I'm Wondering if a Crescent Lift Will Be Enough? What Determines the Lift Type.

5'4, 130, 36c now, plan to do HP, 275-300 unders.

Doctor Answers 14

What determines the type of breast lift

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It would be nice if there was an objective or consistent way to determine how best to lift a breast. It is still largely up to the experience, skill, and knowledge of the plastic surgeon in determining what the problem is and how best to correct it with the least scar. 

The so-called "crescent lift" is not a lift and is, in my opinion, a misconception, and should be avoided. 

A peri-areolar lift is also very limited in how much the breast can actually be lifted and does best when little lift is actually needed. 

For a true lift, breast must be moved up, the skin needs to be rearranged around the new nipple-areola position, and excess skin must be taken out below the nipple-areola. This requires a peri-areolar incision and a vertical incision like a dart in clothing. It's usually called a lollipop incision. In extreme lifts, particularly with reductions, a horizontal skin take-out may be required in the inframammary crease. 

In general, the need for a lift is determined by where the nipple sits in relation to the inframammary crease behind it (upright with arms down). If the nipple position is at or above the inframammary crease then there is not enough drooping (ptosis) to benefit from a lift although it can still be done with something like a peri-areolar approach. If the nipple position is lower than 2 cm below the inframammary crease level, then a lift is the only real option (or a lift and an implant). If the nipple is less than 2 cm below the inframammary crease, then an implant can be used to fill out the breast like a pillow and simulate the look of a lift even though the breast isn't actually lifted. Minimum volume increase for an implant is one cup size, plus the breast looks bigger when it is lifted even though no volume is added with a lift alone. 

Boulder Plastic Surgeon

I'm Wondering if a Crescent Lift Will Be Enough?

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This can be a difficult question to answer with the benefit of an in person exam. It is not possible to answer without at least a photo. 

I seldom do a crescent lift, save for the occasional patient that has a small amount of nipple/areolar asymmetry that is bothersome enough to trade a scar for better symmetry. You cannot get much more than a centimeter of improvement without distorting the areolar shape, and most patients considering a lift need more than that amount.

If there is excess skin in addition to low areolae, more skin incisions may be needed to  allow for trimming the excess. 

Thanks for your question, best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

What Determines the Type of Breast Lift Necessary?

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Thank you for the question.

The “crescent” breast lift provides a very minimal listing of fact and may be associated with significant risk of areola elongation/distortion problems. Patients should be aware of the potential downside of every type of breast lifting operation so that they can make an informed decision. Care must also be taken to avoid selection of surgeon and/or procedure based on a promise to minimize the extent of scars;  sometimes additional incisions/scars are required to achieve the and results  the patient is looking for.

 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. 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 and the right time of their lives) 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.

Crescent and other Breast Lift Types

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A breast lift is essentially a tailoring/tucking operation that reduces the amount of loose skin covering the breasts.  As the skin of the breast is tailored, the breast tissue is shaped, lifted, and firmed.  The various techniques remove and tailor different amounts of skin, and which technique is best for you depends on how much loose skin you have on the breasts, how low the nipples and breasts sag, and your overall breast shape.  Basically, a skilled plastic surgeon should evaluate you and then discuss the pros and cons of the various techniques.  Generally speaking, the more looseness and sagging you have, the more skin must be removed and therefore the more extensive the procedure with more skin scars resulting.  A crescent lift doesn't really lift the breasts much, perhaps just raising the nipples a little.   Also, sometimes when performing a lift, it is helpful to add a breast implant to increase the volume of the breast, therebye filling out the skin better and creating a better shape.

Richard G. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Crescent lift

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I feel the crescent lift is worthless and then some.  The problem is that it really doesn't provide much if any lift.  Worse than that, however, many times it stretches the areola out and often has a widened scar because of the tension on the wound closure.  My opinion? A loser of a procedure!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

I'm Wondering if a Crescent Lift Will Be Enough? #breastlift ANS:

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I am not a fan of the crescent lift at all. I think all it does is stretch out the areola. You get a mild lift with the entire periareolar lift and that goes all the way around the areola.

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Will Crescent Lift be Enough?

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I am not a big fan of a crescent lift at all. I do not like the scar and potential lengthening of the nipple that can be caused. I feel that a crescent can be used in a very narrow subset of patients who have less than about 1cm of asymmetry of the nipple position. Being that said physical exam is so key to be more specific for you but I can speak generally here. The other two main categories of breast lifts are vertical breasts lifts or the classic Wise (Anchor) pattern breast lift. Which is better for you will be determined at your consultation. If you want more upper breast volume and roundness most people need an implant placed at the same time or in a delayed fashion. You burn no bridges if you have a breast lift then decide later you then want an implant. That used to be the way it was done. Now we are so much better with technique an and most cases a one stage lift an augmentation can be done. Make sure you seek a board certified plastic surgeon who will guid you with which one is better for you.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Breast Implant and Lift

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The type of lift which will work depends on how much sagging there is in the breast. The least sagging can be corrected with a periareolar (or Benellli) lift which makes incision all the way around the nipple. For more sagging the vertical (or lollipop) will correct with incision around the nipple and from the nipple to the bottom of the breast. The most sagging is corrected with incision around the nipple, from the nipple to the bottom of the breast, and in the crease underneath the breast. The last lift is rarely necessary when a implant is used. The crescent lift is not very effective.

Crescent lift?

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Without more information and at least a photo it is impossible to tell you whether or not you would benefit from a breast lift.  Good luck.

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

Breast augmentation and lift.

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Without the benefit of photos or an exam, it is very difficult to fully answer your question. A crescent lift gives minimal lift to the breast and can make the areola asymmetric. It sounds like you are more concerned about the scars as most people are. 


SkinMedica has new Scar Recovery Gel that I have found makes a tremendous difference in all scars. This my help allay some of your concerns regarding scarring. Utilizing this gel, with taping and standard surgical tecnique with minimal tension, you should have a good result in most instances.

Brian J. Lee, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 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.