Breast Augmentation vs. Breast Lift

Two procedures that are commonly confused are breast augmentation and breast lift. It is very common for people to request a surgical procedure to their breasts. However, it is often difficult to understand which procedure they need. To figure out which procedure is best, we must first begin with describing what each procedure is specifically.

The most basic way of distinguishing between a breast lift and breast augmentation is that a breast augmentation “augments”, or enlarges. A breast lift “lifts.”   So, the first thing you have to figure out is what you want changed about your breasts. Do you want them lifted or do you want them larger?  Sometimes you want both.

How do you know if your breasts need to be lifted?

Let’s start with figuring out if your breast needs are drooping or sagging. Drooping breast is also called “ptosis.” This means that the breast tissue is hanging down below the breast fold. This results in nipples that point downward to the floor. Breast ptosis commonly occurs after weight loss, aging, and pregnancies. To figure out if your breasts are sagging, you need to look at the relationship between the breast fold and the nipple. You can place a pencil underneath your breast, within the fold, and look in the mirror. If your nipple is located below the breast fold, then you have ptosis. The surgical treatment is to lift your breasts up to a higher and more perky position with a breast lift, or “mastopexy.”

What exactly is a breast lift?

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is the surgical treatment for lifting the breast. This involves removing excess skin that is around the areola and the lower portion of the breast. This will elevate the breast tissue into a position, similar to if you were wearing a push-up bra. At the same time, the breast tissue on the inside is shaped, usually with internal stitches, making the breast tissue more round, giving a more youthful and perky appearance.  A breast lift basically only removes skin and elevates the nipple position, but does not remove any underlying breast tissue.

Where are the scars for a breast lift?

The surgical scars for a breast lift are specifically determined by the amount of skin that needs to be removed and the location of the skin that needs to be removed. There are several surgical techniques that are determined by the amount of ptosis you have. For very small lifts, it is common for the incision to be kept just around the areola. More extensive skin removal will involve an incision that goes down the front of the breast. This is commonly referred to as a “Lollipop scar”. In other cases, where the breast requires additional skin removal in the brass fold, a fold scar is added to the lollipop scar.  This gives an “anchor scar”. During your consultation your surgeon will be able to tell you which type of breast lift you will require for your desired needs, and therefore which scar you will have.

Does a breast lift make your breasts smaller?

This is a really good question. A breast lift by definition only removes skin and re-shapes the internal breast tissue. This means that there is zero change in your breast volume.  However, the breast is lifted into a tighter and more perky position. This commonly makes the breast appear slightly smaller even though it technically is the same size. Most people find that their breast will appear about half a cup to a full cup smaller after a breast lift. This is something to keep in mind because if you are going to be unhappy if your breasts appear smaller after your breast lift, then you may be someone who may want to discuss other options with your surgeon.

Can a breast lift be combined with a breast implant?

Absolutely! It Is not uncommon to combine a breast lift with a breast augmentation. This is specifically because sometimes people want their breasts larger AND lifted. Remember a breast implant does not lift, it only makes the breast larger. In many situations, a breast implant will give the appearance of a lift, but it’s not really lifting. It’s just replacing volume which fills the breast and can make it look round or fuller and more lifted. However, if you truly have ptosis, as described earlier, then only a breast lift will lift. If you would like your breast lifted and larger than you can have a breast lift and an implant placed at the same time.

The other reason to have a breast lift and a breast implant combined would be if you are concerned that your breasts will look smaller after your breast lift. As discussed, it is not uncommon for breast to appear about one half to one full cup smaller after a breast lift. Many patients will opt for placement of a very small implant at the same time as their breast lift in an attempt to replace volume decrease that often accompanies a breast lift.

Remember, breast implants come in a variety of sizes from extra small to extra-large and everything in between. Therefore, if you just want a very small amount of volume added to your breast lift, then you may do well with a very small implant at the same time. The other advantage of placing an implant at the same time of a breast lift is that the implant can give a rounder appearance to the breast, which is desirable, especially in situations of weight loss and deflation and drooping after pregnancy.

Does the scar change if I have a combined breast lift and breast implant?

When these two procedures are combined, the scar is the scar of the breast lift. This means that the implant will be placed through the incisions that are necessary for your breast lift – around the areolar, lollipop, or anchor.  Adding a breast implant to a breast lift procedure will not require any additional incisions and any changes in your scars.

Will combining a breast lift and breast implants make my recovery longer?

In general breast lift and breast implants are tolerated very well with a relatively rapid recovery. Doing these two procedures at the same time will not make your recovery significantly harder. If your implants will be placed under the muscle there will be some added chest pain associated with placement of the implants.

