Breast Lift

Actual Patient

Pregnancy, aging, nursing, gravity or genetics can take their toll on your breasts, leaving them deflated and sagging. Over time, skin elasticity relaxes and your breasts begin to change shape and lose firmness. A mastopexy, usually known as a breast lift, is a plastic surgery procedure that reshapes and returns the breasts to a more youthful appearance. A breast lift can also adjust the size of the nipple and reduce the areola, the pigmented skin surrounding the nipple. And for small breasts that have lost volume, a breast implant combined with a breast lift can result in larger, perkier-looking breasts.

Renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Daniel Barrett, MD, MHA, MS, is skilled in advanced surgical methods that deliver superior breast lift results.

When considering a mastopexy, understanding the procedure will help decide if it can improve your situation. Knowing the surgical basics will help to manage your expectations for more realistic results. The information here may not answer all your questions, so scheduling a consultation is the best way to guarantee Dr. Barrett thoroughly addresses your concerns.

Improvements from breast lift surgery include:

  • Removing excessively stretched skin from sagging breasts (ptosis), aging, fluctuations in weight, nursing children, and gravity
  • Repositioning downward-facing nipples and reducing enlarged areolas to enhance the breasts’ appearance
  • Correcting unevenness and asymmetry

When A Breast Lift Is Right for You

  • You’re in overall good health.
  • Non-smoker, as tobacco use affects the safety of the procedure and the ability to heal correctly.
  • Your expectations are realistic.
  • Your breasts are asymmetrical, sag, flat, or hang.
  • Your skin has stretched at the breast.
  • Your weight is stable, and you’re in good physical shape.
  • Your nipples point down with expanded areolas.
  • You’re in good emotional health.
  • You’re not having more children,as childbearing will counteract the effects of the procedure due to weight increase during pregnancy.

Location of Incisions

Because no two patients’ breasts are alike, there are several options for your procedure’s proper surgical technique.

Periareolar incision (donut lift) is the least invasive incision most suitable for patients with moderate drooping. An incision is executed partly around the bottom half of the areolas removing part of the breast tissue. If a visible scar is a concern, this technique is good for concealing due to the areola’s texture and pigmentation.

Lollipop incision is a minor invasive incision and gives a slight to medium correction for women with moderate breast size with no interest in breast implants. It encompasses each areola extending below the lower breast to the inframammary crease reducing the possibility for horizontal breast scars. Repositioning of the nipples and areolas is a consideration with this procedure.

Anchor incision is the most invasive incision and is named after the incision’s shape. It’s formed around the areolas, straight downward then underneath each breast crease. This method is best for medium to severe sagging and offers the most significant nipple and areola correction.

The Breast Lift Procedure

A breast lift is an outpatient procedure usually lasting three hours, performed under general anesthesia, with a minimal after-surgery rehabilitation time, depending on the technique and amount of correction required during your surgery, and you’re able to return home soon after to recover in comfortable, familiar surroundings.

The procedure removes excess skin and relocates the nipple and areola for a more favorable position on the chest. Large areolas can also be resized during the surgery for a more balanced look. Moving the skin above the areola by relocating it under the breast creates the lift, thus reshaping the breast. After the breast is remodeled, the extra skin is detached and stitches are placed beneath the breast tissue to support your bust’s new location.

Combining Procedures

A breast lift will restore a fresh appearance as a stand-alone procedure or it can be combined with other breast augmentation or surgeries to maximize your transformation and greatly enhance your outcome.

Breast Augmentation

For women who want bigger breasts, an augmentation with implants offers a variety of silhouettes and sizes. Plus, done at the same time as a breast lift is the perfect time to access the area since it’s already being addressed.

Breast Reduction

Disproportionately large breasts that are also sagging or stretched can cause embarrassment and physical discomfort. For women experiencing both issues, a breast lift and reduction is an ideal solution to remedy the problem resulting in a more pleasing shape and firmer breasts.


Removing unwanted fat from under your arms in the pit area with liposuction is a way to have an even more noticeable change to the area encompassing your breasts.

