Patient Login ▸ Online Bill Pay ▸

Breast Lift

What Is a Breast Lift?

Breast lift surgery is performed for women whose breasts have begun to lose their shape and firmness. Several factors can cause the breasts to droop and sag, including pregnancy, significant weight loss, and the normal aging process.

A breast lift procedure at our Richmond plastic surgery practice can elevate the breasts to a higher location on the body and restore their youthful shape. Dr. Neil Zemmel has helped many women achieve beautiful, natural-looking results with this procedure. He can perform the breast lift to help you enhance your figure and self-confidence as well.

Breast lift surgery is often appropriate even for younger women whose breasts have become stretched and lost their shape due to pregnancy or significant weight loss.

Am I a Good Candidate for Breast Lift Surgery?

There are several important factors to consider before undergoing breast lift surgery. Women with realistic expectations about the procedure are usually the happiest with their results. Also, breast lift surgery is more effective for women with smaller breasts. Our surgeon can “lift” and reshape larger breasts, but the results may not last as long. It’s also important to consider that due to the effects of gravity and the aging process, breast lift surgery results will not last for an entire lifetime. However, Dr. Zemmel can provide shapely results that last for many years.

Patients should be aware that if they become pregnant after their breast lift surgery then the results may be offset and the procedure may need to be performed again.

What Can I Expect During My Breast Lift Consultation?

Your consultation with Dr. Zemmel is a chance for you to learn everything that is involved with breast lift surgery and to have all of your questions answered. Our board-certified plastic surgeon will discuss your goals and expectations for surgery. He will learn where you desire the breast to be positioned and the new location of the nipple and areola. He will explain the different breast lift surgery techniques and the steps in your procedure that will be taken to achieve the results that you desire.

All aspects of breast lift surgery will be discussed, including the anesthesia to be used, the locations of the incisions, the discrete but inevitable scars that result, and the length of the recovery period. Your surgeon will make sure that you are comfortable with all of these factors prior to beginning treatment. Specific instructions will also be given to you to follow before surgery, including guidelines on eating, smoking, and taking other medications.

What Does the Breast Lift Procedure Entail?

There are four different breast lift surgery techniques. The type of technique that is used depends upon the amount of breast tissue that is to be lifted and the amount of excess skin that is to be removed. In the first technique, a small crescent shape incision is made above the areola. This technique is used most often for patients with small breasts. To perform the “doughnut” breast lift technique, a circular incision is made around the entire areola. This technique is performed for patients who require a greater amount of breast lifting. The other two techniques, the vertical and full-anchor lifts, are performed for patients with larger breasts who have the most significant amount of drooping skin and tissue. In the vertical lift, an incision is made around the areola that extends downwards to the crease of the breast. The full-anchor incision is similar to the vertical lift except the incision goes all the down to the crease of the breast and a horizontal incision is made along both sides.

The three most common incision patterns include:

  • Around the areola
  • Around the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease
  • Around the areola, vertically down from the breast crease and horizontally along the breast crease


Are There Any Risks Associated with Breast Lift Surgery?

There are inherent risks with the breast lift, as there are with all surgical procedures, such as a negative reaction to the anesthesia. In rare instances some patients may permanently lose feeling in their breasts after surgery. However, when performed by a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, there is very little chance that complications will arise during or after breast lift surgery.

Dr. Zemmel is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, meaning that he passed a rigorous evaluation process to measure his surgical skills and aptitude. He performs breast lift surgery in fully accredited operating rooms and is assisted by an accredited anesthesiologist. Dr. Zemmel and his team take every precaution to ensure that the cosmetic procedures at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery are completely safe.

What Can I Expect During My Recovery from Breast Lift Surgery?

Dr. Zemmel and the Richmond Aesthetic staff will be there to provide guidance and support throughout the entire recovery period. Your surgeon will call you the night of your procedure to make sure that everything is okay, and we will have you come to the office a few days later for a follow-up appointment. Patients may experience mild discomfort for a few days after surgery, but pain medications can be prescribed to eliminate these symptoms. A special bra will be worn for three to four weeks after surgery. Most patients will be able to return to work within one or two weeks; however, it’s important to not lift anything over the head or engage in strenuous activities for at least three weeks.

How Long Will My Breast Lift Results Last?