Can I have implants placed after my breast lift?

If you are unsure whether or not you want to have breast implants and a breast lift, it is not unreasonable to split these procedures up. This means that you would have the breast lift and then see what you think. It is very likely that you will be happy with your breast lift results. If after you are healed from your breast lift, you decide that you want your breast to be larger, then you can have a breast augmentation. This means that your surgeon will perform another procedure in which he or she places implants into your breasts. While this does mean that you will need a second surgical procedure, it is a very good option for people who are just not sure if they need implants to go along with their breast lift.

We understand that it can be a confusing topic, which is why it’s important to be examined by a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in breast procedures to help you decide which is best for you. During your consultation, your surgeon will examine you and determine whether or not your primary issue is ptosis, or drooping, versus involution, or shrinking, of breast tissue. Figuring this out will help determine which procedure is best for you. In some situation it may even be possible to place your own fat in your breasts at the same time as your breast lift, to give you more volume without you having to have a breast implant placed.

To learn more about what is the best option for you, you can contact our office and set up your consultation with New York City board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman.


A Breast Lift Explained

One of the most popular procedures performed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeons is a breast lift. There were over 120,000 breast lifts performed last year in the United States. This is a procedure performed by 90% of all Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. The reason for it’s popularity is how powerful it is at transforming the body and erasing years off someone’s appearance.

What is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a procedure that lifts the breasts. It is intended to give a more youthful appearance to the breasts and reverse the sagging and drooping that often comes with aging, pregnancy, and weight loss. A breast lift will:

  • Removal of excess breast skin
  • Lifting of sagging breasts
  • Reduction in the size of areolas
  • Creating more symmetry between breasts

Who is a Good Candidate for a Breast Lift?

Because a breast lift is designed to lift breast tissue and create a more youthful appearance, anyone who feels like there breasts are sagging are a candidate. Breasts can sag and droop due to a variety of reasons. These include:

  • aging
  • pregnancy
  • weight loss
  • removal of breast implants

To know if you require a breast lift, you need to look at the position of your nipples. If your nipples are below your breast fold, then this means that you have breast droop, or ptosis, and are a candidate for a breast lift. If you feel like your breasts are droopy, but your nipples are still above your breast fold, than you likely have breast involution and a breast implant may be what you need.

Preparation for Your Breast Lift

The first step is an evaluation by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, experienced in a breast lift procedure. During your evaluation, your surgeon will take your medical history and perform a physical examination. He or she will specifically examine your breasts, looking carefully at the amount of excess skin, the quality of that skin, underlying breast tissue, and signs of asymmetry. Your surgeon will also make sure that there is not a personal or family history of breast problems, such as cancer.

Your surgeon will also discuss the required incisions and resulting scars for your breast lift. These incisions will depend on exactly what needs to be done for you and how much your breasts need to be lifted. Small lifts often only require incisions around the areola, while larger lifts may require incisions around the areolas, down the front of the breast, and underneath (like an anchor). Some may require something in between. Your surgeon will also discuss whether you also require an adjustment in the volume of your breast, either with an enlargement or a reduction.

If you are an appropriate candidate for the procedure, your surgeon will discuss specific details about the anesthesia, recovery, and scars. He or she will also discuss the risks associated with this breast lift procedure. You will also be sent for medical clearance with your primary medical doctor. This will include a physical examination, bloodwork, and an EKG, along with any other tests required to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo the surgery. If you are over 40 years old, you will be required to have a mammogram as part of your pre-operative medical clearance.

Where is the Procedure Performed?

A breast lift is a surgical procedure that needs to be performed in an accredited surgery center or hospital. These are regulated facilities with the appropriate safety standards and appropriately trained staff. The procedure is usually performed on an out-patient basis, meaning, you are able to go home the same day. In situations where other procedures are being done at the same time, you may be required to stay overnight for monitoring.

The Surgery

  • The Anesthesia

The procedure is performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. This anesthesia is administered by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and you will be monitored the entire time. You breathing and heart rate will be monitored, as well as your oxygen level.

  • The Incision

A breast lift is performed with a variety of incisions. These incisions are used to remove skin, reshape the internal breast tissue, and move the nipple. The incisions are important because it is the incisions that ultimately determine the scars that will be left. The incisions that you need will depend on exactly what needs to be done and how much lift you require. The typical incisions include:

  • Around the areola (circumareolar)
  • Around the areola and down the from (“lollipop”)
  • Around the areola, down the front, in the fold (“Anchor”)

Sometimes, a different incision is needed on each breast, since many breasts start out different from each other. Your surgeon will be able to tell you during your consultation, which incision he or she thinks you will need. Your surgeon can also draw the planned incision on you so you can visualize where the scar will be located and how long it will be.

