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What Type of Breast Lift Is Right for Me?

By Dr. Scott W. Vann

By Dr. Scott W. Vann

All women experience at least a little breast sag as they get older. A breast lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure that reverses this effect, restoring the breasts to a more youthful shape and silhouette. There are several different surgical techniques used to lift the breasts, each for a slightly different purpose. If you decide on a breast lift, it’s likely you will have two or more options to choose from. You’ll consult with your surgeon to decide which type of breast lift is right for you.

Why Do Breasts Sag?

Breast sag is extremely common, and it happens to most women eventually. Even if you’re careful about diet and exercise, the effects of gravity will eventually cause some breast sagging.

While time and gravity are the main causes of breast sag, some circumstances can make the effects more pronounced. For instance, pregnancy and breastfeeding are both likely to lead to breast sagging. This happens because these events cause the breasts to increase in size and may cause breast skin to stretch as well. After nursing, the breasts go back to their original size, but the excess skin remains, causing sagging.

A similar thing may happen in women who gain and lose a large amount of weight. Again, this is due to the formation of excess skin tissue, that then becomes saggy after weight loss.

Whatever the cause, breast sagging can have a negative effect on body image, even though sagging is a natural consequence of normal life events. Women can feel ashamed of how their breasts look and miss their more youthful appearance. It can reduce self-esteem and self-confidence.

Having a breast lift is one possible way to combat this problem. This procedure reshapes the breasts to make them look less saggy and more youthful.

What Are the Different Types of Breast Lifts?

In the breast lift procedure, excess skin is removed from the breast area. This has the effect of reshaping the breasts and reducing or removing the sagginess. After having a breast lift, a woman’s breasts look firmer, perkier, and more youthful.

There are a couple breast lift types that are slightly different in terms of how the breasts are surgically reshaped. While all types of breast lift have the same goal—to reduce or eliminate breast sag—they are different in terms of how that goal is reached. Each kind of breast lift is suitable for different shapes and sizes of breast.

Anchor Lift

The anchor breast lift is most suitable for women with a high level of breast sagging. It’s also the most invasive kind of breast lift, due to the size of the incisions and the extent of the reshaping.

In the anchor lift, your surgeon will make incisions horizontally along the crease of the breast, in a vertical line extending from the middle of the crease to the nipple, and around the nipple. This forms an anchor shape, which gives the procedure its name. Excess skin is removed from these areas, and then the incisions are closed to reshape the breasts.

Benelli Lift

This procedure is sometimes called the periareola lift. It’s best for breasts that have only a small to moderate amount of sag. It’s also suitable in cases where there is nipple asymmetry, as the Benelli lift can correct this issue.

The incisions made for the Benelli lift are made in concentric circles around the nipple, like a donut-shape. You surgeon will then remove excess skin from around the areolas, to tighten and firm the breasts.

Crescent Lift

The crescent breast lift is suitable for small breasts, or breasts with only a little sagging. Like the Benelli lift, it can also be used to correct nipple asymmetry.

In the crescent lift, small incisions are made above the nipples, in a crescent shape that follows the line of the areolas. This is the least invasive kind of breast lift, as the incisions are very small and typically the surgeon removes only a small amount of skin.

Lollipop Lift

The lollipop lift is for breasts with mild sagging to a high level. In this procedure, the incision is made around the nipple. Your surgeon will extend it vertically over the lower half of the breast, to the crease.

A lollipop breast lift is less invasive than an anchor lift but more invasive than both the Benelli and crescent lifts. It’s one of the most common kinds of breast lift, as it’s suitable for most shapes and sizes of breasts.

Which Type of Breast Lift Is Right for You?

Since there are several types of breast lifts, it may seem like it’s a difficult choice to make, but it really comes down to how much sag your breasts have and the results you want.

Anchor: For breasts with a high level of sagging. If your breasts are larger and/or have a lot of excess skin, then an anchor breast lift may give you the best results. This procedure provides the highest degree of lift but can leave more scarring than the other methods.

Benelli/Crescent: For breasts with a small amount of sagging, with or without nipple asymmetry. If your breasts need only minor adjustments to their shape, then a Benelli or crescent lift might be suitable. They only provide a little lift but are less invasive, with the least amount of scarring.

Lollipop: For breasts with a moderate to high level of sagging. This procedure can significantly improve the shape of the breasts, and it’s less invasive, but it doesn’t lift the breasts to the same degree as the anchor lift.

Do You Need a Breast Lift or a Breast Reduction?

For women with larger breasts, it can be difficult to figure out what breast procedure will give you the ideal breasts you want. Some women think they need a breast lift when a breast reduction will actually give them better results, or vice versa. It’s an important distinction because a breast lift doesn’t give you smaller breasts. It alters their shape; it does not substantially change their size and weight. If having large breasts is causing you problems like back or shoulder strain, a breast lift won’t help, but a breast reduction could.

To decide between a breast lift versus a breast reduction, consider both the shape and the size of your breasts. If your breasts are causing back or shoulder pain or strain, or posture issues, for instance, a breast reduction may be what you need. On the other hand, if your breasts are noticeably saggy but don’t cause pain and other problems, then a breast lift is likely what you need.

Breast Lift vs. Breast Augmentation

Having a breast lift won’t make your breasts smaller, but it doesn’t make them bigger, either. It does change their shape, making them more rounded and perky, and this can make them look larger.

If you want to have larger breasts, a breast augmentation is the best choice. Many women actually choose to have both a breast lift and an augmentation at the same time to enhance their breasts even further. If you do want both procedures, it makes sense to have them both at once, as it means just one recovery period instead of two.

Need Expert Breast Lift Advice? See a Plastic Surgeon.

If having sagging breasts has negatively impacted your self-esteem or confidence, getting a breast lift may help you gain back both your youthful appearance and a more positive outlook. Talk to a plastic surgeon about the types of breast lift and the results you can expect from each procedure. They can talk you through your breast lift options and help you make the best decision for you.