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Breast Lift Surgery

Breast Lift Surgery is a surgical solution to restore and enhance the breast without augmentation.





John Q. Cook, M.D.

Chicago 312-751-2112
Winnetka 847-446-7562

Learn More about Breast Lift Surgery

As a result of pregnancy, weight loss, or simply the passage of time, many women find that their breasts settle to a low position and lose their natural fullness.  Often the upper portion of the breast looks hollow or emptied out.  Chicago plastic surgeon John Q. Cook has in-depth experience with a wide range of techniques of breast lift (mastopexy) which restore the breasts to a pleasing balance and position.  For some patients who have lost significant breast volume the breast lift procedure is combined with the placement of breast implants.  Patients who have experienced a loss of tone in the abdomen and breasts often opt for a combined procedure in which the breast lift and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) are carried out together.

An Individualized Approach to Mastopexy

Dr. Cook has a wide range of breast lift techniques at his disposal.  During your breast lift consultation at his Chicago or Winnetka center, he will carry out an in-depth evaluation in order to advise you as to which technique is most appropriate for your needs.  Dr. Cook will obtain a sense of your preference for breast shape and volume and also pay careful attention to your habits of exercise and weight fluctuation which may affect the surgical outcome.

Dr. Cook refined his techniques of mastopexy in the demanding field of breast reconstruction.  Often the surgeon must sculpt, lift, or modify the shape of the natural breast in order to obtain a pleasing harmony with the reconstructed breast.  Early in his career, Dr. Cook recognized the potential for innovative techniques that were developed by colleagues in Europe and South America.  These techniques allowed shorter scars than the traditional breast lift procedure that was practiced in the United States.  From a conceptual standpoint these procedures also had an advantage or relying on more than the skin to lift the breast.  In general these techniques rely upon an internal tightening of the breast structure to provide and maintain the power of the lift.

The breast lift surgeries that Dr. Cook performs for patients at his Chicago and Winnetka centers have a variety of components that can be customized to each individual’s needs. From the patient’s perspective they can be viewed according to the location of the external scar.

In the periareolar mastopexy the scar is confined to the border of the areola.  This technique is often combined with the placement of an implant and with modification of the breast structure to enhance internal support.  The vertical mastopexy involves a scar around the areola as well as a vertical extension from the lower border of the areola to the fold under the breast. The structural mastopexy technique allows for a rearrangement of breast structure so that the upper part of the breast is filled with natural breast tissue.  With this operation the scar runs around the areola, down toward the fold, then curves off to the side along the undersurface of the breast. The classical mastopexy involves a scar along the fold under the breast as well as a vertical and periareolar component.

Periareolar Mastopexy

This breast lift technique is well-suited to patients with smaller to midsize breasts that have developed a mild degree of settling after pregnancy or weight loss.  The result is often enhanced by the placement of a saline or silicone gel breast implant in the plane that is appropriate for that patient’s needs (under the breast or under the breast and the pectoral muscle).  This technique is also very helpful for patients who are concerned that their breasts have an overly pointed shape or who have excess areolar projection.  In Dr. Cook’s experience, this technique provides a high degree of long-term satisfaction when the breast is not too large and where an extremely powerful lift is not desired.

Vertical Mastopexy

This technique produces a considerably more powerful lift than the periareolar mastopexy but avoids the scars that run along the fold below the breast in the classical technique.  In one variant of this operation Dr. Cook can utilize a portion of the breast structure to restore volume in the upper pole of the breast.  In select patients this can allow for the restoration of a pleasing breast form without the use of implants.  With more significant loss of upper pole structure or with patients who desire an increase in breast volume a saline or silicone gel implant can be used as part of the breast lift procedure. The structural mastopexy technique, as developed by Dr. Cook, is much more powerful than vertical mastopexy.  For this reason, structural mastopexy has largely replaced vertical mastopexy in our practice.

Structural Mastopexy

The structural mastopexy, as developed by Dr. Cook, is our favorite breast lift procedure.  It has three distinct advantages.  The breast tissue is rearranged so that the upper portion of the breast is filled with natural breast tissue.  This means that it is often possible to avoid the use of a breast implant in the procedure.  There is extensive deep structural anchoring of the breast in its new location, which provides a better lift than can be accomplished with techniques that only involve tightening of the skin.  Scars are also limited, when compared to the classical breast lift technique.  The structural mastopexy allows for a recompaction of the breast structure, so that a firm, youthful breast tone is achieved.  For patients who desire greater breast volume and a lift, the structual mastopexy can be combined with breast implants and or fat transfer.

Classical Mastopexy

For patients who have severely settled breasts, the classical operation with its scars around the areola, from the areola to the fold, and along the fold under the breast may offer significant benefit.  As with the other types of breast lift, this operation may be combined with a breast implant to provide better upper pole structure and increased volume.  Dr. Cook often combines the classical skin pattern with work on the internal structure of the breast in order to enhance the power of the lift.

The Breast Lift Procedure

If the breast lift is part of a reconstructive procedure the surgery will be performed on an outpatient basis at either Rush University Medical Center or at a private surgicenter a few blocks from our North Michigan Avenue office. If the breast lift is for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons, the surgery is usually performed at the surgicenter.  Depending on its complexity the surgery will take from two to four hours.

Most patients are able to leave the surgical facility in less than an hour after the breast lift procedure is completed.  Patients from the Chicago metropolitan area usually choose to recover at home.  Patients from out-of-state will recover at a fine hotel near our office.  We can arrange to have one of our highly-experienced caregivers stay with you for one or several nights.

Recovery from Breast Lift Surgery

Dr. Cook makes use of a long-acting local anesthetic, so that for most patients pain is well-controlled with standard prescription pain medications.  In general if a breast implant is part of the procedure, there will be a greater degree of discomfort in the first few days after breast lift surgery.

For some patients the pain pump device, which provides a controlled infusion of a local anesthetic, can be helpful for the first 72 hours after surgery.

The breasts are protected by a fluffy dressing that is covered by a gentle stretch bra.  Breast lift patients typically come for their first post operative visit at either our Chicago or Winnetka facilities three or four days after the surgery.  At that time the dressing is removed and the patient is fitted with a gentle support brassiere. Most patients can return to normal light activity in less than a week after the surgery, but heavy lifting and vigorous exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks.  Patients with young children should make arrangements for help with child care for the early weeks after surgery.  We can provide each patient with specific recommendations that depend on the extent of her procedure.

Contact John Q. Cook, M.D. at Whole Beauty® Institute

Dr. Cook is recognized for the depth of his experience, innovative techniques, and naturalistic approach  in breast lift procedures. For more information, or to schedule a breast lift consultation, please contact the Chicago or Winnetka offices of the Whole Beauty® Institute.