Whole Beauty® Institute

Structural Breast Lift

Dr. John Q. Cook’s innovative technique of breast lift surgery – the structural breast lift for superior postioning, firmness, and upper breast fullness.

Why Dr. John Q. Cook Is the Right Breast  Surgeon for You


Breast Lift is one of Dr. Cook’s favorite procedures. Having developed the Structural Breast Lift Technique, he can help his patients to obtain lift as well as create a pleasing breast shape often without implants.


Dr. Cook has lectured about Structural Breast Lift Surgery at national and international meetings and offers patients various breast lift techniques that he can apply on an individualized basis.


Dr. Cook performs a detailed analysis based on unique goals and what he finds during the physical exam. His overall goal for every patient is to improve the artistic balance of the body, but also improve body mechanics.


The three main advantages of the Structural Technique: Use of your own tissue to restore volume to the upper portion of the breast. Anchoring at several levels so the stretched-out skin does not do all the work of lifting. Minimizing scars.

Education and Credentials

Awards and Recognition

The Structural Breast Lift Technique

Dr. John Q. Cook’s Innovative Technique of Breast Lift Significantly Improves Results that can be Achieved from the Surgery

The structural breast lift (also known as structural mastopexy) is an advanced surgical technique developed by Dr. Cook to improve the type of results that can be achieved from the surgery. He was inspired by an Italian plastic surgeon whose work introduced the principles of this surgical approach.

The structural technique offers many advantages over traditional breast lift procedures, which may limit the time in which breasts maintain their new shape and position after surgery as the skin stretches over time. Further, traditional breast lift techniques often do not restore enough of the desired fullness to the upper portions of the breasts for the patient, and the position of scars left behind from the procedure can also pose an issue for some patients.

With Dr. Cook’s breakthrough structural breast lift technique, the breasts are held up more firmly when compared to traditional techniques, more upper breast fullness is provided by using the patient’s own tissue, and scars are less pronounced. A portion of the breast tissue is repositioned to replace volume lost from the upper areas of the breasts, and deep structural anchoring at several levels provides a significantly stronger lift.

What Is Different about the Structural Breast Lift Compared to Traditional Techniques?

The structural breast lift (or structural mastopexy), limits scarring, and provides a look of fullness by re-arranging the patient’s natural breast tissue, and includes deep structural anchoring for a better lifting effect than skin-tightening procedures.

The structural breast lift is Dr. Cook’s preferred breast lift technique. As breasts droop, they tend to spread out and lose their structure. A breast that was once firm and beautifully shaped becomes wide, hollow, and settled. Because of the lack of underlying structure, the skin of the ptotic breast also loses its tone.

The structural breast lift addresses these issues head on. One of the most appealing aspects of the structural breast lift is that it recompacts the breast structure. It is also possible to narrow the base of the breast to a degree and raise the level of the fold under the breast, which is difficult to accomplish with other techniques.

The structural breast lift is close in technique to the vertical breast lift, but there are some important differences. Rather than going straight down to the fold, the scar curves in its lower portion toward the outer aspect of the breast. This eliminates the bunching seen at the lower end of a vertical mastopexy. More important, this breast lift pattern provides Dr. Cook with an unprecedented ability to sculpt and narrow the base of the breast.

Structural Breast Lift FAQs

Have questions about structural breast lift surgery? Dr. John Q. Cook answers the most frequently asked questions about this procedure.

The Structural Breast Lift Technique

This video shows a brief animation of how the structural breast lift surgery is performed.

The structural technique provides a multi-level anchoring of the breast in its new position. This is a significant feature, since breast lift techniques that merely tighten the skin tend to settle and stretch. The technique involves a structural rearrangement of the breast tissue to replenish upper pole volume. In many cases, this allows Dr. Cook to avoid using a breast implant to fill out the upper portions of the breast with a breast lift.

Patients are particularly pleased by the way this breast lift operation restores a degree of fullness to the upper portions of the breast in a way that still looks natural.

What Are the Advantages of Dr. Cook’s Structural Breast Lift?

Patients who come to Whole Beauty® Institute for breast rejuvenation or modification of breast size benefit from Dr. Cook’s development of the structural mastopexy technique. He has offered the breast lift variation to his patients for many years. The technique addresses in a powerful way the concerns his patients have about breast position, breast shape, and breast volume distribution.

Structural Lift Before and After

Hover over image to view results. Warning, the images contains nudity.

Before and after of Structural Breast Lift with no implants.

What Casues Breast to Lose their Structure?

You may be asking: What causes sagging breasts? The mechanical stretching of the breast structure that occurs with significant life events often loosens the breast’s internal support and stretches the skin. For some breast surgery patients, this is accompanied by a loss of breast volume.

Structural Lift Before and After

Hover over image to view results. Warning, the images contains nudity.

