A breast lift is a surgical technique that elevates the nipple and reshapes the breast tissue. The technique is most commonly used for women who have had children, lost weight, or have a genetic predisposition for breast ptosis (drooping). During pregnancy, the breasts increase in size, and the breasts expand further with the engorgement that accompanies breastfeeding. These processes can stretch the skin envelope, resulting in loss of breast volume and, often, dramatic changes in breast contours.


The goal of a breast lift is to elevate the nipple-areolar complex and reshape the breasts. This surgery turns back the clock and restores a youthful relationship between the breasts to the body. If there is insufficient volume, the shape can be further enhanced by adding breast implants. Having the breasts lifted will reposition the nipple-areolar complex and reconstruct the remaining breast tissue. Often, if there is not enough breast tissue, breast implants can be inserted.

There are three popular techniques for a breast lift in San Francisco. The optimal technique for each patient is dependent on the degree of skin and nipple laxity. The types are: from least to most aggressive, (1) peri-areolar mastopexy, (2) vertical short scar or lollipop incision, and (3) the inverted-T technique. Since patients have varying preferences for breast shape, the various techniques will be described as to how each method will enhance the appearance of the breast.

The peri-areolar lift is a good technique for patients who require a small lift. The incision is made around the areola, and a doughnut-shaped section of skin is excised.

The skin is sutured with a purse-string technique, and the incision is hidden in the borderline of the areola. A breast implant most often accompanies this technique since the purse-string suture will flatten the breast. The method will tighten the skin envelope but does not reshape the underlying breast tissue.

The vertical mastopexy, short scar, or lollipop technique is widely used. This procedure produces beautifully shaped breasts. The shape has a nicely proportioned diameter and a conical shape. This conical shape in a breast lift is very youthful, whereas the peri-areolar mastopexy is somewhat flattened and rounded.

The Inverted T technique is used to excise more skin and is commonly used to reduce larger breasts. This is a gold standard procedure that has a high rate of success.

Today’s trend is toward the most minor incisions possible, even if some sacrifices are involved. The advantages and disadvantages of each technique are:

Type of Lift Pros Cons
Peri-Areolar 1) A more hidden scar
2) A simpler procedure
1) Requires an implant to reduce flattening
2) The shape is round and less conical
3) Limited to small lifts
Vertical or Lollipop
1) No implant required if there is adequate breast tissue
2) Conical, projecting shape
3) Long-lasting lift
1) Lollipop scar
2) Takes more time for
the breast to settle
Inverted T 1) Able to resect larger amounts of skin
2) Quick healing
1) Longer scars
2) Risk of “bottoming out”


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A personal consultation with Dr. Miguel Delgado is the first step for every patient considering a Breast Lift. This appointment can take place either in San Francisco or his Marin County office, which is a bit closer for patients in Santa Rosa and Napa Valley.

At this meeting, Dr. Delgado will have the patient describe her concerns about the appearance of her breasts. Sometimes he will use digital photography and computer imaging to discuss any asymmetries that are present. He will also discuss where the nipples should be positioned.

In addition, he will discuss the variables that affect the individual procedure, such as age, breast size, breast shape, and the condition of the skin, and the possibility of a breast implant.

A detailed preoperative booklet is given to each patient. The booklet provides pre-and post-operative instructions, including medications to be taken before surgery. Patients are instructed to avoid aspirin and aspirin-containing products, including anti-inflammatory products, for two weeks prior to surgery as these substances interfere with a patient’s clotting ability.

Dr. Delgado office


— Karen M.

Breast Lift FAQS

How much does a mastopexy/breast lift cost?

Who is an ideal candidate for mastopexy breast lift surgery?

Should I wait to have a breast lift surgery until I have children?

How much does a mastopexy/breast lift cost?

The overall cost of a breast lift varies for each patient, depending on the patient's anatomy and the extent of correction needed. The cost includes Dr. Delgado’s surgical fee, anesthesia costs, the operating room/facility fee, supplies, and all office visits. You will receive a personal price quote for your breast lift procedure during your consultation.

Who is an ideal candidate for mastopexy breast lift surgery?