  • Reducing the size of the areola

One of the first things that will be done during your breast lift, is reducing the size of the areola. The areola tends to enlarge with aging, weight loss, pregnancy, and breast droop. Your surgeon will use a template, called a “cookie cutter”, that will mark a perfectly round circle on your original areola. This new shape and size will be smaller and rounder. This will also allow both areolas to be made the same shape and size. After marking the areolas with this “cookie cutter”, your surgeon will use a knife to cut along the marks.

  • Removing the Skin

The excess and loose skin of the breast is also marked and removed. By doing this, the breast will be more perky and lifted when things are put back together. Depending on the amount of lift that is needed, skin can be removed from around the areola, down the front of the breast, and along the bottom.

  • Reshaping the Internal Breast Tissue

While breast skin needs to be removed and this does play a role in the result, the skin can’t do it all. In fact, the breast skin has already proven that it cannot support the breast tissue, which is why you need the lift. The real key to a beautiful and long-term result from your breast lift is reshaping the internal breast tissue. After the skin is removed, the breast tissue is reshaped using a combination of removal of breast tissue and internal sutures. Your surgeon will basically reshape your breast tissue into the shape of a breast implant.

  • Closing the Skin and Raising the Nipple

Next the skin is closed over this newly shaped breast tissue. The breast will have a rounded shape. The nipple and areola will be slid up to a higher location and closed with sutures.


After a few hours in the recovery room, you will be discharged home. You will have pain medication and antibiotics. This procedure is very well tolerated and the pain is significantly less than with other procedures like a tummy tuck. You will wear a supportive bra, such as a sports bra. After about a week, most people feel pretty good and you will be cleared to return to normal activities, including work and school. You will be restricted from heavy exercise for about 3-4 weeks while you are healing.

Scar management

Scars never go away, but they will fade. Special care is taken during your surgery to promote good healing and the best possible scar. However, everyone’s skin is different and creates different scars. Some scars are thin and flat, while others are raised and dark. Your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon should be able to assess your skin before surgery in order to determine the types of scar you are likely to produce. In general, the darker the skin, the higher the possibility of thick and dark scars. If you have a history of making “bad” scars, be sure to let your surgeon know about that so proper precautions can be made. There are some things that can be done after the surgery to help your body create better scars These include the early use of silicone scar gels or tapes, and laser treatments. Your scar will continue to evolve over the next 9-12 months. During this time, you should limit the exposure to the sun since UV rays can make the scar appear more red and irritated.

Combining a Breast Lift with Other Procedures

It is very common to combine your breast lift with other procedures. Sometimes a breast lift is combined with breast implants if you want your breasts lifted AND larger. Also common is to combine your breast lift with a tummy tuck or liposuction. This is because all these parts are very susceptible to changes associated with aging, weight fluctuations and pregnancies. Combining multiple procedures together is commonly called a Mommy Makeover.

If you would like to learn more about lifting your breasts and making them appear more youthful, contact New York City Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman. During your consultation, you can find out if a breast lift is right for you.

When Is The Right Time For A Breast Lift? 5 Indicators

As women age, their breasts naturally begin to sag. Skin stretches and becomes less elastic, often sped along by childbirth or weight fluctuations. Though a completely normal process, many women find themselves dissatisfied with their changed appearance, leading some to consider having a breast lift.

Breast lifts are a common cosmetic procedure, often performed alongside other surgeries, such as breast augmentation or reduction and body contouring, but the surgery doesn’t just involve lifting the breast tissue. There are also several other factors that can make a woman a good candidate for a breast lift, with common reasons for pursuing the procedure ranging widely from correcting age-related breast shape changes to reducing areolar size. If you’re concerned about one of these 5 issues, a breast lift might be right for you.

You’ve Always Had Sagging Breasts

Breast lifts are largely associated with older women, or at least those who have already had children, but some women have a naturally droopy breast shape. This can make younger women feel self-conscious and can also make wearing a bra uncomfortable because the skin can bunch and fold. For young women who have always had a lower, more pendulous breast profile, getting a breast lift can provide the desired, perky shape typically associated with the youthful form.

Whatever your age, you can judge whether your breasts sag excessively at least in part by looking at where your nipples fall relative to your breast creases. Many doctors consider a breast lift to be advisable when the nipples point downward or fall below your breast creases. This is a good indicator that your breasts have lost their ideal form.

