Breast Lift (Mastopexy) : Surgical and Bioregenerative stem cell options

Before & After Photo Gallery of Breast Lift (Mastopexy) : Surgical and Bioregenerative stem cell options
Before & After Photo Gallery of Breast Lift (Mastopexy) : Surgical and Bioregenerative stem cell options

Ann Arbor Breast Lift

Traditionally, a breast lift has involved a surgical incision placed directly on the breasts. Newer bioregenerative options (using your own adipose derived stem cells) are now available. 

Let’s start with the basics. What is a breast lift. Why would one chose a breast lift? What are the treatment goals with a breast lift ?

What is a Breast Lift? Will it take care of my “Mommy Breast Droop” from past pregnancy?

A breast lift or mastopexy is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to raise a drooping nipple-areolar complex to a position above the inframammary fold. This helps create a younger and more youthful breast appearance.

Often, following pregnancy, breasts lose their natural fullness and shape.  This results in drooping of the nipple-areolar complex (NAC) below the inframammary (lower breast) fold.  It also results in loss of fulness in the upper breast.

A breast lift helps correct this ” mommy breast droop” by lifting the nipple-areolar-complex (NAC) upward above the fold.

Why would a  woman request a breast lift or mastopexy?

Breasts lose elasticity (ability to retain shape) and firmness due to pregnancy, aging and weight gain or loss. This results in the nipple areolar complex (NAC) drifting lower and lower to a position below the inframammary (lower breast) fold. Eventually, the NAC points downward.

How is breast droop (breast ptosis) evaluated?

The degree of sag or droop is based on a classification system developed by Regnault. This system grades breast droop as: grade I (minimal), grade II (moderate with nipple areolar complex below the inframammary fold) , or grade III (severe with the nipple areolar complex pointing downward and below the breasts).

Are there any nonsurgical options for breast lifting?

Where there is minimal droop with lack of upper pole fullness (a common finding post partum), a bioregenerative procedure involving adipose (fat) derived stem cells may be used to gently lift the breast tissue, rejuvinating the decolletage region at the same time.  This has the advantages of not requiring a breast implant, and avoiding external scars on the front of the breasts.

Dr. Burke  extracts stem cells from our own fat (SVF) (known as the ALMI procedure) and combines  these stem cells with PRP (platelet rich plasma)

Advantages of this non incision breast lift procedure include:

  • lack of surgical incisions on the breast
  • no breast implant required
  • shorter procedure (lasts about an hour on average)
  • can be done under local anesthesia with conscious sedation
  • general anesthesia not required
  • quicker recovery

Are other procedures combined with the actual lifting  of the nipple-areolar (NAC) complex?

With a mastopexy or breast lift, the breasts are raised, uplifted and reshaped. This restores firmness, and a younger, more youthful appearance. In some cases the lifting is combined with breast augmentation to restores lost upper pole volume.

Vertical Breast Lift with no implant

This patient was bothered by breast droop after pregnancies.  She wanted her breasts raised to help her fit in clothing, and wanted to regain her lost breast “perkiness”.  . She stated that she was happy with her present breast size and requested that no implants be placed.

How does one choose the surgical technique used to lift the breast?

The actual technique chosen depends on the amount of necessary lift needed and volume needed to restore a natural breast shape.


Vertical breast lift with simultaneous implant placement

This patient requested a breast lift. She  wished to fit better in clothing, and restore volume that had been lost due to weight loss. She was treated with a combination of breast augmentation with a cohesive gel silicone gel implant and simultaneous vertical mastopexy or lifting.


What are the breast lift (mastopexy) surgical technique options?

Surgical options include the crescent lift, the periareolar lift, the lollipop lift, the vertical lift and the Weiss pattern lift (usually with reduction). The goal is to create a natural breast shape, raise the NAC above the inframammary fold vertically, and minimize scarring. Other important goals include preservation of nipple sensation where possible.

Want to follow an actual breast augmentation/breast lift (mastopexy) procedure?

Breast lift (mastopexy)/ augmentation procedure from Dr.Burke’s book on breast surgery.

Which Technique of breast lifting does Dr.Burke Prefer?

Dr. Burke prefers the minimal incision vertical lift when possible. He often combines this with Quill barbed sutures to provide additional lifting and a faster recovery.  Where possible, skin closure is with tissue glue, avoiding skin sutures and minimizing scar formation.

Where there is adequate breast tissue, breast lift alone may be considered.

If there is excess breast volume with droop, a vertical mastopexy with reduction is preferred.

Here in a patient with grade III droop and macromastia. She did not want any augmentation, chosing a lift alone. She was treated with a Keyhole mastopexy  along with breast reduction.  This raised the NAC (nipple-areolar complex) vertically and minimized scarring.


If there is volume loss in addition to droop (ptosis), a combined lift-augmentation may be considered.

With new higher profile implant profile choices and use of the Keller funnel, smaller incisions are required. In some cases, choice of a higher profile implant provides additional lift  so that a less invasive mastopexy (lift) may be chosen.


Here, a woman who was in her late 30’s and who had 3 children presented for a Mommy Makeover. Her main concerns were sagging of her breasts (grade II ptosis) with lack of upper breast fullness.  She was treated with a combination of breast implant insertion (Mentor round smooth cohesive gel 400cc placed in a dual plane position by a periareolar incision) and a vertical mastopexy (lift) incorporating the periareolar incision used for insertion of her implants.

This is the breast lift/augmentation/reduction algorithm that Dr. Burke frequently uses:

Degree of breast droop (ptosis): I=mild II=moderate III=severe



If breasts are also too large, a breast reduction is usually done at the same time as the lift. This is a combined breast reduction-mastopexy.

Breasts that are smaller than desired may  be augmented or enlarged at the same time.

Want to know more about the Cost of a Breast Lift?  

This is an interview with Dr.Burke and Lisa, his patient discussing her experience with his rapid recovery, minimal trauma breast augmentation/lift as part of her mommy makeover:

View Breast Lift results photos

View Breast Lift with Augmentation results photos

Who is a Candidate

  • Women with drooping or sagging breasts due to pregnancy, genetics, aging, weight loss or gain.
  • If your nipple-areolar complexes (pigmented areas around the nipples) are enlarged.

Intended Result

  • An elevated, more youthful breast contour.
  • Nippple-areolar complexes of the desired size and at the correct height.

Procedure Description

  • The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis under conscious sedation.
  • With more difficult cases, or if the patient desires, the procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia.
  • The design of the incisions can vary but usually include incisions around the nipple-areolar complex and front of the breast. Sometimes the incisions must extend to the crease under the breast.
  • The nipple-areolar complex is repositioned higher, the excess skin is removed, and the breast is reshaped in a pleasing contour and in a more normal position.

Recuperation and Healing

  • The patient goes home in a support bra with light dressings over the incision lines.
  • The bra is worn for 4-6 weeks to provide additional support during initial healing.
  • Sutures are usually removed within 2-3 weeks.
  • Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral medication or nasal spray.
  • Light activities may be started in 7-10 days.
  • Lifting may resume in 6 weeks.

Other Options


  • The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.