Before and after of Structural Breast Lift with implants combined with HLT abdominoplasty.


The most common reason patients have breast lift surgery is to restore a pleasing breast shape after pregnancy. Dr. Cook recommends that his patients hold off on breast lift surgery until they are finished having children. If a patient becomes pregnant after she has had a breast lift, the results from the breast lift could be reversed due to newly stretched skin.

Structural Lift Before and After

Hover over image to view results. Warning, the images contains nudity.

Before and after of Structural Breast Lift with implants combined with HLT abdominoplasty.

Significant Weight Loss

Many patients have a breast lift after major weight loss. These patients frequently have a very significant loss of breast volume due to the successful shedding of significant pounds. A breast lift can help restore the structure lost along with volume. The structural breast lift technique allows Dr. Cook to rearrange the breast structure so that, in some patients, he is able to return enough volume to the upper portion of the breast with natural breast tissue.

Structural Lift Before and After

Hover over image to view results. Warning, the images contains nudity.

Before and after of Structural Breast Lift combined with HLT abdominoplasty.

Gravity and Hormonal Changes

While supportive bras will help to delay this process, the effects of gravity and hormones can also alter breast shape. Some breast lift patients will come in after experiencing significant breast settling in their 20s, while others will still have a tight breast structure in their 50s and 60s.

Structural Lift Before and After

Hover over image to view results. Warning, the images contains nudity.

Before and after of Structural Breast Lift with implants combined with HLT abdominoplasty.

Breast Ptosis

Some patients experience severe drooping of the breasts from the time the breasts begin to develop. This is known as congenital breast ptosis. Others may experience Poland’s Syndrome and constricted breast syndrome. In general, patients who experience this breast shape in their high school years tend to be very self-conscious. For these patients, breast lift surgery can be a wonderfully liberating experience.

Structural Lift Before and After

Hover over image to view results. Warning, the images contains nudity.

Before and after of Structural Breast Lift with removal of saline implants and replacement with 275 cc silicone gel implants.

Large, Weighty Implants

If a large breast implant is placed beneath a breast that has already developed significant drooping, the device may provide a bit of a temporary breast lift, but the breast will eventually droop even more due to the weight of the implant pulling it downward. Dr. Cook sees a good number of these patients every year. His solution is to reduce the size of the implant and carry out a breast lift, sometimes in combination with other techniques.

What Changes Can a Structural Breast Lift Address?

Breasts change predictably as a woman ages. These changes may be amplified by pregnancy, breastfeeding, and significant weight loss.

  • The lower portion of the breast settles and overhangs the skin that sits beneath the lower edge of the breast.
  • The nipples descend, so that there is a long visual distance between the collar bone and the breast.
  • As the breast structure descends, the upper part of the breast loses its natural fullness.
  • The breast loses its internal support, so the breast loses its projection and tends to spread out.
  • As the breast settles, the skin of the lower portion of the breast is stretched out.

What Are the Goals of Structural Breast Lift Surgery?

The goals of structural mastopexy are essentially the reversal of the changes that have occurred with the aging process.

  • Restore the breast to where it used to be.
  • What Dr. Cook calls a recompation of the breast structure. In other words, take a breast that has been spread out and make it firm again.
  • Bring the nipples back to a higher position and reduce the size of the areolae if they have been stretched out.
  • Restore a pleasing volume balance to the breasts so that there is a nice fullness in the upper portions of the breast.
  • As much as possible, produce results that last a good long time.

For the beast lift surgery, Dr. Cook repositions a portion of the breast tissue to the upper part of the breast in order to replace the volume that has been lost in this important area. Because of this, he is much less likely to use breast implants with the lift. Of course, if a patient wants more volume, he can provide it as desired.

Dr. Cook provides the breast with deep structural anchoring at several levels, so that there is internal stabilization of the breast structure. In his opinion, this provides a much stronger lift that can be accomplished with a breast light that only tightens of the skin.

Scars are limited, especially in comparison the classical breast lift, which has a very long scar that runs along the fold under the breast. Most experienced breast surgeons will tell you that it is this lower scar that is most likely to heal in a less than ideal way. If this scar can be avoided, especially in the inner portion of the breast, it is highly desirable to do so.

Structural Breast Lift FAQs

Read the frequently asked questions Dr. Cook commonly hears during his consultations for structural breast lift surgery:

Where is the breast lift surgery performed?

Dr. Cook performs the surgery at a high-quality private surgery center near his Gold Coast office. The surgery is performed with the breast lift patient under a light anesthetic that generally does not require full intubation (breathing tube through the vocal cords).

What is the recovery like after a structural breast lift?

