Joseph A. Mele MD
Plastic Surgery


Breast Lift (Mastopexy)

The Breast Lift, like the breasts themselves, come in many shapes and sizes. A breast lift is also called a Mastopexy. Masto means pertaining to the breast, while pexy refers to fixing or securing, and in this case, lifting.

The most important step in any cosmetic plastic surgery is the planning. Preparation for a Breast Lift includes defining the goals of the procedure, and understanding why a specific type of Mastopexy is selected. The goal of your preoperative consultation should be to learn your options. Is a Breast Lift needed? Are there any alternatives?

If a Breast Lift is the best plan of action, the key to a good result is to find the optimal compromise between the amount of lifting required to achieve the ideal breast shape, and the type of lift. In other words, plastic surgeons strive to use the "smallest" possible procedure, that still provides sufficient correction and reshaping of the breasts. This normally translates to a Breast Lift that will do the job with the shortest and most hidden scars. There are two distinct aspects to lifting a breast: correcting a low Nipple Position and tightening up saggy Breast Tissue (Breast Parenchyma).

Nipple Position:

The ideal nipple position is on the front of the breast at the point of maximum projection. Whether congenital (when the nipple is low from birth) or acquired (when the nipple is low after weight loss, child birth or natural breast atrophy) the treatments are similar. The closer the nipple position is to "ideal" the less that needs to be done.

Breast Tissue Position:

Sometimes the nipple is in the correct position, but the breast tissue itself is low. This is most commonly seen after child birth or weight loss. In this situation the majority of the breast tissue is below the inframammary fold (IMF), while the nipple is still at the front of the breast.

Breast Lift Before and After Photos (Mastopexy)

Breast Ptosis Classification:

Ptosis means sagging. The amount of breast ptosis is graded depending on the location of the nipple with respect to the inframammary fold or IMF. The IMF is the fold under the breast where the breast skin meets the chest. Breast ptosis falls into one of three classes.

  1. Grade I Ptosis - The nipple is located above the IMF
  2. Grade II Ptosis - The nipple is located at or lower than the IMF but still points forward
  3. Grade III Ptosis - The nipple is located lower than the IMF and is pointing downward

Pseudoptosis - Literally fake sagging. The nipple is correctly positioned, but the breast tissue is below the IMF.

The higher the grade, the bigger the lift needed to restore a more ideal breast shape. Pseudoptosis will often respond to breast augmentation without a breast lift.

Breast Lift Patient Information from Dr. Joseph A Mele, III, MD, FACS

Schedule Your Breast Lift Consultation Today

If you are considering a Breast Lift, give us a call at (925) 943-6353 and schedule your personal Breast Lift Consultation. Dr. Mele is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery. His San Francisco Bay Area office in Walnut Creek, CA, can also be reached with the contact form on this page. While we strive to provide the best possible information on our San Francisco Breast web site, medical advice can only be given after a careful history and examination. Dr. Mele will review your options and help you pick the best Breast Lift, tailored to your specific needs.