imaging to help you visualise how you could look after the breast lift procedure. Once you have decided to proceed with breast lift surgery, your surgeon will design a bespoke treatment plan. Your dedicated patient coordinator will liaise closely with you to guide you smoothly through all stages of the patient journey.
Our surgeons are known for their artistry and strive to help women to have natural and beautiful breasts. Our surgeons believe that the key to a successful outcome after a boob lift is the surgeon-patient relationship. Before committing to proceed with a clinical decision, your surgeon will spend time getting to know about personal goals and preferences in detail. This might sometimes require a second follow-up consultation. Our surgeons provide the safest and most natural-looking breast implant procedures in London, the southeast, and the UK.
All our surgeons are fully qualified and experienced plastic surgeons with the skill to perform all types of aesthetic breast surgery.
Our surgeons are full members of:
What is included in my breast lift treatment package?
- As many preoperative consultations with your surgeon as you like to make sure the mastopexy procedure is right for you
- Treatment at a specialist day surgery facility recently rated ‘Good’ by the CQC
- Enhanced same-day discharge with the added benefits of recovering in your own home
- 24/7 clinical support from your surgeon for the first 48 hours and our expert postoperative support team
- Your very own dedicated patient coordinator
- In-depth preoperative medical assessment to make sure you are fully fit for your breast uplift procedure
- Exceptionally high standards of postoperative care described as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC with regular telephone and face-to-face checks.
RealSelf Top Doctors for breast lift surgery
RealSelf’s top doctor status is awarded to less than 10% of the RealSelf doctor community. This status is earned by achieving consistently high patient satisfaction (from RealSelf reviews), getting excellent feedback on expert answers to patient questions, and investing significant time in Q&A and other doctor activities. RealSelf’s top doctors are rated among the best breast surgeons in the United Kingdom.
The Centre for Surgery approach to aftercare
Our aftercare program was recently described as ‘outstanding’ by our regulator, the Care Quality Commission.
Our postoperative support team calls all our patients the day after their breast lift procedure and then every other day thereafter for the first two weeks. The proactive nature of our postoperative support gives every patient the best opportunity for a smooth postoperative recovery free of complications. In many cases, if complications were to occur, their impact is markedly lessened by early detection, prompt clinical assessment, and correct treatment. When a patient expresses concern to our team over the phone, then we often call patients on the same day for assessment with one of our expert nursing team. Even if there is no significant issue, the careful explanation and calm reassurance provided by our team can help to alleviate any worries you may have experienced.
What is a breast lift or mastopexy?Breast lift is also known as a 'mastopexy' or 'breast uplift' is a cosmetic surgery procedure that is designed to lift and reshape sagging breast tissue and the nipple position. By lifting the breasts, a more youthful look is achieved.
Breast uplift surgery can be combined with breast augmentation using either implants or fat transfer (lipofilling) to restore volume as well as improve shape with a breast lift.
How to choose the best breast lift surgeonPatients who are considering having a breast lift also known as mastopexy should make sure to carry out extensive research to find a suitably qualified and experienced surgeon for breast lift surgery. The best breast lift surgeon will be able to assess you thoroughly by taking a full medical history and carrying out a comprehensive physical examination followed by giving detailed information on all aspects of the procedure. Your surgeon will also explain what to expect in the recovery period and the potential risks and complications of breast lift surgery. Your surgeon will also be able to assess your expectations for surgery and whether they can be realistically achieved with a breast lift procedure.
An explanation of the key differences between breast lift surgery and breast enlargement surgery will be given to help you arrive at the most appropriate decision on the best procedure for you. If you are more interested in volume enhancement, breast augmentation surgery may be more appropriate.
As part of your research on finding the ideal breast lift surgeon, you should ensure that any surgeon you see is an accredited specialist in breast lift surgery. At your in-depth face-to-face consultation with the surgeon, do ask to see their selection of before and after photos of similar breast lift patients so you can form an accurate idea of how you could look after breast lift surgery. You should also view online patient reviews on accredited review websites such as Trustpilot.
The best breast lift surgeon will always aim to design a surgical procedure to produce beautiful and natural-looking results in harmony with your body. Achieving the best outcomes is also dependent upon patients being in the very best mental and physical condition prior to breast live surgery. For patients who have chronic uncontrolled medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes then you may be deemed an inappropriate candidate for surgery.
