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Breast Lift

Quick Facts About Breast Lift Surgery

  • Candidates: Patients with sagging breast tissue who desire firmer, lifted and rejuvenated appearing breasts
  • Procedure Details: On average, surgery takes 2-4 hours and is performed under general anesthesia
  • Recovery: Most patients can resume school or light work within 1 week; certain exercise restrictions for 3-4 weeks or more
  • Cost: Variable between patients, but the average in the Phoenix metropolitan area is around $11,017. If a breast augmentation is done at the same time, the costs will be substantially higher.
  • Principle Benefits: Perkier, more youthful breasts with enhanced shape, symmetry and firmness

Most women’s breasts significantly change in appearance and firmness over time—inevitable occurrences which are rarely celebrated. These changes are not just related to a woman’s chronological age or level of fitness but are also affected by pregnancies, breastfeeding, weight loss and sizable fluctuations, gravity, lack of regular effective breast support, hormonal factors, health, genetics and other factors. Combined, they can wreak aesthetic havoc on once-perky breasts leading to drooping and a deflated look.

A breast lift, also called a mastopexy, can address these deficiencies to variable degrees by reshaping the breast tissue, tightening the skin, reducing the size of the nipple-areola complexes and elevating them to a more natural position. The ultimate results can be alluring breasts that are firmer, perkier, and rejuvenated with a more aesthetically pleasing shape.

What Is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift (mastopexy) entails the re-elevation of the breasts to a more appropriate position on the chest. This is accomplished by resecting the excess, stretched-out skin with associated fat and possibly glandular breast tissue along with the recontouring of the breasts. There typically will be at least some decrease in breast size due to the removal of the excess skin and other tissues along with the compacting of the remaining tissues.

Women with larger breasts can also have a concurrent small breast reduction at the same time if so desired.

What Are the Benefits of a Breast Lift?

A mastopexy can offer qualified patients a number of benefits, including aesthetic, psychological and functional improvements. After breast lift surgery, Dr. Turkeltaub’s patients often report enjoying:

Breast Lift vs. Augmentation and Reduction

For women who are quite satisfied with their present size, a mastopexy without the enlargement may suffice. However, it is the experience of Dr. Steven Turkeltaub that a significant percentage of women who choose a breast lift also want to undergo a breast augmentation at the same time. Before their breasts became droopy, many of these women had always wished to be larger and now that a lift is needed, this is the perfect opportunity to finally have their breasts enlarged.

Breast implants will not only enlarge the breasts but they can also create a full and alluring shape, improve cleavage, increase youthful firmness and provide for a more rejuvenated appearance.

A mastopexy with implants constitutes two distinct procedures—a breast augmentation and a breast lift—performed in one surgical setting. Therefore, if you elect to undergo the lift along with breast implants, virtually all the same factors need to be considered as they would for a breast augmentation—plus a few more.

A breast reduction is very similar to a standard mastopexy as regards the incisions except that the amount of breast tissue removed is far greater. The difference is that the primary motivation of these women with very large droopy breasts is to significantly reduce their breast size and therefore, the weight on their chest in order to alleviate their symptoms. The lift portion is secondary in their priorities for the procedure whereas in a mastopexy, it is the lift portion that is the main purpose for the surgery and not the small reduction.

What Are the Different Types of Breast Lifts?

Factors such as the extent of drooping, skin elasticity, amount of excess skin, current and desired breast size, nipple position and physician preference will influence the type of mastopexy performed. The most common approaches include:

  1. Crescent or mini lift. This lift entails the removal of a crescent of skin using an incision placed along the top half of the areola and extending upwards. This approach can be used only when the amount of skin laxity is very minimal.
  2. Periareolar mastopexy (also called a circumareolar, purse string, donut or Benelli mastopexy). The skin tightening, contouring and elevation of the nipple-areola complex are accomplished through an incision that encircles the entire areola. A donut of skin is removed from around the areola, converting a larger circle to a smaller one. This can be employed with somewhat minor sagging of the breasts. Patients will often request this approach because of the limited incisions used which translates into fewer scars. However, Dr. Turkeltaub will rarely recommend this technique because it usually leads to an abnormally shaped breast with a significantly flattened contour, which is not aesthetically ideal. (For more information, read this blog on how the Periareolar Mastopexy Sacrifices Shape and More for Less Incisions.)
  3. “Lollipop” mastopexy. With this approach, the incision encircles the areola then extends down to the crease at the lower part of the breast, creating the shape of a lollipop. It allows for slightly greater contouring than the periareolar incision but does not address vertical skin excess which is most often present. In Dr. Turkeltaub’s opinion, there are very limited situations where this approach would be a good choice.
  4. Inverted-T or anchor shaped mastopexy. This is the most common technique used for a mastopexy and involves not only the circumareolar and vertical incisions extending to the lower breast crease but also adds a variable length incision extending along the crease. The resulting configuration is, therefore, an anchor shape or inverted “T” scar. This approach inherently allows for far greater flexibility, control and accuracy in contouring and positioning of the breast which translates into a much more natural appearing breast. Consequently, it is the approach employed the vast majority of the time when a mastopexy is indicated.