Breast Implant Removal

A lifestyle change, different preferences, or simply no longer liking your breast implants are all good reasons to consider having an explant during your breast lift. Breast implants have a shelf life, and if yours have reached theirs, now is the time to get younger, fresh, and perkier breasts.

After Your Breast Lift

After a brief monitoring time, you will be discharged to return home. The procedure does require light medical bandages, though this may differ if you combined other plastic surgery procedures during your operation. You’re encouraged to wait up to 14 days before returning to light activities and work, with physical exercise needing six weeks. Dr. Barrett will provide you with comprehensive aftercare instructions developed from your consultation that will include limitations for physical activities, incision care, and effective methods to reduce swelling and keep you relaxed for the first few days.

Staying Comfortable

It’s best to prefill all prescribed medication before your surgery, including anti-inflammatories as part of your recovery protocol. A natural and safe way to alleviate swelling without causing leaking gut, unlike ibuprofen and aspirin, is Arnica Recovery Complex, which reduces the impact of inflammation in your body from your plastic surgery procedure. It also has Bromelain, an extract found in pineapples, to control bruising. It’s not unusual to experience mild bruising and swelling for a few weeks, but it shouldn’t prohibit you from engaging in most of your daily tasks. Most patients are happy to find themselves feeling much better within a few short days and are ready to return to many activities.


It’s inevitable for surgery to produces scars, which will begin to fade within two or three months. We recommend Skinuva™ Scar to address incision scars and help them heal after surgery. Made with silicone and other field growth factors, our patients use Skinuva™ for a minimum of three months, twice a day post-surgery. After surgery, it’s important to minimize if not entirely avoid sun exposure to your scars, as exposure to UV rays can darken the scars permanently.

Choosing Barrett Plastic Surgery

A breast lift offers dramatic results that will last for many years. Whether implemented alone or in association with other procedures, a mastopexy can significantly change your breasts to produce an overall younger-looking body silhouette. With extensive medical experience, Dr. Daniel Barrett specializes in plastic surgery and reconstructive methods in Los Angeles, California, highlighting the breasts, body, and face. His passion is providing natural results with minimal downtime.

If you’re ready for a positive change and are no longer pleased with your breasts, contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barrett’s patient coordinators for a consultation at 310-598-2648. If you’re more content speaking with our team from the comfort of your home, we provide virtual surgical consultations.

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Abdominoplasty with Plication, Bilateral Vertical Mastopexy with Fat Transfer to Upper Pole, Liposuction of Abdomen, Flanks, Arms with Renuvion to Arms, Fat Transfer to Buttocks

What is a Breast Lift?

A mastopexy or breast lift is a surgical procedure used to raise and reshape sagging breasts. It can also be used to adjust the position of the nipple or areola to create a more natural, aesthetically pleasing appearance to the entire breast. Changes in the breasts due to pregnancy and nursing often result in significant sagging over time. As a woman ages, the effects of gravity combined with a loss of natural elasticity in the skin can also result in drooping breasts. A breast lift reverses these changes, restoring perkiness to the breasts and a more youthful body contour overall.

Dr. Barrett offers a breast lift both as a stand-alone procedure and in conjunction with breast implants or fat grafting to the breast when necessary to produce an optimal outcome. The goal of a breast lift is to restore firmness to the breast while raising its position to create a more youthful, full and natural appearance. No two women are identical when it comes to their concerns and their desired outcome, so Dr. Barrett works with each patient to ensure he understands their unique aesthetic goals and meets them accordingly.

Is a Breast Lift Right for You?