In the UK, only specialist surgeons can perform cosmetic surgery and you can easily check on the GMC website whether a surgeon is listed on the specialist register. In addition, some surgeons may belong to a specialist professional association such as BAPRAS, BAAPS or the international equivalent.
Things to consider before having breast lift surgery?1. In deciding on the right clinic for you, always carry out extensive research and choose a well-established and reputable clinic. Centre for Surgery specialises in cosmetic surgery and breast lift and has been established for many years. Our patient coordinators and surgeons are here to answer questions and empower you with the right information.
2. Your choice of plastic surgeon should be based on their qualifications, experience and having a record of good patient feedback. You should know who you will see before the consultation. At Centre for Surgery, our surgeons are specially selected after a rigorous appointment process to ensure they have the right skill set to perform a breast lift.
3. When choosing a cosmetic surgery procedure, you should not base your decision on price alone. It is important to make sure you are having treatment in a safe and regulated environment by staff who are both fully trained and caring to look after your needs – before, during and after your breast lift procedure.
4. Avoid clinics that offer a ‘hard-sell’. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask the surgeon what breast implants will be used for your combined breast lift and breast enlargement procedure. Centre for Surgery has never used PIP implants, unlike many commercial chains and always only chooses the highest quality FDA-approved implants for breast enlargement surgery.
We believe patient safety and happy, satisfied patients are the bedrock of our reputation as an ethical cosmetic surgery provider. Our doctors are known for giving straightforward, honest advice, and you can be assured that your journey with Centre for Surgery for breast lift will be a positive experience on the path to renewed self-confidence.
I would like to proceed with breast lift surgery, what is the next step?If you are interested in breast lift surgery, we recommend booking a consultation with an expert breast lift surgeon at the Centre for Surgery. At your consultation, your surgeon will take a thorough medical history, including your current medications, and perform a physical examination. A discussion of your aesthetic goals will be taken into account when formulating your customised treatment plan. The full range of breast lift techniques will be explained, from inverted T breast lifts to mini peri-areolar breast lifts. It may be recommended to combine a breast lift with a breast enlargement if a volume increase is also desired, in addition to changes in shape. The full range of implant types will be discussed with you, including round and shaped or "teardrop" implants.
Once you have made your decision to proceed with breast lift surgery, your dedicated patient coordinator will work closely with you to make sure you are fully prepared for your breast lift procedure.
Am I the ideal candidate for a breast lift?Ideal candidates for a breast lift include:
- those with droopy and sagging breasts who would prefer more uplifted breasts with a firmer consistency
- patients with good physical health without significant medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. Diabetes is known to interfere with wound healing.
- patients with good mental health who understand the risks and complications and have realistic expectations of what breast lift surgery can achieve
- patients who can follow all of the pre-op and post-op instructions to ensure proper healing
- patients who are not smokers
The procedure is mostly preferred by women who have lost the volume and shape of their breasts after pregnancy, weight loss, or ageing.
What are the different types of breast lift?The actual breast lift technique used depends on the patient. Several factors will determine the surgical method used, including the patient's age, the volume of the breasts, the amount of breast tissue that may need to be surgically removed, and the particular aesthetic result that the patient would like to achieve.
There are four recognised techniques for breast lift surgery:
Crescent lift - this is the least invasive type of breast lift and involves the removal of a wedge of tissue at the superior aspect of the nipple, which resembles a crescent. The degree of lift is modest and often more than 1.5 cm at most. The procedure is only suitable for women with mild degrees of breast ptosis.
Doughnut lift - This breast lift is also known as a Benelli procedure or circumareolar mastopexy. This procedure is ideal for the treatment of asymmetry affecting the nipple-areola complex and also for minor degrees of breast uplift. The incision is made around the entire circumference of the areola, and excess skin is removed, followed by the placement of a permanent suture around the areola to induce tightening. A doughnut lift is less invasive than a vertical or inverted T breast lift. Women who would like the size of their areola reduced can also have areola reduction at the same time as performing a doughnut lift.
Lollipop Lift – This is also known as a vertical scar breast lift. The incision is made around the areola and extends vertically down from the six o clock position to the inferior breast fold. For women with drooping breasts, this is an effective technique to lift the breasts. Sometimes, the surgeon may combine a small amount of liposuction to contour the breasts.