You’re Post-Pregnancy

Pregnancy can have a significant impact on the size and shape of a woman’s breasts. Many find that their breasts grow with the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, stay large when their milk comes in and while breastfeeding, and then shrink and sag once their children are weaned. Even women who don’t breastfeed, though, may find that their breasts are significantly changed after childbirth, which is why many women pursue breast lifts after having children.

Often, women who seek a breast lift after having children do so as part of a multi-part “mommy makeover” procedure. A mommy makeover can include a variety of procedures, including breast augmentation or reduction, tummy tuck, and liposuction. The mommy makeover is one of the fastest growing surgery procedures and can reduce recovery time for patients and is widely considered safer because it involves just a single round of anesthesia. Many celebrities have undergone mommy makeovers to get their pre-baby looks back, and that has also contributed to the procedure’s increased popularity.

You’ve Lost A Lot Of Weight

Besides aging and pregnancy, weight loss is one of the most common reasons that women pursue breast lift surgery. Though each woman gains and loses weight in different parts of the body, substantial weight loss almost always leaves behind sagging skin – often around the stomach, breasts, and arms. A breast lift will remove some of that excess skin and shift the breasts back into their pre-weight change position.

Many women who undergo breast lifts after weight loss also choose to have a breast augmentation or reduction. That’s because breast lifts don’t change the amount of breast tissue or fat present in the area – the procedure just adjusts where the breasts fall on the body and their general shape, reversing sagging. To attain a more natural body shape and one that best fits the frame, then, many women have these procedures performed together.

You Have Very Large Areolas

This may seem like an unusual reason to have a breast lift, but in fact, Dr. Schulman regularly performs breast lifts to address this problem. That’s because a woman’s areolas often stretch with the rest of the breast tissue due to weight gain or tissue sagging, and many consider it unsightly. But what does a breast lift do to change areola size? During the procedure, Dr. Schulman not only removes excess skin and repositions the breasts, but also resizes and repositions the areolas. That includes cutting away excess skin, leaving a more visually pleasing and appropriately sized areola relative to overall breast size.

Your Breasts Are Different Sizes Or Sit Unevenly

Unequal breast size or position can have many different causes. Some women’s breasts naturally develop that way, while others find that their breasts are uneven just as the result of time or weight fluctuations. Regardless of the cause, a breast lift allows your doctor to reposition your breasts and adjust them to appear more even. An implant or reduction can also be performed at the same time to even out unequally sized breasts and attain a more balanced profile.

Other Considerations

There is no standard or best age to have a breast lift, but there are a few factors to consider. First, young women are more likely to experience re-stretching of the skin around the breasts, as well as weight fluctuations that could significantly impact the outcomes of a breast lift. This is why the procedure is mostly done on older women – their breasts have already undergone most expected stretching from gravity, whereas younger women have yet to experience the bulk of elasticity loss.

Another concern for younger women is that having a breast lift can, in some cases, impact the ability to breastfeed. Though most women won’t have a problem breastfeeding after the procedure, those who have their areolas resized and positioned may have difficult producing enough milk. Future pregnancies can also undo the results of a breast lift by re-stretching the skin, potentially necessitating a revision surgery.

Find Your Ideal Shape With Dr. Matthew Schulman

If your breasts are sagging due to the effects of age, pregnancy, or breastfeeding, you may be a good candidate for a breast lift, but you don’t have to make the decision alone. To learn more about the breast lift process and to discuss you needs, contact Dr. Matthew Schulman today to schedule a consultation. Everyone deserves to feel confident in their body and Dr. Schulman can help you attain your ideal shape.


Guide to Breast Lift Surgery

Are you unhappy with the appearance of your breasts? Do they lack that shape and perkiness they once had? Or perhaps you’ve never had the breasts you’ve always wanted?

A breast lift can literally lift your breasts into a more youthful position, reducing droopiness and sagging.

If you think this procedure is one that could benefit you, read on. Below, we’ve amassed everything you need to know about breast lift surgery, including where to go to get the breast lift New York City residents rave about.

Let’s begin at the very beginning:

What Is a Breast Lift?

A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that raises the breasts and reshapes them into a more youthful shape and position. The type of breast lift women undergo is performed by tightening up breast tissue by internally reshaping it and removing excess skin.

Who Should Get a Breast Lift?

Women with sagging, droopy breasts that have lost their elasticity are generally the individuals who are looking for the benefits of a breast lift. This sagginess and droopiness may be caused by a multitude of factors.

For example, over time, it’s not uncommon for a woman’s breasts to change simply with age. They will eventually droop and sag much more than they once did just because of gravity’s cumulative effects and the normal aging process of the breast skin.