You may consider a breast lift at different phases of life and for a variety of reasons. This procedure, whether performed alone or in combination with another form of breast enhancement, offers a significant improvement to the appearance of the breasts that can be very long-lasting. Dr. Barrett will take the time necessary to understand your aesthetic goals and evaluate your unique situation to determine whether a breast lift is the best choice for you. Some of the factors he might consider will include:

  • Good health overall (if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications, Dr. Barrett will weigh that information carefully to determine whether it might interfere with the safety of your procedure).
  • Non-smoker, since tobacco use can affect the safety of your procedure and the ability of your incision to heal correctly.
  • Overall satisfaction with the size of your breasts, with a desire to merely correct sagging and create a more youthful position.
  • A healthy outlook on your appearance and positive reasons for wanting a breast lift that does not include undergoing the procedure to please another person.
  • Willingness to take sufficient time to recuperate after your procedure, as that time will be critical in a healthy and successful recovery process.
  • Healthy, stable weight has been achieved since weight fluctuations after a breast lift can change the results of the procedure.
  • Realistic expectations as to what the breast lift procedure will do for you and how it will affect your appearance.

Because Dr. Barrett’s primary concern is your safety, he will carefully assess these various factors to ensure a breast lift is an appropriate choice for you. If a breast lift does not meet your aesthetic goals best, he will help you construct a surgical plan that will. Most women find it is optimal to delay a breast lift until they are finished having children since pregnancy and nursing can alter your surgical outcome.

Choosing a Surgeon for Your Breast Lift

Breast procedures are a standard offering by plastic surgeons throughout Beverly Hills, so you will need to take some time and do your due diligence in selecting the right surgeon for you. Dr. Barrett is board-certified and has extensive experience in breast reconstruction and enhancement to provide you with an optimal outcome. He is one of the few plastic surgeons that can perform the lollipop breast lift incision pattern instead of the traditional anchor pattern.  He personally sees all his patients during the initial consultation and at follow-up visits to ensure sufficient attention and provide patients with the opportunity to share concerns and ask questions. When it comes to personalized care and outstanding results, Dr. Barrett stands apart from the crowd. Think quality over quantity.

Benefits of a Breast Lift

The main goal of a breast lift is to raise drooping breasts to a perkier position on the chest wall. However, women that choose to undergo a breast lift will likely see a variety of benefits from this procedure:

  • Sagging breasts are lifted to create a more youthful upper body profile
  • Breasts that hang unevenly or have different shapes will be balanced to create symmetry
  • Loose skin on the sides of the chest is removed to produce a firmer contour to the breast
  • Nipples that point downward will be repositioned to a natural, outward position
  • Areolas that have enlarged can be reduced in size to create a proportionate appearance

Dr. Barrett will consider all these potential concerns when devising your breast lift surgery plan to provide you with comprehensive results you are happy with for many years. In some cases, he may recommend combining your lift with augmentation using implants/fat or reduction of the breasts if they are disproportionately large to achieve even better results. These procedures can be performed simultaneously, allowing you to achieve your full cosmetic goals with just one time under anesthesia and one recovery process.

Choices in a Breast Lift

Dr. Barrett may perform your breast lift using a variety of techniques, depending on the level of correction you might need. In nearly all cases, an incision will first be made around the areola, known as a periareolar placement. An additional incision may be created down the lower half of the breast, which is often referred to as a lollipop incision. Dr. Barrett performs all his breast lifts using the periareolar placement combined with the vertical line when necessary. No further incisions are needed to produce optimal results for his patients. This particular technique for breast lifts is revolutionary. It treats the breast as a three-dimensional structure and eliminates the need for horizontal breast scars found in the traditional anchor pattern lift.

Dr. Barrett may perform a breast lift as a stand-alone procedure or in combination with other forms of breast enhancement if needed to meet all the patient’s aesthetic goals. Those procedures might include, but are not limited to:

Breast Lift with Augmentation

For women that will not achieve their desired size with a breast lift alone, Dr. Barrett may recommend a combination of the lift with augmentation using implants. With a wide range of shapes and sizes to choose from, your procedure will be tailored to your unique body proportions and profile goals. Choices for breast augmentation include:

Implant type – Dr. Barrett offers saline, silicone and form-cohesive or “gummy bear” implants to his patients. He will help you choose the ideal implants for you based on the results you want to achieve. Rest assured that the FDA has approved all these implants for breast augmentation, so each type has an extensive track record of both safety and efficacy.