Anchor lift - This technique is used for the most severe degrees of breast sagging. The incision is identical to the lollipop lift and with the addition of a horizontal incision along the inferior breast crease for removal of excess skin. The inverted T breast lift is ideal for women with a long distance measured preoperatively from the IMF to the nipple. Women who have undergone massive weight loss often require an anchor lift to address the large quantity of redundant skin.
Can breast lift surgery be performed without implants?Breast lifts are commonly performed alone without the need for breast implants.
A breast lift alone will achieve a more youthful breast shape and contour through the elevation of the nipple and areola and the removal of redundant skin. The breast uplift procedure raises the height of the nipples and through the repositioning of breast tissue will result in a more natural appearance to their original condition when younger or pre-pregnancy. Mastopexy surgery can optimise both shape and restore symmetry. Sagging breasts can be surgically corrected and this can result in an enormous improvement in self-esteem.
Breast lift surgery is commonly performed because women desire to return to their formerly youthful state and to address both the ageing process, pregnancy, and the effects of gravity with time. Many women may notice a very small reduction in breast size but this is barely noticeable in most patients as only minimal amounts of actual breast tissue are removed. It is mainly skin that is removed.
Fat transfer to the breast, also known as lipo filling or fat grafting can also result in an improvement in breast sagging in a similar manner to the use of breast implants. Fat transfer has the major advantage of being able to shape the breast through the meticulous placement of the fat. For women who are unhappy with their upper pole fullness, fat grafting to the breast can help to fill the deflated upper pole of the breasts which can also result in a more defined cleavage.
How is breast lift surgery possible as a day case?At Centre for Surgery, we are renowned for our use of TV general anaesthesia which is recognised to be a gentler form of anaesthesia when compared with traditional anaesthesia delivered in hospitals. With modern short-acting drugs and state of the art medicine delivery systems, our anaesthetists are able to keep patience comfortably asleep throughout the duration of their procedure and with a very short and comfortable recovery period without the risk of dizziness, drowsiness or grogginess. This means that patients recover very quickly and are ready for discharge within 2 to 3 hours of the procedure to recover in the comfort of their own homes. Published medical studies consistently demonstrate that patients who have their surgical procedure as a day case have a better outcome compared with those who have traditional inpatient surgery in hospitals.
How is breast lift surgery performed?At Centre for Surgery, breast lift or mastopexy surgery is carried out under TIVA general anaesthesia as a day case which means you will be admitted and discharged on the same day. The recovery after TIVA is very quick compared with traditional general anaesthesia with a lower risk of nausea and sickness. Pain is usually very minimal after breast lift surgery and your doctor will prescribe painkillers for you to take regularly at home.
There are a number of recognised techniques for breast lift surgery. The main principle in all techniques is surgical repositioning of breast tissue upwards, nipple-areola repositioning and removal of redundant excess skin.
Breast lift surgery involves incisions placed around the areola which is the darker area around the nipple. For small lifts, this may be enough but for larger breast lifts, more skin will need to be surgically excised and this will result in a scar running from the areola to the inframammary fold beneath the breast. For severe breast sagging, a horizontal breast incision also needs to be made in the breast fold which results in an 'inverted T' appearance. The horizontal breast incision is usually well concealed beneath the breast. Breast lift scars are initially raised and red in colour but will flatten and become pale in colour with time. The type of breast lift technique employed by your surgeon depends on a number of factors including the size and shape of the breasts, skin quality, areola size and the degree of breast lifting required. Before the procedure, the surgeon will carefully mark the breasts with a marker pen whilst you are standing to accurately map the proposed position of the nipple and areola on the uplifted breasts.
How should I prepare for a breast lift procedure?You should stop all medications that can increase the risk of bleeding after your procedure.
You should use an antiseptic solution to wash in prior to your procedure to reduce the risk of infection.
What type of anaesthetic is used for breast lift surgery?At Centre for Surgery, our anaesthetists are experts in the delivery of Total Intravenous Anaesthesia or TIVA for short. TIVA is the most advanced and modern form of general anaesthesia available in the UK. The medicines used in TIVA have both a fast onset and rapid offset which means there is a much lower risk of the residual hangover feeling which many patients experience after a traditional general anaesthetic using volatile gases. The depth of anaesthesia is very precisely controlled using state of the art brain monitoring technology. This means that the right amount of anaesthetic can be given - not too much and not too little. Patients often report very little in way of dizziness or drowsiness which facilitates a much smoother postoperative recovery. TIVA is ideal for day surgery and is the default anaesthetic used for all our surgical procedures which require a general anaesthetic.
