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Lift Me Up

Dr John Kippen

Breasts may droop, become ptotic, for many reasons such as advancing age, weight gain, weight loss and after pregnancy or breastfeeding. Equally, there are many procedures to correct or lift breasts and this usually depends on the underlying breast size. 

In breasts of appropriate size, the breasts can simply be lifted. In smaller breasts, the lift may be combined with an implant to increase the size. In larger breasts, the lift can be combined with a reduction. Smaller breasts with only a slight droop can be corrected by implants only.

The position of the nipple is estimated by three parameters: the position of the infra mammary fold (where the chest meets the chest wall) projected forwards, a set distance from the base of the neck or midpoint of the collar bone and approximately the mid point of the arm bone or humerus. Once this position is set then the nipple is lifted to this point. 

A common misconception is that the nipples are removed and then replaced, this is only very rarely done. In most cases, the nipples are left on a pedicle of tissue and moved. This pedicle contains the blood vessels to keep the nipple and breast viable and also the nerves to keep the nipple with sensation.

With a lift only procedure, some skin is removed and the remaining breast tissue is arranged to recreate a breast cone. With a reduction and a lift, both skin and breast tissue is removed, the remaining breast tissue again is moved to create a cone shape before the skin is stitched.

The amount of lift and procedure determines the amount of scarring that is left. Most techniques try to minimise the amount of scarring. In general there is scarring around the areolar. This may extend down as a “lollipop” scar or may also extend horizontally in the chest / breast crease as an “anchor” scar. Scar quality is variable. These will be carefully explained before your procedure. In general the more complicated the procedure the more scarring that is left.

Surgery is generally performed with a combination of local and general anaesthesia. At most an overnight stay may be required. Drains or plastic/silicone tubes are rarely used to remove any ooze or blood.

The preoperative course, intraoperative course, hospital stay and recovery will be carefully discussed. A full understanding of the procedure is important. A return to work and exercise will also be outlined.

Breast lift surgery is well tolerated with very favourable results. It often allows increased activity and a reduction in skin crease irritation or infections.

A full and detailed description will be given at the time of your consultation. A thorough examination and assessment will determine the best procedure for you. Careful measurements and clinical photographs aid this planning.

Choose your surgeon carefully and remember not all surgeons performing breast surgery have surgical qualifications or are Plastic Surgeons. Check they have the letters FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) after their names and a member of ASPS (Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons).

Dr Kippen is a practicing plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon and a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr Kippen consults from rooms in Mona Vale, Brookvale and Wahroonga. Phone 1300 547 736 or email 

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