Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

Over time, the natural shape and projection of women’s breasts can begin to change, sometimes leading to a sagging, deflated appearance. As with most physical changes, there are a number of different reasons this can occur. For those who have had children, the breasts often become larger during pregnancy and breastfeeding, causing the skin to stretch in order to accommodate the increase in size. While breast volume will generally diminish again after breastfeeding is complete, the breast skin may not contract to the same extent, leading to an excess that results in breast drooping.

For women who have gone through significant weight gain followed by dramatic weight loss, the same changes usually occur—the skin expands to accommodate growing breast volume during weight gain, leaving extra skin behind after the weight is lost. Furthermore, breast volume often diminishes over time as a part of the natural process of aging. Combined with a gradual decrease in skin elasticity (also attributed to aging) and the consistent pull of gravity, this can lead to breast sagging.

Regardless of the specific cause of breast drooping, the good news is that most women can find an excellent solution in the form of breast lift surgery with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Steven Holzman, MD

What Is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift, also known as mastopexy, is a procedure designed to improve the shape, firmness, and position of the breasts for a rejuvenated look and feel. Treatment can also involve resizing and/or recontouring the nipple-areolar complexes, as well as placing implants to restore—or even increase—breast volume in addition to elevating the bust line.

Austin plastic surgeon Steven Holzman, MD has over two decades of experience in performing breast lift surgery. Depending on your unique needs and goals, he can customize the procedure to achieve an improved, more youthful-looking shape and position for the breasts, helping to not only enhance your physical appearance—but also your self-confidence and esteem. Mastopexy is truly one of the most rewarding aesthetic surgeries available.

What Are the Benefits of a Breast Lift?

A breast lift is designed to help rejuvenate the breasts with a firmer, perkier appearance. Additional aesthetic benefits can include:

  • More lifted and youthful-looking breasts
  • Elimination or reduction of excess, inelastic skin
  • Enhanced breast shape with greater symmetry and more refined contours
  • Improved size, shape, and positioning of the nipple-areola complex, as needed
  • Renewed self-confidence and self-image

There are many ways a breast lift procedure can be customized to meet your unique cosmetic goals. Dr. Holzman’s experience with mastopexy surgery allows him to expertly advise patients on the potential benefits and risks of their particular treatment plan.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Breast Lift Surgery?

The best candidates for mastopexy usually include women who have one or more of the following goals:

  • Eliminate breast drooping/sagging
  • Improve breast position and projection
  • Enhance the shape and symmetry of the breasts
  • Restore the breasts to their pre-pregnancy or pre-weight loss appearance
  • Create a more youthful-looking breast aesthetic
  • Achieve a better look and/or fit in certain tops and dresses

In addition, good breast lift candidates are at (or very close to) their desired weight, do not smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, and have realistic expectations for the results that can be attained—for instance, if an increase in breast volume is also desired, a breast augmentation in combination with breast lift surgery will likely be required.

At the time of your consultation, Dr. Holzman will discuss all candidacy requirements with you in great detail, helping you determine if breast lift surgery is right for you.

Degrees of Breast Ptosis

Breast “ptosis” refers to drooping or sagging, which typically occurs as a result of reduced skin elasticity and weakened supportive tissues. There are different degrees of severity associated with ptosis, and understanding the extent of your own breast sag can help determine the optimal treatment solution(s) for your needs.


Grade 1 Ptosis

This stage is typically characterized by minor breast sagging, with the nipple remaining at or above the inframammary fold.


Grade 2 Ptosis

The nipple has likely descended below the inframammary fold, but it still rests above the lower breast mound.


Grade 3 Ptosis

This phase is considered the most severe. Along with significant tissue sagging, the nipples now point downwards and rest below the natural breast fold.

During your consultation, Dr. Holzman will assess your breasts and the degree of ptosis you are experiencing. He will then propose a treatment plan that is designed to address your unique needs and goals. If you have any further questions about the different degrees of ptosis, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Holzman, we encourage you to contact us today.

Can I Get a Breast Lift with Implants?

A breast lift with implants, also referred to as a breast augmentation/mastopexy, can be an option if an individual’s goal is to lift and tighten the breast tissue as well as add volume and fullness. Essentially, this procedure combines the tissue shaping powers of a breast lift with the volumizing capabilities of a breast augmentation. That said, since the skin and tissues are undergoing restorative changes, selecting an appropriate size for the implants is very important. Ideally, the implants should enhance the cleavage of the newly restored breasts without adding excess weight. During the initial consultation, Dr. Holzman takes the time to understand each individual’s goals so that he can deliver a beautiful, youthful, and natural-looking result.

What Does the Breast Lift Procedure Entail?

Breast lift surgery will be customized to fit your specific needs and desired outcome. During the procedure, Dr. Holzman will remove excess skin, reshape the breast tissues, resize and/or reshape the nipple-areolar complexes (if necessary), and elevate the breasts to a more youthful position.