How long does a breast lift procedure take?The breast lift procedure takes 2-3 hours on average depending on the type of breast lift required.
What is the recovery period like after breast lift?Expect mild post-operative pain for the first three days but this can be reduced with pain medications, and normal activities can be resumed after the first week following your surgery. However, extensive activities should be avoided for 3-4 weeks.
How do I get firmer breasts?Breast lift or mastopexy is ideal for restoring firm breasts and is often performed with breast augmentation surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on the most appropriate treatment option for attaining firmer breasts.
Is breast volume or cup size affecting by breast lift surgery?With breast lift surgery, the volume of the breast does not change appreciably as it is mainly the skin envelope that is removed along with rearrangement of the internal breast tissue and not removing the internal breast tissue as with a breast reduction. A mastopexy without breast implants does not significantly change the size of the breasts. The outcome following breast uplift surgery is a more youthful and perkier breast with an improvement in breast symmetry.
Breast lift combined with implants will result in an increase in cup size due to the presence of the implant. Depending on the size of the implant chosen, a significant increase in breast size is possible which will accentuate cleavage compared with doing a mastopexy without implants. For the enhanced shape of the breast, a mastopexy is ideal for breast enhancement.
How old should I be to qualify for breast lift surgery?Patients should be at least 18 years old before considering having any form of aesthetic breast surgery, including breast lift. It is generally accepted that the breasts will still be undergoing growth and development.
If a breast lift is carried out during this growth phase, then ongoing growth and development as part of the growth spurt may result in a requirement for a further breast lift further down the line. A breast lift before the age of 18 may also cause psychological issues as patients may not be adequately prepared for a surgical procedure which will affect the appearance of the breasts.
Some surgeons believe that early intervention in the form of a breast lift may be indicated when there is a clear structural abnormality of the breast. This could be in the form of unequal sizes, tuberous deformity, and underdeveloped breasts. These can all cause significant psychological harm and may be exacerbated by bullying at school. The most common breast abnormalities are tuberous or tubular breasts. The best strategy in these cases is to adopt a multidisciplinary approach involving the patient's GP and a specialist psychologist to assist in the clinical decision-making process alongside the surgeon.
How do I sleep after a breast lift?Your surgeon will generally recommend that you do not sleep on your front for up to the first two weeks after breast lift surgery. It is recommended to sleep on your back in a position of mild elevation, which helps any surgical swelling to subside more rapidly. Many patients often place pillows on either side of them, which minimises the possibility of turning to sleep on one's front during the night. Sleeping on the front after breast lift surgery may increase the risk of further swelling and possible disruption to the delicate healing wounds.
How much time will I need to take off work after breast uplift surgery?This will vary from person to person and will depend on your own recovery, as well as what type of work you do. If you work in an office, you may be able to return to work sooner than someone with a physically intensive job.
You may need to take at least four to five days off work. During this period, dressings will be removed, and you will instead wear a compression bra.
When can I resume my normal activities after a breast lift?You should avoid all strenuous activities after breast lift surgery for the first four weeks.
Most women can return to work after one week of recovery at home.
How old do I have to be to get breast lift surgery?We would recommend that patients should be at least 18 years of age before considering breast lift surgery. Likely, the breasts will still be undergoing growth and development, and undertaking surgery too soon may not lead to permanent results as the breast is still developing. At such a young age, patients may not be fully psychologically ready to undertake what can be quite an extensive procedure with a significant scar burden.
In some cases, surgery after one turns 18, maybe a possible treatment option. Some women may have developed abnormally shaped breasts from birth, such as tubular or tuberous breasts, or the breasts may be so large that social embarrassment has developed, leading to psychological disturbance. In these more complex cases, we advise a joint care approach with input from your parents, GP, or psychologist to make the treatment right for you.
What kind of scars does breast lift surgery result in?There are several techniques for performing breast lift surgery depending on patient expectations, medical factors such as smoking, and the degree of breast droopiness or breast sagginess. All incisions result in a scar, and the older methods of breast lift surgery result in a higher scar burden than newer methods. It is common to have a circular scar around the areola in most types of breast lift with a vertical extension downwards from the nipple in cases where more lift is required. In the most extensive type of breast lift (inverted T), a horizontal scar along the lower breast fold is also produced.
