What is a Mastopexy?

What does the cosmetic surgery term mastopexy mean? What type of surgery is a mastopexy (what does it correct)?

Doctor Answers 54

Mastopexy definition and usage -

Thanks for the question -

Mastopexy (breast - lift) involves reshaping the skin and usually the inner breast tissue as well to create a breast that is not as saggy as it once was. This remodeling of the skin and tissue comes at a cost - scars.

Since you asked about mastopexies let's talk about them a bit.

The first mastopexies were done as early as the late 1800s and principally used "suspension" techniques placing sutures to try to lift the breasts (think thread lifts).
More modern thinking recognizes the need to change the skin envelope around the breast tissue to get good correction of sagging breasts.

How common is a mastopexy?
In the US in 2004 there were reported over 98,000 mastopexy procedures performed.

Why do breasts sag?
Gravity is the master of us all. Women with large breasts have a natural tendency to sag more over time. The structural elements that help keep the breast in a more youthful position include things called "Cooper's ligaments" and of course the skin. In addition weight gain, weight loss and post-pregnancy changes can cause breast ptosis (sagging).

Plastic Surgeons rank breast ptosis (sagging) in the following manner:

Grade 1: Mild ptosis - Nipple just below inframammary fold (your inferior breast crease) but still above lower portion of breast

Grade 2: Moderate ptosis - Nipple further below inframammary fold but still with some lower pole breast tissue below nipple

Grade 3: Severe ptosis - Nipple well below inframammary fold and no breast tissue below nipple; "Snoopy nose" appearance

Pseudoptosis - Inferior pole ptosis with nipple at or above inframammary fold; usually observed in postpartum breast atrophy

Treatment options:
For patients with mild breast sagging (grade I) sometimes increasing breast volume can correction ptosis. Obviously ways to increase breast volume include breast augmentation or autologous fat transfers (I'd be happy to discuss these techniques in more detail - just contact me).

Some surgeons will combine a "peri-areolar mastopexy" with breast augmentation to try to get a lift in patients with a bit more sag. This technique invoves excising a donut of skin around the areola (the darker area around the nipple) and suturing the area closed.
- it is important to understand the limitations of this technique both in terms of what it can achieve in terms of lift and the longevity of the lift.

More typically
Patients require more extensive remodelling of the skin envelope. Techniques include "Wise Pattern" skin excisions which are the typical "anchor" scar, and a more vertical "lollipop" scar. Some surgeons employ additional suture techniques to suspend the breast mound however I have found that typically suture techniques do not improve the appearance or longevity of the lift and that the scar tissue that forms naturally is adequate to gettin a lasting result.

Recovery is typically quick with the final breast shape settling in in about 2-3 months.

I hope this helps!

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Mastopexy is a Breast Lift

Mastopexy is a breast lift.

There are a variety of breast lift techiques with different incisions.

Sometimes, mastopexy may be performed together with breast implants.

During consultation, your surgeon can determine if you are a candidate and which technique would work best for you.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

A mastopexy is a breast lift

A mastopexy is a breast lift.  During the surgery, the nipple and areola are lifted to the normal position.  The tissue of the breast is also redistributed to give a more youthful appearance.  Sometime patients elect to have the size of the breast reduced at the same time.  In this case, it is called a mastopexy-reduciton.  Other times, patients elect to have the size of their breasts enlarged with implants at the same time.  In this case it is called a mastopexy-augmentation.  So, it all really depends on what your expectations are and what can be done surgically.  I hope this is helpful.  Please make sure that you are treated by a board-certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

What is Mastopexy?

A mastopexy is a breast lift. Unlike a breast reduction, in which excess breast tissue is removed, a breast lift involves rearrangement of the breast tissue that is already there. There will be removal of excess skin and re-draping of the skin as well as reshaping of a stretched out areola and placement of the areola higher on the new breast.

In many cases, where volume loss after childbirth or nursing has resulted in loss of breast tissue, a breast implant may also be placed. This is surgery is correctly termed "implant mastopexy".

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

What is a mastopexy?

In a nut shell a mastopexy is a breast lift.  The exact approach surgically depends on each woman's anatomy and goals.  There are many techniques available for the surgeon and patient and the optimal technique will be determined after a careful consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Susan D. Vasko, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews


         A mastopexy is a surgical procedure that has been designed to correct breast sag. This procedure lifts the breast into normal position and repositions the nipple areola at an appropriate level. The procedure can be performed in combination with either breast reduction or breast augmentation.


         Breast lift surgery is associated with high levels of satisfaction. The exact procedure depends upon the patient’s aesthetic goals and physical examination. Depending upon the severity of the breast sag, several treatment options exist.


         In cases of mild breast sag the excess skin and sag can be treated with a donut mastopexy. The procedure removes and tightens the excess skin around the areola. This leaves a scar at the junction between the areola and surrounding tissue.


         In more severe cases of sag, a lollipop incision can be utilized to deal with excess skin. This leaves a circular incision around the areola with a vertical extension that extends to the inframammary fold. When extreme sag is present, excision of excess skin requires not only a vertical incision, but an incision transversely in the inframammary fold as well.


         It’s important to remember that every woman with breast sag is unique. Their anatomic starting points and aesthetic goals are always different. Any patient considering breast lift surgery should consult a board certified plastic surgeon. After careful analysis an appropriate treatment plan can be formulated. 

Mastopexy is a term for Breast Lift

Mastopexy is the same thing as a breast lift.  What that really means is very surgeon specific.  There are a huge number of ways to perform mastopexy with the end goal being one or all of the following.  1. To lift the areola back to the center of the breast, 2. To lift the breast tissue up or 3. To tighten the skin envelope of the breast.  An exam would help define which of these you need most.

Jeremy Pyle, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

What is a mastopexy

There are many different types of breast lift and each one is designed to take care of increasing degrees of breast sagging or ptosis.  Unfortunately there are no short cuts with breast lift surgery.  Many times the patients would prefer a lift with less incisions but it is not always possible.  A plastic surgeon will be able to examine you and select the correct operation to meet your expectations.  In you case with the amount of breast tissue below the inframammary crease you will need at least a vertical mastopexy and possibly an anchor type.  This will give you the beast result.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

What is a Mastopexy

A mastopexy is a breast lift. Specifically, this procedure will raise the level of the nipples to a normal location and remove extra or redundant skin.  The final result is to rid your chest of sagging deflated breasts and the result will be a rejuvenated breast appearance.  This can be done with or without implants depending on your circumstance and need. There several methods to perform this operation and all will have some postop scars.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

The Definition of Mastopexy

A mastopexy is the medical term for a breast lift.   In general,  it will include a combination of a skin reducing operation, and rearrangement of the breast tissue to lift the tissue to a higher position on the chest wall.   At times,  an implant will be added to the procedure to provide more breast volume.

Carlin Vickery, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.