Breast Lift

Breast Lift

The most common reason for seeking a breast lift is to address issues of breast deflation, laxity, and descent, commonly experienced after pregnancy and nursing, but also after significant weight loss.

What is Breast Lift

Mastopexy, or breast lift surgery, can reshape and tighten lax breasts for patients who come to us from
Newmarket, Barrie, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and throughout the Greater Toronto area. Often Dr. Deborah
vanVliet will redistribute your own breast tissue to provide more upper pole fullness within a tightened skin
envelope, creating a naturally augmented look for you.

Book a Consultation with Dr. vanVliet today


The most common reason for seeking a breast lift is to address issues of breast deflation, laxity, and descent, commonly experienced after pregnancy and nursing, but also after significant weight loss. Many women who choose to have long-standing breast implants removed will also consider getting a breast lift so that they can wake up to shapely, albeit smaller breasts.
The ideal surgical candidate:

  • Is a nonsmoker
  • Is 18 or older
  • Has a fully developed, stable breast size
  • Maintains a stable weight close to ideal body weight (BMI less than 35)
  • Understands the risk for potential loss of breastfeeding
  • Is realistic about scars on the breast
  • Is in good physical and mental health
  • Has no existing breast disease

Depending on your goals, you may want to couple a breast lift with complementary procedures such as a breast augmentation or a mommy makeover.

Your initial consult with Dr. vanVliet is critical to ascertain what bothers you most about the appearance and feel of your breasts. There are many options, and Dr. vanVliet works closely with you to help tailor a treatment plan to your wishes, while also considering your tissue constraints.

Dr. vanVliet does a thorough breast exam and helps guide you through the decision-making process. She clearly outlines the extent and location of scars you can anticipate. The decision to reduce or add volume to the breast can also be addressed at this time.

Once a surgical plan has been made, you may schedule a date for your surgery. Dr. vanVliet will again see you for a preoperative visit to review your operative course. She believes that an informed, prepared patient is more relaxed and happier going into the procedure.

Your surgery will be conducted at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Please ensure that you follow Dr. vanVliet’s preoperative instructions regarding when to arrive for surgery and when to stop eating and drinking. Also, aspirin, anti-inflammatories, and other blood thinners can significantly increase your chances of operative bleeding, so you will need to avoid taking these medications at least a week prior to your scheduled surgery.

A relative or friend should accompany you to the hospital. Dr. vanVliet will meet you in the operative suite to do preoperative breast markings and take photos before you go off to sleep. You will then have your general anesthetic administered by a board-certified anesthetist.

After about 2 to 3 hours, you will wake up in the recovery room, where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake. You will have a light dressing on your breasts and will be wearing a protective compression bra. In some cases, drains will be required to prevent fluid buildup.

Before you are discharged, Dr. vanVliet will assess you and provide you with postoperative instructions and a prescription for pain medication. You will then be released to the care of a relative or friend for the next 24 hours.

The surgery can involve simply removing excess loose skin and redistributing your own breast tissue to provide more upper pole fullness within a tightened bust, resulting in firmer, elevated, more shapely breasts. If you desire to add some volume while lifting the breast, we can do so via fat grafting (for small incremental changes) or an implant (for more volume and shape). In such cases, a breast augmentation may be the more appropriate procedure.

If your breast is slightly larger than you prefer, some breast tissue can be selectively removed at the time of your surgery. Your nipple-areolar complexes will often be reduced in size to remain proportional and well positioned on your reshaped breasts. The nipple-areolar complexes remain attached to their blood vessel and nerve supply in almost all cases.

Most commonly, a “lollipop” or vertical scar technique is required to encourage the best lift and reshaping of the breast. The vertical scar technique has 2 component parts: an incision around the areola, and then a vertical extension from the areola down to the fold below the breast. Occasionally, with smaller breast lifts, the scar can be limited to the areola (the periareolar or doughnut mastopexy techniques). The best choice of procedure will be determined for you based on your initial consultation with Dr. vanVliet.

Although you can expect some swelling, bruising, and tenderness, mastopexy surgery in general is not a highly painful procedure. Dr. vanVliet will write you a prescription for pain medications, but often anti-inflammatories suffice, with minimal narcotic requirements. You will have a light dressing on your breasts with an overlying protective compression bra during your first week. Sponge baths are fine during this time, but please do not touch your dressings until we see you next.

Your first (and often your only) dressing change occurs on your first postoperative visit to the office. After that, you can go home to shower. Initially, you will notice that your incisions are puckered, raised, and red and that you may have some bruising. With rest and compression of your chest, the bruising will quickly settle and the scars will begin to soften and become less raised.

Wearing your compression bra 24/7 during the first month is critical. It is important to emphasize that these are high-tension closures requiring the mechanical support of your bra. In fact, the integrity of your final scars and your breast contour are highly dependent on developing a good scar during this first month.

You will be quite functional during this time, but it is important to refrain from exertion and sports, as well as friction or touching your breasts. It will take a few months to achieve your eventual breast shape and position on the chest wall. Most people return to work within a week and are back to the gym in a month.

Overall, operative risks are minimal in young, healthy patients. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is always the possibility of complications related to surgery or to your anesthetic:

  • Bleeding and infection occur in approximately 1 to 2% of procedures and may necessitate further corrective surgery. It is highly unlikely you would require a blood transfusion if you were to have postoperative bleeding.
  • There is a 5% chance of poor-quality scarring.
  • Although the nipple-areolar complexes are not disconnected from your breasts during surgery, there is nevertheless a 5% chance of permanent nipple numbness and a significantly reduced potential for breastfeeding
  • Revisionary procedures are rarely required.

Women who intend to breastfeed are encouraged to defer mastopexy surgery until after having children. There may be some recurrent breast ptosis (drooping) with future pregnancy, nursing, or weight fluctuations.

Dr. vanVliet will be able to advise you on the cost of your procedure based on your initial consult with her. The total cost is a reflection not only of her fee but also of the hospital and anesthesia fees. The cost will reflect the work to be done. Payment is due 3 weeks prior to the surgical date. We accept certified cheque, money order, or credit/debit card. If you would like to learn more, please refer to our fees & financing section or contact us by phone or email to schedule your consultation with Dr. vanVliet.