A mastopexy or breast lift procedure addresses sagging, asymmetry, loss of shape or volume, and stretched or drooping areolae, to give breasts an overall more attractive and youthful appearance. While aging and heredity are perhaps the most common causes of sagging breasts, other factors such as pregnancy, nursing, and weight loss or weight gain can also contribute to breast sagging as well as loss of breast volume, stretched areolae (the pigmented region surrounding your nipple), and changes in breast shape.

Important Facts About Breast Lifts

What is important to understand about the breast lift procedure is that it will involve scars on the breast. This means that it is a procedure that, by definition, involves tradeoffs. When a breast has minimal sagging, the scars related to a breast lift may well not be worth it. Not all breast lifts are the same. If a relatively small amount of lifting is needed, then there may only be a scar around the areolus. When breasts are significantly saggy, then in addition to the scar around the areolus, a vertical scar is needed running from the bottom of the areolus to the fold under the breast (also known as a “lollipop” scar). Often, in these cases, there will also be a horizontal scar at or near the fold under the breast. This type of scar is commonly referred to as an anchor scar. Despite the fact that there is a scar surrounding the areolus, it is actually quite rare that the areolus is completely removed from the breast. Except in cases of truly severe breast sagging, the areolus is left attached to the underlying breast tissue, so that there is no disruption in sensation or ability to breastfeed.

Every individual scars differently, and Dr. Rapaport will review with each patient what he considers to be the likely type of scarring they can expect. This relates largely to skin color, age, and the exact type of breast lift to be performed.

It is important to understand that breast lift surgery is one of the most technically demanding cosmetic surgery procedures. Therefore, one must be very careful in selecting an experienced and thorough plastic surgeon with whom one feels comfortable to perform one’s breast lift procedure.

Breast Lift With Augmentation (Augmentation Mastopexy)

Many patients elect to have a breast lift with augmentation. A breast augmentation at the time of a breast lift may be suitable for patients who desire to correct breast asymmetry, who seek to restore volume loss due to age or nursing, or who desire an increase in breast size. One common component of breast sagging is a lack of fullness in the upper portion of the breast. This lack of “upper pole” fullness frequently recurs or remains a problem following the breast lift. Therefore, there are cases when, even though the patient is not seeking an actual breast enlargement, a small implant may be recommended in order to help maintain upper pole fullness in the breast.

When a patient only requires a mild breast lift and has little excess breast tissue, it is occasionally possible to achieve a lifted appearance with breast implants alone. While this is an option for some patients, the vast majority will require a full breast lift to reduce sagging.

Procedure Length

Breast lift surgery typically takes between 1 – 3.5 hours depending on the complexity of the case.


Breast lift procedures are performed under general anesthesia, by a board-certified anesthesiologist.

Where Will My Breast Lift Procedure Be Performed?

Dr. Rapaport performs breast lift procedures with or without simultaneous augmentation at his fully accredited on-site surgical facility.


All breast lift patients wear a surgical bra home following surgery, and have dressings over the incisions for about 2 weeks. Most breast lift surgery patients resume their daily routines within about 1 week; however, patients are advised to take it very easy for 1-2 weeks following their mastopexy. Patients must wait 3 or more weeks before resuming exercise or other strenuous activities. Patients are also advised to be extremely gentle with their breasts for six weeks following surgery.

How Long Will the Results Last

Breast lift surgery results can last permanently; however, aging, gravity, and weight changes can also alter the results and create the need for an eventual breast lift revision (also known as a secondary breast lift). A phenomenon called “bottoming out” refers to stretching of the skin below the areolus, which can occur over time following a breast lift procedure. Specific issues relating to each patient’s breast lift and expectations are reviewed at the time of each individual consultation.

Smoking and Breast Lifts

Any procedure that requires the skin to be lifted and reshaped, such as in the case of a breast lift, breast reduction, facelift, or tummy tuck, poses a challenge to the blood supply of the skin. Cigarette smoking, or for that matter any form of smoking, significantly reduces the quality of blood flow within the skin, and therefore leads to increased risk of major complications, including skin loss or loss of the areolus itself. It is for this reason that Dr. Rapaport will not perform the above procedures on any patient who continues to smoke. He requires abstinence from all smoking for 6 weeks prior to the procedure, and a minimum of 2 weeks following the procedure.

If you have questions concerning breast lift surgery or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rapaport, please call 212.249.9955 or email info@drrapaport.com.

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