The ideal candidate for breast lift surgery is a woman whose breasts have lost volume or whose nipples have slipped from their original position. For example, the breasts may appear deflated rather than full, or the nipples may point downward rather than forward.

Should I wait to have a breast lift surgery until I have children?

This is often advised since additional sagging and loss of breast volume are likely to occur with each pregnancy.


The Breast Lift Mastopexy surgery occurs at Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, Dr. Delgado’s private surgery suite, located in his Marin County office on the Sutter Marin County Community Hospital campus. This allows Dr. Delgado to offer his patients private, concierge medical care while providing the extra measure of safety and reassurance afforded by the surgery center’s contiguous location to the hospital.

Most breast lifts are performed under general anesthesia. At Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, only a physician who is board-certified in anesthesia administers anesthesia.

The anesthesiologist calls the patient the night before surgery to review his/her medical history, confirm last-minute instructions and answer any questions the patient may have relating to the anesthesia.

Before anesthesia is given, a surgical marking pen is used to draw a detailed map on the breasts and chest. This architectural drawing enables the doctor to make accurate adjustments that allow for the gravitational changes that occur as the body moves from a sitting to a lying position.

If the peri-areolar lift is done, a doughnut of skin is excised around the areola. The outer circle of the skin is closed with a purse-string suture that tightens the diameter to the smaller circle of the nipple-areola complex. A breast implant is usually placed before the purse string is tightened.

The vertical lift mastopexy includes the excision of skin around the areola and a section of the skin below the areola, extending down to the skin crease under the breast. The breast tissue can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the projection of the breast. The skin is then meticulously closed.

The Inverted T incision is a versatile technique. It can be used for a breast lift or breast reduction. The incisions are longer, but it works especially well with larger breasts. The inverted T technique involves excision of both vertical and horizontal sections of skin and results in an incision along the bottom skin crease.

Dr. Delgado prefers the lollipop lift or vertical lift because this technique reshapes the internal breast tissue, holding the shape well over time. In contrast, the inverted T technique relies on the skin envelope to hold the shape. Over time, the skin below the areola can sometimes stretch, which is called bottoming out. Nevertheless, it remains a sound, time-tested technique.

Each technique aims to lift the nipple complex to the correct level and tighten the skin. A breast implant can be used if more volume is desired.



The first few hours after surgery will be spent in the recovery room. When the patient is fully alert, she will be able to go home with the assistance of a friend or family member. It is vital that she sleeps with her head and back elevated to reduce swelling in the breasts.

Breasts will be bruised, swollen and uncomfortable for a day or two, but the pain is not severe. This discomfort is more noticeable if the patient has had breast implants placed underneath the muscle.

These patients will notice more tenderness and soreness around the chest region. They may experience just as much, or even greater, relief from taking the prescription muscle relaxant, either alone or in combination with the prescription pain medication.

The recovery period is usually seven to ten days. This means that within a week, you will be able to drive, work and go to school. However, formal exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks as it can trigger swelling and discomfort. You will receive a detailed postoperative instruction manual to make your recovery as easy as possible.


A breast lift is not a simple procedure but is safe when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Delgado in Marin and Sonoma County. Like all surgeries, it carries the risks of bleeding and infection and the risks associated with anesthesia. Breast surgery leaves incision lines, but they fade significantly over time. A bra or swimsuit hides the incision lines. Breast sensation may be altered temporarily, but it is rare for the sensation not to return to normal for the patient.

Comfortable chairs


If you are considering breast lift surgery in San Francisco, you are invited to book a consultation with Dr. Delgado at his San Francisco office or his Marin County office, 22 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. Dr. Delgado’s goal is to help you look as good as you feel.


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San Francisco, CA has many different notable landmarks as a result of its rich history. One location is Coit Tower, located on Telegraph Hill just one and a half miles away from the practice of Dr. Miguel Delgado and 27 miles from Dr. Delgado’s Marin County practice in Novato. Coit Tower offers stunning, 360⁰ views of San Francisco. Inside, it also contains numerous American fresco murals created by 25 different artists. It was constructed in 1933 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

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