Pregnancy, nursing, and the general force of gravity as time progresses can have a significant effect on a woman's breasts, making them sag and forcing the areolas to become larger. Many women choose to have a breast lift to counteract this.

Basically, a breast lift, or mastopexy, raises and reshapes the breasts. Unlike a breast augmentation, which involves inserting an implant into the breasts, a breast lift achieves its new heights by getting rid of and tightening excess skin. This will not adjust the size of your breasts, but it will make them look perkier and more youthful. It must be noted that a breast lift cannot permanently situate your breasts at a higher position, but it can postpone the effects of gravity and time.

If you're a woman who is considering a breast lift, there are a few things you should consider beforehand:

  • Are you in general good health and emotionally stable?
  • Does your weight tend to fluctuate?
  • Do you have realistic expectations about the outcome of your surgery?
  • Are you considering having more children?
  • Do you have particularly large breasts?
  • Are you aware of the possible risks and complications involved with a breast lift?

These are all questions that should be answered with the help of a qualified surgeon. Our doctors are ready to discuss these and any other concerns or questions you may have about breast lift surgery at your complimentary consultation.

Your doctor will inform you of all the possible complications, including the risks associated with the use of anesthesia. Although it is not likely to occur, some women experience bleeding and infection, larger than average scars, uneven nipples, and permanent loss of feeling in the nipples. Your doctor will also speak with you about the scars you will have, how he will make sure they're as small as possible and how to disguise and hide your scars after your procedure.

Once you've made the decision that a breast lift is the right procedure for you, it's time to start preparing for surgery. The surgery takes a few hours and you will see results immediately. Swelling will disappear with time. As soon as the anesthesia is administered, the doctor will create incisions along the portion of skin to be removed and reposition the nipple. The skin formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Sutures close the incisions, giving the breast its new contour.


Like all surgeries, there is a chance that you may experience certain complications as a result of your breast lift. While not common, bleeding or infection after a surgery can result in the widening of the scars from your surgery.

Other potential negative effects of a mastopexy are:

  • visible scars
  • loss of sensations in your breasts or nipples
  • uneven nipples

However, by selecting a board certified plastic surgeon, following all of the guidelines before and after surgery, and avoiding smoking, you can minimize the risk of encountering negative side effects.


The process of getting a breast lift begins by meeting with your surgeon. During this initial consultation, your surgeon will examine and measure your breasts. The two of you will discuss your goals for having a breast lift, and you will be given information about how certain factors, like the condition of your skin, the size of your breasts, the shape of your breasts and your age, will impact the results you see from this procedure. Depending on your surgeon's opinion, a breast augmentation may be recommended to create the results you desire.

In addition to discussing your breasts, you and your surgeon will also decide where your areola and nipple should be positioned (since they will be moved up higher during the procedure). Your surgeon will also talk to you about the other factors involved in this procedure, including the cost, the facility that the breast lift will be performed in, the kind of anesthesia that will be used, and the type of scarring that will most likely take place once your surgery is complete. You should ask your surgeon about any other questions you have, regardless of whether they are about preparing for the surgery, the procedure itself, or the recovery period and the results you will have once the surgery is over.

After having the consultation with your surgeon, if you decide that a breast lift is the right solution for you, you will be given a list of instructions to follow. In addition to providing instructions on drinking, eating, smoking and taking medications, your surgeon may also require you to have a mammogram before you can be approved for this procedure. Whether or not you are required to have a mammogram depends greatly on your family history and current age.

Before your breast lift begins, you will be given a general anesthesia to put you to sleep and numb any pain. Although select patients, who will have a smaller incision, are given local anesthesia and a sedative, general anesthesia is the most common choice for controlling pain during this procedure.

While there are different methods for performing a mastopexy, the most common technique is for the surgeon to make an anchor-shaped incision along the natural contour of each of your breasts. The incision is made where the excess skin will be removed. Once this skin is removed, the areola and nipple are relocated to their higher position. The skin around the areola is carefully brought down and used to reshape the breast so it has a more youthful appearance. Once the breast has been satisfactorily reshaped, stitches will be put into the area around the areola. The stitches are placed in a vertical line that extends from the nipple area to the lower crease of the breast. A normal breast lift can be completed in one and a half to three and a half hours.