Generally, a mastopexy is performed with at least some other technique in addition to exclusively removing extra skin and manually reshaping tissues. Many patients require liposuction of the lateral chest wall to achieve better contour of the overall chest appearance. Often, one breast is larger than the other, necessitating a small reduction on that side. If you would like to increase the volume of your breasts, Dr. Holzman can enhance the lift using breast implants placed below the chest muscle to achieve a more dramatic increase in size and firmness. The latest technology and approach for increasing superior pole volume in patients undergoing breast lift now includes fat transfer, which can also be done. This is a technique whereby fat is removed from one part of the body, processed on the field, and then re-injected into the upper portions of the breast to give this area—and the whole breast—a more youthful look. For some patients with severe loss of elasticity, there are supportive meshes which can be utilized to provide a longer lasting result.

In all cases, Dr. Holzman’s goal is to keep scarring as minimal as possible and to achieve results that will withstand the effects of further aging for as long as possible.

What Can I Expect During Recovery After Breast Lift Surgery?

Following breast lift surgery, most women are able to resume normal, non-strenuous daily activities and routines after about one to two weeks. Some degree of bruising and tenderness can be expected, though these side effects are temporary and should resolve relatively quickly. Swelling is also common after a breast lift and may take several months to fully subside. To aid in the healing process, Dr. Holzman typically recommends refraining from vigorous exercise, physical sports, and various other strenuous activities—including heavy lifting—for a minimum of a few weeks. Once you are fully healed, all restrictions can be lifted.

How Long Do Breast Lift Results Last?

A breast lift is designed to provide long-lasting results that can rejuvenate your figure for years or even decades. That said, a breast lift cannot stop the aging process, and skin will continue to lose elasticity over time. Fortunately, there are a few things patients can do to help maximize the longevity of their results. Committing to an active, healthy lifestyle and maintaining a relatively stable weight can help prevent the skin and tissues of the breasts from becoming stretched out and lax. Wearing a properly fitted and supportive bra can help maintain the results of your breast lift while also promoting good posture and spinal health. Also, absorbable mesh can provide a longer lasting result. It is also advised that you avoid smoking, as this can negatively impact the elasticity and overall health of your skin.

In addition to taking care of your breasts after your procedure, it is also important to take a few things into account prior to having a breast lift. Generally, you should be done having children and/or breastfeeding prior to undergoing a mastopexy. Both pregnancy and nursing can produce changes in the body that may negatively impact your results. For those who have completed their families and who are interested in more comprehensive post-pregnancy rejuvenation, a breast lift can also be incorporated as a part of a
mommy makeover

Will I Have Scars After Breast Lift?

As is the case with most types of surgery, you can expect some scarring following a breast lift, although the specific placement and size of the scar will depend on your unique treatment plan. That said, Dr. Holzman has extensive experience performing mastopexies, and he is able to precisely locate the incision lines so that they blend in as naturally as possible with the surrounding tissues. Most breast lift patients find that their scars are easily hidden by a bra or bikini top, and they should fade significantly over time. For patients who are dissatisfied with the look of their scars even after they have healed, Dr. Holzman offers several options, including scar revision procedures and a line of medical-grade skin care products. 

Depending on the size of your breasts and the degree of ptosis you are experiencing, the size, shape, and location of the breast lift incisions will differ. The most conservative scars are associated with the periareolar technique, which places the incisions along the outer edge of the areola. This technique is best suited to more mild cases of ptosis. In order to correct more moderate to severe levels of breast sag, Dr. Holzman may need to employ either a “lollipop” or “anchor” technique. The lollipop incision pattern involves both a periareolar incision as well as a vertical incision extending from the bottom of the areola towards the breast crease. The anchor technique is typically used in severe cases of ptosis or in cases where a patient also desires a breast reduction. In addition to the periareolar and vertical incisions, an additional incision is typically made along the inframammary crease, allowing for more dramatic lifting results.

Is a Non-Surgical Breast Lift Possible?

In general, the best way to create a more lifted, contoured, and balanced breast appearance is breast lift surgery—especially when the procedure is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. A mastopexy removes excess skin, fat, and tissue while repositioning the breasts to a higher position on the chest wall, resulting in a perkier, more youthful aesthetic. Depending on an individual’s concerns, non-surgical alternatives—such as chest exercises to strengthen the pectoral muscles or creams to firm or smooth the skin—may provide a limited degree of improvement. However, mastopexy surgery is typically the only way to achieve significant rejuvenation for sagging or drooping breasts. It is also generally regarded as the only option for addressing the size, shape, and/or positioning of the nipple-areola complex.

What Does a Breast Lift Cost?

The average cost of breast lift surgery is approximately $8,000.* This pricing is representative of the surgeon’s fee alone and does not include expenses for anesthesia, the surgical facility, post-operative medications, and any other supplementary costs. Additionally, it is important to understand that surgeons’ fees can vary widely based on experience, skill, and the region/city in which their practice is located.

To get a custom quote for mastopexy, a personal consultation with Dr. Holzman is necessary. After tailoring a surgical plan based on your unique concerns and aesthetic desires, he can provide an accurate cost estimate for treatment, breaking down all fees that factor into the total price. If you are interested in plastic surgery financing, a member of our staff can assist you in exploring various payment plans designed to fit a wide range of budgets. 

*This average cost is based on ASPS research and does not reflect exact pricing at Holzman Plastic Surgery. To obtain a personalized quote for breast lift surgery, please book a consultation at our practice.

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