Breast Lift (Mastopexy) without Implants: Expectations vs. Reality

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: May 15, 2024

Mastopexy Guide with Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim

A topic that has gained significant interest among many– the breast lift without implants. Many women are seeking ways to alter their breasts without necessarily adding volume. This procedure can lift and reshape the breast tissue, offering a renewed contour, but it comes with its own set of expectations and realities.

In this blog, Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim will explore what a breast lift – mastopexy without implants truly entails, discuss common myths, and set realistic expectations for those considering this procedure.

Download Dr Lim’s Free 2024 Breast Lift Surgery Guide (Mastopexy)

Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Guide

Breast Lift Surgery (Mastopexy)

Breast lift surgery, also known as mastopexy, is a procedure designed to elevate and reshape the breasts to a higher position on the chest wall. Over time, many women experience changes in their breast shape and firmness due to factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight fluctuations, ageing, and gravity.

Before anything else, it’s essential to understand what a breast lift – mastopexy is not. This procedure does not significantly change the size of your breasts or round out the upper part of your breast. If you’re looking to dramatically alter your breast size, breast augmentation or reduction might be more appropriate. A breast lift is solely aimed at correcting the sagging and loss of shape by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue.

Some women choose a breast lift without the addition of implants because they are satisfied with their breast size but want to regain a firmer, more elevated appearance. This option is particularly appealing for those who desire a natural look or wish to avoid implants due to personal or medical reasons.

The benefits of opting for a lift without implants include a lower risk of complications that can arise from implants, such as rupture or capsular contracture, and a generally shorter recovery time. Furthermore, because the results are more subtle compared to implants, the outcome can appear more natural, aligning well with the body’s existing proportions.

During a consultation, Dr Jake Lim discusses these aspects in detail, ensuring that each patient’s expectations align with what can realistically be achieved through surgery. He also addresses any concerns about scarring, longevity of the lift, and how lifestyle factors such as future weight loss or pregnancy might affect the results.

Mastopexy Expectations – What You May Think

When considering a breast lift without implants, it is common for patients to enter the consultation room with a set of expectations about what the surgery can achieve. While many of these expectations are grounded in the reality of what a mastopexy offers, others may stem from myths, media portrayals, and a general misunderstanding of the procedure’s capabilities. It is important to address these expectations to ensure patients are fully informed and can make decisions that will lead to satisfaction with their surgical outcomes.

Common Myths and Misconceptions

Myth 1: A Breast Lift (Mastopexy) Will Significantly Increase Your Breast Size

Some patients believe that a breast lift – mastopexy will not only raise their breasts but also add volume, making them larger. However, a breast lift is designed to reshape and firm the breast by removing excess skin and tightening the surrounding tissue, not to increase breast size. For those looking to enhance volume, a combination of a lift and breast implants might be considered.

Breast Lift Without Implants Patient 5 — Front View
Breast Lift Without Implants Patient 5 — Front View

Myth 2: The Results are Comparable to Breast Implants

Another common misconception is that the results of a breast lift can mimic those of breast implants. Breast implants add volume and can considerably change the size and shape of breasts, often giving a more rounded appearance to the upper breast. A lift, in contrast, focuses on repositioning existing breast tissue to a higher position on the chest wall. The results are more about enhancing the natural contour than creating a new one.

Myth 3: Recovery is Quick and Scarring is Minimal

Recovery from a breast lift – mastopexy surgery can vary based on the patient’s health, the extent of the surgery, and their body’s healing capabilities. While some patients might recover quickly, others may need more time. Scarring is also a significant consideration; although incision techniques aim to minimise visible scars, they are an inevitable part of the surgery. Dr Jake Lim ensures that all patients understand the scarring locations and the methods employed to reduce their visibility over time.

Examples of Unrealistic Expectations

Expectation 1: Immediate Return to Daily Activities

Some patients expect to jump right back into their daily routines immediately following surgery. However, a breast lift requires a period of rest and limited activity to allow the body to heal properly. Dr Lim advises patients on what activities to avoid and for how long, ensuring a recovery that is as smooth and quick as possible without compromising the results.

Expectation 2: Permanent Results Regardless of Lifestyle Changes

While a breast lift – mastopexy provides long-lasting results, these are not immune to the effects of ageing, gravity, and changes in body weight. Significant weight fluctuations or pregnancy after a breast lift can alter the appearance of any cosmetic breast procedure. Dr Lim discusses how to maintain results with a stable weight and healthy lifestyle.

Visual Aids: Before and After Photos

To bridge the gap between expectations and reality, Dr Lim utilises an extensive gallery of before and after photos during consultations. These images showcase real outcomes of breast lifts without implants, providing a visual understanding of what the surgery can realistically achieve. These photos are carefully selected to represent a range of body types and ages, ensuring that you can see results reflective of scenarios similar to your own.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Dr Lim spends considerable time during consultations to ensure that patients have realistic expectations. This conversation includes discussing what the surgery can and cannot do, the nature of the results, and the surgical journey, from pre-operative preparation through recovery and beyond.

Realistic Outcome 1: Enhanced, Not Transformed

Patients can expect their breasts to look enhanced—lifted and firmer—but not transformed or significantly altered in size.