Dr. Turkeltaub will discuss in detail these and all other relevant factors during your consultation.

What Is Involved in a Breast Lift?

Breast lift surgery is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient. The surgical time required depends on the extent of the drooping, skin quality, the technique used for the lift and if a breast enlargement with implants is performed at the same time. For a full lift (inverted-T) along with insertion of breast implants, the usual operative time can be around two and a half to three hours or more. Subsequent time in the recovery room is approximately one and a half hours.

During the procedure, Dr. Turkeltaub removes excess skin and fat from the breasts, tightens the remaining tissues and elevates the newly reshaped breasts to a higher position on the chest. This can create a more youthful, perky appearance that is often in better proportion with a woman’s figure.

This procedure is commonly combined with a tummy tuck and liposuction as part of a “Mommy Makeover” in order to improve the areas affected by pregnancy.

What Is Recovery from a Breast Lift Like?

The mastopexy procedure by itself is usually associated with fairly mild postoperative discomfort. It is when breast implants are used and placed behind the muscle that the level of discomfort is more significant, typically similar to that for a breast augmentation.

The surgical dressing consists of a form fitting, supportive circumferential dressing that is on your chest for a few days. This is then replaced in the office a few days later with a supportive bra. Dr. Turkeltaub recommends that you regularly wear a supportive bra in order to provide the needed support and to help slow down to inevitable sagging that will continue over time.

Most women can return to school or a non-strenuous job within several days to 1 week following surgery. It is strongly recommended that you avoid vigorous activities such as sports and aerobics for at least three to four weeks. For best scar outcome, certain activities should be limited for around eight weeks.

The results from the surgery can be quite gratifying with perky, attractive, alluring and more youthful appearing breasts.

Expectations Regarding Breast Lift Scars?

Postoperative scarring is an inevitable consequence of any surgery involving incisions. Breast lift scars, though, usually heal in a very acceptable way and do become even less conspicuous with time. Their ultimate appearance depends on multiple factors such as the type of mastopexy performed, the skill of your plastic surgeon, your skin color, genetics, age, nutrition, early activity level, usage of anti-scar agents and continuation of smoking.

Due to its numerous advantages, Dr. Turkeltaub most commonly utilizes the inverted “T” incision pattern to perform breast lift surgery. This results in a scar that typically is able to be concealed under the majority of bras and swimsuit styles. Once incisions are fully healed, most patients have little to no concerns about their mastopexy scarring and are extremely excited about their new breast appearance.

How Long Does a Breast Lift Last?

There are so many variables that will affect the durability of the results of breast lift surgery that no specific number can be given. Some of these factors include skin quality, weight fluctuations, percentage of time wearing a supportive bra, nutrition, hormonal influences, health, age, smoking, and sun exposure. Just understand that the results will deteriorate over time, but typically, the breasts will always look better than if a mastopexy had never been done.

What Is the Cost of a Breast Lift?

Based on patient submissions to RealSelf.com, the cost for breast lift surgery of all types in the Phoenix metropolitan area averages around $11,017. However, this can range up to $16,000 or more, both locally and nationally, depending on a variety of factors. If a breast augmentation is done at the same time, these numbers would be substantially higher.

The actual cost of a mastopexy can vary significantly based on a number of factors. Some of these would include:

To receive a personalized price quote for breast lift surgery, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Turkeltaub. Based on your needs and goals, a surgical plan can be formulated and a more exact cost determined.

If you are interested in financing your procedure, we work with several healthcare lending companies that offer affordable monthly payment options for cosmetic surgery. We would be happy to assist you with this.

Can I Get a Breast Lift Without Having Surgery?

