Mastopexy in Burlington, Ontario

A breast lift, also referred to as Mastopexy, is a popular anti-aging surgical procedure to help resize and reshape. Breast lifts have been used for decades to help women with ptotic or sagging breasts feel better about the position of their breasts. As we age, childbearing, gravity, and time affect the elasticity of the skin. A breast lift helps return breasts to a more comfortable and youthful shape, restoring a patient’s confidence. Dr. Shih is proud to offer this procedure at The MedSpa at Burlington Plastic Surgery. Keep reading to discover what this procedure is, how it works, and who would be considered a good candidate.

Breast Lift at a Glance

Procedure Length

Approximately 1.5 – 2 hours

Typical Recovery

About 1-2 weeks for office jobs and non-strenuous activities
4 weeks to resume exercise/strenuous activities


General Anesthesia


Mastopexy Alone
Mastopexy with Auto-Augmentation
Mastopexy with Reduction
Incisions: Vertical “Lollipop” Incision, Wise-Pattern “Anchor” Incision, Periareolar Incision (PA)

What Is a Breast Lift?

Mastopexy is a procedure that improves the overall shape and position of the breasts by removing excess skin, reshaping the tissue, and restoring volume. Many women seek out this procedure when they are in their 40’s, 50’s or 60’s, as sagging often occurs with aging due to a significant decrease in collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production; however, it is not uncommon for mothers to undergo this procedure when they are in their 30’s due to common postpartum effects of breast deflation and sagging.

Types of Breast Lift

  • Mastopexy
  • Mastopexy with Auto-Augmentation
  • Mastopexy-Augmentation
  • Mastopexy with modest Reduction
Depending on the shape, volume, and level of ptosis of your breasts, Dr. Shih will evaluate and discuss the best option for you. If you have sufficient volume and want to improve the shape and position of your breasts, Mastopexy alone or with modest reduction may be a good option for you. A Mastopexy with Auto-Augmentation re-positions your existing breast tissue to provide a lifting effect and re-shaping of the breast that re-distributes volume to all the right places. Mastopexy-Augmentation would be best if you are interested in increasing the volume of your breasts using implants at the same time as a lift.

How It Works

This procedure works by tightening and lifting loose, sagging skin to improve the overall appearance of the breasts. The breasts are lifted and re-shaped, with the nipples re-positioned to the centre of the breast.

If your breasts have decreased in size postpartum or following significant weight loss, you may have enough loose skin to lose half of a cup size or more. For this reason, breast augmentation is often combined with this procedure; however, if you feel that your breasts have too much volume or are too heavy, you can also choose to have a modest amount of breast tissue removed. It all depends on your personal goals. Regardless of whether you want to increase or decrease the size of your breasts, it is often ideal to augment or reduce your breasts at the same time as your lift as the incisions used for all three procedures are similar.

The exact location of your incisions depends on your personal aesthetic goals and current aesthetic. Sometimes, we only need to make incisions around the areola. In other cases, excess skin may need to be removed by making vertical incisions that run from the areola and down towards the crease of the breast, often referred to as the “lollipop incision.” In the case of grade II or III ptosis, we may need to make a third incision that runs horizontally along the inframammary fold or the crease of the breast, sometimes referred to as the “anchor incision” in addition to the “lollipop incision.”

What happens after the procedure?

Your recovery requirements will be discussed extensively during an initial evaluation and the pre-surgical appointment. We will also review your specific recovery instructions after the procedure.

Generally, a full recovery takes a few weeks and ideal results do not occur for a few months. We typically recommend at least two weeks of modified activities post-procedure before returning to a normal output. Bruising, swelling and overall discomfort is common during the first week of recovery. Patients should not lift, push, or pull anything over 10 pounds, and refrain from lifting their arms above their head, nor extend their arms out in a reaching motion. By the second or third week, most pain and discomfort will have subsided, where most patients can return to normal activities. By week four or five, most swelling should be reduced or gone entirely and topical scar treatments can begin. After six weeks, most patients are clear to resume all activities.

Who is Mastopexy Right For?

The best way to find out whether you would be a good mastopexy candidate is to have an initial consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. However, there are a couple of tests you can perform at home to see whether a breast lift would improve your appearance. One of the most common tests is the pencil test. To perform this test, horizontally place a pencil at the base of your breast in the crease after lifting your breast.

Release your breast. If the pencil does not fall, there is a good chance that you would be considered a good candidate for a breast lift. However, you should keep in mind that you may not be considered a good candidate for a lift if your nipple is higher than the pencil. In such a case, the sagging is caused by volume loss rather than severe ptosis, and a breast augmentation may give you the results you’re looking for.

There is an excellent chance that you will qualify for a lift if your breast holds the pencil in place and your nipple is below the pencil. This is an indication of grade II ptosis, and you may benefit from a lift and/or augmentation. Finally, if your nipple is the lowest point on your breast and your breast holds the pencil in place, you likely have grade III ptosis, and would benefit from a lift.

As the procedure requires incisions through breast tissue and around the areola, it could affect your ability to breastfeed. Therefore, if you are planning on breastfeeding or having children in the future, it is a good idea to wait until after having children to have a breast lift.

The Bottom Line

A lift can dramatically improve your self-confidence for years to come. It is a procedure designed to remove excess skin and tighten the remaining tissues. Lifts are often performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation or reduction procedure. If you have ptotic breasts, you would likely qualify and benefit from this procedure. During your initial consultation, Dr. Shih will review your health, current aesthetic, and personal aesthetic goals before a final determination can be made. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Shih.

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Jessica Shih, MD, FRCS(C)

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Dr. Shih is a double board-certified plastic surgeon, born and raised in Burlington. She completed her undergraduate degree from Cornell University before completing her medical doctorate and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery residency at the University of Toronto. She then completed a subspecialty fellowship training at The Johns Hopkins University.

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