Realistic Outcome 2: Improvement, Not Perfection

It’s important to understand that perfection is unattainable. Each patient’s results will be unique to their body’s characteristics. The aim is to improve the breast’s position and shape, altering overall appearance while maintaining a natural look.

Realistic Outcome 3: Some Scarring Will Remain

As with any surgery, scars are inevitable, but they might fade over time. Dr Lim discusses scar care techniques to ensure they become as inconspicuous as possible.

Breast Lift Without Implants — Side View
Breast Lift Without Implants — Side View

Mastopexy Reality – What You Can Actually Expect

Undergoing a breast lift without implants is a decision many women choose for a variety of reasons, including the desire for a more natural look or to avoid the maintenance and potential complications associated with implants. Dr Jake Lim ensures that every patient knows what to expect, helping align their vision with achievable results, thus enhancing satisfaction with the surgical outcome.

What a Breast Lift Achieves

A breast lift, or mastopexy, effectively raises and firms the breasts by removing excess skin and tightening the remaining tissue to reshape and support the new breast contour. The primary goal is to rejuvenate the figure with a breast profile that is more uplifted.

  • Improved Breast Shape and Position

The most immediate and noticeable change following a breast lift – mastopexy is the improved shape and position of the breasts. Breasts that once sagged and had lost their firmness will be lifted to a more natural position.

  • Correction of Nipple Position

For some women, sagging not only affects the breasts but also the position of the nipples, which may point downward or fall below the breast crease. A breast lift – mastopexy corrects this by adjusting the position of the nipples and areola, making them more proportional to the newly shaped breasts.

  • Reduced Skin Irritation under the Breasts

Sagging breasts can lead to skin irritation or rashes under the breast crease due to trapped moisture and friction. By removing excess skin and lifting the breast tissue, these issues can often be alleviated, providing a physical relief that many patients had not anticipated.

Longevity of Results

While a breast lift – mastopexy provides durable results, they are not immune to the natural ageing process or other lifestyle factors. Here are some of the factors that affect the longevity of a breast lift results over time:

  • Effects of Ageing and Gravity: The natural ageing process and gravity will continue to affect the breasts after a mastopexy. While the surgery provides a improvement, over time, some degree of sagging might reoccur. However, this sagging is generally less severe than if no surgery had been performed.
  • Impact of Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a stable weight is important for preserving the results of a breast lift. Significant weight fluctuations can stretch the skin and alter the results of the surgery. Likewise, engaging in regular exercise can help maintain overall health and skin elasticity, which benefits the long-term appearance of the breast lift.
  • Importance of Following Post-Operative Care: Adhering to post-operative care instructions is essential for the surgery’s success. This includes wearing the recommended support garments, attending follow-up appointments, and following all activity restrictions. These measures not only facilitate healing but also help maintain the optimal results of the surgery.

Recovery and Healing Process

Dr Lim emphasises the importance of a carefully managed recovery period to ensure the best possible outcomes:

  • Initial Recovery Phase: The first few weeks after surgery are crucial for healing. You can expect some swelling, bruising, and discomfort, which can be managed with prescribed medications. It’s important to rest and limit movement to allow the body to heal efficiently.
  • Gradual Return to Normal Activities: Patients are advised to gradually return to their normal activities. Specific guidelines will be given regarding when to resume exercise and other strenuous activities. It’s important to follow these guidelines closely to avoid complications or damage to the surgical site.
  • Monitoring and Managing Scars: Scarring is a natural outcome of breast lift surgery. Dr Lim provides guidance on how to care for scars to ensure they fade as much as possible. This often includes the use of silicone sheets or scar creams, along with advice on protecting scars from the sun.

FAQs about Breast Lift without Implants


How long does a breast lift without implants procedure take?

  • The duration of a breast lift – mastopexy surgery can vary depending on the complexity of the individual case, but typically, the procedure takes about 2 to 3 hours. This time frame can be influenced by the specific techniques used and whether any additional procedures, like liposuction, are performed simultaneously.

What type of anaesthesia is used during a breast lift?

  • A breast lift without implants is performed under general anaesthesia, ensuring that you are completely comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure. In some cases, depending on the extent of the lift and the patient’s health, local anaesthesia with sedation might also be an option.

Can a breast lift without implants correct asymmetry in breasts?

  • A breast lift can improve breast symmetry significantly. While perfect symmetry is rarely achievable, as natural breasts often have some degree of asymmetry, this procedure can help make the breasts appear more even in size and shape.

What are the main risks associated with a breast lift without implants?

  • As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks involved. For a breast lift, these risks include bleeding, infection, scarring, changes in nipple or breast sensation, and dissatisfaction with the aesthetic results. Dr Lim discusses all potential risks in detail during the consultation to ensure patients are fully aware before deciding to proceed.

How long before I can see the final results of my breast lift?

  • While you will notice a change in the shape of your breasts immediately after surgery, the final results of a breast lift usually take several months to fully manifest. Swelling and bruising need time to subside, and the breast tissue and skin will settle into their new contours. In most cases, it takes about 6 months to a year to see the full outcome of the procedure.

Further Reading about Breast Lift Surgery with Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Breast Lift Surgery

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.