American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

The beauty of breast lifts

the beauty of breast lifts

We may all be familiar with breast augmentations, but its sister surgery is quickly growing in popularity among women of all ages – the breast lift. This procedure saw a 30 percent increase from 2019 to 2022, according to the 2022 ASPS Procedural Statistics Release. This aesthetic breast surgery is used to lift and reshape the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue.

Breast lifts are commonly done to address sagging or drooping following pregnancy, weight loss or aging to create a more uplifted contour. It was once considered a procedure reserved for those purposes but has since seen an increase in popularity when used in combination with other aesthetic breast procedures, such as augmentation or reduction.

To gather more insight into the popularity of breast lifts, we reached out to ASPS Member Surgeons Mark Albert, MD, and William Dascombe, MD. Keep reading to discover their observations and advice for patients interested in pursuing a breast lift.

The basics of breast lifts

Breast lifts involve quite literally "lifting" or surgically altering the aesthetic appearance of the breast to give a more lifted appearance. While there are many different types of patients who actively pursue breast lifts, there are some similarities between them.

"The most common reason for someone to come in for a breast lift would be a mother who has lost breast volume after breastfeeding or weight loss patients who lost breast volume through diet and exercise, medical weight loss or bariatric surgery," said Dr. Albert.

Why patients seek a breast lift can vary, but the reasons tend to be one of a few issues.

"Patients want the surgery to accomplish one or more of the following: They want the areola smaller, they want the nipple lifted and/or they want their breast repositioned from the upper abdomen to the chest," said Dr. Dascombe. "They are tired of having to use a bra to reposition and lift the breast back up to the chest. Maybe they have had an implant, and they have had children, and the breast skin has stretched and lost its elasticity. They no longer want the implant but want the breast tissue tightened."

The method by which breast lifts are performed does vary from surgeon to surgeon and patient to patient.

"A conversation I often have with patients in my office is about the tradeoff between doing a breast lift with incisions on the breast versus putting in a larger breast implant alone," said Dr. Albert. "An implant alone can lift the nipple slightly, but never as effectively as a breast lift. Because our scarring protocols have improved so much, I tend to urge patients to go for the lift and get the best possible result rather than trying to lift the breast through a suboptimal procedure."

The changing perspectives around breast lifts

Once considered to be a procedure reserved for post-pregnancy or for more mature patients, the public perception of breast lift procedures has shifted within the past several years. In fact, many younger patients are now seeking a breast lift rather than an augmentation to achieve their aesthetic goals.

The methods of achieving patient goals have changed to a customized, combined approach that uses multiple procedures to create the right look for the individual patient.

"Certainly, breast lift procedures have become more and more popular since I started practice," said Albert. "I would say that one significant change is that it is now uncommon for a patient to come in just for a lift. Patients are looking for upper breast fullness, which usually can't be achieved with a breast lift alone. That means patients are opting to add either a breast implant or fat transfer from other parts of the body at the same time as a breast lift."

Advice to make the most of your breast lift procedure

There are certain steps that you can take ahead of time to set yourself up for success with a breast lift. Here is what our experts would advise.

Opt for a board-certified plastic surgeon

The first step that you should take in pursuing any plastic surgery should be to find the right surgeon to get the job done. You can set yourself up for success from the start by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who is an ASPS member and who has experience in breast procedures.

"Make sure your surgeon has a lot of experience with breast surgery," said Dascombe. "There are many different types of breast lifts based upon your breasts. Some are easy, and some are challenging!"

Take a moment to consider your goals

It's important to take a step back from the excitement of the procedure and take a long, in-depth look at the results that you hope to achieve.

"The first step is to decide if you are satisfied with the current size of your breasts or if you are looking to decrease the size with a breast reduction or increase the size with a breast implant or fat transfer at the same time as the breast lift," said Dr. Albert.

Work with your surgeon to find the right implants

If you have decided to combine breast augmentation with your breast lift, it's important to work closely with your surgeon to find the correct implants to help you achieve your goals.

"Some surgeons use modalities such as virtual imaging where we can take photographs of your breasts and actually show you what your breasts will look like with different breast implant sizes, shapes and even brands," said Dr. Albert. "Most surgeons also offer sizers in the office, so I recommend bringing a sports bra to your appointment to see what different sizes look like in clothing. Keep in mind that the size you choose will likely be a bit smaller once it's implanted, so I always encourage patients to go a little bit larger than the sizer selected in the office so patients end up with the result they are expecting."

Getting the uplifted breasts you desire

Breast lifts have been one of the most rapidly growing cosmetic procedures this century. Often performed alone or in combination with other breast procedures, breast lifts offer patients the opportunity to regain their confidence through reshaping and lifting the breasts.

"It's really a wonderful procedure that helps patients feel great about their breasts and body again," said Dr. Albert.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


Patient Care Center