As previously mentioned, there is a type of mastopexy that is done through a smaller incision. Normally performed on women with smaller breasts that only have a minimal amount of sagging, the concentric (or doughnut) mastopexy involves making circular incisions around the areola. A "doughnut-shaped" area of skin is then removed from the breast.


Once your procedure has been successfully completed, your breasts will be supported by a surgical bra or elastic bandage with gauze dressings underneath. While the pain is normally not severe, your breasts will be bruised and swollen for a couple of days. However, any pain you do feel can be easily controlled through the use of prescription medication.

Because you will need to take time to begin recovering immediately after your procedure is complete, it is important to have at least one friend or family member who can not only bring you home from the hospital after your procedure, but also take care of your needs in the early stages of your healing process.

In a few days, your surgical bra or elastic bandage will be replaced with a softer support bra. It is very important for you to wear your support bra at all times for the next three to four weeks of recovery. You will have a layer of gauze in between your breasts and the support bra. The stitches that were used to close the incisions in your breasts will be removed in one to two weeks.

While it's important to avoid tugging at the skin on your breasts, if they begin to feel dry, you can use moisturizer on the dry areas several times a day (use caution to avoid getting moisture on the areas with sutures).

Most women who undergo a breast lift are able to begin walking around after one to two days of recovery. However, it normally takes at least a week of recovery before a patient feels comfortable enough to return to work. During the first three to four weeks of your recovery period, you should avoid lifting anything over your head.

Although you will receive detailed guidelines from your surgeon, the general recommendation is for women to avoid strenuous activities for at least a month, and when they do resume these activities, to gradually get back into their original routines.

If you notice a loss of feeling in your breasts or nipples during your recovery period, it is most likely due to the excessive swelling. While your normal levels of sensation will usually return after approximately six weeks, there is a possibility that you will have a permanent loss of feeling in your breasts.

Although you will have scars from your mastopexy procedure, they will grow less conspicuous over time. Additionally, most surgeons will place them in a way that allows you to wear swimsuits and low cut tops without feeling self-conscious.

While the new position of your breasts will not last forever, if you follow all of the guidelines that your surgeon gives you throughout the process of your breast lift, you can ensure that your procedure will end with youthful looking breasts that remain perky for many years to come.


The breast surgeons at California Surgical Institute have undergone specialized training in an array of breast procedures including breast lifts, breast augmentation and breast reduction. Our breast lift surgeons specialize in traditional breast lifts, internal "scarless" breast lifts and breast lifts using breast implants.  They travel throughout our 7 Southern California to bring you their experience and expertise.

We offer complimentary consultations and helpful tools to help you visualize your procedure and potential results, including our 3-D Surgical Animation and Breast Lift Before & After Photos located at the top right-hand corner of the page.

To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call us toll free at 866-372-3288 or fill out our Online Form.

Breast Lift Resources

Our educational resources are available to help you better understand breast lift surgery and your potential results.

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Southern California Breast Lift Surgeons

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The plastic surgeons at California Surgical Institute's Beverly Hills, Upland, Brea and Riverside Clinics (respectively our Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside County locations) offer Complimentary Consultations to answer any questions you may have. To schedule your appointment, please call 866-372-3288 or submit the form at the top of the page.

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  • Over time, a woman's breasts begin top sag and the areolas become larger. All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk.
  • Incisions outline the area of skin to be removed and the new position for the nipple.
  • Skin formerly located above the nipple is brought down and together to reshape the breast. Sutures close the incisions, giving the breast its new contour.
  • After surgery, the breasts are higher and firmer, with sutures usually located around the areola, below it, and in the crease under the breast.
  • If your expectations are realistic, chances are you'll be satisfied with your breast lift.

Breast Lift Photos

California Surgical Institute

9025 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 411, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Brea: 910 E. Birch St, Suite 350, Brea, CA 92821

Upland: 930 W. Foothill Blvd. Upland, CA 91786

Riverside: 7120 Indiana Ave. Riverside, CA, 92506

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