What is a Breast Lift?

Many women start to consider a breast lift once they see major changes occur with the position of their breasts. A breast lift is a surgical procedure which involves removing excess skin on the breasts and shifting them to a more upright look. The procedure can help to reposition the breasts as well as the nipple-areola complex for a more desired look. Often times, after weight loss and pregnancy the breasts can start to sag, creating an unwanted appearance, a breast lift can raise the breasts to a more natural look. This breast procedure raises your sagging breasts by removing excess skin and tightening tissues to create a more youthful breast contour.

Before & After

Who is a Good Candidate?

To know if you need a breast lift, you should speak with our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Howland at Howland Plastic Surgery. The best candidates for the procedure are healthy individuals with sagging breasts. Individuals who are experiencing breast ptosis (sagging) due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, fluctuations in weight, aging, hereditary, or gravity can often benefit from a breast lift. To correct the sagging breasts, patients can speak with Dr. Howland about his procedures. Patients should also be physically healthy non-smokers to benefit from this procedure. Some patients may feel that a breast lift is needed right away following childbirth, but a breast lift could negatively affect your ability to breastfeed. It is important to be completely done breastfeeding before undergoing a breast lift procedure. A consultation with Dr. Howland can help to determine if this is right for you. During the consultation, Dr. Howland will examine your breasts, tissue, and amount of sagging to determine which breast lift procedure will be most beneficial.

What to Expect

Dr. Howland will go over the complete procedure with you as well as incision options during a consultation appointment in his Salt Lake City area office. The breast lift is done under anesthesia in a medical facility for your complete comfort and safety. The breast lift procedures usually take about three hours to complete, but this time frame can vary depending on the degree of sagging breast tissue as well as the incisions used.  Remember that a breast lift is not designed to increase size using a breast implant, however, if this is desired the surgery can be combined with a breast augmentation. During the breast lift procedure, an incision will be made on the breast. The location of the incisions will depend on the degree of drooping that needs to be corrected. There is a selection of incisions that can be used, including the areolar incision, the lollipop incision, and the anchor incision.

Types of Breast Lift Incisions

The different incisions options will be discussed, in detail, with Dr. Howland at the time of the consultation appointment. The breast lift procedure uses three main incisions to get rid of sagging breast tissue and to re-establish the nipple-areola complex. The different incisions are listed below for patients to start getting a basic understanding of what will be done during their breast lift procedure.


This incision is also referred to as the “donut lift” for the look of the incision. It is made around the nipple areolar border. The areolar incision is beneficial for women who have mild sagging of the breasts and is sometimes used in conjunction with the placement of breast implants.


This incision is also called the “keyhole incision” for the look of the incision. It is made around the nipple-areola area and continues vertically down to the breast crease. This type of breast lift incision is beneficial for women with a moderate degree of sagging who do not wish to use breast implants.


This incision is created around the nipple areola, vertically down to the breast crease, and horizontally across the breast fold. This type of breast lift incision is beneficial for women who have a severe degree of drooping in the breasts.


This type of incision is less commonly used than other kinds. It is made just along the upper half of the areola. Then a crescent-shaped piece of skin is extracted from above where the incision is made. After this skin is removed, the surrounding skin is reattached to the areola. Typically, the crescent breast lift is done in conjunction with a breast augmentation. This type of breast lift is beneficial for women with a minor degree of sagging.

After creating the incision, Dr. Howland will lift and reshape the underlying tissue, reposition the nipple, and excise any excess skin for a more youthful breast appearance. To fix sagging of the breasts, a breast lift procedure is the best way to go. By talking with Dr. Howland about your specific concerns and a natural lifted breast, he will create a personalized treatment plan unique to you.


Following surgery, patients will need to wear a compression garment to control swelling. This garment may be worn for a few weeks while the breasts are healing and settling into their new position. Bruising, numbness, or changes in nipple sensitivity may occur during this time. Any discomfort can be controlled with pain medication. Depending on the type of job, patients may be able to return to work within a week, though physical activity should be avoided for at least two weeks after surgery. Dr. Howland and his team will provide patients with complete after-care instructions to follow so they can achieve optimal healing and results. The recovery time period will be discussed with Dr. Howland.

If you are located in the Salt Lake City or Draper, UT area and are interested in learning more about breast lift surgery and correcting sagging breasts, contact our office today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a breast lift covered by insurance?

A breast lift is usually considered a cosmetic procedure, so it is not typically covered by health insurance. However, breast lifts as part of breast reconstruction after mastectomy may be covered by insurance.