Dr. Cook makes generous use of a long-acting local anesthetic, so most patients awaken with a reasonable degree of comfort. If structural mastopexy is combined with breast implants, your discomfort will be a little more for the first few days, but it is easily managed with common pain pills and a medication that relaxes the pectoral muscle. You will be protected by a supportive dressing for the first few days after surgery. Most patients return to see us three or four days after surgery, at which time we remove the dressing and provide a gentle support bra. Most patients are able to return to work four to five days after surgery.

What are the restrictions on my activity after breast lift surgery?

Patients can return to normal light activity as soon as they are comfortable. We encourage moderate amounts of light exercise during the recovery, but it is important for the patient to avoid heavy exercise for four to six weeks. Dr. Cook and his team will provide specific guidelines for athletes about when it is OK to return to specific activities of their sport.

Does the breast lift surgery affect breastfeeding?

All forms of breast lift and breast reduction carry the possibility of interfering with breastfeeding. Dr. Cook and his team will discuss this with you in specific detail at the time of your consultation.

What are the effects of structural breast lift on mammograms?

Dr. Cook recommends that your breasts be imaged at a high-quality mammographic center. Mammographic changes can occur after all forms of breast lift and breast reduction, but—in general—the changes are distinguishable from those that suggest breast cancer.

Is this breast lift surgery covered by insurance?

A breast lift (mastopexy) is almost never covered by insurance. Insurance companies are generally more restrictive about coverage of breast reduction than they were in the past, and the degree of restriction increases with each year. The Whole Beauty® Institute team has extensive experience with breast reduction surgery, and if we think there is a chance of coverage, we will work with you in the process known as predetermination. In this process, we submit information as to why this should be a medically indicated procedure.

What are the risks of this breast lift surgery?

Complications after this procedure are relatively uncommon and are similar to those encountered with other forms of breast reduction and breast lift. These include a collection of tissue fluid or blood (seroma or hematoma) that requires drainage, less than ideal scars, interruption of circulation to the nipple, disruption of sensation, and poor healing along the incisions. The risk of these complications diminishes significantly if you follow our pre- and postoperative instructions to the letter.

Is the structural mastopexy technique applicable to all breasts?

Dr. Cook has extensive experience with all major techniques of breast surgery, including breast lifts. The majority of patients who come to us in consultation are good candidates for the structural technique. Some patients with massively enlarged breasts or with extreme stretching of the skin will require different techniques. Dr. Cook will make this determination during your consultation.

What Are the Results and Long-Term Outlook for a Breast Lift?

You might have questions about what to expect after the procedure, such as, “How long does a breast lift last?” “When will you see results from a breast lift,” or “Will breasts sag again after a breast lift?”

The results from a breast lift will be instantly visible right away, but will also continue to evolve. As you gradually recover from a breast lift, your satisfaction with your results should increase. The results finalize within several months. Although the breasts will still be affected by aging and gravity, the results are long-lasting. In fact, they should last for years—and there are things patients can do to keep them looking their best.

Maintaining a stable weight and a healthy lifestyle will help to ensure that mastopexy results last for as long as possible. Pregnancy and major weight fluctuations can affect your results. When you exercise, you should wear an athletic bra for support, and it is a good idea to wear a soft structured bra most of the time.

Classical Lift | Vertical Lift | Periareolar Lift

Dr. Cook offers several advanced and long-established breast lift techniques for patients based on their goals and a detailed analysis during a physical exam. Each patient is provided with an individualized solution that based on the breast size, shape, degree of sagging, skin elasticity, size and position of the areolas, as well as other factors.

Visit the breast lift techniques page to read in depth information about traditional breast lift techniques: Classical Lift, Vertical Lift, and Periareolar Lift.

What Are Some Options for Enhancing the Breasts Aside from Breast Lift Surgery?

Whole Beauty® Institute provides a complete range of breast-related cosmetic surgeries in addition to breast lifts. A mastopexy won’t significantly alter the size of the breasts or add roundness or fullness to the upper parts of the breasts, which can sometimes look empty or hollow over time. Patients who want to create upper pole fullness or cleavage may need to have the structure of breast implants. breast augmentation with breast implants and fat transfer adds volume and fullness to increase the size of the breasts. A breast reduction takes volume away from the breasts to improve their appearance or for functional or medical reasons if you want smaller breasts.

For some patients who have lost significant breast volume, the breast lift procedure can be combined with the placement of implants. This is known as a breast augmentation with lift —and the procedure can address sagging or stretched skin while also adding volume.

If you are concerned about sagging or loss of volume in the breasts but also want to correct sagging skin, resistant fat, or weakened muscles on the abdomen, a breast lift can be performed at the same time as a tummy tuck.

This combined procedure is often referred to as a Mommy Makeover and may also include liposuction to reduce stubborn fat.

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Our locations in the Gold Coast of Chicago and Winnetka in the North Shore reflect our commitment to convenient and discrete concierge-level service.

Whole Beauty® Institute |Map | 737 N.Michigan Ave

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