Implant size and profile – The size of the implants will be in accordance with your aesthetic goals as well as your body proportions to ensure a natural, beautiful outcome. Profile refers to the amount of projection from the chest wall and will depend on the width of your chest wall in addition to the look you want to get from your augmentation. Dr. Barrett typically recommends moderate profile implants for breast lifts to provide a more natural appearance.

Outer shell – Some implants have a smooth outer shell, while others have a textured coating. While there are pros and cons to each choice, Dr. Barrett often selects the textured implants when performing the augmentation with a lift because these implants tend to remain higher in the breast and complement the lift.

Shape of the implant – Both round and teardrop-shaped implants are available, and each offers a slightly different outcome. Round implants provide more upper pole fullness, which may enhance cleavage as well. Teardrop shapes may offer a more natural breast shape but can rotate in some cases and distort the appearance of the breast.

Placement of implant – Dr. Barrett may place your implants over or under the pectoral (chest) muscle. Placement will be based in part on the amount of natural breast tissue you have. Implants placed on top of the muscle in women with less breast tissue may be more visible and have a higher risk of capsular contracture. Dr. Barrett typically recommends placement under the muscle.

Location of incision – Dr. Barrett has three different incision placements he uses, which include inside the armpit (transaxillary), under the breast (inframammary) and around the areola (periareolar). When he performs augmentation with the lift, he will typically use the periareolar to place the implant in the breast pocket. This limits the number of incisions by using those you would already have for your breast lift.

By carefully selecting the right surgical plan for you, your breast augmentation should provide you with beautiful, natural results for many years to come. When augmentation and a lift are combined simultaneously, you enjoy a perkier, more youthful positioning of the breasts in addition to the enhanced size.

Breast Lift with Reduction

Some women may find small breasts are not their issue. Instead, disproportionately large, heavy breasts can cause both embarrassment in their appearance and physical discomfort. For these women, a combination of a breast reduction with a lift may provide them with the more attractive shape and firmer breasts they desire. Breast reduction involves the removal of excess skin and tissue from the breast to sculpt a more balanced, aesthetically-pleasing shape.

Breast reduction involves the same incisions used for a breast lift. The periareolar incision is placed within the pigmented area around the areola and when necessary, a second incision is placed down the lower portion of the breast to form the lollipop shape. This dual incision allows Dr. Barrett to produce both the lift and reduction desired by the patient without requiring additional scarring or recovery time.

The Mommy Makeover

A breast lift can also be a component in a mommy makeover, a combination of procedures designed to restore a woman’s pre-baby body. Because pregnancy and nursing are both factors that can lead to drooping sagging breasts, a breast lift can be combined with procedures like a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, liposuction or even a buttock augmentation to achieve a variety of aesthetic goals in a single surgical session.

With a commitment to providing ample personal attention to each patient and a keen eye for detail, Dr. Barrett will work with you to determine the best surgical plan for your needs. Rest assured you will have plenty of time to explore your options and ask questions as you move forward to achieve all your aesthetic goals.

Preparing for Your Procedure

Your preparation before your breast lift will be a strong determinant in the success of your procedure and the results you enjoy. Dr. Barrett understands this and spends the necessary time instructing you on how to get ready for your surgery. Rest assured by the time the day of your procedure arrives; you should feel comfortable with your decision and surgical plan. You will also have adequately prepared your body for the process to increase your odds of a complication-free procedure significantly. Some of those preparation steps might include:

  • Avoid medications that might increase your risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are the most common culprits. Others might include blood-thinning medications and supplements like vitamin E and fish oil.
  • If you smoke, Dr. Barrett will ask you to stop a minimum of six weeks before and six weeks after your procedure. Nicotine can affect how your body responds to anesthesia and may hinder incision healing after surgery.
  • Remain hydrated before and after surgery to promote healthy healing and lower your risk for complications and infection.
  • Have someone bring you home from your procedure and preferably remain with you for a day or two as you begin the recovery process. This assistance is essential in case you experience any side effects and to ensure you can rest and recuperate during that time when you will need it most.
  • Arrange for help with your children and house for the first week or two. While you will be up and around soon after your procedure, you will be restricted from lifting heavy items or participating in strenuous activities for a couple of weeks to give your breasts ample time to heal.

