Breast Lift

The technical term for a sagging breast is "ptosis". The amount of ptosis of the the breast is measured by the relationship of the nipple and arreola to the fold under the breast called the infra mammary fold. If the nipple and areola are completely below the fold, this is called true ptosis. If the nipple and arreola are at the level of the fold this is called minimal ptosis. Sometimes the nipple and arreola are above the fold, but there is still a portion of the breast falling below the fold. We refer to this as pseudo-ptosis. Each of these conditions has a different method of correction.

Many women present asking for breast implants to correct their ptosis. An implant alone will not correct true breast ptosis. If an implant is placed in a ptotic breast without correcting the ptosis the result will be an implant in the correct location with the ptotic breast tissue hanging below it. It is possible to put an implant in to enlarge the breast and correct the ptosis at the same time in some patients. This is a complicated procedure and needs to be carefully evaluated by your surgeon.

Correction of True Breast Ptosis

A breast lift (mastopexy) involves two components, raising the nipple and arreola to the appropriate location and raising the breast. Just like a face lift, a breast lift involves removal of excess skin and therefore creates scars on the breast. For a true ptosis correction these scars would be located in a circle around the margin of the arreola, from the bottom of the arreola to the fold under the breast and in the fold under the breast. This resulting scar looks like an anchor. Although these scars are permanent they are located so as to be minimally visible. The scar at the arreolar margin is at the junction of different color and textured skin which hides this scar. The scar in the fold under the breast is hidden by the breast itself. The vertical scar from the arreola to the fold is visible, but usually heals well.

Breast lift is a very good procedure to lift and reshape the breast and relocate the nipple and arreola. The results from this surgery are usually excellent. A breast implant may be inserted at the same time for most patients if desired. Unfortunately with today's techniques this procedure can only be performed with the resulting scars described above.

Correction of Minimal Ptosis

If the nipple and arreola are located at the fold under the breast, less skin needs to be removed for correction. Therefore this can be accomplished by creating only a scar around the arreolar margin. No vertical scar or scar in the fold under the breast would be necessary. This procedure is frequently combined with a breast implant although it is not essential.

Some patients fall into a category between true ptosis and minimal ptosis. For these patients the procedure would create a "lolipop" shaped scar which goes around the arreolar margin and extends downward from the bottom of the arreola toward the fold under the breast.


Pseudoptosis ususally can be corrected with a breast implant alone and usually does not require any "lifting" or excess scars. Occasionally if the pseudoptosis is bad enough a small amount of lifting may be necessary.
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