Do breast lift scars improve with time?All surgery involving an incision will result in a visible scar and a breast lift (mastopexy). Breast lift scars improve with time however, the appearance of scars depends on several factors, including skin type. It is difficult for your surgeon to predict how you may scar after breast lift surgery. Patients with darker skin have a higher risk of developing prominent scars called keloids, and these most commonly occur in the middle of the chest area. Your surgeon takes this into account with incision placement during breast lift surgery. At the Centre for Surgery, our surgeons are experts in scar revision techniques. Most scars respond very well to silicone gel or sheets applied to the incisions 4 weeks after the breast lift procedure. The silicone sheets act to flatten the scars. The duration of silicone gel sheet application can be for up to 6 months. We have access to the full range of scar management strategies, including fractional laser, RF microneedling, and pulse dye laser for optimal scar cosmesis. We also offer scar treatments for patients who have had procedures elsewhere and are unhappy with the appearance of their scars after surgery.
Can breast lift surgery correct asymmetry?Breast lift surgery is a very powerful technique for the correction of breast asymmetry in breasts of all shapes and sizes. It is well known that no two breasts in a woman are perfectly symmetrical, and virtually every woman has some degree of breast asymmetry, however minor. The problem arises when the difference between the two breasts is very noticeable and even obvious to others, and this can result in significant psychological morbidity. Breast asymmetry can also be accentuated by scoliosis of the spine or structural anomalies of the chest wall, including pectus excavatum and Poland's syndrome.
At the consultation, your surgeon may recommend various techniques to correct breast asymmetry, including breast augmentation, breast reduction, or a breast uplift mastopexy for one or both breasts. In many cases, you may prefer to have one breast corrected to match the more normal-looking breast on the other side, which could be due to surgery for breast cancer or a congenital deformity.
Many women have a tuberous breast deformity or 'tubular breasts', where there is a constricted appearance at the base of the breast, giving rise to an excessively prominent nipple and areola complex. Breast lift surgery is the ideal treatment for correcting unequal breasts, and our surgeons at the Centre for Surgery have many years of experience in treating this very common problem.
Can I combine breast lift with breast augmentation?Yes, both procedures can be combined ideally for those with deflated breasts after pregnancy or treating asymmetry if required. Doing a breast lift alone will improve shape but not volume. With a combination procedure, both shape and volume can be improved. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend a 2 stage procedure to reduce risks and maximise safety. If you are keen to have breast implants that are larger than 380cc, your surgeon will advise you to have a 2 stage procedure as excessively large implants combined with a mastopexy increase the risk of complications.
What are the risks of a breast lift?As with every surgical procedure, a breast lift procedure has risks.
Rare risks include:
- More noticeable or prominent scars than anticipated
- Decrease in sensation
- Interference with circulation to the nipple
- Seroma or hematoma which will require draining
- Poor wound healing
Following your surgeon’s pre and post-operative care instructions will help to minimise your chance of any complications occurring.
Can I breastfeed after breast lift surgery?A breast lift procedure does not involve cutting the milk ducts, which are the conduits for milk to exit onto the nipple from the milk-producing glands. It is, therefore, possible to breastfeed normally after the procedure. With a breast enlargement procedure with the placement of a breast implant, the breast implant is often inserted in a subglandular position (below the breast tissue). With the standard inframammary incision for breast enlargement, the milk ducts are not disrupted. The circumareolar incision for a breast lift procedure preserves the vast majority of the milk ducts, which preserves the ability to breastfeed. With a breast reduction procedure, both the skin and the underlying breast tissue are surgically removed. The removal of excess breast tissue is not known to interfere with breastfeeding as the milk ducts are still patent to the remainder of the newly reduced breast. Older methods of performing breast reduction had a higher chance of disrupting the milk ducts but with more modern methods, this is no longer a problem. Your surgeon will be able to address your concerns at the consultation. Patients with very large breasts often have difficulty breastfeeding, to begin with, and so surgery is not something that can be a cause of the inability to breastfeed if the function is impaired from the outset. Fat grafting to the breast is increasingly performed for natural breast enlargement. In this procedure, the fat is placed around the borders of the breast and therefore does not disrupt milk production and secretion.
