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 57

Mastopexy definition and usage -

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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!

A mastopexy is a breast lift

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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.

What is a Breast Lift or Mastopexy?

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A #mastopexy or breast lift operation is designed to improve the shape and position of the breast without reducing their size. It is used for breasts which sag or droop (ptosis). #Sagging of the breasts may occur with normal development for some wom#en, or as part of the aging process. Pregnancy, breast-feeding and weight loss are other conditions which increase breast ptosis. Some patients will have a better shape to their breast such as increased superior fullness if an implant is used at the time of mastopexy. The procedure can also be combined with a minor breast reduction to reduce the breast width if desired. The surgery will create an elevated, more youthful breast contour. Also, the procedure will create nipple and #areolae of the desired size and at the correct height.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

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Mastopexy is a Breast Lift

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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
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

What is Mastopexy?

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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 38 reviews

What is a Mastopexy?

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Thanks for the question. This is a common question and common procedure for plastic surgeons. Briefly, a mastopexy is a breast lift (masto = breast, pexy = lift). The term actually describes a large number of procedures which are all designed to correct the breast position on the chest wall and adjust the contour or shape of the breast to a more youthful or pleasing appearance. All of the procedures for a breast lift involve incisions and therefore scars on the breast. The extent of these scars depends on the severity of the droopiness (ptosis) of the breast. Those breasts with more droopiness will likely require more and longer scars. The breast can be lifted, the nipple position adjusted and the shape contoured by tightening the skin or by tightening the skin and reshaping the breast tissue itself. Again, the correct procedure  depends on the individual issues with each patient. I hope this helps clarify things for you. 

Bram Kaufman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

What is Mastopexy?

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Mastopexy is a procedure to move the nipple areola to a normal position, reduce the areolar size to a youthful diameter, remove and even up sagging tissue, and create a fuller more youthful shape to the breast mound. it can often be done without an implant as long as you understand that you will be slightly smaller after the surgery and not have as much cleavage and upper pole fullness as women that choose an implant. Look at lots of picture of before/after of women with and without implants and decide what is right for you. Good Luck!!

What is a mastopexy?

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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.


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         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

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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
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 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.