Breast Lift2019-04-04T08:37:54+01:00


The aim of a breast lift is to elevate the nipple and the areola (the darkened section of skin surrounding the nipple), into a higher and more youthful position. The breast tissue is reshaped, sometimes extensively, and excess stretched and saggy skin is removed in order to obtain a lifted more youthful and harmonious breast shape.

Breast Uplift

Breast ptosis or sagging of the breast is natural and occurs in most women due to the effects of weight fluctuations, gravity, pregnancy and nursing.  The whole breast can descend down and the natural fold under the breast can be lost. The nipples can start to point downward or to the sides.

Simply inserting breast implants into drooping breasts will not lift the breast. In order to lift the breast, a number of incisions have to be made by the surgeon and some of the breast tissue needs to be reshaped.

If breast implants are inserted into already drooping breasts, the weight of the implants can accentuate the sagging, regardless of whether the implants are inserted above or under the muscle. The larger the implant used, the greater the weight and effect of gravity on the breasts. A 500 cc implant, for example, will typically weigh 500g.

If the breasts are droopy, usually a lift is required, rather than implants.

If the breasts are deflated rather than droopy, often implants alone will be sufficient.

Adding implants to already droopy breasts without lifting the breasts, may increase the original problem.

Mastopexy Incision Types

Diagram of Breast Lift Incision Types - Mastopexy

From left to right, the Anchor incision generally leaves the most scarring, while the Crescent incision leaves the least. However, the type of incision required depends on a number of factors, including the degree to which the breast is drooping and the level of intervention needed to improve the shape.

Incisions improve and fade over time. It can take two years for the scar to reach maturation and fade back to near the original skin colour.


Crescent Breast Lift Scar


A Crescent lift covers only the top half of the areola and is frequently used when the patient has only mild drooping of the breasts. It is also commonly chosen when the breasts are being augmented with implants at the same time.


Doughnut Circle Breast Lift Scar


A Circle or Benelli lift is most commonly used when the patient has mild sagging and is also frequently used if breast implants are to be inserted. The scar is hidden to varying degrees as it traces the outline of the areola (the darker colour circular band of skin outside of the nipples).

Lollipop Incision2018-06-29T21:49:09+01:00

Lollipop Breast Lift Scar


A Lollipop incision is used in the case of moderate sagging. The incision is around the areola with a line vertically down under the breast to the crease. The incision is frequently chosen when the patient is not having implants at the same time as the lift.

Anchor Incision2018-06-29T21:49:56+01:00

Anchor Breast Lift Scar


An Anchor incision is used if there is a higher degree of sagging and it will also be the incision method used in a breast reduction or mammaplasty. The incision goes around the areola, with a vertical line down, like the lollipop incision, but with another incision along underneath the breast in the crease.

Breast Lift – Mastopexy

Harley Breast Patient Before & After

Breast Lift Before and After


I’m interested in …

B Lite Implants

Methods to Improve the Appearance of Scars

In the final stages of surgery, wounds are meticulously stitched using thread that minimises scarring.

Taping of the wound for a month post-surgery can help minimise movement of the scar and reduce the amount of scar tissue formed.

It is advisable to avoid exposing the scars to the sun, for instance sunbathing, for at least two years, and even then applying a high SPF sunscreen.

In some cases, particularly where the scarring is raised, silicone sheets can help flatten and improve the appearance of scarring.

Silicone gel strips can improve the appearance of scars.

Silicone Scar Strips Breast Lift

Scar strip for Anchor Incision Breast Lift

Silicone Scar Strips Anchor Incisions

Typical scarring from a Lollipop breast lift at 1 year.

* Individual results may vary from person to person.

Your scarring could look better or worse than the photo above, depending on, amongst other factors, your individual healing ability.

Typical scarring from a Lollipop breast lift at 1 year.


* Individual results may vary from person to person.

Your scarring could look better or worse than the photo above, depending on, amongst other factors, your individual healing ability.

Wound Therapy Systems

In some cases, your Surgeon may recommend the use of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Systems, such as Prevena.

Prevena Diagram
  • Holds the incision edges together, preventing movement of the incision and potentially improving the final appearance of scars.
  • Wicks away fluids using negative pressure (very light suction).
  • Can speed healing time.

After the Surgery

You will usually leave the hospital in a compression garment and it is possible that drainage tubes to take away excess fluid and swelling may be used for a period after the surgery.

A nurse will give you instructions on caring for any drains, what medication you should be taking (including antibiotics) and other important information.

Swelling that should start to diminish after the first week or two.

To help reduce the swelling drink plenty of water and avoid foods that are high in salt (salt causes your body to retain fluids).

Try to sleep on your back at an elevated angle.


There may be some pain, bruising and redness. If the pain is strong or continues for a number of days, or it is not getting any better, contact your doctor.

The first few days after Breast Lift Surgery

It is important to take it very easy. A lot of your day should be spent laying on your back in bed.

Activities that pull or strain the areas such as lifting heavy objects, reaching up high, or bending down low should be avoided.

You should refrain from exercise (and sex) until your surgeon gives you the all clear to resume normal activities.

