Breast Lift Options?

Are there any options for breast lifts that don't involve cutting around the areola? I know a lift will be in my future and I have never seen any truly good results. There is always a visible scar at the least, and misshapen areolas at worst. Why can't a lift be done from under the breast, using your own muscle tissue to create an internal bra. I know that is probably a naive question from someone who doesn't know a lot about our internal anatomy, but I'm sure I'm not the only woman who wonders.

Doctor Answers 12

Breast Lift Options?

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Great question. I use internal techniques to reshape breasts during a lift. This is intended to improve cosmetic results and maximize longevity; however, there is no way to create significant lifting without scars. I wish there was better news, but scarless breast lifts are not possible for a number of reasons:

  • Breast lifts are about improving sagging. Sagging is a problem caused by the nipple being too low, often with too much breast skin.
  • Fixing sagging requires moving the nipples higher on the breast and removing any extra skin. This is analogous to a tailor removing fabric to make a dress fit better.
  • Moving nipples and removing skin requires an incision, which always heals to leave a scar. When a tailor removes fabric it leaves a seam.
  • Better results are likely when the proper lift is selected for an individual case.
  • Appropriate use of steroid agents, silicone products and scar massage can maximize scar appearance.
  • Scar softening and fading takes 1-2 years, most follow up pictures are taken at less than a year. This may give you a skewed perspective about scar appearance.

Hopefully we will be able to erase scars someday, but for now they are unavoidable. Lifts tend to be worth it for patients that are willing to accept scars for a better breast shape. I hope this helps!

Best Regards, 

Michael Vennemeyer, MD

Various breast lift options

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Thank you for the question.  There are many different types of breast lifts in part because there are many different type of breasts and desired results.  Most women who undergo a breast lift have an areola that is too low on he breast/chest.  When there is too much skin above the areola is has to be reduced (removed) and this requires some type of incision around the areola.


All the best,


Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Breast lift options

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That is an excellent question and one that I get asked frequently. There is no good way to lift the breast without the incision around the areola. While there are some internal approaches for minor lifting, the results are not very predictable, and the amount of lifting slight.

When your breasts sag, the nipple becomes positioned in a lower spot. The skin of the upper breast stretches, and the breast tissue migrates inferiorly, or lower. A breast lift would need to reposition the nipple in its proper spot to look good, and this requires an incision, and thus scar, around the areola.

The quality of the scar varies greatly. In many women, this scar is a thin white line that fades quite nicely. There are also steps that can be done to control the shape and size of the areola. While everyone would love to have their breasts lifted without any scars, most women willingly accept the tradeoff of some subtle scars for  beautifully shaped breasts.

I hope that this helps explain the necessity of the scars. If you wish to find out which specific lifting options would be appropriate for you, a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is the next step.

Again, great question.

Jeff Rockmore

Breast Lift Scars of Areola/nipple. Is it necessary to lift the nipple/areola?

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Naturally everyone wants the least scars with any surgery, including breast lift surgery. The reason that there is a scar around the areola is because the nipple complex needs to be moved up from its sagging position.

An internal bra technique of breast lift, does lift the breast mass, but it does not lift the position of a drooping nipple. If the nipple is not lifted, then the breast will not look natural, despite having lifted the breast tissue via an internal breast lift.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Breast lift

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Yes, all lifts require some sort of incision.  An inframammary excision can be performed in only those cases that have glandular ptosis and usually they do not provide enough lift of the breast tissue.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Options for breast lift

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This is a good question.  I am not aware of any technique that produces a long-lasting lift without a scar around the areola.  Sometimes if a breast has lost volume, a minor lift effect can be achieved with the placement of breast implants.  Most patients in my practice find that the relatively minor scars around the areola and extending below the areola, if necessary, are an acceptable trade-off for a beautiful breast.  I discuss the various breast lift options in the structural mastopexy section of my website

John Q. Cook, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Breast lift without scar around the areola

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If the nipples are not to low ,a small amount  of lifting can be obtained with internal sutures

An implant in selected cases will also help lift the breast

Hilton Becker, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

It is necessary to lift the nipple in a breast lift

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Certainly there are a few who have glandular ptosis of the breast alone, but for most the lift is all about nipple position to raise and hold the nipple front and center on the breast. Unfortunately internal sutures just don't work.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

We need the periareolar scar in order to elevate the nipple position. "Internal bras" don't work.

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You don't see a lot of good results on the internet because some of the techniques that are used even today are suboptimal.  Actually, plastic surgeons have gone to all sorts of lengths to try to create a lift effect using breast tissue and even the muscle.  They don't work, likely because the tissue is just too malleable.  An incision around the areola is needed to reposition the nipple and areola at a higher level.  So we are stuck with this incision.  But the good news is that in so doing we can reduce the areolar width (often too large in patients with breast sagging) and usually this scar heals well.  The exception is the periareolar lift (Benelli or donut) that puts a lot of tension on this incision.  Then you get objectionable scarring and distortion.  Check out the vertical breast lifts on my website and see what you think regarding scarring.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Breast Lift Options?

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Thank you for the question;  it is a commonly asked question by many women who wonder about the scars associated with breast lifting surgery.

Generally speaking, the type of breast lift that a patient would benefit from will depend on the degree of breast ptosis (“drooping").   In other words, the more “sagging” a specific patient's breasts demonstrate, the more breast lifting is necessary.
As you know, all forms of breast lifting involves some amount of skin excision.   The skin excision serves to “tighten up” the breast skin envelope and to move the nipple/areola superiorly. How much skin needs to be removed will depend on each specific patient's situation. In other words, some patients require more “lifting”  and have the need for additional incisions. Generally, these incisions range from around the areola, vertical breast incisions, and transverse incisions (“anchor”).

Most patients (If properly selected and who are doing the operations at the right time of their lives from the psychosocial standpoint) accept the scars associated with breast augmentation/breast lifting surgery as long as they are happy with the improvement in contour, size, and symmetry. This acceptance of the scars is the essential “trade-off” associated with many of the procedures we do and the field of plastic surgery.

I hope this helps.

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.