Breast Lift

Breast surgery

Surgery performed by Dr. Schenden and Dr. Elswick

Breast lift (also known as mastopexy), is a surgical procedure to raise and reshape sagging breasts. Breast ptosis “drooping” is a common problem caused by several different factors: pregnancy, weight changes, aging, delayed effect of breast implants and developmental deformities. As the skin loses its elasticity, the breasts often lose their shape and firmness and begin to sag. You can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding the nipple during the surgery.


Breast lift surgery can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence. The best candidates are seeking an improvement but not perfection. Breasts of any size can be lifted, but the results may not last as long in heavy breasts. Many women seek this surgery because pregnancy and nursing have left them with stretched skin and less volume in their breasts. A breast lift usually does not interfere with the ability to breastfeed. However, with future pregnancies and weight fluctuations, breast skin is likely to stretch again and undermine the outcome of the breast lift. If planning future pregnancies, it is best to postpone the breast lift until completion of childbearing.


At the consultation, your concerns, expectations, plans for future pregnancy, and desired size and shape of your breasts will be discussed in great detail. Using our 3D-Vectra technology, a breast lift alone or in combination with augmentation will be simulated to allow you to visualize your surgical results the day of your consultation. Dr. Schenden and Dr. Elswick  take the time to understand your concerns and aesthetic goals and will work with you every step of the way.

A thorough physical examination of your breasts will be performed along with measurements. Variables such as age, size, shape, and skin laxity will be determine the extent of breast lift and location of the scars. The details of the surgery and location of the scars will be demonstrated on 3-D Vectra during the consultation.


Detailed instructions on activity before and after surgery will be discussed. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to prepare for the procedure, including guidelines on diet, medications, activity level, and smoking. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery and your recovery proceed more smoothly. A mammogram may be recommended prior to your procedure to ensure breast health after 35 years of age or secondary to family history.


Patient preference will be incorporated into this decision. Breast surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Overnight hospital stay may be arranged based on associated medical conditions or combined surgical procedures being performed simultaneously with additional surgery such as abdominoplasty or liposuction. Patient preference will be incorporated into this decision. The facilities we are privileged to operate from include Columbia Surgery Center (our private surgical suite) and William Beaumont Hospital of Troy where Dr. Schenden is chief of plastic surgery. Dr. Elswick has operating privileges at William Beaumont Hospital Troy and Royal Oak as well as McLaren Macomb Hospital.


Breast lifts are usually performed under general anesthesia or with IV Sedation & local anesthesia in select patients requiring smaller incisions.


Breast lift corrects sagging breasts or enlarged/asymmetric areolas. Nipple and breast asymmetry is adjusted and improved and the breast is contoured to a more youthful appearance. The breasts will be lifted to become more firm.

Breast lift usually takes 1-3 hours. Techniques may vary, but the most common procedure involves an anchor-shaped incision following the natural contour of the breast. The incision outlines the area from which breast skin will be removed and defines the new location for the nipple. When the excess skin has been removed, the nipple and areola are moved to the higher position. The skin surrounding the areola is then brought down and together to reshape the breast. Stitches are usually concealed around the areola, in a vertical line extending downwards from the nipple area, and along the lower crease of the breast.

Some patients, especially those with relatively small breasts and minimal sagging, may be candidates for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions. One such procedure is the doughnut mastopexy, in which circular incisions are made around the areola only, and a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed.

When planning to enhance the breast volume in addition to reshaping, an additional breast implant may be inserted along with the breast lift. The implant may be placed below or above the muscle.


After surgery, a special surgical bra and dressing will be applied. Bruising, swelling, discomfort, and mild pain will be expected after surgery which will slowly subside over the next few days to a couple weeks. Sutures will need to be removed in 7 days. Mild sensory changes in the nipple are expected but are temporary and normal sensation will return.

Detailed wound care and activity instructions will be discussed at your consultation. Normally you may return to work after 2 weeks but with light duty and no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 6 weeks. Swelling is expected with the majority of the swelling will improve within the first 4 weeks after surgery. Expect the final outcome of the breast augmentation at 3-6 months after surgery. Your scars will slowly fade from pink to pale over several months. Breast-feeding is still expected to be normal after the surgery.


Our surgeons will make every effort to make your scars as inconspicuous as possible. Still, it’s important to remember that mastopexy scars are extensive and permanent. They often remain lumpy and red for months, then gradually become less obvious, sometimes eventually fading to thin white lines. The scars can usually be placed so that you can wear even low-cut tops. You should also keep in mind that a breast lift won’t keep you firm forever–the effects of gravity, pregnancy, aging, and weight fluctuations will eventually take their toll again. Women who have implants along with their breast lift may find the results last longer.

Your satisfaction with a breast lift is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic.


Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that you understand these risks and the possible complications associated with them. In addition, every procedure has limitations. An individual’s choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience complications, you should discuss them with your plastic surgeon to make sure you understand all possible consequences of breast lift.