Upward Perfection: Exploring How a Breast Lift Works

Breast tissue is uniquely vulnerable to the natural aging process, often manifesting as sagging. This is due to the anatomy and nature of breast tissue itself, which can lose its elasticity and firmness as years pass. At Murphy Plastic Surgery in Denver, CO, we recognize the variety of concerns that patients might have, from those seeking a subtle elevation to significant reshaping and repositioning.

Understanding how a breast lift works is key to preparing for your own procedure. Whether you’re looking to adjust the size or simply elevate the position of your breasts, we are equipped to support all types of goals, helping you understand each step involved to make an informed decision.

The Anatomy of the Breast

The breasts consist of fat, glandular tissue, and connective tissue, which each contribute to their overall shape and feel. These components are supported by ligaments and skin that help maintain the breast’s contour. Unlike other body parts, the breasts do not contain muscle, which is why they can be particularly affected by external changes and internal conditions.

How Aging and Life Events Affect Breast Shape and Firmness

Over time, the natural aging process can lead to a reduction in the skin’s elasticity and the weakening of connective tissues within the breast. Life events such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and significant weight fluctuations also alter breast shape and firmness. These factors collectively contribute to the common occurrence of sagging breasts as time progresses.

What Is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift, or a mastopexy, is a procedure that elevates and reshapes sagging breasts. By removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue, a breast lift can help restore the breasts to a more youthful position and contour.

Types of Breast Lift Procedure

  • Traditional Breast Lift: A no-implant breast lift removes excess skin and reshapes the existing breast tissue to enhance the breast’s overall appearance and position. This procedure adjusts the skin envelope and repositions the nipple and areola to a higher, more central location on the breast.
  • Breast Lift With Implants: Combining augmentation with elevation, a breast lift with implants not only raises the breast but also increases its volume. This allows for fuller breasts and a more pronounced shape, addressing both sagging and size in one procedure.
  • Breast Reduction and Lift: The breast reduction and lift procedure is designed for those who wish to decrease their breast size while also correcting sagging. By removing excess breast tissue and skin, this treatment enhances comfort and breast contour and is a comprehensive option for improving breast aesthetics and comfort.

How a Breast Lift Works

Pre-Operative Preparations

Before undergoing breast lift surgery, patients meet with their surgeon to discuss goals and expectations. This stage also includes a thorough medical evaluation along with recommendations to adjust certain medications or refrain from smoking. Instructions for the night before and the morning of the surgery are provided to prepare the patient physically for the procedure.


Breast lift procedures require anesthesia to ensure comfort and painlessness throughout the operation. Depending on the extent of the surgery and individual patient factors, either general anesthesia or local anesthesia combined with sedation may be used.

Making the Incisions

Next, the incisions are made according to the amount of lift and tissue removal that is needed to achieve the desired results. Common incision types include:

  • Crescent: A small incision running halfway around the top edge of the areola, this option is suitable for patients who require a slight lift and have minimal sagging.
  • Donut: This involves a circular incision around the entire edge of the areola. It is beneficial for correcting mild to moderate sagging while allowing for a moderate reshaping of the breast.
  • Lollipop: Also known as a keyhole incision, this method involves an incision around the areola and vertically down to the breast crease. It is ideal for a significant lift and reshaping, offering more substantial results than the donut method.
  • Anchor: This comprehensive incision merges the lollipop technique with an added horizontal cut across the breast fold. It is employed for extensive reshaping and size reduction, offering substantial changes in both the contour and elevation of the breasts.

Reshaping the Breasts

During a breast lift, the surgeon lifts and reshapes the underlying breast tissue to enhance the breast’s contour and firmness. The nipple and areola are repositioned to a more youthful height, aligning with the newly shaped breasts. Any excess skin or tissue that contributes to sagging is also removed during this stage, which tightens the breast and improves its overall shape.

Adjusting Areola Size

A breast lift procedure often includes the adjustment of the areola size to ensure it is proportional to the newly shaped breast. This is accomplished by removing tissue from the outer circumference of the areola, which can become stretched out over time due to sagging or prior breastfeeding experiences.

Closing the Incisions

After reshaping the breast tissue and adjusting the areola, the incisions are closed using sutures. The surgical technique used for suturing aims to minimize scarring while securing the new shape of the breast. Post-surgical care instructions are provided to assist in the healing process, which helps the incisions heal neatly and the reshaped breasts to maintain their improved appearance as they recover.

Recovery From Breast Lift Surgery

  • Bandages, Wrappings, and Bras: After a breast lift recovery, it is standard to use bandages or surgical wrappings to support the breasts and reduce swelling. Patients are also provided with a special surgical bra that they must wear according to the surgeon’s instructions to maintain the position of the breasts as they heal.
  • Drains: In some breast lift procedures, drains are installed at the surgery sites to prevent fluid accumulation, which can impede healing. These are temporary and are removed during a follow-up appointment when the surgeon deems it safe to do so.
  • Pain Management: Effective pain management is a critical component of breast lift surgery recovery. Patients are commonly prescribed pain relief medications to manage discomfort in the days following the surgery. Instructions on how to minimize pain through careful movement and rest are provided to enhance the recovery experience.
  • Activity Levels: Regulating activity levels is essential during breast lift recovery. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for several weeks to prevent strain on the healing tissues. Gradual reintroduction of normal activities is guided by the healing process and personalized advice from the surgeon.

Learn More About Breast Lifts With a Consultation

With over 25 years of experience, we at Murphy Plastic Surgery have honed our expertise in performing breast lifts for a diverse patient base, both local to Denver, CO, and from across the country. Our approach is focused on patient care and providing a comfortable experience, regardless of where our patients come from. We strive to achieve optimal results that support the aesthetic and personal desires of those we serve. If you’re considering a breast lift and would like more information, please contact us online or call us at (720) 943-8194 to discuss how we can help you.

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