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As a woman ages, it’s not uncommon for her breasts to begin to sag. The effects of normal aging and gravity can also be exacerbated by pregnancy, weight loss, and genetics. The breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, is a surgical procedure designed to lift the breasts, making them look healthier and more proportionate to the body. This procedure is sometimes combined with other procedures such as breast augmentation (to provide fullness in the upper portion of the breast).

The Breast Lift Surgery

The mastopexy surgery usually takes between one and three hours, with the method of anesthesia depending on the extensiveness of the surgery. Scarring will also vary, depending on the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed. If needed, a breast implant can be placed during a breast lift for additional volume, and we can also adjust the areola and nipple in size and diameter. Once the breasts are reshaped, the nipple will be repositioned in the ideal location proportionate to the breasts before the incisions are carefully sutured closed. Take a look at the various types of procedures we offer below.

Please note that results are not guaranteed, and may vary from person to person.

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Circumareolar Incision

breast lift before and after

Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for a minimal circular, requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the “doughnut (or concentric) mastopexy,” in which round incisions are made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.

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Keyhole (Lollipop) Incision

The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to a higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are located around the areola and in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area.

breast lift before and after

Inverted T (Anchor) Incision

breast lift before and after

Patients with significant excess breast skin are likely candidates for a more extensive skin removal lift which involves vertical and horizontal scars in the lower breast as well as repositioning the nipple-areolar to a higher location. The horizontal scar is typically hidden by the inframammary crease at the bottom of the breast.

Inferior Horizontal Lift

In certain situations, there’s so much sagging skin that a vertical scar is not necessary. The incisions can be hidden under the breast and around the nipple-areolar complex.

breast lift before and after

Breast Lift with Implants

breast lift before and after

For many women, ptosis (drooping) of the breasts also leads to a lack of fullness and volume. In these situations, an implant will provide an improved, rounder and larger shape.

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Am I a Good Candidate?

A good candidate for this surgery is desiring of fuller, perkier breasts. Non-smokers in generally good health, and those with reasonable expectations from the surgical procedure make the ideal candidate. At Holcomb - Kreithen Plastic Surgery, we’ll set up an in-person consultation, before deciding on the surgery that’s right for you. We’ll review your medical history and perform a physical examination, to determine if this is the right procedure for your specific goals.

The best breast lift candidates are healthy, emotionally stable, and have realistic expectations about what the surgery can accomplish. We can lift breasts of any size, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts. Smokers are most likely to experience poor healing of the skin, and must therefore quit for at least one month prior to surgery, and also refrain from smoking at least one month after the surgery.

Many women seek mastopexy because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and lost volume in their breasts. However, if you’re planning to have more children, it may be a good idea to postpone your breast lift. While there are no special risks that affect future pregnancies (for example, mastopexy usually doesn’t interfere with breast-feeding), pregnancy is likely to stretch your breasts again and offset the results of the procedure.

Breast Lift Procedure Details

  • Mastopexy Procedure: Raise and reshape sagging breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning remaining tissue and nipples.
  • Length: 1 to 3 hours.
  • Anesthesia: Local with sedation, or general.
  • In/Outpatient: Usually outpatient. Sometimes inpatient.
  • Recovery: Back to work within 1 week or more. Strenuous activities after one month. Fading of scars within several months to a year.
  • Duration of Results: Variable; gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight changes may cause new sagging. Results may last longer or be enhanced when breast implants are inserted as part of the procedure.
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Preparing for Your Surgery

Depending on your age and family history, Dr. Kreithen may require you to have a mammogram (breast x-ray) before surgery. You’ll also get specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.

While you’re making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a few days if needed.

Where Your Surgery Will be Performed

A breast lift will most likely be performed at our state-of-the-art certified Holcomb – Kreithen Plastic Surgery Medical Center operating room. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis. Extensive complex combination (Mommy Makeover) procedures may require an overnight hospital stay.

Types of Anesthesia

Breast lifts are usually performed under IV sedation, which means you’ll be in a twilight sleep through the operation. In selected patients–particularly when a smaller incision is being made—Dr. Kreithen may use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You’ll be awake but relaxed, and will feel minimal discomfort.

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Breast Lift Recovery

The breast lift procedure will be performed on an outpatient basis; patents are able to rest and relax at home the same afternoon. Women need to expect the recovery from their lift to take between two to four weeks but will feel good within the first week. Generally, pain after surgery is only mild to moderate, although Dr. Kreithen will prescribe appropriate medications for comfort. 

Swelling, bruising, and numbness are common but are temporary. Initially, after the procedure, bandages will be worn; then a surgical support bra will be used for approximately one month to allow for appropriate healing. Patients generally feel well enough to return to work or school in two to three days, but strenuous exercise should be postponed for up to four weeks.

After Your Surgery

After surgery, you’ll wear a sports bra over gauze dressings. Your breasts may be bruised, swollen, and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain shouldn’t be severe. Any discomfort you do feel can be relieved with medications prescribed by Dr. Kreithen.

Within a few days, the bandages will be removed. You’ll need to wear your sports bra for about a month. The stitches will be removed after a week or two.

You will be provided with ointments and scar creams to optimize the appearance of your scar.

You can expect some loss of feeling in your nipples and breast skin, caused by the swelling after surgery. This numbness usually fades as the swelling subsides over the next six weeks or so. In some patients, however, it may last a year or more, and occasionally it may be permanent.

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Getting Back to Normal

Healing is a gradual process. Although you may be up and about in a day or two, don’t plan on returning to work for at least a week, depending on how you feel. Avoid lifting anything over your head for three to four weeks.

You should wait at least four weeks before strenuous activity or exercises, and not lift more than 10 pounds in each arm. Walking and other normal activities can resume when you feel comfortable.

Your breasts will probably be sensitive to direct stimulation for two to three weeks, so you should avoid much physical contact. After that, breast contact is fine once your breasts are no longer sore, usually four to six weeks after surgery.


Noticeable scars will occur after the procedure, but everyone’s body is a little different. Regardless, the scars will be easily covered under clothing or swimwear. Complications after surgery are extremely rare. Avoiding the risk of significant issues after surgery is mitigated by choosing a Board Certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Joshua Kreithen.

Your New Look

Dr. Kreithen will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. It may take up to a year for the scars to fully mature. Over time, eventually, the scars should fade to thin white lines.

You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won’t keep you firm forever–the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic.

Holcomb - Kreithen Plastic Surgery & Medspa

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To schedule a consultation for a Breast Lift, contact Holcomb and Kreithen Plastic Surgery at (866) 218-4810. At the completion of your consultation, you will meet with our patient coordinator. You will be given an estimate of the cost of your procedure and have the option to schedule your procedure if you so choose. We are here to answer your questions and explain your options for a rejuvenating breast procedure. Our goal is to make every woman look natural and beautiful, as well as comfortable with her own body. We look forward to seeing you in our Sarasota or Tampa office.

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