What kind of breast lifting do I need?

Breast lifting (mastopexy) is a procedure that corrects sagging breasts by reshaping them and removing excess skin. The goal of the surgery is to obtain uplifted and youthful round shape, that has been lost due to various causes, about which we will tell you later in this article. There are diversified kinds of breast lifting that differs by method and case recommendation. In this post we will explain you about each type of the procedure and clarify possible choices for you.

1. What are the causes of sagging breasts?

Breasts might lose their firmness and elasticity due to various causes, influenced by our lifestyle and experience or completely independent from us.  To main factors of breast sagginess are:

Aging – gravity has an impact on everything, including our breasts. It is pulling breasts down all the time, and as the result, as time goes by fall lower and lower. Bigger breasts are more likely to sag severely due to aging, as the gravity is stronger for heavier objects.

Pregnancy – during pregnancy breasts can grow several sizes, resulting in stretched and weakened skin, that lacks the power to protect the breasts tissue from the influence of gravity.

Breastfeeding – milk flow can stretch your skin and breast tissue resulting in sunken and stretched out look.

Heredity – sagging breast shape or downward nipples can also be inherited with genes.

Weight fluctuations – rapid or severe weight changes often result with stretched skin and breast tissue.

2. Kinds of breast lifting

1. Breast lifting by augmentation

In case of mildly sagging smaller breasts, sagging can be corrected solely by breast augmentation with implants. Surgeon decides if a simple breast augmentation is enough, or the case requires a “dual plane” augmentation method. Dual plane method involves incision on part of the pectoralis muscle (breast muscle) to insert teardrop breast implants.

Depending on the case surgeon will decide to make areola, inframammary or armpit incision using endoscopic technique. After forming the pocket, they will insert and fix the implant on the place. Scar will be almost invisible, as it is going to be hidden over the areola, in breast creases or under the armpit. Breast augmentation is usually sufficient for mildly sagging and initially small or average size breasts. In other cases, full breast lifting, or breast lifting combined with augmentation is recommended.

Before & After photo of breast augmentation (combination method)
Before & After photo of breast augmentation (combination method)

2. Full Breast Lifting

In case of severely sagging breasts full breast lifting is recommended. This method is often combined with breast reduction, as bigger breasts have more tendency to serious sagging.

During full breast lifting, depending on case severity, four kinds of incision are considered by the doctor: crescent shaped incision (crescent-shaped and placed over the areola), periareolar incision (round and placed over the areola), vertical incision (vertical line going from breasts creases towards the areola) or T-shaped incision – applicable in eventuality of severe drooping.

In case of crescent or periareoral incision, scar visibility is minimal, as it blends with the darker areolae skin tissue. Vertical and T-shaped incision leaves a characteristic vertical scar, which fades and lightens in one or two years.

Recovery process after breast lifting with inverted T-shape incision
Before & After picture of breast lifting with reduction (inverted T-shaped incision)
Before & After picture of breast lifting with reduction (inverted T-shaped incision) + breast fat graft shape enhancement

3. Combined Breast Lifting

Combined Breast Lifting is a combination procedure of regular breast lifting and breast augmentation surgery. It is usually advised to patients who have flat and severe sagging breasts that cannot be corrected by breast augmentation only. During this operation surgeon lifts the breasts and inserts the implant to breasts that are fixed to a new place. Combined breast lifting involves same incision points as breast augmentation and regular lifting procedure. Incision points and exact method of the lifting is decided by the doctor after judging seriousness of the case and concerning patient’s expectations.

Before & After Photos of patient after breast lifting with implant augmentation.

3.  Breast Lifting FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can breast lift be done with local anesthesia?

Breast lifting is not a minor procedure and to ensure patient safety and comfort it is always performed under general anesthesia. If you are worried about general anesthesia, be sure to choose a clinic with on-site anesthesiologist medical doctor, who will watch over your safety. It might sound unbelievable but not all plastic surgery clinics have an on-site anesthesiologist, even when providing with general anesthesia.

2. Can breast lift affect breastfeeding?

Breast lifting does not affect breast feeding in a major way. However, there are cases, when amount of milk produced after breast lift is slightly lower than before. It is also recommended to have breast lift after breastfeeding, as breastfeeding might affect the result just as it affects breasts before any surgery.

3. Are breast lift scars noticeable?

Visibility if the scars depend on which type of incision is decided to be made in your case. Scars after periareoral, crescent, inframammary or armpit incision is almost unnoticeable. Scars of vertical or inverted T-shaped incision are clearly noticeable in first months after the surgery and they become faded after 1-2 years. Degree of final scar visibility depends on individual healing ability, skin tone, skin thickness, used technique and recovery complications.

4. Is breast lift painful?

Breast lifting surgery is not painful at all, as during the procedure patient is under general anesthesia. After the surgery, doctor prescribes pain relieving medicines. However, there can be minor pain, discomfort, and soreness during first weeks after the procedure, as well as temporal decrease of nipple sensation. If your symptoms are hard to bear, you should contact your doctor, who may advice additional measures.

5. How to know if I need a breast lift?

There are couple of ways for self-diagnosis. For example, “pencil test”. You can put a pencil under your breasts and if it stays there you might be a candidate for breast lifting. Exact recommendation will be done by the doctor during the consultation, when they will judge state of your breasts, severity of sagging and decide about the method. For minor sagging breast augmentation should be enough, but final decision is evaluated case by case.

Various levels of breast sagging

6. Will breast lift reduce size?

After breast lifting, breasts might appear smaller. However, if it was not a procedure combined with breast reduction, only excess skin is removed, leaving breast tissue untouched.

7. How long does the breast lift effect last?

Breast lifting effect lasts forever. However, sagging might reoccur due to pregnancy, weight loss and aging. Proper maintenance of breasts is advised by the doctor to avoid such issues and enjoy the effect if possible.

8. Should I have breast lifting if I plan to get pregnant?

If you are planning to get pregnant it is advised to have a breast lifting at least 1 year before the pregnancy to let your breasts recover properly. Pregnancy and breastfeeding might also affect the result of the surgery and make your breasts droopy again, so usually we advise to have the lifting procedure after the pregnancy or long before planning to have a baby.

9. How to evaluate what kind of breast lifting do I really need?

Deeper insight into beast lifting kinds will surely help you to evaluate, what kind of procedure you need. However, final recommendation should be provided by the doctor, who knows exactly, what effect after which surgery can be expected in various cases.

We encourage you to have a preliminary evaluation (final should always be done on site by the doctor) via our consultation form.