Most important is to follow these instructions precisely as Dr. Barrett and his team outline them to you. These few simple steps will ensure a more comfortable recovery process and a positive surgery experience overall. If there are other ways you should prepare ahead of your procedure, Dr. Barrett will let you know at your initial consultation or other appointments you might have beforehand.

Procedure Overview

General anesthesia is the most common choice for a breast lift, allowing you to be comfortably asleep during the procedure. Dr. Barrett performs these surgeries on an outpatient basis, so you can plan to head home a few hours afterward to recover in comfortable, familiar surroundings. At the beginning of your surgery, he injects a long-lasting numbing medication into the surgical site so that you wake up without pain. He will then place your incisions as discussed during your consultation, in which he will remove loose skin and move the breasts to a perkier position.

Once completed, Dr. Barrett will meticulously close your incisions in five separate layers using a technique that minimizes tension on the area and ensures the incisions heal smoothly. Glue and external tape will be placed over the area. Dr. Barrett typically does not recommend a surgical bra to be worn afterwards to reduce the risk of compression related skin necrosis. If your breast lift is the only procedure Dr. Barrett performs, it will likely take between three to four hours. If additional procedures are done at the same time, the duration of the surgery may be longer.

After Your Breast Lift

You will spend a few hours in recovery with an attentive staff that will ensure you wake up safely from the anesthesia. Dr. Barrett offers a long-acting, three-day pain injection to all his patients called Exparel. You will go home with post-operative instructions that include incision care and effective methods to reduce swelling and keep you comfortable for the first day or two. You will likely have a prescription pain medication to take during that time if needed, as well as an antibiotic to prevent infection. Ibuprofen and arnica are also recommended as part of your recovery protocol. Most patients are pleasantly surprised to find they feel much better within a few short days and are ready to return to many of their activities.

You should be ready to resume your work schedule after about one week unless your job is unusually strenuous. It is not unusual to experience some mild bruising and swelling for a few weeks, but this should not prohibit you from engaging in most of your daily tasks. Dr. Barrett will advise you to hold off on some activities for at least two weeks, although walking will be encouraged shortly afterward to promote healthy blood flow and prevent blood clot formation. Upper body workouts and heavy lifting (anything eight pounds and over) will be restricted for six weeks. You will have a set of follow-up appointments at one, two, three and six weeks, and then at three and six months post-procedure. At all these appointments, you will be seen personally by Dr. Barrett, who will advise you more directly as to when it is safe to resume some activities.

Many patients worry about what their scars will look like after breast lift surgery. Keep in mind that while your scars will begin to fade within two or three months, the full outcome will not become evident for up to a full year. Dr. Barrett will place you on a 12-week silicone gel program to assist in the healing of the incision and minimize the scar. During the first few months, it is critical to avoid direct sun exposure, since UV rays can contribute to a more prominent appearance.

Long-Lasting Lift for a Youthful Contour

A breast lift offers dramatic results that will last for many years. If you get breast implants at the same time, the FDA and implant manufacturers recommend changing or removing them within 10 years. You might also see your breasts begin to sag somewhat after many years due to aging, stretching skin. At that time, you may elect to undergo a revision procedure to restore youthful shape to the breasts.

A breast lift, whether performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures, can significantly alter your breasts to create a more youthful body contour overall. With extensive experience in all types of breast enhancement and reconstruction, Dr. Barrett is highly qualified to work with you throughout your breast lift experience. Because he makes a point to see fewer patients in his office each day, he can commit the necessary time to you to ensure he thoroughly understands your concerns and goals and can recommend the best surgical plan for you. Now is the time to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barrett by calling our office at 310-598-2648.

The information about breast lift was reviewed by Dr. Daniel Barrett. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.

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