But other more acute events can cause droopiness and sagginess as well:

  • Weight loss or weight fluctuations
  • Heredity (for example, a mother or grandmother with similarly sagging breasts)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding

How Do You Know if You’re a Good Candidate for a Breast Lift?

The best way to know for sure if you are a good breast lift candidate is to attend a consultation appointment with your plastic surgeon. At this appointment, you will meet one-on-one with your surgeon who will take a look at your breasts and give his or her professional opinion. This consultation is needed to truly know if a breast lift is the right operation for you. Some women who think they need a breast lift, really only need breast augmentation with implants. Sometimes, a breast lift is performed together with an augmentation.

If you haven’t yet met with your surgeon but would still like to know if you’re a good candidate, there are a few things you may consider as well. For instance, good candidates tend to be at a healthy weight, be non-smokers, and they also tend to be finished having children and breast-feeding.

They may have recently lost a significant amount of weight as well (this is a common cause of breast droopiness). But if this is the case, be sure that the majority of the weight loss is over; it’s best to work with a body that’s going to stay the same shape for the foreseeable future. It is also important to have reasonable expectations.

Lastly, take a look at your “degree of ptosis.” Ptosis is another word for breast drooping. If your nipple is at or below the breast fold, this typically means you have enough sagging to require a breast lift.

What Is Pre-Surgery for a Breast Lift Like?

Preparing for your breast lift surgery is an important aspect of the procedure. All plastic surgeons are different, though, so it’s critical to speak directly with the doctor who will be performing your procedure to know exactly the pre-surgery steps you must follow.

Together with your surgeon, you’ll review your medical history and ultimate goals for the procedure. This will occur at your consultation or pre-surgery appointment, at which time, you’ll also have a physical exam.

In general, you can expect to do the following in preparation for your breast lift procedure:

  1. Quit smoking.

If you are currently a smoker, it’s generally a requirement that you quit smoking prior to your procedure. Quitting at least three weeks before your surgery is the usual prerequisite.

  1. Speak to your surgeon about current supplements and medications.

In addition to discussing your medical history with your surgeon, you’ll also need to list any medications and/or supplements you take. These may need to be discontinued for a period as your surgery date gets closer.

  1. Line up someone to pick you up from the procedure and help with the recovery.

A responsible adult must be available to take you home after your surgery. You will also need this person or another responsible adult to care for you and be present for 2 to 3 full days after the surgery.

  1. Have a current mammogram.

If you are 40 years or age or older, or have a family history of breast cancer, you will likely be required to have a pre-operative screening mammogram.

What Is Recovery From a Breast Lift Like?

Breast lifts require general anesthesia, which means you’ll need some time to wake up and recover from your procedure at the surgical facility. This is generally only a few hours of rest post-op. From there, you should be able to go home with the responsible adult you’ve chosen to care for you.

There is little pain associated with breast lifts. Most of the time, you should be able to resume normal activities within approximately ten days.

What Can You Expect From Breast Lift Surgery?

It’s often a good idea to look at before and after photos in order to have a strong understanding of what to expect from your breast lift. Remember that breast lifts won’t make your breasts bigger (that’s a breast implant). However, they will look higher, perkier, and firmer overall. Sometimes, your breasts will actually look smaller because of the tightness.

Keep in mind that all breast lifts will include some scarring, but the scars will lighten up and become less and less noticeable with time. Breast lift scars tend to occur around the areola, and they may also occur beneath the areola in what’s called a “lollipop” pattern. This means a scar that goes around the areola and in one line directly beneath this circle on each breast. “Anchor” pattern scarring may result from your breast lift surgery as well. This means a lollypop pattern scar with the addition of a rounded line of scarring beneath each breast near the breast fold. Speak to your surgeon to find out about which specific scars you will have after your surgery.

Get the Breasts You’ve Always Dreamed Of

Whether you’ve always wanted perkier, more lifted breasts, or a weight loss, pregnancy, or similar event has caused your breasts to more recently droop or sag, a breast lift is the ideal procedure to improve your silhouette and boost your confidence. For this procedure, the breast lift plastic surgeon New York City residents trust most is Dr. Matthew Schulman.

Dr. Schulman has an impressive national reputation in the arena of plastic surgery, with vast experience and expertise in the rejuvenation of the face, breast, and body. If you’re looking for the best breast lift New York City women flock to, you want to work with Dr. Schulman.

Make your consultation appointment with Dr. Schulman in New York City today. The sooner you get your surgery date on the books, the sooner you’ll have the new breasts you’ve always dreamed of.