Whilst the increased volume of fat may increase the pressure within the breasts, this is not known to affect the milk gland or ducts. In cases of very large breast reductions, all surgeons will advise you of an inability to breastfeed when the nipple and areola have to be detached fully from its wound bed. This leads to the complete division of the milk ducts. The nipple and areola are sutured into a new higher position. In a very small number of cases, patients may be able to breastfeed after free nipple-areola grafting for large breast reductions. Your surgeon will discuss with you the potential options available for breast lift and breast reduction surgery and which is the right option for you.
Different techniques will result in slightly different appearances depending on the degree of lift required. When considering the potential for future breastfeeding, it is key to consider if the intended breast lift procedure will impact this.
Can sensation be affected by breast lift surgery?It is common to experience some temporary numbness or extra sensitivity after the mastopexy procedure although this often resolves and may take up to one year for full recovery of nipple sensitivity.
Are there less invasive options to a surgical breast lift?Yes, Centre for Surgery also offers a mini breast lift using the BodyTite radiofrequency platform. The procedure can be performed under a local anaesthetic and can achieve a nipple lift of up to 1cm which although modest can be significant for those with very mild degrees of breast sagging. There is no non-surgical option for a breast lift. The nature of the problem which involves loose skin can only be effectively addressed with a surgical breast lift. The use of bras designed to push the breast upwards does not achieve a meaningful degree of breast lift. Treatment options that claim to lift your breasts naturally should be treated with suspicion and avoided.
Where can I view breast lift before and after photosAs well as the breast lift before and afters on this page, you can ask your surgeon at your consultation to show you before and after breast lift photos of patients who share similar characteristics to your anatomical features.
By viewing before and after photos, you should be able to form a realistic idea of what sort of outcome you can expect after breast lift surgery.
Can I get a breast lift on the NHS?Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is generally not considered a clinically necessary procedure and is therefore not typically available on the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. However, in some cases, if a person has a medical condition that causes significant physical discomfort or emotional distress, the procedure may be considered. It's best to consult your GP or a specialist in the NHS to determine if you are eligible for the procedure.
Is there a natural way to have a breast lift?Breast lift surgery is the only recognised technique to ensure long-term and durable results, giving rise to an improved shape of the breasts. Whilst there are other less invasive techniques, such as BreastTite using Radiofrequency technology, there is no effective non-surgical and natural way to improve the shape of the breasts. However, there are several potential options you could explore if you are strongly against the idea of surgery. Still, it is important to remember that breast lift surgery is the only effective option for most women.
- regular physical exercise is an effective method of toning the body, and there are certain exercises which may improve the tightness of the chest, including bench presses using weights, press-ups, and exercises focused on improving the core.
- eating a healthy diet and avoiding weight fluctuations can be very useful. By avoiding fluctuations in weight through eating healthy, nutritious foods, you can avoid or reduce the impact of skin laxity, which commonly occurs in patients who undertake yo-yo dieting.
- many patients find that breast massage, when combined with regular physical exercise, improves their breasts via stimulation of improved blood flow, although this has not been validated in published scientific studies
All patients should avoid smoking as smoking is known to reduce blood flow, and this could increase the risk of developing breast sagging over time.
All of the above measures do not result in drastic changes in the shape of the breast, and the only effective technique is a surgical breast lift. As part of our nonsurgical treatment options, we do offer laser skin tightening, and for very mild cases of breast drooping, this may help to tighten the breasts.
What To Expect
The breast lift consultation
When you have a consultation with your surgeon, a number of measurements are taken of your breast dimensions and an assessment will be made of the nipple-areola position and the soft tissue quality. Our surgeons are skilled in all types of breast lift and mastopexy surgery and the most appropriate choice will be made based on your preferences. The surgeon will also give information on the location of the incision for the breast lift and also whether breast implants are to be combined with the breast lift. If you decide to have implants combined with a breast lift, you can either have a single-stage procedure or have the breast lift procedure first followed by the breast augmentation procedure 3 months later. If you choose implants that are larger than 390cc, your surgeon will advise having the procedures separately to reduce the risk of complications.
High-resolution photos will be taken and your surgeon may also use computer digital imaging. Your surgeon will take time to discuss the important risks and potential complications of breast lift surgery and what you can expect in the postoperative period.