Although some online resources claim that various chest exercises can lift the breasts and help women attain a rejuvenated appearance, the reality is that surgery is the only way to truly address breast sagging and comprehensively restore a perkier, more youthful chest aesthetic. Push-ups, bench presses and other chest-targeting exercises work to strengthen musculature and may reduce fat beneath and/or around the breasts, but they do not have an effect on glandular tissue or excess, stretched skin. As a result, they will not provide any significant elevation of the breasts.

In contrast, breast lift surgery removes excess skin and other tissue, reshapes the breasts and physically raises them to an elevated, more natural location on the chest wall. Without accomplishing all this, a more youthful appearing breast is not possible.

What Procedures are Commonly Done Concurrently With a Breast Lift?

While breast lift surgery can achieve transformative results as a standalone procedure, many women choose to pair it with complementary surgeries for more comprehensive results. Aside from the already discussed breast augmentation, a breast lift is also often included as part of mommy makeover and post-weight loss body contouring treatment plans, which are designed to address multiple body regions. Some of the most frequent procedures combined with a mastopexy with/without a breast augmentation include:

During your consultation with Dr. Turkeltaub, he will review your goals and provide recommendations for how to best achieve your desired aesthetic outcome. In some cases, multiple procedures can be combined into a single surgical session.

How Do I Choose a Breast Lift Surgeon?

Choosing the right cosmetic breast surgeon is an important part of obtaining an optimal result. Dr. Turkeltaub recommends considering the following factors as you conduct your search:

Breast Lift Before-and-After Photos

The following are some before-and-after photos of some of Dr. Turkeltaub’s mastopexy patients, revealing the true benefits of the breast lift procedure.

Due to social media policies, the following images have been censored. Please click on the image below to view the image.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q.

    How painful is a breast lift?


    For most patients, discomfort following a mastopexy is generally mild and often well tolerated with some Tylenol. Some even do not need any pain medication whatsoever. Of course, pain is subjective and one patient may find breast lift surgery more uncomfortable than another.

    Dr. Turkeltaub uses approaches that can help minimize the initial postoperative discomfort.

  • Q.

    My breasts are very droopy but I don’t want scars on my breast that are needed for a lift. Can Dr. Turkeltaub just do a breast enlargement without the breast lift?


    Placing breast implants alone will rarely ever correct breast drooping and this may only be in the most mild of situations. Placing breast implants without having the required lift done will usually result in poor aesthetic results—and worse.

  • Q.

    Will I lose sensation in my nipple after a breast lift?


    There can be some permanent loss of sensation in your nipples following a mastopexy. However, it is Dr. Turkeltaub’s experience that most women retain nearly all if not all of their sensation. It is very rare to permanently lose all sensation.

  • Q.

    Is a breast lift permanent?


    No. Your breasts will continue to droop over time, starting even within the first few months after your surgery but it doesn’t occur in the exact same way as originally. Typically, your nipples don’t descend much. Instead, it is the skin between your nipples and your lower breast fold that continues to stretch. This is the result of multiple factors such as the loss of elasticity of the tissues along with the effects of gravity.

  • Q.

    Can I prevent my breasts from continuing to droop after a breast lift?


    You can’t prevent your breasts from sagging over time but you sure can slow down the process. Some things you can do include wearing a supportive bra on a regular basis, minimizing weight fluctuations, keeping in a good nutritional state, and avoiding tanning booths or sun tans. Other influential factors that you don’t have control over include heredity, age and hormone levels. Larger breast implants will affect sagging to a much greater extent than smaller ones will.

  • Q.

    I am not sure if we are going to have another child. If we do decide to have one more child, would it still be possible for me to breastfeed after a breast lift?


    The techniques generally used for a mastopexy do not disrupt the milk ducts and their attachments to the nipple. Consequently, there should be no direct impact on the ability to breastfeed. However, it is important to realize that having been able to breastfeed in the past does not completely guarantee that you will be able to do so in the future.

  • Q.

    Is a breast lift covered by insurance?


    A breast lift is considered a cosmetic procedure so it is not covered by your health insurance. However, to help make high-quality aesthetic care available for patients who desire it, we do offer a range of financing options that can help you pay for your procedure. Trusted, third-party healthcare lenders CareCredit® and Alphaeon® offer low- and no-interest payment plans to qualified applicants.

Additional Information About Breast Lift (Mastopexy) from Dr. Turkeltaub

Read more about breast lift (mastopexy) on Dr. Turkeltaub’s breast surgery blog.