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A breast lift is a plastic surgery procedure performed to lift sagging breasts. This surgery can also reduce the size of the areola surrounding the nipple. Several conditions can cause sagging in breast tissue, including breast feeding, very heavy breasts, significant weight loss, and natural aging.

Breast lift plastic surgery can vary from patient to patient. It can be performed under local anesthesia as an office procedure, or some patients’ needs may require general anesthesia in a hospital. In either situation, most patients go home the same day. Also, the time off from work varies from 1-2 days, up to two weeks.

Most patients report that in healing, the discomfort level is not great, and Dr Kim helps patient comfort with a highly effective On Q Pain Relief System. After any surgery, scarring is a consideration, but Dr Kim attempts to limit scars as much as possible. It can be varied from limited to the periphery of the areola or requiring both vertical and horizontal incisions.

How do I Know if I Need a Breast Lift?

The position of your nipple, in relation to your breast fold and the rest of your breast tissue, determines if you need a breast liftю Generally, a youthful, aesthetically pleasing breast has relatively tight tissue, and the nipple is in the center of the breast. As you age and have kids, your breasts may start to sag, and you may need a breast lift.

If your nipple is at or below the breast fold, then you need a breast lift. If your nipple is at or above the breast fold, the you are probably a candidate for a breast augmentation to fill the loose skin. You probably do not need a breast lift, although if your nipple position is close to the breast fold, you still may want one for a better aesthetic result.

How is a Breast Lift Done?

breast lift is done by 3 major choices:

  • a Benelli Mastopexy
  • a Vertical Incision with Areolar Incision
  • an Upside Down T incision/ vertical and horizontal incision with an areolar incision

In general, breast lift surgery tightens the loose skin of the breast. Patients with breast sag may have an areola which has spread due to time, previous pregnancy, or breast feeding, so the areola is often made smaller during this surgery. Depending on how much breast tissue has sagged, the breast tissue can be repositioned and tightened as well. There are several techniques to do this. My favorite uses an internal bra of breast tissue and fascia to give additional support to the base of the breast.

Breast lift generally does not remove breast tissue at all, but gives your breast a more aesthetically pleasing look. However, many patients experience a slight loss of cup size, or overall volume, of their breast. This is because some of the breast volume that exists before surgery is due to loose breast skin. Technically, you’re not having breast tissue removed, but you may still end up with a beautiful appearing breast that is slightly smaller than before surgery.

The Benelli Mastopexy is when there is only a circular incision around the areola. This allows the patient to make the areola smaller. Also, the incision is camouflaged within the edge of the areola. The advantages include only an incision around the areola. The disadvantage is that the amount of breast lift obtained is not that great. If your breast needs more lifting, then the Benelli approach may not be for you. Also, the areola has the potential to spread or widen, due to the tension on the suture line.

The combination areolar incision with a vertical incision is the most popular method of doing a breast lift. The areola has an incision around it, and their is a vertical line or incision as well underneath. Occasionally, in the non-plastic surgery media, it’s called a lollipop incision. The advantage of this incision is that it generates alot of lift, and the vertical incision becomes more difficult to see with time, because it’s hidden underneath the natural breast tissue as it drops over the breast fold. The disadvantage of this incision is that there is an additional incision, the vertical one.

The 3rd method is becoming less common. The incision is still made around the areola, and there is an upside T incision underneath the areola. The incisions underneath the areola are vertical, with a connecting incision that’s horizontal in the breast fold. This procedure is becoming less popular because the amount of breast lift needed is usually sufficient with just a vertical incision.

In all 3 procedures, care is taken to preserve blood flow and nerve sensation to the nipple. This is done to ensure long-term normal nipple sensation, and long-term ability to lactate, or procedure milk.

Do I need a Breast Implant with a Breast Lift?

With any type of breast lift, you have the option of getting a breast implant. The incision to put the implant in is fairly simple- I just use a portion of the breast lift incision to put the implant in. I would not recommend a breast fold or underarm incision, because I might as well use a part of the breast lift incision.

Although your breasts will be more youthful in appearance, your breasts will eventually sag with time. Roy Kim, MD can turn back the hands of time, but the clock still keeps on ticking!
If you’d like more information, here are some blog posts on breast lift.

  • How is a Breast Lift Done?
  • How Do I Know if I Need a Breast Lift?

How can I get a Breast Lift in San Francisco?

If you’d like a consultation, please contact our Patient Care Coordinator, at or 415 362 1846.

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