The surgeon will also take a full medical history which includes previous operations, the current list of medicines taken, and any potential allergies. This information will be used to decide on your fitness for the breast uplift procedure. If you are deemed to be a suitable candidate for mastopexy surgery then we would recommend spending a period of time to reflect on all the information given. We always recommend a minimum of a '2 weeks cool off period' to weigh up your options.
All our prospective patients are more than welcome to have as many follow-up consultations after their initial consultation to make sure you are fully empowered with all the information to make an informed decision for proceeding with breast lift surgery at Centre for Surgery. Breast lift surgery is very commonly performed by our surgeons.
Before your procedure
Once you have decided that breast lift is right for you, our preoperative assessment team will be in contact to prepare you for mastopexy surgery.
The following are recommended actions to take:
- For 6 weeks beforehand, it is highly recommended to stop smoking as active smoking is associated with a number of risks including delayed wound healing which could result in wound infection and a possible need to have the implants removed if you had implants combined with a mastopexy. Smoking can also increase the risk of nipple necrosis.
- You should also avoid aspirin and all medicines containing aspirin for at least one week prior to the procedure. Aspirin increases the risk of bleeding and could lead to the formation of a haematoma (collection of blood beneath the skin).
- For 6 hours before the breast uplift procedure, you should refrain from eating any food or any type of drink apart from sips of clear fluid (water and tea/coffee without added milk) which is allowed for up to 2 hours before the procedure. You will be having a general anaesthetic and so will need to have an empty stomach to reduce the risk of anaesthetic complications occurring.
On the day of your breast lift procedure
Please aim to arrive for your mastopexy procedure at the confirmed time. One of our nursing team will admit you for the procedure and will carry out a number of tasks including checking your blood pressure and other vital signs including pulse and temperature and then getting you changed into single-use clinic wear. The anaesthetist will then come in to assess you to make sure you are fit for TIVA anaesthetic and will also prescribe a number of oral pre-medications which are given by your nurse to help your recovery after the breast lift procedure. These include anti-sickness medicines and medicines for reducing bleeding. You will then be seen by your surgeon who will confirm the breast lift procedure to be undertaken and you will sign the informed consent form. Skin marking and photos may be taken at this point. The skin marking takes time and is a very important component of a successful breast lift procedure.
Breast uplift surgery is a very commonly performed procedure at Centre for Surgery and is carried out under TIVA general anaesthesia as a day case. The procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours to carry out. If combined with breast implants, the procedure may take longer to perform. During breast lift surgery, your surgeon will make incisions around the nipple and depending on the degree of lift required, place vertical and horizontal incisions beneath the breast. The breast tissue is surgically repositioned to a more elevated position before closing the skin with dissolvable sutures. A sterile dressing will be applied to protect the incisions during the healing phase.
Once you have woken up from the TIVA anaesthetic, our nurses will closely monitor you for 1-3 hours afterwards to make sure you make a full recovery. You will be given a fruit juice drink or a warm drink as you prefer to build up your energy levels. Once you are assessed as fit for discharge, you will require a responsible adult escort to take you home in a car or taxi and to look after you for at least the first 24 hours after surgery. One of our clinical support team will call you the next morning to assess your progress.
After your procedure
After your breast lift procedure, our dedicated postoperative support team is available round the clock to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Our clinical support team will call you regularly for the first 2 weeks after your procedure to make sure your pain levels are well controlled and your healing is progressing as normal.
Compared with breast enlargement surgery, the recovery after breast lift surgery is much quicker with very little in the way of discomfort and the majority of our patients are very comfortable by the end of week 1. Your doctor may recommend a period of approximately one week off work. You should minimise any excessive movements of your arms for the first 2 weeks after surgery to help with the healing of the incisions.
You will be required to wear a supportive surgical bra for a full 6 weeks to make sure healing is optimal, breast shape is preserved and so that scars heal with best results. Exercise involving the upper body should be stopped for a full 6 weeks to avoid any potential implant rotation for combined breast lift and breast augmentation surgery.
You will attend a postoperative check-up with one of our nursing team at 7-10 days to review your surgical wound sites and ensure proper healing is taking place. Recommendations on treatments for scar healing may be given for optimal cosmesis. At 6 weeks you should begin to see your final results and you will see your surgeon for a comprehensive review and make sure your results are in line with your expectations.