Breast lift surgery can provide significant improvement for sagging (ptosis) in the breasts, which results from connective tissues starting to weaken and stretch. This condition tends to develop from pregnancy, weight loss, gravity, and the natural aging process. Although surgery can correct breast ptosis, it is not a permanent solution. Depending on your skin quality, lifestyle, and breast size, you will most likely experience some degree of sagging again in the future. However, patients who have undergone breast lift surgery with our surgeon can typically expect their results to last for several years.

Is a Breast Lift Without Surgery Possible?

Since breast ptosis results from weak or stretched connective tissues, the only way to truly correct this problem is through surgery. There are numerous articles promoting non-surgical breast lift techniques, such as with targeted exercises, but these cannot effectively treat loose or excess breast tissue that is contributing to a sagging appearance. While increasing the size of chest muscles through exercise can have a mild lifting effect in some people with smaller breasts, this improvement cannot offer anywhere near the level of enhancement that is possible through breast lift surgery. By opting for surgical correction, Dr. Zemmel is able to remove excess tissue and tighten the remaining skin to create a significant yet natural-looking breast rejuvenation.

Do I Need a Breast Lift with Implants?

A breast lift is designed to elevate the position of the breast on the chest wall and remove any excess skin that causes sagging or drooping. As a result, the shape of the breasts can be improved and patients may enjoy a firmer, slightly fuller-looking appearance. In addition to raising the breasts to a higher position, some patients wish to increase the volume of their breasts; these individuals typically benefit from a breast lift with implants. By combining breast lift surgery with breast augmentation, women can completely rejuvenate the breasts with natural-looking, youthful results. This procedure is often popular with women who have lost breast volume due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or significant weight fluctuations. A breast lift with implants can also be incorporated into a more comprehensive mommy makeover procedure, combined with procedures such as tummy tuck surgery. During the consultation process, our surgeon will perform a physical exam, thoroughly discuss your cosmetic goals, and recommend which procedure or combination of procedures is best suited for your needs and expectations.

Will I Have Breast Lift Scars?

Dr. Zemmel utilizes advanced breast lift techniques to minimize the prominence of surgical scarring. Regardless of which breast lift technique is used in your customized surgical plan, some scarring will result. The location and shape of the scars will depend upon which breast lift technique is chosen. Whenever possible, incisions are hidden along the outer edge of the areolae (crescent mastopexy and doughnut mastopexy). In cases when additional incisions are required to achieve the desired result, these incisions are placed so that they can be easily covered with a bra or bikini top (vertical mastopexy). Some patients may also benefit from an incision concealed along the natural crease beneath the breast (full-anchor mastopexy). At the end of your preliminary consultation, your surgeon will tell you where you can expect to see some scarring based upon your personalized surgical plan. The visibility of any scars should continue to diminish over time.

Will a Breast Lift Affect My Ability to Breastfeed?

Breast lift surgery typically does not affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed. If you are able to breastfeed prior to surgery, you should also be able to after your procedure. With this in mind, some women are unable to breastfeed, whether they had breast surgery or not. While Dr. Zemmel usually recommends patients wait until after having children to undergo breast lift surgery, as pregnancy and breastfeeding can compromise their results, make sure to let him know if you plan to have children and nurse in the future. This allows him to plan their surgical technique to minimize any risks that may affect your ability to breastfeed.

How Much Does a Breast Lift Cost?

On average, the cost of breast lift surgery is approximately between $8,000 and $9,500 and includes surgeon’s fees, operating room and facilities charges, anesthesia fees, post operative compression garments, and routine postoperative visits. The total amount you can expect to pay for your breast lift will ultimately depend upon your custom-tailored surgical plan. Factors that typically influence the total price of breast lift surgery include:

  • Which breast lift technique is used
  • Whether an implant is used to increase breast volume
  • Overall complexity of the procedure
  • Experience of the plastic surgeon
  • Location of the plastic surgery practice

Your surgeon can provide you with a quote of your breast lift surgery at the end of your preliminary consultation. Many of our patients take advantage of our plastic surgery financing options to help make the cost of breast lift surgery work comfortably within their budgets. Qualifying patients can benefit from flexible payment plans, low monthly installments, and low interest rates.

We invite you to schedule a breast lift consultation at Richmond Aesthetic Surgery to discuss your specific questions and goals with your surgeon.