Breast Lift

Breast Reshaping (Mastopexy) in Danville, CA


Many women have unwanted droopiness of their breasts. This natural aging process is accelerated by pregnancies and weight changes. Breasts are supported and shaped mostly by the breast skin. As the skin gets stretched, the pleasing fullness of the upper breasts diminishes.  Correspondingly, the lower part of the breasts becomes more prominent.


There are three ways to improve the youthfulness of a woman’s breasts. If a woman wants only a modest elevation of her breasts and wants larger breasts, a breast augmentation may be the best procedure. The nipples will appear higher, and the upper part of the breasts will be fuller. Another benefit of the augmentation alone is that the scars are virtually invisible.

However, if a woman likes the size of her breasts and just wants reshaping, then reduction of the skin is necessary. These scars are more extensive and more visible than the augmentation scars.  Usually, the most limited scars are those around the areola and extending from the lower areola to the fold under a woman’s breasts. This type of lift will elevate the breasts about 2 inches or less. If a greater amount of elevation is indicated, the scars are more extensive. They usually will also extend along the fold under a woman’s breasts. Sometimes, liposuction is used to remove excess fat of the armpits near the breasts.

For some patients, it is best to combine a breast augmentation with the more extensive breast reshaping scars. This will give the best upper breast fullness with the optimal nipple and areola position.  However, it does result in larger breasts than simple reshaping


Most patients see me in my office in Danville for a consultation several weeks before surgery. I usually spend about one hour discussing my patients’ goals and providing possible solutions. I examine my patients, show them photographs of similar patients I have cared for, and discuss the expected benefits, the limitations, the typical healing course, and possible complications. Surgery is usually performed as an outpatient in the John Muir Aspen Surgery Center in Walnut Creek. Breast augmentation takes about 1 ½ hours, and skin tightening mastopexies take about 1 ½-3 hours. The sutures for both operations are dissolvable, and do not need to be removed. Both procedures combined take about 2-4 hours.


After breast augmentation surgery, most patients recover for 1-2 weeks before returning to their work and social/household activities. Since the breast prostheses are placed below the chest muscles (and therefore stretch the muscles), patients feel like they have severe muscle strains for about 6-7 days. They may walk or go on a treadmill within 1-2 weeks. However, jogging, swimming and upper body weight lifting should be delayed for about one month. Since drains are usually removed in 5 days, showering of the breast areas is usually delayed until the fifth postoperative day.

If just breast reshaping is performed, there is little pain after surgery. Most patients return to work and family activities within one week after surgery. For exercise, patients usually walk or go on a treadmill within one week after surgery. Jogging, swimming and upper body weight lifting is usually delayed until 2-3 weeks after surgery.


The most common problems with breast augmentation are: (1.) capsular contracture and (2.) rupture of one or the other prosthesis. Each of these complications occurs about 5% of the time. With capsular contracture, the tissues around the prostheses gets tightened from scar tissue. This makes the breasts firmer and less mobile than desired. If saline-filled implants break, some of the saline leaks into the space around the ruptured prosthesis. If silicone-filled implants break, the enclosed silicone is very cohesive (adherent), so very little silicone is exposed to the tissues around the prosthesis.

The most common complications for skin tightening mastopexies are (1.) loss of skin at the top or bottom of the vertical scar (near the areola and inflamammary fold) and (2.) unsightly scars. Loss of the skin is treated with antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin) or saline –moistened gauze. Unsightly scars may be treated with pressure on the scars, cortisone injections, silicone gel applications, or scar revision.