Doctor marking breast for surgery

Breast Lift – Mastopexy for Drooping Breasts

Breastfeeding, aging, or even gravity can leave your breasts hanging low.

The breast lift is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures for women who desire a more youthful appearance and firmness to their breasts. The procedure is also known as mastopexy.

During mastopexy, the breast is raised by the removal of excess skin and tightening of the tissue. The nipple is repositioned higher on the chest wall.

This article discusses the four types of breast lift procedures.

What is it?

A breast lift is a plastic surgery procedure done to raise the breast by removing excess skin. This procedure aims to restore breasts that have lost their youthful shape and firmness due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations and aging.

Note that the breast lift doesn’t make significant changes to the size of the breast or change the appearance of fullness in the breast. The addition of an implant along with the lift would be needed to increase the size of the breast.

Should I consider a breast lift procedure?

There are a few questions women ask themselves when considering a breast lift procedure. It’s also important to discuss with your plastic surgeon before considering a breast lift. Patients with smaller breasts may require the placement of a breast implant to create a desired breast shape.  Here are some questions you may want to discuss:

  • Are you content with your breast size and how it fits into your bra?
  • Are your breasts asymmetrical?
  • Do your nipples face downwards or sit below the crease underneath the breast?

Types of breast lifts:

During the breast lift, the nipple is repositioned higher on the chest wall. The surgeon will mark the new position for the nipple, remove extra skin, and lift up the breast tissue under general anesthesia. Most cosmetic surgeons use these 4 types of breast lift procedures

  • Periareolar/Crescent Breast Lift – The incision is made around the areola and a small amount of skin is removed. This allows the nipple to be repositioned only slightly higher. This only produces a minimal lifting effect and is the the least invasive procedure.
  • Circumareolar or “donut shape” Breast Lift – An incision is made around the entire circumference of the areola. An area of skin in the shape of a donut is removed from the breast around the areola. This procedure can be used to reduce the size of the areola and is best used on women with only mild sagging of the breast.
  • Vertical or “Lollipop” Breast Lift – This procedure is best used on women with larger sagging breasts and can provide access for larger reshaping with two incisions.  A vertical incision is made down the breast and is combined with the circumareolar incision. Excess skin is removed from the vertical cut to allow for a smaller amount of skin to hold the shape of the breast.
  • Anchor or Inverted-T Breast Lift – This procedure combines the lollipop incision (vertical cut) with a crescent shape incision along the width of the breast crease.  This is the most extensive procedure and is suited to patients with advanced sagging. It can be performed with a breast reduction. Because of these multiple incisions, the surgeon can reshape the breast more dramatically. This procedure will involve visible scarring and may take a longer time to heal.


Bandages will be removed during the follow up and the surgeon will check the colour of the nipple.  Usually, a special dressing or bra will be recommended to provide support for the breasts after the procedure. You may need over-the-counter pain medication after the procedure to deal with any soreness. Loss of sensation in the nipples or the breast is rare.

To avoid any problems, it’s important to limit activity as suggested by your surgeon such as avoiding heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks after your breast lift.

If there are small differences in the symmetry between the two breasts, a small touch up procedure will correct the position of the nipple.

Touch up breast lift

Some women may choose to get a “touch up” breast lift procedure to improve the look of the breasts a few years after the initial breast lift procedure.

Can I breastfeed after a breast lift?

Yes, you will still be able to breastfeed after the operation.

Is this the right procedure for you?

If you are happy with the size of your breasts but hope to restore a natural youthful appearance, the breast lift procedure may be right for you.

About Fairview Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Centre: Dr. Cameron Bowman is a fully trained aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon. His practice is located at Suite 480 – 999 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z1K5. Contact him at 604.734.1416 or