Does a breast lift cost more than implants?

Breast lift surgery is more complex and technically challenging than breast augmentation, so a breast lift is more expensive than implants.

Do I need a breast lift or just implants?

If your breasts are sagging or drooping but you are satisfied with the overall size and volume, you may benefit from a breast lift. If you are unhappy with the size of your breasts, you may be better suited to breast augmentation using implants instead.

Does a breast lift leave scars?

Breast lifts do result in some scarring. This can be minimized by carefully following your plastic surgeons directions during the recovery process. Scars are typically inconspicuous and hidden within the natural contours of the body.

Do you lose sensation with breast lift?

It is normal to lose some sensation during the healing process after a breast lift. Most patients will regain sensation within a few months after their breast lift. In some rare cases, sensation will be permanently changed or lost.

Does a breast lift make your nipples less sensitive?

A breast lift can make the nipples less sensitive. This is typically a temporary side effect that subsides after healing is complete.

Do you still have feeling in your nipples after breast lift?

Most patients will retain sensation in their nipples after a breast lift. Typically, loss of sensation is normal during the first several months after the surgery, but this is a temporary side effect during the healing process.

Does insurance pay for breast lift?

Health insurance does not pay for a breast lift unless the procedure is performed as part of a breast reconstruction.

How do you shower after a breast lift?

After a breast lift, its best to shower with your back to the water to avoid getting any bandages, Steri-strips, or incisions wet. You should also avoid showering the breasts for about two weeks to ensure wounds are closed. Dr. Howland will give you specific instructions to follow during your recovery period.

How long does it take for breast lift scars to heal?

Typically, breast lift scars heal within six months. Incisions are likely to be red and bumpy for about six weeks after your breast lift surgery.

How long do breast lift results last?

Breast lift results typically last 10-15 years or more. Eventually, the breasts will begin to gradually droop again due to the natural aging process.

How long does vampire breast lift last?

A vampire breast lift, or a non-surgical breast lift using PRP, typically lasts about two years.

How long does a breast lift last?

A breast lift usually lasts for about 10-15 years or longer. Results will start to change eventually as the natural aging process takes place.

How much does breast lift cost?

The cost of a breast lift will vary depending on the geographic location, surgeons expertise, hospital and anesthesia fees, and other considerations. On average, a breast lift costs $4,600.

How long does a breast lift take?

A breast lift typically takes about three hours to complete.

How much is a mini breast lift?

A mini breast lift typically costs about $1,000 less than a traditional breast lift. So, on average, a mini breast lift costs about $3,600.

How painful is a breast lift?

Some discomfort after a breast lift is normal, and most patients describe the pain as "moderate." After your breast lift, you can take prescription pain medication to keep you comfortable.

What is a non surgical breast lift?

Non-surgical breast lifts may include thread lifts, laser treatments, PRP injections, or other technologies used to tighten or lift the skin.

How soon after breast lift can I exercise?

Patients are usually advised to wait at least four weeks after their breast lift before strenuous exercise. However, you are also encouraged to walk frequently throughout the recovery process.

What is a partial breast lift?

A partial breast lift or mini breast lift is performed for patients who have minimal drooping but still wish to reshape the breasts.

Is getting a breast lift safe?

Like all surgeries, there are some risks of breast lifts. However, the procedure is generally considered safe. Dr. Howland will review your health history and determine if a breast lift is safe for you during a consultation.

What is a crescent breast lift?

A crescent breast lift removes a crescent-shaped portion of skin from the edge of the areola to reduce its circumference and lift the breasts.

What is the vampire breast lift?

A vampire breast lift utilizes PRP injections to create firmer, more youthful-looking breasts.

What types of breast lifts are there?

Some common types of breast lifts include a donut lift, crescent lift, lollipop or keyhole lift, and non-surgical breast lift.

Will a breast lift reduce cup size?

A breast lift often results in a decrease of about one cup size on average. However, the breasts often appear fuller despite this decrease in cup size.

Will a breast lift remove stretch marks?

During a breast lift, your plastic surgeon will remove excess skin. This often removes stretch marks as a result.

Will breast lift affect breastfeeding?

A breast lift should not limit your ability to breastfeed. However, many plastic surgeons advise that you wait until you are done having children before choosing a breast lift, as future pregnancies and breastfeeding can alter your results.

What is a wrap around breast lift?

A breast lift using the wrap around technique involves using the bottom portion of the breast tissue to create a sort of natural implant, resulting in increased fullness.