Any drains used will be removed by the surgeon at his office after a few days.

Dressings may be changed at this time.

At this early stage, scarring will likely look its worst (red and raised).

After a few weeks, your stitches will be removed.


During the recovery period, your surgeon may instruct you to wear a support bra to limit the movement of the breasts and reduce the swelling.

It may be possible to return to work after 1 week if your surgeon gives you the all clear to do so, however it will take several months for the final shape of the breasts to develop, normal sensation to return to the nipples, and around 1 year for scars to flatten and fade.

Important Considerations

Important Factors in a Successful Breast Uplift

The surgeon needs to take the time to consider how the breast will be reshaped to provide support within the breast tissue, rather than relying solely on the skin to support the new breast shape.

The skin envelope should drape smoothly over the reshaped breast with minimal scarring and a good fit to the underlying reshaped tissue.

Where possible, the breast tissue should be suspended to the upper poles of the breast, to provide support and promote blood supply to the areola.

The placement of inferior tissue beneath a muscle sling if present to hold the reshaped tissue in place.

Aftercare is essential to the success of the procedure and the minimization of scarring. The wearing of a support bra, avoidance of exercise and other activities which could stress the reshaped breasts, and wound care including the prevention of infection (aided by taking antibiotics), are all essential to the outcome.

It may be difficult to create fullness in the upper part of the breasts with a breast lift on its own.

If a patient indicates that they want to achieve fullness in the cleavage area (the upper part of the breast), as well as bringing the lower part of the breast up through the lift, the surgeon may suggest mastopexy combined with silicone breast implant augmentation using a modestly sized implant to produce as close to a youthful full breast profile as possible.


One of the main downsides to a Breast Lift / Mastopexy is that scarring is inevitable.  A breast lift cannot be undertaken without causing the patient scarring.

Scarring will often by red and swollen for 2-3 months.

Scars will slowly fade in time becoming flatter, a closer colour to the surrounding skin, and generally less visible.

In some cases, however, scars can remain widened, whiter, or conversely, darker than the surrounding skin.

Scars may sometimes become hypertrophic or bumpy (cheloid) compromising the final aesthetic result. Pathological scars may require extended treatments over a number of months or years in order to improve their appearance.

What are some of the complications?2018-05-26T10:50:55+01:00

The risk of complications is present in every surgery.

In addition to the risks you have discussed with your surgeon during the consultation:

– Infection (treated with antibiotics and drainage).

– Blood clots or haematomas. These are uncommon and can be removed.

– Localised skin or gland necrosis. Rare with modern techniques. Can also delay healing.

– Numbness of the nipples. Usually temporary with most patients recovering normal nipple sensation after 6 to 18 months.

In every procedure, there is some degree of risk that is not able to be foreseen or controlled by the surgeon.

Will Breast Implants lift my breasts?2018-05-26T10:50:20+01:00

Depending on the degree of sagging you have, implants could add more weight to the breasts and make the situation worse.

The breast tissue needs to be reshaped in order to lift the breasts.

In some cases, a breast lift is combined with breast implant augmentation to restore lost volume, particularly in the upper poles (cleavage) of the breasts.

Advanced implants such as B-Lite are up to 30% lighter than traditional silicone gel implants and may be preferable in some cases.

Will I lose sensitivity in my nipples?2018-05-26T10:48:15+01:00

This will vary from patient to patient.

The majority of patients are able to retain either all or almost all of their sensation.

In the weeks straight after surgery, there is likely to be a loss or decrease in sensation or a change in the sensitivity of your nipples and breasts.

It is also possible to sensation will be temporarily heightened in the weeks following a mastopexy.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding2018-05-26T10:44:58+01:00

Will I be able to breastfeed after breast uplift surgery?

A plastic surgeon cannot guarantee for certain that breastfeeding will still be possible after a breast lift surgery. Please consider this before proceeding with surgery.

If you are planning to have a baby you should wait until after your pregnancy to have a breast lift.

A pregnancy causes the breasts to enlarge and the skin to stretch. This will likely undo most of the results of the breast lift surgery.

It is better to wait until after your final pregnancy to have a breast uplift or you may have to repeat the surgery again.


I’m interested in …

B Lite Implants

About the author

Clinic Director Dr Gary Horn

Dr Gary Horn is director of Harley Breast and is responsible for all website content.

Dr Horn is a registered Plastic Surgeon in the UK (GMC 4267803) and Belgium.

Clinic Director Dr Gary Horn
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Dr Gary Horn is a highly acclaimed Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with over 25 years of experience in breast augmentation and reshaping using breast implants (over 2,000 surgeries performed) and fat transfer to the breast. Dr Horn is a registered Plastic Surgeon in the UK (GMC 4267803) and Belgium.

SPECIALITIES: General Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

LANGUAGES:  English, French


Dr Horn is qualified to perform a large range of procedures, including:
Breast augmentation with cohesive silicone gel implants, fat transfer to the breasts, Breast Lift, Mastopexy.

French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (SoFCPRE)

European Board of Plastic Surgery
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
General Medical Council Membership Dr Gary Horn