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What is a Mastopexy / Breast Lift?

A mastopexy, also known as a breast lift, is a surgical procedure in which a woman’s breasts are raised and reshaped. A mastopexy is a cosmetic procedure and will not be covered by your insurance.

Why do women get a mastopexy?

Many women feel as though they suffer from saggy, deflated breasts. A mastopexy is a surgical way for the breasts to be lifted and is often completed as a dual procedure with an augmentation to achieve the desired fullness. Here are a few of the most common reasons why women seek a mastopexy:

  • Pregnancy and nursing

  • Weight loss

  • Aging

  • Gravity

Am I a candidate for Mastopexy?

Once you have decided that you would like to have a mastopexy, you should first investigate whether or not you are a candidate for surgery. Although one should come in for a consultation to determine whether or not surgery is an option, here are a few of the reasons patients are typically turned away from our office:

  • Dr. McClellan does not perform any elective, cosmetic surgery on smokers. This is for a variety of reasons including poor wound healing and an increased risk of infection.

  • A mastopexy should only be performed after a woman has decided that she does not wish to have more children.

  • Ptosis is the drooping or sagging of the breasts. It is ranked by three types and the different levels of ptosis will direct what type of mastopexy or mastopexy/augmentation is needed:

  • Type 1 is Minimal ptosis and requires a breast implant only.

  • Type 2 is when the NAC is 2cm below the IMF and requires a lift only.

  • Type 3 is very ptotic breasts which also have lost fullness and needs both and implant and a lift

What are the risks with Mastopexy?

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with getting a mastopexy. Here is a list of some of the more common complications:

  • Infection

  • Loss of nipple sensation

  • Unfavorable scarring

  • Bleeding

How is a mastopexy performed?

A mastopexy is performed by what is known as an anchor incision: there is an incision at the inframmary fold, around the areola-complex, and a vertical incision between the two lateral incisions. This is the most commonly used technique because it consistently gives the desired shape as well as proper position of the breast on the chest wall.

Once the incisions have been made, excess skin is removed, the breast(s) are elevated, and often the nipple is reduced in size. The incisions are then sutured up. Although three incisions may make you worry about bad scarring, the anchor incision is actually ideal for the most minimally visible scars. The incision around the areola-complex blends in nicely, the vertical scar is hidden by shadow, and the one at the inframmary fold is hidden by your bra or swim suit.

What can I expect for Surgery and Recovery?

Mastopexy surgery is performed at Monongalia General Outpatient Surgery Center as an outpatient procedure (you do not stay overnight in the hospital). Attention to detail and technique are crucial to the most optimal outcome. The surgery generally takes 3 hours to complete. Dr. McClellan will see you for your post-operative appointment the day after surgery. Depending on the nature of your work, most patients are back to work after four or five days. Pain varies from patient to patient and Dr. McClellan will continue to remind you that you just had a major surgery – you must take it easy. After the first seven to ten days you may resume your normal day-to-day activities. Two to three weeks after surgery you may begin walking at a slow pace and doing minimal exercize.

What should I expect at my consultation?

For a mastopexy / breast lift consultation you should allow at least 45 minutes in our office. Plan to come about 15 minutes early to your appointment to fill out the necessary forms. During your consultation. It is often helpful to have a list of questions that you may have or something that you need clarification on.

After you meet with Dr. McClellan, you will then be escorted to Becky Miller’s office. She is our patient coordinator and will provide you with the price quote for the surgery as well as give you information about what financial options are available. As the patient coordinator, Becky makes every effort to ensure that you are ready and feel comfortable before surgery.

Patients are encouraged to bring a sports bra with them in order to try on implants if they need them and determine the best fit and size for them. Implant size does not have to be finalized at this consultation and patients are encouraged to contact Becky in order to schedule a separate appointment if they are still trying to determine the size that is right for them.

Out of town patients

Dr. McClellan performs mastopexy / breast lift on many patients that drive a distance from throughout West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Breast patients frequently come from Beckley, Clarksburg, Charleston, Huntington, and Parkersburg, West Virginia; Deep Creek, Oakland, and Western Maryland, as well as Uniontown and Waynesburg Pennsylvania. Our office is very adept at easing the process of distant consultation, travel and flow-up for our patients.

We have hotel information available and have negotiated special rates for patients who travel.


A few frequently asked questions about Mastopexy / breast lift you should consider before undergoing surgery include:

Is the surgeon Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
How many breast lifts does the surgeon perform yearly?
What is the incision like?
What steps are taken to minimize infection and complications? 

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