There are several different incision patterns and techniques used in breast lift surgery, each of which is suited to different types of patients and desired results. Some of these techniques have been in use for a long time, while others are fairly new, and some (such as the procedures hyped as “scarless” lifts) are as of now still considered relatively unproven .
If you are considering having surgery to lift your breasts, you should make sure to educate yourself well on the options available to you, and consult with several surgeons about which technique they might recommend for you before making up your mind.
The “Anchor” Incision
The incision is made around the perimeter of the areola, vertically down from the areola to the breast crease, and horizontally along the breast crease – known as an “anchor” incision. This technique produces the most scarring, and it is suitable for women with a severe degree of sagging who will not be helped sufficiently by other less invasive techniques. This incision is the oldest technique, and is often used for a breast lift in conjunction with a breast reduction.
The “Lollipop” Lift
The incision is made around the perimeter of the areola and vertically down from the areola to the breast crease – also known as a “keyhole” incision. This technique is suitable for women with a moderate degree of sagging who will not be helped sufficiently by the peri-areolar technique (below) and who do not wish to have breast implants inserted.
The “Donut” Lift
The incision is made around the perimeter of the areola only –, which is why this technique is technically referred to as the "peri-areolar" incision; also called a “Benelli” lift (so named for the surgeon who pioneered the technique). This technique is suitable for women with a mild to moderate degree of sagging, although when used by a skilled surgeon in conjunction with the placement of implants, it can produce a satisfactory result for patients with more pronounced sagging.
The “Crescent” Lift
Although not as commonly used as the aforementioned techniques, there is a fourth incision type wherein the incision line lies just along the upper half of the areola. A crescent-shaped piece of skin is removed above that line, and the surrounding skin is reattached to the areola. This type of lift is usually done in conjunction with breast augmentation, and is suitable only for women with a very small degree of sagging. It cannot accomplish the same amount of lifting as the previously mentioned incision techniques.
The “Scarless” Lift
For a select few women whose cosmetic concern has more to do with loss of volume than with actual sagging, there are procedures available to lift the appearance of the breast that are touted as “scarless." These procedures can utilize (or even combine) breast implants, thermage, smart lipo, and/or “quill threads” to lift the breasts with minimal scarring. However, they all require incisions of some sort, no matter how small or well-hidden. Therefore, they cannot truthfully be called “scarless”. These procedures are also only suitable for those patients with very little sagging of the breast. Like the crescent technique, they will not accomplish the same amount of lifting as the techniques that employ larger incisions.
Continue Your Research
Learn More About Breast Lift Surgery
Explore this profile from your About.com Guide to Plastic Surgery:What You Need to Know About Mastopexy
Why Do You Want A Breast Lift?
Share your reasons, and find out what other readers have to say about why they are considering breast lift surgery.
See breast lift before and after photos
Breast Lift, Consumer Information Sheet, American Society of Plastic Surgeons; http://www.plasticsurgery.org/patients_consumers/procedures/Mastopexy.cfm
Julie Karnes, Wendy Morrison, Mark Salisbury, Martin Schaeferle, Patrick Beckham, Robert A. Ersek; “Simultaneous Breast Augmentation and Lift”, Journal of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Volume 24, Number 2, March 2000;